Contributed by: ACT Staff
Over 100 teams brave weather for Saturday car show, Merchants Bank 150 runs Sunday
A rookie American-Canadian Tour Late Model stock car pit crew defeated the reigning ACT championship team to win Saturday’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl Pit Stop Contest in downtown Barre City, VT, part of the 10th Annual Merchants Bank 150 and Car Show weekend. The STJAuto.com/Fortier’s Community Care Home #88 team, led by Crew Chief Shayne Sweet, completed a two-tire change, washed the windshield, and simulated a fuel refill in 25.44 seconds to take the victory over the seven-time ACT Champion Ehler’s RV/RPM Racing Engines #32 team.
Pitting a race-ready Late Model show car owned by veteran Joey Laquerre, the seven-man “over the wall” crews were each tested by Mother Nature as a light mist fell during the competition. The winning crew members were jackman Brandon Surprenant, tire changers Craig Deyo and Keith Fortier, tire carriers Anthony Sweet and Nathan Sweet, gasman Normand Fortier, and windshield cleaner Aaron Holden.
Their driver, ACT rookie and 2007 Thunder Road NAPA Tiger Sportsman Champion Nick Sweet of Barre, was proud of his team. “I’ll take credit for that win,” he joked. “As many mistakes as I’ve made learning how to drive these cars this year, those guys have learned how to fix things in a hurry. They did a great job.”
The runner-up team, led by Crew Chief Rick Paya, turned in a time of 27.28 seconds. The Paya team, who pits for ACT Champion driver Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton, VT, won this contest one year ago. Third place went to the Hess’ Used Cars #83 Street Stock team led by 2007 Power Shift Warrior Champion Bunker Hodgdon, with a time of 29.03 seconds.
The field of six teams was completed, in order, by the Lyman Excavating/Sign-A-Rama #4 Tiger Sportsman team of 2007 Allen Lumber Street Stock Champion Bobby Therrien, the Merchants Bank/Burrell Roofing #6 ACT Late Model team of three-time Thunder Road Champion Cris Michaud, and the VSECU/Cabot #44 ACT Late Model team of defending “King of the Road” Track Champion Dave Pembroke.
Despite the damp weather, more than 100 race cars from four divisions were on display on Main Street in downtown Barre City, with well over a thousand race fans in attendance.
The 10th Annual Merchants Bank 150 opens Thunder Road’s 49th season of stock car racing on Sunday, May 4. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for 1:00 pm, with racing action beginning at 1:30 pm. General admission is $17 for adults, $5 for children (6-12), and just $35 for a family of four. Gates open at 10:00 am. For more information, call (802) 244-6963 or visit www.acttour.com or www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com.
Matt Potter (left) and Joe Gaidys of the Cris Michaud #6 team change the left-rear tire during their stop (Eric LaFleche photo)
The winning #88 team of ACT rookie Nick Sweet
In spite of the wet weather, over 100 race cars and a large crowd of fans lined Main Street in Barre