PHOTO: Bobby Therrien won twice in Thunder Road’s Tiger Sportsman division during 2011, and will replace Brad Leighton at Fast One Motorsports in the No. 55 ACT Late Model in 2012. (Eric LaFleche/ photo)

Therrien to replace veteran Leighton, chase Thunder Road Tiger Sportsman championship

–by Ricky St. Clair

HINESBURG, Vt. — Bobby Therrien has been named the driver that will replace the retiring Brad Leighton for Pete Duto and Dave Parker at Fast One Motorsports. Leighton decided to retire this past fall after racing for over three decades behind the wheel.

Therrien is excited for the opportunity to compete in a Late Model this summer for the team from Middlesex, Vt., after frequently working for Fast One Motorsports in recent years.

“It’s just an amazing experience,” Therrien said. “After last year when Brad [Leighton] decided that he was done, and wanted to take more of a business approach, I knew the seat was open. We talked a few times, and came to the conclusion that we’re going to give it a shot this year with myself. It’s an amazing opportunity for me to get into a team of this caliber.”

The 24-year-old driver grew up as a young race fan idolizing Leighton at the track. Therrien will now have the opportunity to drive the No. 55NH that Leighton made famous so many years ago.

“I always looked up to Brad as a kid,” Therrien said. “Knowing that he drove the No. 55, and to think that my name is going to be above the doorway on that car is surreal. It’s a great opportunity for me, and I’m looking to make the best of it. To be teamed up with Pete Duto and Dave Parker is great. It’s like a dream come true.”

Therrien’s time working at Fast One will help with the familiarity of the cars and team chemistry in 2012 and believes that it will be easy to relay information to the team, which he feels will be an important factor.

“I think it’s a huge advantage for myself working on these cars all the time,” Therrien said. “It’s not my full-time job, but I do spend as much time up here as I can. I believe that it’s going to be a huge benefit for me to be able to relate to Pete as far as what I need for adjustments.”

Therrien will continue to run his family-owned Tiger Sportsman at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl on Thursday nights in Barre, Vt., despite running select events on the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) for Duto and Parker.

“I haven’t picked out what races we’re going to run with the Late Model, but we’re going to base it around my Thunder Road schedule,” Therrien said. “The Tiger deal is a family-owned operation, and we run it out of our garage at home. Going after a track championship at Thunder Road means a lot to us, and that’s our goal going into this summer. We’re going to try to make another run for it this year like we did last year. We’re still shuffling the schedule around a little bit. We’re going to set the Tiger Tour aside, and focus on our Tiger program at Thunder Road.”

The Hinesburg, Vt., native finished fourth in points in last year’s weekly Tiger-Sportsman competition at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl. Therrien will now have to manage his time between two completely different operations.

“I don’t think it going to be a challenge at all,” Therrien said. “My family has always been very supportive of my Tiger program. Building the Late Model and the Tiger together is going to be no problem. It’s just going to be balancing my time personally between my Tiger at home, and then working as many hours as I can up at Fast One Motorsports.”

There’s no doubt that Therrien will feel comfortable behind the wheel of Duto and Paker’s automobile. Therrien’s unparalleled confidence with his respective team could pay dividends this summer.

“With a car coming out of Fast One Motorsports, I know it’s very top notch,” Therrien said. “It’s showing up at a race, and knowing that I have the car that’s going to be able to run against these guys competitively. It’s going to be my responsibility to take care of the car.”

Therrien has set realistic goals, and looks to establish a rock-solid bond between himself and his new team. The driver who won two races at Thunder Road and a Tiger Tour victory at Airborne Speedway last season is anxious for his upcoming campaign.

“The goal is to build a solid relationship with Pete Duto of Fast One Motorsports and Dave Parker of Subway,” Therrien said. “I’m looking forward to building off past experiences with them as an employee or crew member. To be a driver for them is going to take a different relationship for us, and I’m looking forward to building off that.”

Therrien will kick off his 2012 racing venture in his Tiger Sportsman at Thunder Road on Sunday, April 29.