BARRE — If the first two months of the season mean anything, then Thunder Road is in store for a classic battle between Nick Sweet and Dave Pembroke.

Sweet, a hometown driver started on the pole position for Friday’s CARQUEST Vermont Governor’s Cup 100, but dueled with Middlesex driver Pembroke virtually the entire way. Unofficially, they traded the lead 12 times during the event, running side-by-side for the majority of the race.

“That statement about starting on the pole makes it easy to win… There was nothing easy about starting on the pole in that race. Dave Pembroke is a phenomenal race car driver,” said an exhausted Sweet.

“I wanted that one, man,” said Pembroke. “This is the big race that I keep not winning. But what a race, and what an awesome racer. Nick and his team, I have a ton of respect for them.”

Pembroke’s car faded late in the going, getting sideways in Turn 4 on lap 87 and again on lap 94. Sweet capitalized on Pembroke’s second miscue, bringing Jamie Fisher with him. A restart one lap later gave Pembroke one last chance, but he settled for third. Fisher, of Shelburne, was second.

“It was just so much fun, and it must have been exciting for the fans,” said Sweet. “I think I was talking to myself [in the car during] the last ten laps there, but I did a good job tonight, I’m really proud of myself and really proud of the guys that help and all the sponsors. [Winning the Governor’s Cup] is like a dream come true. It’s definitely one that’s going to be in the memory bank.”

Pembroke and Sweet have combined to win four of six Late Model events in Vermont this season: Sweet previously won the Merchants Bank 150 at Thunder Road in May, and Pembroke won 100-lap events at Thunder Road and Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven.

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, in his final year in office, received a standing ovation from the Thunder Road crowd before the race. Douglas has become a fixture at Thunder Road, visiting several times each year.

“It’s always fun to come to the ‘Nation’s Site of Excitement’ and see our local hometown heroes get out there on the track,” Douglas told Vermont Motorsports Magazine after the race. “Nick certainly did a great job tonight and had us on the edge of our seats. It’s nice to see a young, local guy do so well.”

Phil Scott, who is a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont, finished fourth with Mike Bailey fifth and Eric Williams sixth. Austin Theriault, a 16 year-old rookie, towed nine hours from Fort Kent, Me., to finish seventh in his Thunder Road debut. Matt White, John Donahue, and Rich Lowrey completed the unofficial top ten.

Mike Billado of Essex earned his first career Tiger Sportsman win after a furious battle with rookie Jason Corliss of Danville. Billado held off several charges from Corliss over the final 15 circuits of the 35-lap race. Josh Demers of Middlesex was third, followed by Ricky Roberts and Mike Ziter.

Tim Campbell of West Topsham took his third Street Stock victory of the season over David Whitcomb of Elmore and Graniteville’s Lloyd Blakely. Ken Christman of Cabot earned his fourth Junkyard Warrior win. Kevin Dodge and Fred Schroeder completed the podium.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — CARQUEST Vermont Governor’s Cup 100
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre, Vt.
Friday, June 25, 2010

(Pos.-Driver-Hometown)
# – denotes rookie

ACT Late Model (100 laps)
1. Nick Sweet, Barre
2. Jamie Fisher, Shelburne
3. Dave Pembroke, Middlesex
4. Phil Scott, Middlesex
5. Mike Bailey, South Barre
6. Eric Williams, Hyde Park
7. # Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, Me.
8. Matt White, Northfield
9. John Donahue, Graniteville
10. Rich Lowrey, Charlotte
11. Brooks Clark, Fayston
12. Tracie Bellerose, Gorham, N.H.
13. Joey Becker, Jeffersonville
14. Jerry Lesage, Winooski
15. Grant Folsom, Waitsfield
16. # Cody Blake, Barre
17. Eric Chase, Milton
18. Cris Michaud, Northfield
19. Reno Gervais, Island Pond
20. Doug Murphy, Tunbridge
21. Joey Laquerre, East Montpelier
22. # Nate Brown, Craftsbury
23. Dylan Smith, Randolph
24. Tony Andrews, Northfield

Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman (35 laps)
1. Mike Billado, Essex
2. # Jason Corliss, Danville
3. Josh Demers, Middlesex
4. Ricky Roberts, Washington
5. Mike Ziter, Williamstown
6. David Finck, Barre
7. Pete Ainsworth, Middlesex
8. Tony Rossi, Peacham
9. Tom Therrien, Hinesburg
10. Joe Steffen, Essex Junction

Allen Lumber Street Stock/Junkyard Warrior (25 laps)
1. Tim Campbell, West Topsham (SS)
2. David Whitcomb, Elmore (SS)
3. Lloyd Blakely, Graniteville (SS)
4. Dave LaFleche, Graniteville (SS)
5. Travis Hull, Graniteville (SS)

13. Ken Christman, Cabot (JW)
14. Kevin Dodge, Barre (JW)
17. Fred Schroeder, Bristol (JW)
18. Kevin Wheatley, Williamstown (JW)
19. Josh Erwin, Waterbury (JW)

PHOTO: Nick Sweet (right) with Vermont Governor Jim Douglas in victory lane at Thunder Road. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)