PHOTO: Trampas Demers and crew celebrate their first Thunder Road win since 2008 after taking advantage of a Dave Whitcomb mistake with two laps remaining. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

Pelkey, Swister score first career wins

–by T.J. Ingerson

BARRE — Trampas Demers thought he was the runner-up at Thunder Road on Casella Waste Management night after his borrowed No. 86 slipped while racing on the inside of leader Dave Whitcomb with three laps to go. Whitcomb had cleared Demers after the duo raced side-by-side for nearly 20 laps.

But Whitcomb entered turn one a little too fast and slipped up the race track, losing speed and allowing Demers to take the lead and steal the 50-lap Late Model victory.

“(My crew) came over the radio and said five to go, and I slipped up,” Demers said. “And I’m like ‘oh, I’m going to finish second.’ And then he slipped and I had the car positioned where it needed to be. I’ve never raced that hard for a win before. You would think that starting third it would be an easy race to win, but it wasn’t an easy race to win.”

“I just drove in a little hard,” a dejected Whitcomb explained. “I thought (Demers) was closer than he actually was. I just went in too hard. It was driver error. The car was starting to give up a little bit, and it didn’t stick that one time.”

Demers’ win comes on the heels of a Sunday night wreck at Thunder Road in which left his familiar No. 85 on the sidelines for the first Thursday night event. Demers borrowed his father, Dennis’, car for the evening.

“This is absolutely huge,” said Demers, who scored his first Thunder Road win since 2008. “This victory is exactly what we needed to help us in the points. We have a ways to go, but it solidifies me and gives me creditably as a driver that I was lacking. This car was set up for my dad, so we had to put led in it. Plus it was set up for Devil’s Bowl, so we had to put our setup in it for (Thunder Road). Thankfully dad let me borrow it. We worked our tails off in practice getting it handling well. We had a plan and we stuck with it. It worked.”

Jamie Fisher surged over the final ten laps to claim the runner-up position. The former track champion from Shelburne sat seventh with 15 laps to go to edge out third place finisher Cody Blake at the line. Blake, of Barre, ran third to the battling duo of Whitcomb and Demers.

Whitcomb, of Essex Junction, was able to gather his race car up after his mistake and claimed the fourth position while Mike ‘Beetle’ Bailey, of South Barre, backed up his second place finish on Sunday with a fifth place finish. Rookie Lance Allen, Eric Chase, Ricky Roberts, John Donahue, and Chip Grenier completed the top ten finishers.

Chris Pelkey of South Barre earned his first career Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen win after an intense battle with rookie Jason Woodard. Pelkey worked to the outside of Woodard with eight laps remaining and swapped the lead numerous times with Woodard. Pelkey took the lead for the final time with two laps remaining.

“I grew up on Bud Hill,” Pelkey said. “Anyone that can get a car running on the outside is a good thing. To do it on the outside is the best way to do it, and do it clean. I knew I had a good car and I wasn’t giving up. I had to get it. It means a lot. This is a lot. It’s been a lot of long nights in the shop. This is why we do it. It doesn’t make much sense, but this is why we do it.”

Woodard, of Waterbury Center, battled across the line to a second place finish while Hyde Park’s Tucker Williams finished third. Brian Delphia, of Waterbury, and Sunday’s winner Jason Corliss, of Barre, completed the top five. Rookie Chris Roberts, Mike Martin, John Lambert, Kyle Pembroke, and Josh Demers finished sixth through tenth.

Rookie Dean Swister, Jr., of Lyndonville, claimed his first career Allen Lumber Street Stock win after passing William Hennequin on lap 22 in the 25-lap feature. Elmore’s Dave Whitcomb raced to the line in the second position while Morrisville’s Hennequin settled for third. Gary Mullen and rookie Kevin Wheatley completed the top five.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Casella Waste Management Night
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre, Vt.
Thursday, June 21, 2012

(# – denotes rookie)

ACT Late Models (50 laps)
1. Trampas Demers, South Burlington
2. Jamie Fisher, Shelburne
3. Cody Blake, Barre
4. Dave Whitcomb, Essex Junction
5. Mike Bailey, South Barre
6. # Lance Allen, Barre
7. Eric Chase, Milton
8. Ricky Roberts, Williamstown
9. John Donahue, Graniteville
10. Chip Grenier, Graniteville

Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen (35 laps)
1. Chris Pelkey, South Barre
2. # Jason Woodard, Waterbury Center
3. Tucker Williams, Hyde Park
4. Brian Delphia, Waterbury
5. Jason Corliss, Barre
6. # Chris Roberts, Washington
7. Mike Martin, Craftsbury Common
8. John Lambert, Northfield
9. Kyle Pembroke, Montpelier
10. Josh Demers, Middlesex

Allen Lumber Street Stocks (25 laps)
1. # Dean Swister, Jr., Lyndonville
2. Dave Whitcomb, Elmore
3. William Hennequin, Morrisville
4. Gary Mullen, Tunbridge
5. # Kevin Wheatley, Brookfield
6. Bunker Hodgdon, Hardwick
7. Donny Yates, North Montpelier
8. Tommy Smith, Williamstown
9. Nick Pilotte, Jefferson, N.H.
10. Ron Gabaree, Barre