Cars from throughout the Northeastern United States and the province of Quebec converged at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road Speedbowl on Saturday, May 5 for a Test & Tune Day in preparation for the 20th Community Bank 150. More than 110 cars were in the pits across all four divisions. With more expected tomorrow, the event is shaping up to be one of the biggest Thunder Road Opening Days in recent memory.
The field included 40 American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models, with many invaders joining the tracks’ local Maplewood/Irving Late Models. But at day’s end, it was hometown driver Jason Corliss who stood atop the speed charts. The defending Vermont Milk Bowl Champion led three out of the four practice sessions and set the fast time of the day with a lap of 12.477 seconds in the third session.
Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert led the final practice session and was strong throughout the day as well. Other drivers who were consistently fast included Rowley, MA’s Eddie “The Outlaw” MacDonald, Northfield, VT’s Matt White, South Burlington, VT’s Trampas Demers, and defending “King of the Road” Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg, VT.
A strong Quebec contingent was on hand, including three former Série ACT Champions: Blainville, QC’s Jonathan Bouvrette, St-Denis, QC’s Patrick Laperle, and St-Edouard, QC’s Dany Trepanier. Claude Leclerc and Mathieu Kingsbury were also in attendance.
Another of new drivers also showed up to take their first laps at Thunder Road in an ACT Late Model. They included Seekonk, MA’s T.J. Moreshead, Milton, VT’s Dylan Payea, Connecticut’s Walter Sutcliffe, and Duxbury, VT sisters Reilly and Peyton Lanphear. On the other side of the spectrum were grizzled veterans such as David Whitcomb and Joey Laquerre.
The only major incident of the day came when Graniteville, VT’s Stephen Donahue tagged the wall in an early practice session. Donahue’s team made repairs and had him back out on the track later in the day.
Strong car counts were on hand for Thunder Road’s support divisions as well. Thirty Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers were in the pits, with many looking like potential contenders. Craftsbury Common, VT’s Joel Hodgdon was the fast man on the day with 14.243-second lap in the second practice session. Fellow Craftsbury racer Mike Martin lead the final practice session while Barre, VT’s Cameron Ouellette led the first session.
Dwayne Lanphear, Kevin Dodge, Trevor Lyman, and Kyle Streeter were fast as well. Five registered rookies were on hand as well to get up to speed, including Brandon Lanphear, Kevin Streeter, Cooper Bouchard, Kelsea Woodard, and Jeff Murray. Woodard suffered mechanical problems with her new car partway through the day and end up turning some laps in father Jason’s machine.
Essex Jct.’s Matthew Smith was the king of the Allen Lumber Street Stocks on practice day, leading all three of their sessions. East Thetford, VT’s Brandon Gray ranked second in the first practice session before calling it a day. Defending champion Jamie Davis and sophomore Logan Powers were among the other drivers who looked strong.
Berlin, VT’s Chris Davis was fast man up in the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors, leading their last two sessions. Northfield, VT’s James Dopp was quickest their first time out on the track.
All these drivers and many, many more will be at the 20th Community Bank 150 on Sunday, May 6. Class Day ceremonies begin at 12:55pm with the green flag for qualifying flying at 1:30pm. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids ages 12 and under.