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Grenier Ends Winless Drought on Thursday Opener

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BARRE – A beautiful Thursday afternoon greeted Central Vermont race fans to ring in the first Thursday Night program at Thunder Road for 2024. Casella Waste Management Night proved to be a perfect night for hard-nosed, competitive short track racing that has kept Thunder Road a tradition for folks across the region and it was a rousing start to the summer.

photo by Alan Ward Grenier with family and crew celebrate the Casella Waste Management Night victory at Thunder Road.

The New England Antique Racers joined the opening Thursday Night Program. A whole crop of yesteryear’s machines turned up for two 15-lap feature events with Bay Staters Scott Clements taking the Lloyd Hutchins Memorial Sportsman division win and Bruce “Gomer” Taylor taking the Modified Cho Lee Memorial victory.

Aside from polesitter Thomas Peck, the Street Stocks ran side-by-side, row after row at the start with Todd Raymo and Patrick Tibbetts quickly moving in on the leader. Tibbetts would take control around the lapped car of Taber Andrews in a daring three wide move in turn three with Raymo, Kyle MacAskill and a hard-charging Trevor Jaques in tow. Jaques would power around the outside lane to take the lead just before the first caution coming out for Donat Premont’s fire under the No. 39 machine. With nine laps remaining, Jaques would get the run he needed to take his second win of the year on the night with Kyle Macaskill and Ryan Foster rounding out the podium.

photo by Alan Ward Street Stock victory lane featured (from left) Ryan Foster (3rd), winner Trevor Jaques and Kyle MacAskill (2nd).

While Ty Delphia and Tyler Pepin led the field, former champion Sam Caron took the lead early in their 40-lap Flying Tiger main event. Milton’s Robert Gordon tried to keep pace with Caron but was overrun by Kevin Streeter with Streeter chasing down the former champ. With the traffic jam opened up mid-pack by the halfway point, hard-charging fellow former champions Brendan Moodie and Kyle Streeter used the outside lane to their advantage, swiftly moving into the top-ten runners.

photo by Alan Ward Flying Tiger victory lane included (from left) Robert Gordon (3rd), winner Sam Caron and Kevin Streeter (2nd).

Two late race cautions re-racked the field, leading to two spirited side-by-side battles between Streeter and Caron that were once again ruined by yellow flags. A desperation three-wide move mid-pack made for a jumble at the start/finish line sending Brendan Moodie, Luke Peters and Memorial Day winner Matt Ballard barreling into the turn one wall. Sam Caron would win the war just three laps later over Kevin Streeter and Robert Gordon at the line.

Young second-generation drivers Chris Roberts and Cooper Bouchard got the Late Models to a lightning-start on the night. Chip Grenier, Marcel Gravel and Brandon Lanphear joined the fray, with the majority of the field remaining side-by-side 10 laps in, battling hard for inches lost and gained on equal grooves. After a spin for Phil Scott, and a later turn one-collection that took out Kyle Pembroke, the field returned to green with Roberts and Bouchard continuing to battle at the head of the pack.

photo by Alan Ward East Barre’s Chip Grenier (9VT) round’s Hinesburg’s Cooper Bouchard en route to a drought-smashing win at Thunder Road on Thursday.

Chip Grenier took over the helm with 11 laps remaining with Lanphear and Gravel trying to track him down in the late stages but time ran out. Chip Grenier destroyed a decade of no-wins to claim the trophy with Brandon Lanphear and Marcel Gravel rounding out the podium. Apparent third-place finisher Gravel was later disqualified in post-race technical inspection for being too wide giving third to Cooper Bouchard.

Todd Raymo finished the night on a high note, taking the 10th annual Marvin Johnson Memorial First-Time Winner’s Race after a spirited, 19-lap battle with Ryan Foster, Paul Rocheleau and Paige Whittemore.

Thursday night weekly racing returns on Thursday, June 20 with the 45th Vermont Governor’s Cup 150 presented by the Vermont Lottery.

NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Cole Custer joins the Maplefields/Irving Late Models for 150 laps around the Barre highbanks under the Thursday night lights for a chance to join a list of iconic winners! The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers and the rk Miles Street Stocks will also continue their track championship chases with a Special 6:30 p.m. Post Time on Thursday, June 20 for the Vermont Governor’s Cup.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS (local drivers)

Late Models – (50 Laps)
11. 01VT, Stephen Martin, Craftsbury Common
DSQ 86VT, Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott

Flying Tigers – (40 Laps)
12. 5RI, Kyle Gravel, Wolcott
15. 22VT, Travis Patnoe, Wolcott
19. 15NH, Brendan Moodie, Wolcott
21. 77VT, Issac Spaulding, Wolcott

Street Stocks – (25 Laps)
15. 18, Walker Fitch, Marshfield
17. 34, Patrick Tibbetts, Plainfield
20. 32, Kylee Potter, Marshfield

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