Pembroke Wins On Track, Hoar Loses in Tech Line at Memorial Day Classic
Shock Violation Results in Stiff Penalties at Thunder Road
Stock car racer Dave Pembroke on Montpelier held off long-time nemesis Cris Michaud of Williamstown and American- Canadian Tour (ACT) invader Brian Hoar of Williston for a thrilling victory in the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic at Barre’s Thunder Road on Monday afternoon.
“I thought it was going to be easy starting on the pole,” said an excited Pembroke in victory lane, “but it was anything but that. I have to thank Cris and Brian for running me so cleanly, it was a lot of fun out there. I was worried about Brian during the last couple of laps, but I knew that if I kept my car under control I could use traffic the way I needed to in order to get the win.”
Dave Pembroke's winning #44 ride. (Leif Tillotson Photos)
Pembroke, who started on the pole position for the 45th running of the 100-lap holiday race, led the first 67 laps before Michaud made a successful outside lane bid for the lead.
The race’s final restart on lap 69 left the pair lined up in a reverse situation, and Pembroke found the outside lane to his liking for the first time in the event. Michaud led for 21 laps with Pembroke only inches behind at times, before Pembroke grabbed the lead back for good on lap 90.
Just after Pembroke took over, Hoar made an outside lane pass of Michaud to take over second place. A five-time ACT Late Model Tour champion, Hoar drew even with Pembroke while the pair negotiated lapped traffic in the final circuits. After momentarily losing the top spot on the backstretch, Pembroke used a lapped car to complete a “pick” move with two laps remaining, and held Hoar off by a car length for the victory.
Michaud held on for third place behind winner Pembroke and runner-up Hoar. Graniteville’s John Donahue and Jay Laquerre of East Montpelier turned in solid performances to finish fourth and fifth, respectively. Trampas Demers, Joey Becker, Pete Fecteau, Shawn Fleury, and rookie Chip Grenier rounded out the unofficial top ten in order.
BUT WAIT...THERE’S MORE FOR HOAR: RUNNER-UP GETS DQ'ed
Officials from Barre’s Thunder Road International Speedbowl have disqualified Late Model stock car driver Brian Hoar of Williston from his apparent second-place finish in the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic on Monday.
Following post-race technical inspection, Hoar’s #45 car was found to be in violation of the Koni sealed shock absorber rule, which is also in use on the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) championship series. Although the Koni shocks on Hoar’s car were not modified internally, an external modification was determined to be an alteration to the strict ACT Koni shock rule.
Hoar and team have been stripped of all championship points and purse money earned in the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic and placed on a three-month suspension from competition at Thunder Road.
The #45 team has also been handed a $4,000 fine and will be on technical probation for all ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT Castrol events for the remainder of the 2007 season.
“A good part of our success over the past five years has been our strict policy on the
Goodyear tires, the sealed crate engines and the Koni sealed shocks in our Late Model division,” said Thunder Road Manager and ACT President Tom Curley. “Unfortunately, there was an alteration on the part the #45 team. The modification to the shocks was inexpensive and external, but still did not comply with the ACT rulebook. Thunder Road is as disappointed as the #45 team, but we feel strongly about upholding the integrity of our shock rule.”
ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER WINNER
Dave Pembroke has extended the streak of different winners in the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic to sixteen, dating back to Dave Dion’s final win in the event in 1992. Since then, no driver has been able to grab multiple victories in the prestigious holiday race.
THERRIEN TOPS TIGERS
Tom Therrien of Hinesburg, VT grabbed his fourth career win in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman event at Thunder Road on Monday, joining his younger brother, Street Stock rookie Bobby, as a feature winner this season. The last pair of siblings to win in the same season at Thunder Road was the Fecteaus last year – “Pistol Pete” won the Times Argus Mid-Season Championship in the Late Model division, “Super Joe” was a winner in the Street Stocks. Pete and Joe Fecteau also won once each in 2005.
MARTIN BESTS STREET STOCK FIELD
On the last lap of the Allen Lumber Street Stock feature at Thunder Road, Craftsbury,
VT’s Mike Martin was running in fourth place. Then, as leaders Logan Blacklock, Billy
Hennequin, and Josh Demers came together, Martin snatched the lead and sped to the
checkered flag. Demers finished second with a mangled race car, Blocklock spun to
the infield, and Hennequin was penalized for dumping Blacklock out of the lead.
Incidentally, we’re hearing that Monday’s event at Thunder Road may have been
Blacklock’s final race. The Addison county teenager has enlisted to serve his country
in the military, and is expected to leave Vermont in the near future. For that, we salute
you, Logan Blacklock, and wish your last race could have had a slightly better ending.
JUNKYARD WARRIORS CELEBRATE THEIR 50th
If the Power Shift Junkyard Warriors continue to race as well as they have been, Thunder
Road officials will be holding tryouts for the next Jack Roush “Gong Show” at the Milk
Bowl. Okay, that’s not true, but the Warriors have been doing well lately, and Monday’s feature was lots of fun to watch. Jared Henry of East Barre, VT won the race and becomes the 50th different Warrior winner since the division began in 2003. Henry’s brother, Randy, is also a winner in the division.
BACK TO THE TOUR
The ACT Late Model Tour heads north of the border for the first time in 2007 with the Challenge ACT 100 at Circuit Ste-Croix near Quebec City on Saturday. Thunder Road’s Thursday night season gets under way on June 14 with the Ferguson Waterworks card.
The Memorial Day Classic was quite a show, and featured some major racing action.
Kip Stockwell debuted his new Late Model in the Memorial Day classic. Unfortunately, his day ended with a 26th-place finish.