–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
Thunder Road has been a cut above the rest for over 30 years and it’s due to the vision and leadership of two men.
Tom Curley and Ken Squier.
Tuesday ended an era that lasted nearly 35 years when Curley and Squier completed the sale of the famed quarter-mile oval to racer Cris Michaud and businessman Patrick Malone.
Squier opened the track in 1960 and led its operation to 1978, when he sold it to Tommy Kalomiris. Despite grand promises, Kalomiris left the track in disrepair and led to legal proceedings that allowed Squier — now with business partner Curley — to reacquire the track in 1982.
The duo brought life back to Thunder Road and created the heralded “Flying Tiger” division that still competes at the track today.
Since 1982, Curley has been widely acknowledged as one of the nation’s top race track promoters, earning Promoter of the Year honors in 2004 from Racing Promotion Monthly. Squier was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2002 while Curley joined him with his own induction in 2009.
Simply put, Thunder Road has more than thrived under the ownership of Curley and Squier.
Regionally acclaimed racers — and more than a few nationally — have grown from Thunder Road during Curley’s and Squier’s tenure. They built a system that featured tight, fierce competition and produced memorable racing.
NASCAR National Series drivers Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace, Clint Bowyer, and David Ragan have all raced at Thunder Road in this decade. All had the desire to race on one of the toughest short tracks in the country and race with some of the best.
The legacy Curley and Squier leave will be hard to follow up. They set the standard. They created the model for what many short tracks try to emulate.
It is a legacy that will continue to be felt on Quarry Hill. Thunder Road will continue as a race track for the years to come in thanks to the two men who resurrected it back from doom.
The two men who led Thunder Road to the prominence will forever be honored with the two granite monuments that sit at the main entrance way that bare their names.
And the impact they will leave on Vermont stock car racing will forever be felt.
(VMM file photo)