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The Juice

THE JUICE: Don’t Bet Against Pembroke

- Justin St. Louis on 02 Sep 2010

Don't bet against Dave Pembroke this weekend at Thunder Road. He wants it, and he's earned it. (Leif Tillotson photo)PHOTOS: Don't bet against Dave Pembroke this weekend at Thunder Road. He wants it, and he's earned it. (Leif Tillotson photo)

-by Justin St. Louis
VMM Editor

How can Dave Pembroke not win the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 this Sunday at Thunder Road?

If anyone deserves it, it’s him. And if anyone wants it, it’s definitely him.

How can it be possible, you say, that Pembroke deserves to win that race again after he made everyone look like the JV squad last year? How can it be possible that Pembroke -- who has already won big races at Thunder Road and Devil’s Bowl this year -- deserves another big win?

He’s earned it.

Pembroke was the only driver to average a top-five finish (4.867) through the 15 regular-season events at Thunder Road, and lost the championship essentially because of a poor finish in a heat race on the final night. Although he had plenty of opportunities during the year, he never shoved his way through the field, even when he would have likely been forgiven for it.

Pembroke and his team stayed gracious in defeat, too, despite leading the points for the entire year until after the final race.

“I raced as hard as I could for as long as I could, and it turned out that we were six points behind Nick [Sweet] at the end of the year,” Pembroke said with a shrug last week. “It’s pretty disappointing to lead all summer long and have it go away in a heat race on the last night, but what are you gonna do? That’s why we show up and do it, I guess. I had a great year.

“I’d like to say congratulations to Nick Sweet and his team. They’ve got it. They’re awesome. They’re going to win a lot of races and championships if they stick with it. They’re a good bunch of guys to race with, too, they’re fun.

“You’re always going to have someone. It was Cris Michaud and Eric Williams [in 2007], there was Phil Scott every year, there was Jamie Fisher, there’s always going to be a guy that’s going to push you to the limit and [Sweet is] my guy right now. He pushed me all summer long and he beat us at the end when it counted.”

Every member of Pembroke’s team walked across the pit area to congratulate Sweet and his team after the race, and each was met with a handshake, a hug, a beer, or all three.

Inside the Sweet trailer at the end of the night, Eric Pembroke -- Dave’s cousin, crew member, and a former racer himself -- said this: “If we had to lose to anybody, this was the one we wanted to [lose to]. We had more fun finishing second this year that we had in 2007 when we won the championship.”

Don’t expect Dave Pembroke to run second this weekend, though; in case you forgot, he led all 200 laps at the Labor Day event last year. And if you think the disappointment of losing the Thunder Road championship has gone away, think again. There won’t be a more motivated driver on Sunday than Pembroke. Just watch.

***

Devil’s Bowl Speedway wraps us its championship season on Sunday, and things are verrrrry interesting.

Kenny Tremont and Mike Bruno are separated by 23 points unofficially heading into the final race. Under the CVRA point system that is in use at Devil’s Bowl, 23 points is usually a pretty big gap to make up.

Ah, but the finale is a double-points event.

And just as we approach the most critical event, Tremont is in a bit of a slump. After winning three of the first six races, Tremont has suffered multiple engine problems in the second half of the year.

In double features last Sunday, Tremont finished third in the first race but found a broken bolt on the crankshaft of his car’s engine. Luckily, he had a back-up car at his disposal for the second race. Unluckily, he broke a steering linkage on lap 12 and sailed into the wall.

Bruno did his part behind the wheel with a runner-up finish in the first race, and was challenging for the win in the second feature before suffering a flat tire with two laps remaining and finishing sixth.

Here’s how the points distribution will shake out for the season finale on Sunday night:

1st -- 100 ----- 8th -- 72 ----- 15th -- 58 ----- 22nd -- 44
2nd -- 96 ----- 9th -- 70 ----- 16th -- 56 ----- 23rd -- 42
3rd -- 92 ----- 10th -- 68 ----- 17th -- 54 ----- 24th -- 40
4th -- 88 ----- 11th -- 66 ----- 18th -- 52 ----- 25th -- 38
5th -- 84 ----- 12th -- 64 ----- 19th -- 50 ----- 26th -- 36
6th -- 80 ----- 13th -- 62 ----- 20th -- 48 ----- 27th -- 34
7th -- 76 ----- 14th -- 60 ----- 21st -- 46 ----- 28th -- 32

(Subtract 2 points for each subsequent position, to a minimum of 10 points. Qualifying heats do not award points.)

Tremont needs to finish sixth or better to clinch the championship, regardless of what Bruno does. Because the point spread between positions is greater at the front than it is in the back, the possible scenarios for Bruno to win the championship are many. Basically, he needs to finish in the top three and have Tremont have another bad showing.

There are several variables for the race with an extended 50-lap distance and competitors expected to invade from Albany-Saratoga and Airborne Speedway.

The good news is that you CAN make it to Devil’s Bowl from Thunder Road in time for the features after the Labor Day Classic! We’ve even figured out the directions for ya.

***

While you’re at it, as soon as qualifying and the first few segments are done at Thunder Road on Saturday, boogie on up Routes 302 and 25 to Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford. It’s your last chance to see the winged open-wheel cars of the Sprint Cars of New England series whip around The Ridge.

It’s a pretty great weekend for Vermont motorsports, actually, and we’ll see you there.

***

AROUND THE REGION:

Time to take a look at the Vermont racing scene from the past week...

ACT Late Model Tour: Brian Hoar of Williston finished third in Saturday’s all-star Budweiser Showdown 200 at Autodrome Chaudiere, with Milton’s Brent Dragon ninth and Nick Sweet of Barre tenth. Patrick Laperle, of St-Denis, Que., was the winner.

Airborne Speedway (Plattsburgh, N.Y.): Brandon’s Don Scarborough finished tenth in Saturday’s Modified feature, and Milton’s Bill Sawyer was fifth in the Sportsman race. Milton driver Codey Benoit, Sawyer’s grandson, won the Renegade feature over Rob Gordon of Milton, with Swanton’s Dave Rabtoy fourth

Albany-Saratoga Speedway (Malta, N.Y.): Whiting’s Jimmy Ryan was sixth in Friday’s Modified feature with Castleton’s Mike Bruno ninth. Chris Murray of Fair Haven was tenth in the Renegade race.

Bear Ridge Speedway (Bradford): Adam Pierson of Fairlee took his seventh Sportsman Modified win of the year on Saturday over Kevin Chaffee of Orange and Wayne Stearns of Bradford. Topsham’s Josh Harrington took his third straight Sportsman Coupe win over Gene Pierson of East Corinth and rookie Shane Race of South Strafford. Will Hull of East Montpelier won the Limited Late Model race over Moretown’s Jason Blake and Tyler Stygles of Bradford. White River Junction’s Josh Sunn earned his eleventh Fast Four win over Brandon Lamere of Lebanon, N.H., and Kevin Harran of St. Johnsbury. Bradford’s Tom Placey was the Hornet winner over Groton’s Eric Land and Brad Martin of Thomaston, Conn.

Canaan Dirt Speedway (Canaan, N.H.): Brookfield rookie Chris Chambers earned his first career Sportsman Modified win on Friday with Dan Eastman of Thetford Center fourth. Josh Sunn of White River Junction was the Mini Stock winner.

Canaan Fair Speedway (Canaan, N.H.): Chris Wilk of Mendon was fourth in Saturday’s Pro Stock feature with Sharon’s Kevin Menard eighth. Chris Riendeau of Ascutney was sixth the 100-lap Late Model race, and Bruce Jaycox of Hartland was sixth in the Super Streets. Tom Coates of White River Junction was fourth in the Pure Stocks with Rory Merritt of North Springfield fifth. Mike Parker of Bradford won the Bandit feature over Tyler Lescord of Ascutney. Brandon Gray of East Thetford was the Youth Daredevil runner-up with Joey Laquerre of East Montplier third and Mariah Gray of East Thetford fourth.

Devil's Bowl Speedway (West Haven): In Sunday’s double features, Orwell’s Tim LaDuc won the first Modified event over Mike Bruno of Castleton and Kenny Tremont, Jr., of West Sand Lake, N.Y., and Jimmy Ryan of Whiting won the second feature over Leon Gonyo of Chazy, N.Y., and Brandon’s Vince Quenneville, Jr. Jack Swinton of Hudson Falls, N.Y., won the first Sportsman race over Don Miller of Wells and Hunter Bates of Middlebury, and Wells won the second race over Paul Dunham, Jr., of Indian Lake, N.Y., and Swinton. Jeremy Houghtaling of Malta, N.Y., won the first Pro Stock/Super Street event over Salisbury’s Fred Little and Bobby Schmidt of Gansevoort, N.Y., and Mendon’s Chris Wilk won the second race over Kim Duell of Porter Corners, N.Y., and Chad White of Fort Ann, N.Y. Jon Miller of Malta, N.Y., won the 50-lap Renegade race over Brandon Emigh of Ballston Spa, N.Y., and Hydeville’s Bill Duprey to open the night, and David Emigh of Ballston Spa, N.Y., won the nightcap over Randy Alger of Fair Haven and Miller. Chad Brown of Essex Junction and Kayla Bryant of Mt. Holly finished 1-2 in both Bomber Warrior features with Fair Haven’s Eddie Bruno third in the first race and David Tomczak of Essex Junction third in the second race. Castleton’s Scott Atwood won the lone Duke Stock race.

Granite State Mini Sprints: Terry Reil of Middlesex finished seventh in the 600cc race at Canaan Dirt Speedway on Friday. In the 500cc race, Lacey Hanson of Orwell was fourth with Williston’s Josh Payea seventh. Luke Greenwood and Billy Lussier were the feature winners, respectively. Hanson clinched the 500cc championship with her finish, and Reil was the 600cc championship runner-up.

Lebanon Valley Speedway (West Lebanon, N.Y.): Cullen Howe of South Londonderry was 11th in the Sportsman race on Saturday, and Chuck Towlsee of Manchester was fifth in the Pro Stocks.

Modified Racing Series: Ascutney’s Joey Jarvis finished 12th on Thursday at Thompson Int’l Speedway. Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., was the winner.

Mohawk Int’l Raceway (Akwesasne, N.Y.): Gardner Stone of Middlebury was fifth in Friday’s Modified feature.

Monadnock Speedway (Winchester, N.H.): Mike Metcalf of Westminster was sixth in Saturday’s Mini Stock feature with Joe Rogers of Ludlow eighth.

Pro All Stars Series: St. Johnsbury’s Steven Legendre finished eighth at South Boston (Va.) Speedway on Saturday. Jimmy Weller of Hubbard, Ohio was the winner.

Riverside Speedway (Groveton, N.H.): Dan Sidney of St. Johnsbury was fourth in the Outlaw Sportsman race on Saturday night, and Joanna Christman of Cabot was the Super Stock runner-up. Aaron Smtih of Orleans was fourth in the first Street Stock feature with Brett Rowell of Concord fifth, and Smith was also fifth in the second feature. Lorin Vear of Waterford was fifth in the Cyclone race, Cabot’s Lyndsey Christman was third in the Angel race, and West Burke’s Howard Switser was third in the Dwarf Cars. Tyler Ausitn of East Calais won the Youth Daredevil veteran race and Anthony LaCoss of Lyndon won the Daredevil rookie race.

Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (Barre): John Donahue of Graniteville won his third consecutive Late Model feature over Dave Pembroke of Middlesex and Nick Sweet Barre; Sweet clinched the championship over Pembroke with the finish. Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg won the Tiger Sportsman race over Shawn Fleury of Middlesex and John Lambert of Northfield. Hardwick’s Joe Fecteau won the Street Stock race over Gary Mullen of Tunbridge and Garry Bashaw of Lincoln. Cabot’s Ken Christman won a record-tying tenth Junkyard Warrior feature over Brookfield’s Kevin Wheatley and Fred Schroeder of Bristol.

Twin State Speedway (Claremont, N.H.): Dallas Trombley of Rutland finished fourth in Friday’s Late Model feature, and Earl Moul of Bellows Falls was sixth in the Modified event. Mendon’s Chris Wilk was the Super Street winner over Dave Davis of White River Junction. Kaitlin Stone of Jacksonville won the Strictly Stock race over Pittsford’s Kyle Davis. Jeremiah Losee of North Springfield was the Wildcat winner over Tyler Lescord of Ascutney and Rob Leitch of Cavendish. Douglas Lazelle, Jr., of Jacksonville was fourth in the Youth Sportsman race.

White Mountain Motorsports Park (North Woodstock, N.H.): Bernie Lantagne of McIndoe Falls won Saturday’s Late Model feature with Stacy Cahoon of St. Johnsbury third and Eric Williams of Hyde Park sixth. Gary Griswold of Wells River won the Super Sportsman race over Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown, with East Haven’s Michael Moore fifth.

***

THIS WEEK:

Friday, Sept. 3
Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, N.Y. -- 6:45pm (Regular Event)
Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 7:00pm (Sprint Cars of New England, Modified championship)
Twin State Speedway, Claremont, N.H. -- 7:30pm (Regular Event)

Saturday, Sept. 4
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y. -- 6:00pm (Modified championship)
Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford -- 6:00pm (Sprint Cars of New England)
Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Tour-Type Modifieds)
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre -- 2:00pm (Weekly division qualifying, Monza segments)
White Mountain Motorsports Park, North Woodstock, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)

Sunday, Sept. 5
Big Daddy's Speedbowl, Rumney, N.H. -- 4:00pm (Sprint Cars of New England)
Devil's Bowl Speedway, West Haven -- 6:00pm (Championship Night)
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre -- 1:30pm (ACT Labor Day Classic 200, weekly division Monza segments)


TOURING SERIES:

ACT Late Model Tour: Sun., Sept. 5 -- Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre, Vt. (1:30pm)
Modified Racing Series: Sat., Sept. 4 -- Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, Conn. (4:45pm)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Fri., Sept. 3 -- Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky. (SPEED/7:30pm)
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Sat., Sept. 4 -- Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga. (ESPN2/6:30pm)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Sat., Sept. 5 -- Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga. (ESPN/7:30pm)
Pro All Stars Series: Sat., Sept. 4 -- North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Wilkesboro, N.C. (2:00pm)
Sprint Cars of New England: Fri., Sept. 3 -- Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H. (7:00pm)
Sprint Cars of New England: Sat., Sept. 4 -- Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford, Vt. (6:00pm)
Sprint Cars of New England: Sun., Sept. 5 -- Big Daddy’s Speedbowl, Rumney, N.H. (4:00pm)

IN THEIR OWN WORDS:

"I don’t care what kind of car it is. If it’s got four tires and steering wheel, I’ll drive it." --Nick Sweet

"I want a championship next year, that’s what I want. I’m gonna get it next year. If I run the full season, I’m gonna get it." --Modified Racing Series driver Steve Masse

"I’ve never had a season where we’ve had this number of podium finishes. Never. And I dare say nobody else has, either." --ACT champion Brian Hoar

"It’s crazy to think that however many years ago I was sitting in the stands up here watching my dad trying to make the race and now we’re in victory lane." --Milk Bowl winner Joey Polewarczyk

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