ACT
RANDOM DRIVER THOUGHTS ON THE UPCOMING BOND AUTO LABOR DAY CLASSIC
ē Craig Bushey, Cambridge, VT - former multi-time ACT Sportsman Series Champion - ďI will certainly be at the 200. My car has been really good today and if I leave here in one piece (he finished the season ending Kinney Drugs race in 2nd, his best outing in a Late Model) I will attempt to qualify for the Bond Auto Labor Day race. Itíll be cool to race against the Tour regulars, weekly drivers and some outsiders. Itís a big race and $10,000 would help me a lot. I havenít raced weekly or one the Tour because of some financial hardships. Iím having a great time coming here and racing some of the weekly shows, the competition is tough and I canít wait to go up against some of the big name Tour drivers like Jean-Paul Cyr.Ē

ē Scott Payea, Milton, VT - 2005 ACT Tour Rookie of the Year - sits 6th in points heading into 28th annual Labor Day Classic - ďThunder Road is a tough track and a lot of the big names struggle here. I havenít quite nailed the set-up yet but I think we are getting close. Every time we come here we get better and better. I remember a few years ago Brent (Dragon) just got it and has been running well here ever since. There are so many drivers that can win here each week and to add the weekly drivers to our regular Touring guys will be interesting and the competition will be tough.Ē


ē Ryan Vanasse, Warwick, RI - second year with the ACT Tour, cut his racing teeth at Seekonk (MA) Speedway - ďThunder Road is a special place and every time I race there I feel a bit more comfortable. The track and the race share an extensive history, and itís just an honor to have the chance to race in one of the big races like the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic. I would love to win the event as the first driver from Rhode Island to do so. That would be an incredible honor. The $10,000 to win is huge for the low budget teams so Iíd have to say that itíd be nice to win the race and go back to RI with the big check!Ē

ē Brent Dragon, Milton, VT - 2005 Labor Day Classic Champion - ďI love Thunder Road, that wasnít always the case though. I used to dread coming here, but Iíve matured as a driver and my crew has always worked really hard at giving me cars I can win with here at Thunder Road. Tonight (August 24) my car is really fast so Iím looking for big things come the 200. I won the Labor Day race in 2004 and Iíd love to win it again. I consider the Bond Auto Labor Day race to be one of the big 5 races in ACT history. (Milk Bowl, Memorial Day, Fall Foliage, Labor Day and the Spring Green). When I won the event it only paid like $1,000. The next year Jean wins it and itís a $10,000 purse! Iíd love to win the ten-grand and add my name to that list one more time. Thereís a lot of strategy that plays into racing in Barre and the 200 laps will definitely be hard on a lot of the drivers who arenít used to the long distance races. Itís pretty neat to look at the list of previous winners and see my father and uncle and know that Iím a part of the history of the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic. There are a lot of young guys who have a good shot at winning this race, especially Ryan Vanasse, heís a great racer and his program has improved this season.Ē

ē John Donahue, Graniteville, VT - Finished 8th in 2006 Thunder Road Late Model standings - ďI will most definitely be at the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic; there will be a lot of cars here, but whatís a little competition? Itís one of the biggest races of the season. When I signed up this year, I planned to run (all three of) the ACTion Super Series races. We went to Sanair and had an electrical issue. Instead of keeping my car out there and potentially ruining everyone elseís day I stayed in the pits to save my car and the cars around me. Iím looking forward to having the opportunity to race for $10,000 again. There will be some big names coming to that event Iím sure, and to race side-by-side with most of them will be great.Ē

ē Dave Pembroke, Montpelier, VT - wears two hats - Thunder Road weekly and ACT Tour competitor - ďAs one of the guys that runs weekly here at Thunder, and then every weekend on the Tour, itís a different approach. Iím used to running 50 lap features here every Thursday night but 200 laps is a whole different animal, especially at Thunder Road. On the Tour we run mainly 100 to 150 lap shows and it takes a lot out of you, but like I said, Thunder Road is different than most tracks we race at. The track changes so much from qualifying to the feature and I think the knowledge that the weekly guys, myself included have about the track, will be beneficial, especially as we have all day Saturday to practice for the event. The track will most certainly change overnight and a set-up that someone worked on the whole day before could become worthless. Racing for $10,000 is really nice; Iíd sure like to win it. I won the Milk Bowl a few years ago and to know that I am in the history books for that race makes wanting the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic win even more special and important for me and my crew.Ē

ē Cris Michaud, Williamstown, VT - Three-time Thunder Road "King of the Road" - ďAs an outsider entering the Labor Day race I feel as though I will have a leg up on most of the guys coming in. There are a lot of great drivers on the Tour however, the weekly drivers run here week in and week out. We know the quirks of the track and we know how to adjust our car accordingly. Thunder Road is a tough track, there are a lot of guys who have raced here for years and donít have many wins to their credit, that should tell you something. The Labor Day race is a great way to prepare for the Milk Bowl, but it is special in its own sort of way. The Milk Bowl has 3- 50 lap segments but this is 200 straight laps. After hearing about the Oxford race (the New England Dodge Dealers 150 on August 19 which didn't have its first caution until the 97th lap), it seems that we could potentially have a long green flag stretch which will mean drivers getting into a rhythm and really working their way to the front of the pack. The fans love to see their weekly favorites take on their Tour favorites at their favorite track. Itís going to be a great race, and certainly unpredictable. Last year Roger Brown dominated and then was taken out of the lead by a lapped car. The 200 is such a long race itís never over until the checkered flag flies.Ē

ē Dave Wilcox, Fiarfield, VT - ďI love racing here at Thunder Road. Iíve had some hard wrecks here and tonight is my first time back since I had a hard crash on the frontstretch. I have a new sponsor on the car and I think my luck's changing in this game. The 200 will be a tough race and their will certainly be a lot of cars showing up, and with $10,000 to win who wouldnít be here? Itís one of the biggest races of the season. Iím certainly going to be here (if I make it out of tonight alright).Ē

ē Phil Scott, Middlesex, VT - former ACT Tour and Thunder Road Late Model "Kinf of the Road" - ďThe Labor Day Classic is a very special race. Being from Barre, coming to Thunder Road on Thursday nights was a given. I think a lot of the local race fans would agree with that. Thunder Road is a really special track. The ticket prices are unbeatable, which is good for a blue collar town like Barre. The stands are always full because Tom Curley recognizes the need to keep ticket prices down - I donít think the crowds would be as large if the track was in Burlington or somewhere else for that matter. The history of Thunder Road and the Labor Day race go back to when the granite sheds were the primary employment for Barre residents. The workers would need a place to unwind on Labor Day weekend after a long summer of working in the sheds. Thunder Road really became part of the social fabric when granite workers embraced Thursday racing and the special events. As a driver, I like to look into the stands and see families sitting together and enjoying the races. I have yet to win the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic, but I would certainly love to add my name to the list of former winners such as Bobby & Beaver Dragon, Jean-Paul Cabana, Dave Dion and others.Ē