Barre, VT — The first Thunder Road champion of the year will be crowned this Thursday, August 5 at Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac Night. The event features the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series finale with 75 laps for the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers to decide who wins the title.
Coming into the third and final event of the series, the championship battle is literally as close as it can be. Milton’s Robert Gordon, Waterbury Center’s Kelsea Woodard, and Hardwick’s Jaden Perry are in a three-way tie for the Myers Triple Crown point lead. In all, eight drivers are within 12 points of the top spot and 10 are within 18 points, setting up the ultimate nail-biter. After rain washed out a planned Thursday-Sunday doubleheader last weekend, racers and fans are even more anxious to get back to the top of Quarry Hill for some stock car action.
Everyone in the hunt has taken a different path towards being a potential Thunder Road champion. Gordon won numerous Super Stock titles at Vermont’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway and New York’s Plattsburgh Airborne Speedway before joining the Flying Tigers in 2017. Now in his fifth year with the division, Gordon has become a consistent top-10 runner. However, he’s still looking for his first win and championship at the quarter-mile bullring. Strong performances in the first two Triple Crown events have set him up for a big opportunity on Thursday.
Woodard is in her fourth season as the only female who competes regularly with the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers. After some struggles in 2020, she has bounced back in 2021. As the daughter of four-time track champion Jason Woodard and the older sister of Tiger rookie Tanner Woodard — the winner of the last Triple Crown event — Kelsea comes from a racing pedigree. Now she will try to enter the history books as the first female to win a Flying Tiger feature or championship at Thunder Road.
Perry is the most accomplished of the three drivers in the Tiger division. He won the Flying Tiger Rookie of the Year Award in 2017. After two part-time seasons, he was a top-10 points performer in 2020 and won the Triple Crown title at White Mountain Motorsports Park. With five Flying Tiger wins between the two tracks, he is certainly fast enough to score the title. However, Perry has been one of the hard-luck drivers at Thunder Road this year and is in search of a charm to bring him some good fortune.
Craftsbury Common’s Stephen Martin, Waterbury Center’s Tanner Woodard, and East Kingston, NH’s Bryan Wall are breathing down the necks of the top-three. Martin, the number-two point driver in the season-long standings, has two solid Triple Crown finishes. Tanner Woodard and Wall have split victories in the two events so far but finished out back in the opposite race.
Michael Martin, the current season point leader and 2017 Triple Crown champion, is only 12 points out of the lead. So is Middlesex’s Logan Powers, who has been solid if unspectacular for most of the year. One great run on Thursday could be all they need to win the title.
Those eight are just part of another huge Tiger field that’s expected. Two other former Triple Crown champions, Waterbury Center’s Jason Woodard and Craftsbury Common’s Joel Hodgdon, are entered for Thursday’s event. So are top Tiger rookie Brandon Gray, multi-time winner Sam Caron, and former Triple Crown winner Colin Cornell. Other drivers anticipated to attending include Times Argus Midseason Championship winner Cameron Ouellette and top-10 points contender Derrick Calkins.
Thursday’s card also features a full slate for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models and RK Miles Street Stocks. Last week’s rainout meant Graniteville’s Christopher Pelkey got to spend at least seven more days as the point leader. Pelkey seized the top spot after he won the double-point Midseason Championships while an early crash relegated previous leader Jason Corliss to a 20th-place finish.
Corliss is now 27 points behind Pelkey. He has already responded to that crash by winning the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Midsummer Classic 250. Corliss’s bad Midseason outing means a better starting position next time out under Thunder Road’s handicap system, giving him a chance to close the gap.
The July 22 stunner also let Trampas Demers, Tyler Cahoon, Brendan Moodie, and Marcel J. Gravel back in the hunt. Wolcott’s Moodie has shown great top-end speed this year with two runners-up and several other strong runs. Demers is the only driver to finish in the top-10 every week while Cahoon has finished no worse than 12th. Gravel’s hot-and-cold season saw both sides at the Midseason Championships, with Gravel destroying his primary car in practice before finishing second in a car borrowed from Scott Coburn.
The RK Miles Street Stocks continue to be a two-way battle between Williamstown’s Tommy “Thunder” Smith and Shelburne’s Kaiden “Tropical Storm” Fisher. Smith opened the gap to 34 points at the Midseason Championships. The Street Stocks follow Thursday’s Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac event with their rescheduled Bolduc Metal Recycling 50-lap Special on Sunday, meaning a lot could change over the coming week.
That means two chances for Berlin’s Kyler Davis, Waterford’s Dean Switser Jr., and Graniteville’s Justin Blakely to gain ground. Meanwhile, racers like Luke Peters, Jamie Davis, Jeffrey Martin, and James Dopp have two chances to steal the spotlight. Underdogs such as Todd Raymo and Thomas Peck are making strides and giving the division an even more competitive edge.
Thunder Road returns to action next Thursday, August 5 at 7:00pm with Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac Night. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers are going 75 laps in the season finale of the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series. There is also a full card of racing for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Modes and RK Miles Street Stocks.
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 http://www.happsnow.com/event/
For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, media@thunderroadvt.