Fayston's Brooks Clark roared from deep in the field to get his first American-Canadian Tour (ACT) victory in the Community Bank N.A. 150 at Barre's Thunder Road on Sunday, May 2. Clark took the lead for good from Trampas Demers, Shelburne, with 21 laps to go and held him off for the victory after starting 21st on the grid.
The biggest victory of Clark’s career came in an event with twists and turns. Several early contenders were sidelined by a spate of midrace carnage before Clark and Demers, two accomplished locals, put on a show down the stretch for both the Barre crowd and a worldwide audience on FloRacing.
Montpelier's Kyle Pembroke started on the pole and led the first 54 laps. Behind him, the field shuffled early and often. The first major surprise came on lap 22 as reigning ACT champion Jimmy Hebert went to the pits and did not return. Six circuits later, Matt White’s car abruptly shut down while challenging Pembroke. Bobby Therrien assumed second on the restart, but couldn’t keep up on the outside, as D.J. Shaw and Scott Dragon both rolled past underneath.
Milton's Dragon then took the high lane around Shaw for second shortly before the third yellow on lap 53 for Tyler Cahoon’s stalled automobile. The next two laps would completely change the complexion of the race. Pembroke led on the initial restart, but Dragon put his nose out front for lap 55.
As Dragon tried to clear Pembroke coming out of turn four the next time around, the two cars touched, and Dragon ended up slamming the turn one wall head-on. Dragon wasn’t hurt in the incident, but was done for the day, while Pembroke was sent to the rear for his involvement.
Demers inherited the lead for the restart followed by Shaw, Clark, Christopher Pelkey and ACT rookie Erick Sands. As the field took the green flag, Pelkey and Sands got together, triggering a seven-car pileup entering turn one. The day ended right there for Pelkey, Sands, three-time Community Bank N.A. 150 winner Jason Corliss and Matt Anderson. Stephen Donahue, Jesse Switser, and Cody Blake also sustained damage.
MULTIPLE LEAD CHANGES
After another caution at lap 63 when rookie Cooper Bouchard backed into the turn one wall, the thinned-out field started making a different kind of fireworks. Clark was all over Demers through the seventh caution on lap 81 for Switser shutting down. The Fayston driver went to the outside on lap 85 and finally inched in front with 89 complete. Clark finally cleared Demers just before the eighth and last yellow triggered by Shawn Swallow’s turn-three spin.
On the restart, it was Demers taking back the upper hand after multiple lead changes and some door-slapping along the way. Demers, who was also looking for his first ACT win, put a bit of a gap between himself and Clark. However, Clark ran him back down on the long green-flag run, eventually going back around the outside on lap 129. Demers simply couldn’t mount enough of a counterattack as Clark took his sixth career Thunder Road win.
The ACT Late Model Tour travels to New Hampshire’s Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, May 16. The 150-lap event is part of a tripleheader with the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models and PASS Modifieds. Post time is 2 p.m.
In Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, local finishers included: in sixth place, Logan Powers (31VT) Middlesex, VT; 10th, Kelsea Woodard (55VT) Waterbury Center, VT; 12th, Jason Woodard (68VT), Waterbury Center, VT; 23rd, Kevin Streeter (67VT) Waitsfield, VT.
Local racers finishing in the RK Miles Street Stocks were: in fourth spot, Tom Campbell (85) Middlesex, VT; 25th, Thomas Peck (96) Waterbury, VT; 27th, Jared Rouleau (60) Warren, VT.
In the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors, the following local racers finished: 11th, Ryan Foster (8) Waterbury, VT; 13th, Neal Foster (19), Waterbury, VT.
MEMORIAL DAY CLASSIC
Thunder Road returns to action Sunday, May 28, with the 58th Mekklesen RV Memorial Day Classic at 1:30 p.m. The Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models open the “King of the Road” chase with the 125-lap classic while the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers go 100 laps in the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series opener. The RK Miles Street Stocks and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors round out the card.