–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BARRE — A decision three years ago from Joey Becker led to Scott Dragon being crowned Thunder Road “King of the Road” on Sunday.
Becker, the longtime driver for car owner Richard Green, vacated the driver’s seat he had filled since 2003 and chose Dragon to take ownership of it in 2014. The combo won in its fourth race together.
“It wasn’t that hard for me, to be honest,” Becker said. “I always liked working on the cars. I was trying to work on it and drive it and that wasn’t working so well. It was just a good stopping point for me to hang up driving and just work on the car.
“We won the first year together and that right there proved it was the right decision. I have no regrets of ever getting out of the car and this is a good reason why.”
The Becker-led team went the unconventional route a few years ago with the decision to build a new car. While most teams seek a chassis from one of the region’s builders, Becker built his own. That car was the car Dragon piloted to the track championship.
“It means a lot. Not many people build their own cars like we did,” Dragon said. “Everybody questioned me when I built is why I was doing it. Scott proved you can do it and still be a winner and a champion.”
Becker, who has been seen running his own race in the grandstands while Dragon competes on the track, was nervous toward the end of Sunday’s Labor Day Classic 200 as Dragon sat shy of the championship.
“I really didn’t think that he could get to second place and he had to get there,” Becker said. “But as usual, he just digs down a little deeper. And he got it done.
“He’s a very amazing guy behind the wheel.”
Becker has competed in all three divisions at Thunder Road during his driving days and competed for championships in both Tiger Sportsman and Street Stocks. A championship, however, always eluded him.
“I’ve been coming here 23 years and I’ve got seven second place point finishes,” Becker said. “I got second in points the very first year I ran full time here in 1994 (in Street Stocks) and I kind of shrugged it off and said ‘there’s always next year.’ Well, I’ve been saying that for 22 years now.”
The wait is now over for Becker.
“We finally got one. They can’t take it away.”
PHOTO: Scott Dragon (right) won four races after Joey Becker (left) decided to step out of the driver’s seat in 2014 with Becker’s name still above the drivers door. The two won Thunder Road’s Late Model crown on Sunday afternoon. (Alan Ward photo)