Thunder Road Fireworks Coming from All Directions at Holiday Spectacular
Barre, VT — Thunder Road celebrates the nation’s independence this Thursday, July 1 with the annual Preston’s Kia Holiday Spectacular. The fireworks will be on display literally and figuratively at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” for a night of the country’s best stock car racing at the track or live on FloRacing.
All four Thunder Road divisions are on the card with four extra laps to honor Independence Day. Following the final race of the night, the sky above will come alive with the state’s best firework show put on by Northstar Fireworks.
The firecrackers had to take a break in 2020 due to COVID-19 safety guidelines and attendance restrictions. This year, they are back with a bang as the country gets closer to normal life. The Independence Day special has long been one of the most popular events of the year at Thunder Road, and 2021 should be no exception as fans get to enjoy being at a racetrack once again.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Danville’s Tyler Cahoon said. “Without the fans, you don’t have a place to race. We are entertainment in a sense, so the more people that come out and watch, and can actually walk away and say, ‘hey, that was a good time’, that keeps them coming back…I’m really hoping to see a big crowd as people can get out and enjoy the little things in life that we used to before this past year came upon us.”
The stock car portion of the program offers plenty of intrigue. The championship picture is starting to sort itself out for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, and RK Miles Street Stocks. The four bonus laps per division may not seem like much, but positions gained or lost in those laps could loom large at year’s end.
Barre’s Jason Corliss remains the leader in the Late Model ranks. He now sits 32 points ahead of Graniteville’s Stephen Donahue, who has climbed to second thanks to his thrilling CCV Night win. Corliss is gunning for a third straight title while Donahue, the 2016 Thunder Road Flying Tiger champion, is trying to get his first Late Model championship.
Shelburne’s Trampas Demers and Danville’s Cahoon are close behind the lead duo. Including the non-point ACT Community Bank N.A. 150 on May 2, Demers and Cahoon are the only Late Model drivers to have completed every lap at Thunder Road this year. Maintaining that consistency will keep them in the hunt. Christopher Pelkey, Chip Grenier, Brendan Moodie, and rookie Brandon Lanphear showed speed throughout June.
The Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model regulars are also starting to make moves in the New England Late Model Challenge Cup standings. Cahoon is up to fourth in the Challenge Cup thanks to some early season starts at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park. Corliss sits seventh in the standings while Donahue is ninth.
A driver’s 10 best finishes will count in the quest for a $5,000 top prize plus contingency raffles from Port City Racecars/Crazy Horse Racing, ARBodies, and Five Star Race Car Bodies. The point system is based on cars in attendance and includes bonus points for cars passed, which plays into the large Late Model fields seen at Thunder Road this year.
“We’re looking at a goal of a top-5 or a top-3 in final points at Thunder Road, and the Challenge Cup is going to take care of itself,” Cahoon said. “If we can manage to do that in Thunder Road points, that means we’re passing cars, and that will translate to the Challenge Cup points system. Overall, it’s about really paying attention to what we’re doing at Thunder Road — not getting ahead of ourselves, not counting the points, just doing the best we can do every race with as few mistakes as possible. That’s been one of the biggest things our team has learned from racing at Thunder Road: the ones who finish up top have the least mistakes and are the most consistent.”
The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers are razor close as is often the case. The top-12 in the standings are separated by only 30 points. In just five events, 19 different drivers have snagged at least one top-5 finish, speaking further to the depth of the division.
The cattle call is currently led by a pair of Martins from Craftsbury Common. Dad Michael jumped to the points lead after a convincing win last week. Son Stephen is eight points behind after back-to-back top-4 finishes. The heat is on them with Cameron Ouellette, Logan Powers, Sam Caron, the Woodard racing family, and others breathing down the Martin’s necks.
In the RK Miles Street Stocks, Williamstown’s Tommy “Thunder” Smith is currently the man to beat. Smith was more excited than anyone about the switch to Hoosier tires this season, saying they almost exactly matched the tires in use when he won the 2014 Street Stock championship. His enthusiasm has been borne out with two victories and a 21-point lead over boy wonder Kaiden “Tropical Storm” Fisher of Shelburne.
Fisher, fellow teenager Luke Peters, and two-time champion Jamie Davis have finished in the top-10 of all five features. Those steady performances have made them players entering July. Kyler Davis, Josh Lovely, and rookie Trevor Jaques have also been among the fastest Street Stocks week in and week out.
Some of the biggest on-track fireworks will be put on by the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. Williamstown’s Nate “Tater” Brien has been French-frying the competition with two straight wins. Essex Junction’s Mark Beaulieu finally got onto the podium last week after three years of trying. He along with Paige Whittemore, Josh Vilbrin, Frank Putney, and other Warriors will try to mash Tater’s chances of three in a row.
Thunder Road honors the nation’s independence the Thursday, July 1 at 7:00pm with the Preston’s Kia Holiday Spectacular. The Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, RK Miles Street Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors have a full card with four extra laps. The night concludes with Vermont’s best firework display put on by Northstar Fireworks.
Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-12, and $30 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids). Advance tickets are available at www.happsnow.com/event/Thunder-Road-Speedbowl. All Thunder Road events are also live streamed on FloRacing for those with a monthly or yearly subscription.
For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.thunderroadvt.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @ThunderRoadVT. For more information about FloRacing, visit www.FloRacing.com.