PHOTO: Jay Laquerre celebrates his first Late Model victory in over a decade Sunday at Thunder Road. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson

BARRE — Ten years may have passed since Jay Laquerre carried the checkered flag at Thunder Road, but he sure didn’t forget how to win.

The Barre racer started the 50-lap Sherwin Williams trophy dash from the outside pole and quickly took the lead from polesitter Lance Allen, and quickly opened his lead after a lap two caution flag.

It appeared to be clear sailing for Laquerre, but former King of the Road Jamie Fisher began reeling in the black No. 50 of Laquerre. Fisher tried multiple times to work to the inside of Laquerre, but was unable to find the traction he needed to complete the pass.

“I didn’t have anything for the bottom,” Laquerre explained. “I just ran where my car was going to go [the best], and that was the top, and hope for the best. He ran me clean.”

Both of Laquerre’s two career Thunder Road Late Model wins came in 2001. Laquerre hasn’t visited victory lane since August of that year.

“I didn’t expect this,” Laquerre said. “All I wanted to do was finish the race. We didn’t make the first race here [Merchants Bank 150], and Memorial Day we had electrical problems. But it’s good. It was a little nerve-wracking for a little bit. I liked they stuff [Thunder Road officials] did to the track. We got loose there at the end, but held on. It’s been a while.”

Fisher, of Shelburne, crossed the line in the second position after attempting multiple passes on Laquerre. Hometown racer Cody Blake claimed the final step on the podium after starting from the eighth position. Memorial Day Classic winner Nick Sweet crossed the line in the fourth position. Barre’s Sweet started from the 19th position and quickly worked his way into the top ten by lap 15. Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, of Berlin, also was able to work his way from a deep starting position, 18th, to complete the unofficial top five finishers.

Allen held on for the sixth position, while Dave Whitcomb, Eric Chase, Cris Michuad, and Chip Grenier completed the top ten.

Josh Demers rebounded from a fire during the Memorial Day Classic to win the 35-lap Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman feature.

“I have to thank my crew for getting the car together after the fire we had here last week,” Demers said in victory lane. “It just feels great to pick up a win after the way things went last time out.”

The Middlesex driver started from the seventh position and worked his way into the second position behind leader Tucker Williams by lap ten. Demers worked his way to the outside of Williams on lap 16 as the duo raced side-by-side for the lead over the next five laps. Demers finally claimed the lead on lap 21 and cleared Williams shortly thereafter en route to the victory.

Williams, unfortunately, would get lose out of turn four and would lose track position. Dylan Payea, of Henniker, N.H., crossed the line in the second position while Williamstown’s Mike Ziter claimed third. Milton’s Eric Badore and Barre’s Scott Coburn completed the top five finishers.

Jason Allen, Brendan Moodie, John Lambert, Bobby Therrien, and David Finck completed the top ten.

Troy Kingsbury won the 25-lap Allen Lumber Street Stock feature and became the second straight “Race-to-Read” Driver of the Week driver to claim victory. Kingsbury, of Waitsfield, started from the sixth position and took the lead on lap 10 from Amanda Habel.

Kingsbury was then chased by Cameron Ouellette over the remainder of the race, narrowly avoiding a side-by-side battle in the closing stages. Ouellette, of Barre, and Ken Christman, of Cabot, joined Kingsbury on the podium, respectively. Dan Lathrop, of Morrisville, and Nick Pilotte, of Jefferson, N.H., completed the top five.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Sherwin Williams Trophy Dash
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre
Sunday, June 10, 2012


American-Canadian Tour Late Models (50 laps)
1. Jay Laquerre, Barre
2. Jamie Fisher, Shelburne
3. Cody Blake, Barre
4. Nick Sweet, Barre
5. Phil Scott, Berlin
6. Lance Allen, Barre
7. Dave Whitcomb, Essex Junction
8. Eric Chase, Milton
9. Cris Michaud, East Montpelier
10. Chip Grenier, Graniteville

Bond Auto Tiger Sportmen (35 laps)
1. Josh Demers, Middlesex
2. Dylan Payea, Henniker, N.H.
3. Mike Ziter, Williamstown
4. Eric Badore, Milton
5. Scott Coburn, Barre
6. Jason Allen, Barre
7. Brendan Moodie, Wolcott
8. John Lambert, Northfield
9. Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg
10. David Finck, Barre

Allen Lumber Street Stocks (25 laps)
1. Troy Kingsbury, Waitfield
2. Cameron Ouellette, Barre
3. Ken Christman, Cabot
4. Dan Lathrop, Morrisville
5. Nick Pilotte, Jefferson, N.H.
6. Garry Bashaw, Lincoln
7. Dave Whitcomb, Elmore
8. Tommy Smith, Williamstown
9. Bunker Hodgdon, Hardwick
10. Alan Maynard, Fairfax