Woodard, Moodie fight again for Tiger Title; Bouchard leads tight Street Stock battle
–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BARRE — Two races. Two Drivers. Thirty-one points.
Bobby Therrien and Trampas Demers are set to determine who will claim their first Thunder Road Late Model championship over the next two races.
Therrien, of Hinesburg, has been at or near the top of the Late Model standings for the entire season while Demers, of South Burlington, propelled himself into the championship fight with his win during the Vermont’ Governor’s Cup 150 and podium finish during the Mid-Season championships.
“To have the point lead we have now in these closing (races), it’s nice,” Therrien said. “But knowing how tough (Demers) is and how good of a team he has, it’s not a cakewalk, that’s for sure.
“It’s stressful. But I’m excited. I absolutely love racing with (Demers). Trampas is a class act. And to come down between the two of us is a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
“You always dream about (a championship),” Demers said. “We thought we had a shot at a decent year. I’m never going to say that we’re always coming in here thinking we can win the championship because that’s unrealistic at Thunder Road.
“But to come in here and be competitive week in and week out was the first goal. And if we thought if we were that way, the championship would line up so we had a shot at it.”
Demers has statistically been better this season during the feature events — while both drivers each have one win to their credit, Demers holds the advantage in top-five place finishes, top-ten place finishes, and average finish.
The difference between the two drivers has come in the races before the night’s feature event. Therrien has earned 121 of his 894 points in the heat race and semi-feature, while just 54 of Demers’ 863 points this season has come through the heat race and semi-feature.
“We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Therrien said. “That’s what has gotten us to this point. The semi has definitely been huge for us this summer and getting those extra points. If we get into that, the biggest thing is then keeping the fenders on it.
“We need to make the feature and just race smart. We’re all here to win, but at some point we have to look at the big picture. We’re having a lot of fun.”
“We just need better luck in qualifying,” Demers said. “We have to end up in the right heat.”
For Therrien, he is near his first championship in his first season of Thunder Road Late Model racing. For Demers, it is his first attempt at a championship after years of trying.
“It personally means a lot for me,” Demers said. “It’s taken a long time to get to this point. Some people come into this division and boom, they’re on top.
“But not for me. I’ve got to work really hard to earn what I’ve got. I’m really proud of our top-five finishes and top-tens we’ve had this year. That’s what I’m really proud of.”
Under Thunder Road’s Late Model point system, the most a driver can earn in one night is 89 points, while the least amount of points a driver can earn in one night — given they start the feature — is 25 points.
In the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, a pair of former champions that have duked it out over the past few seasons are set to decide another championship between them.
The 2014 champion Jason Woodard holds a narrow 11-point gap over the 2015 champion Brendan Moodie with three races left in the Flying Tiger championship season.
Cooper Bouchard holds a 18-point lead over Jamie Davis with three races left in the Allen Lumber Street Stock championship season. Brandon Lanphear sits one point back of Davis in third, with Al Maynard eight points back of Lanphear in fourth. Kelsea Woodard is fifth, six points shy of Maynard, while Dean Switster Jr. is sixth, 10 points back of Woodard. Kevin Streeter rides in seventh, just 10 points off of Switser.
The Thunder Road Late Model championship season will see its two final round go on the final Thursday night of the season on Thursday, August 24 with Jet Service Envelope Night before a special Friday night event to determine the 2017 Thunder Road champions on Community College of Vermont Night on Friday, September 8.
The Flying Tigers and Street Stocks will also see a championship event on Sunday, September 3 as part of the Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic 200 event. The Late Models will take part in the ACT Late Model Tour event that day.
PHOTO: Bobby Therrien (5) holds a 31-point advantage over Trampas Demers (85) wit two races remaining in the Thunder Road Late Model championship battle. (Alan Ward photo)