It Only Takes 53 Minutes to Run 200 Laps
Veteran Thunder Road driver, Eric Williams of Hyde Park, VT scored his biggest stock car racing pay day in Sunday’s 28th annual Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl. His victory in the 200 lap American-Canadian Tour ACTion Super Series event was worth more than $13,000, including the $10,000 winner’s purse and assorted bonus money. Dave Pembroke of Montpelier, VT and South Burlington, Vermont’s Trampas Demers brought the fans to their feet with their side-by-side battle for the runner-up spot as they followed Williams across the line.  Pembroke nosed ahead for second.  Completing the top five was ACT point leader Jean-Paul Cyr from Milton, VT and Middlesex, VT driver and former Tour champion, Phil Scott.
able to get by me for the lead.  It was an exciting day of racing and I can’t wait to run in the Milk Bowl (September 30th/October 1st).”

Demer, a second generation racer, was able to get past Pembroke for second at one point late in the race.  He added his thoughts, “I had one chance to go after Eric for the lead. I was on the gas, Eric was off it, but I drove in too hard and lost it (the shot at the lead).  I’ve tried hard to keep my car consistent all season, the experience of running this long race will help in the Milk Bowl.”

Mark Lamberton of Mooers Forks, NY was sixth, Charlotte, Vermont’s Rich Lowery, seventh and Marc Curtis Jr, from Worcester, MA, eighth.  Rounding out the top ten were East Montpelier, VT driver, Jay Laquerre and Roger Brown of Lancaster, NH.
Williams, a weekly competitor at the high banked, quarter-mile speedplant started on the pole along side ACT Tour regular, Ron Henry from New Gloucester, ME.  Williams led the first circuit, but Henry, nosed ahead on the second.  In a Herculean feat that surprised the tracks regular fans, Henry maintained his momentum in the high groove and eventually edged ahead of the local favorite

The first caution of two cautions came out on lap 19 for Charlie Rousseau’s first turn spin.  On the restart, Williams lined up on the outside of the Maine driver.  At the drop of the green he regained control of the race.  By the 26th circuit Pembroke, who had started fourth, closed in on Williams.  As the laps ticked off, Pembroke, the 2002 winner of the New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl followed the 2003 winner of that same
Williams and his team enjoy victory lane at Thunder Road.  (Leif Tillotson Photos)
race looking for his Achilles heel.  Pembroke looked both high and low in an attempt get past the Hyde Park resident.  Unable to find room to complete the pass, Pembroke settled into second and the pair began to work their way through slower traffic.

The second and final caution of the race came out on the 75th lap which gave Pembroke the edge he was searching for. Just as Williams had previously done to Ron Henry, Pembroke leap ahead of Williams when racing resumed.

Pembroke, Williams and Demers distanced themselves from the rest of the field as the race stayed under green flag racing conditions.   The frontrunners waded into lapped traffic each hoping to catch the other asleep at the wheel as they came upon the slower cars.  Williams was able to use past Thunder Road champion, Cris Michaud of Williamstown, VT as a “pick” and trap Pembroke behind the lapped car to take the lead for the final time.
Pembroke and Demers battled side-by-side for the final 50 laps but were able to mount a final challenge on Williams as the trio came out of turn three on the final circuit. Williams’ win was his first in an ACT Tour event since the ’03 Milk Bowl.  “It was pretty obvious in the final laps, that there was not a whole lot of difference in our (Pembroke & Demers) cars,” Williams stated honestly in victory lane.  “Running 200 laps at Thunder Road is tough, right now I don’t feel too bad.  Once the adrenaline runs out, I’m sure I’ll feel the aches and pains.”

Pembroke, the only ACT Tour regular in the top three agreed with Williams, “Our cars were very even.  When we got caught up on a restart with lapped traffic, Eric was
Cyr, winner of last year’s Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200, retains his point lead in spite of having to qualify through one of the consolation rounds.  Forty-two Late Model cars attempted to qualify for the 30 starting positions in the ACT Tour’s tenth of 11 events this year.  Among the notable drivers not earning a spot on the starting grid were St Denis Quebec’s Patrick Laperle, defending champion of the upcoming Milk Bowl, former ACT Tour Champion, Pete Fecteau of Morrisville, VT, 2005 Thunder Road Late Model Rookie of the Year, Ryan Nolin from Georgia, VT and this year’s Thunder Road Late Model Rookie of the Year, Marcel Gravel of Wolcott, VT.
Of the 30 starters, 13 completed the entire 200 lap distance in a race that took 53 minutes, 59 second to contest, a record for the event.  Twenty-five cars were in competition at the checkered flag.

The final ACT Tour race of the season, the third of three ACTion Super Series events, the 43rd New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl, is slated for Sat, Sept 30 and Sun, Oct 1.  It will also pay $10,000 to the winning driver.

ACTion Super Series – Event #2 of 3
Bond Auto Labor Day Classic
Thunder Road International Speedbowl -  September 3, 2006


1.   (1), Eric Williams, Hyde Park, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200, Running

2.   (4), Dave  Pembroke, Montpelier, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200, Running

3.   (8), Trampas Demers, So. Burlington, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200, Running

4.   (13), Jean Paul Cyr, Milton, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200, Running

5.   (25), Phil Scott, Middlesex, VT, Ford Fusion, 200, Running

6.   (17), Mark Lamberton, Mooers Forks, NY, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200, Running

7.   (23), Rich Lowrey, Charlotte, VT, Dodge Charger, 200, Running

8.   (11), Marc Curtis Jr., Worcester, MA, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200, Running

9.   (5), Jay Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200, Running

10.  (21), Roger Brown II, Lancaster, NH, Ford Fusion, 200, Running

11.  (2), Ron  Henry, New Gloucester, ME, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200, Running

12.  (26), Scott  Payea, Milton, VT, Ford Fusion, 200, Running

13.  (20), Dennis Demers, Shelburne, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200, Running

14.  (15), Brent Dragon, Milton, VT, Dodge Charger, 199, Running

15.  (6), Joey  Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, NH, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 199, Running

16.  (22), A.J. Begin, Merrimac, MA, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 199, Running

17.  (9), Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 199, Running

18.  (18), Joey  Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT, Pontiac Grand Prix, 199, Running

19.  (29), Steve Reny, Boothbay, ME, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 199, Running

20.  (10), Ben Rowe, Turner, ME, Dodge Charger, 198, Running

21.  (28), Joey  Becker, Jeffersonville, VT, Ford Fusion, 198, Running

22.  (30), Ryan Vanasse, Warwick, RI, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 197, Running

23.  (12), Mike Bailey, So. Barre, VT, Pontiac Grand Prix, 196, Running

24.  (7), Steve Fisher, Shelburne, VT, Dodge Charger, 189, Running

25.  (24), John Donahue, Graniteville, VT, Dodge Charger, 187, Running

26.  (19), Cris Michaud, Williamstown, VT, Ford Fusion, 159, Vibration

27.  (27), Dave  Whitcomb, Essex Jct., VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 145, Vibration

28.  (3), Bobby Baillargeon, Nottingham, NH, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 122, Handling

29.  (14), Scott  Dragon, Colchester, VT, Pontiac Grand Prix, 109, Body Panel

30.  (16), Charlie Rousseau, Ipswitch, MA, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 91, Handling

Time of Race: 53 Minutes 59 Seconds

Margin of Victory: Half a car length

Cautions: 2; Lap 19, Lap 75

Lead Changes: 4 between 3 drivers

Lap Leaders: Eric Williams 1, Ron Henry 2-18,Williams 19-74, Dave Pembroke 75-148, Williams 149-200

AJ Begin backs into the fence during qualifying.
Williams (#7) leads Dave Pembroke's #52