Chad Wheeler of Waterbury Ctr, VT, was crowned as Thunder Road’s 2006 Late Model “King of the Road” Saturday night at the Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center in Burlington, VT. Wheeler became the first driver to win a Late Model title without benefit of a win since Phil Scott performed the feat in 1996. In accepting his award an emotional Wheeler announced that he was hanging up his racing helmet and would not return to defend the title he’d chased for so many years, “My wife has given me three beautiful sons and now it’s time to be with them,” he said. The 33 year-old received a standing ovation following his heartfelt remarks which included thanks to his crew, many of whom he had grown up with.
Shawn Fleury from Montpelier, VT claimed his second consecutive NAPA Tiger Sportsman title and announced to the nearly 500 in attendance that he too would not return to defend his title. The veteran competitor stated that he had recently solidified a deal to run a Late Model at Thunder Road in 2007 although he did not publicly offer details about his plans for the coming season.
Eric Badore from Georgia, VT was presented with the championship hardware and a coat for his Allen Lumber Street Stock title from Burnie Allen of Allen Lumber. Badore was the third 2006 “King of the Road” to announce that he would not defend a crown. The youngster’s remarks surprised few as he had briefly tested the waters in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman ranks last year.
Maynard Bartlett Jr of Wolcott, VT was the crowned as 2006 PowerShift Warrior champion, the fourth different driver in the division’s four year history.
2006 KING OF THE ROAD PHOTOS:
Top right - Late Model Champion, Chad Wheeler
Top left - NAPA Tiger Sportsman Champion, Shawn Fleury
Lower right - Allen Lumber Street Stock Champion, Eric Badore
Lower left - Power Shift Warrior Champion, Maynard Bartlett Jr.