It has been a decade since Tracie Bellerose from Gorham, NH made history at Thunder Road International Speedbowl (TR) in Barre, VT. She became the first woman to win a major championship at one of the nation’s most famous and toughest short tracks. In a surprise today, Bellerose announced that she would be returning to full time racing with the same crew chief and team that brought her to national prominence in 2000.
“When the opportunity came calling, this kid (Bellerose) knew exactly what she wanted and that was to go back to racing competitively. I tried golf, but the golf carts were too slow, I then bought a Harley, but wrecking that on the highway was way worse than a couple of memorable wrecks I had at Thunder Road. Quite frankly, I have not even been able to visit Thunder Road as a spectator - I have missed racing so much. Obviously, I am pretty excited,” said Bellerose.
There will be no rust on the team she is joining. The Laquerre Race Team located in Barre, VT, owned by Jeff Laquerre, won the 2009 50th Anniversary “King of the Road” title at Thunder Road with seven-time American Canadian Tour Champion Jean-Paul Cyr. Cyr has moved over to a full-time effort on the popular touring series, and that opened the door for Bellerose to return to the driver’s seat for the championship Laquerre team.
Thunder Road promoter, Tom Curley, said, “This is really special for the 2010 season at Thunder Road. Tracie was one of the most popular, respectful, and competitive racers we have ever had at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement”. The combination of Jeff Laquerre and Tracie, with the team they assembled in 2000 coming back together, will not only bring a high level of competition, but they will bring a great spirit to the track. That is what the ‘Road’ is all about.”
“Tracie also indicated that she wants to try and get to races like the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains in July, and obviously, she will bring a lot to the Thunder Road ACT special events. I was already anxious for the season to begin; now it gets even more exciting for our fans and competitors,” concluded Curley.
The Bellerose-Laquerre team will have plenty of competition in 2010 when she joins former fellow “Kings of the Road”, many of whom hoisted Tracie Bellerose above their shoulders in a victory lane celebration after she locked up the championship ten years ago. Laquerre helped bring two of the three titles Cris Michaud has won. Michaud will try to bring Ford the first title to Thunder Road since Dave Dion won it in 1977. Michaud will have a new crew chief, Troy Wheeler, who won the TR title in 2006 with his brother Chad at the wheel. Three-time Champion and the winningest Late Model driver of all time at Thunder Road, Phil Scott, will try to make it four titles. Former Thunder Road Champions Jamie Fisher, Dave Pembroke, Pete Fecteau, and Dave Whitcomb will welcome Bellerose back to the Thursday night battles.
Bellerose has five (5) feature wins at Thunder Road and three (3) ACT wins ---two (2) of them at Thunder Road. She last raced in a pair of ACT events in 2007. The team has secured sponsorship from long-time supporter, the Amoskeag Beverage Distributor of New Hampshire. Most fans will remember the Miller Lite beer brand on her race cars from past years. They will also receive support from a long-time Lancaster, NH supporter, Scorpio’s Sports Bar.
The team will begin their season when the American Canadian Tour opens the 51st season at Thunder Road with the 12th Annual Merchants Bank 150 on May 2, 2010. Over 50 of the best Late Model teams in the Northeast are expected to try to qualify for the event. This season former Thunder Road Champion, Tracie Bellerose will be one of them.