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Thunder Road Gears Up for Independence Day Doubleheader Weekend

Barre's Nick Sweet (#88VT) is currently tied for the lead in the Thunder Road Late Model point standings, while Middlesex's Shawn Fleury (#1VT) is hoping to bounce back after a slow start to the season. (Alan Ward photo)
Barre's Nick Sweet (#88VT) is currently tied for the lead in the Thunder Road Late Model point standings, while Middlesex's Shawn Fleury (#1VT) is hoping to bounce back after a slow start to the season. (Alan Ward photo)

posted at 5:04 pm Tue Jun 30th, 2015 by (WherezIt_Staff)

The 56th Independence Day celebration at Barre's Thunder Road kicks off this Thursday, July 2. The holiday doubleheader weekend sees two events in four days at the "Nation's Site of Excitement", and many of the championship contenders will be established by the time the final checkered flag flies.

The weekend begins on Thursday, July 2 at 6:30pm with Aubuchon Hardware Night featuring the annual fireworks show. The battle royale in the Thunder Road Late Models will be the feature attraction on the track, as Barre, VT's Nick Sweet and N. Haverhill, NH's Derrick O'Donnell enter the night tied for the points lead. The evening concludes with one of the best fireworks displays in the Northeast.

The weekend concludes with CVMC ExpressCare Night on Sunday, July 5 at 6:30pm. The special Sunday twilight show will include the inaugural Marvin Johnson Memorial for the Allen Lumber Street Stocks. The special event, named in honor of the longtime racer who passed away in June 2014, is for all drivers who have never won a Street Stock race at Thunder Road.

"It's pretty great to have this race," said defending Street Stock Champion Tommy "Thunder" Smith, who was a friend of Johnson's off the track. "I talked to (track co-owner) Tom Curley a while ago and suggested we should do a race for people who haven't won before, and I think it's great they're actually doing it."

The tie between multi-time champions Sweet and O'Donnell marks the second straight week the Thunder Road Late Models are deadlocked atop the standings. Former leader Scott Dragon 11 points back in third.

John Donahue sits fourth in the standings, while Josh Demers and Jason Corliss leaped to fifth and sixth after finishing in the top-tw0 last week. Shawn Fleury sits a disappointing 18th after entering the season with high expectations, but hopes the doubleheader can spark a turnaround.

"It's been a tough year," Fleury said. "We have a new car, and I guess we're still working the bugs out, but we expected to be a lot better than we have been. The only thing we can do is keep working at it.

"You've got the keep the nose clean and try not to tear the car up on Thursday, because you have to turn right around and come back again," he added about the doubleheader. "The second event is a little easier, because you can let it all hang out."

Craftsbury Common's Mike Martin extended his lead in the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman standings with a runner-up finish last Thursday and now leads by 15 points over Chris Pelkey. Brendan Moodie jumped to third by virtue of his second win of the season and is 17 digits behind.

Rookie Stephen Donahue sits fourth in the Tiger standings, the same position as father John in the Late Models. Defending Champion Jason Woodard is tied for fifth with Doug Crowningshield.

Kyle Streeter has surged to the top of the Allen Lumber Street Stock standings on the strength of three straight podium finishes. Former leader Tyler Austin now sits 12 points behind in second, with veterans Alan Maynard, Garry Bashaw, and Jamie Davis close behind.

Rookie Chris LaForest is the highest-ranking non-winner in 10th and is an early favorite for the Marvin Johnson Memorial. Jeremy Colson, Kevin Streeter, and Matthew Smith have also shown speed this year.

The Thunder Road Independence Day Doubleheader kicks off on Thursday, July 2 with Aubuchon Hardware Night and fireworks, and concludes on Sunday, July 5 with CVMC ExpressCare Night featuring the Marvin Johnson Memorial. Post time for both events is 6:30pm with the front gate opening at 5:00pm. Admission for both events is $12 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12, and $25 for a family of four.

For more information contact the Thunder Road offices at 802.244.6963,, or visit

Relevant Address(es):
Waterbury, VT 05676 (Set as Local)
Barre, VT 05641 (Set as Local)

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