Barre, VT — Montpelier’s Kyle Pembroke beat the competition, the fireworks, and the rain at the Preston’s Kia Holiday Spectacular at Barre’s Thunder Road on Thursday, July 1. Pembroke went pole-to-pole in dominating fashion to capturing the Firecracker 54 for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models live on FloRacing.
On a night where everyone was trying to stay one step ahead of the weather, Pembroke and his Kinney Drugs Chevy found the perfect prescription to do so: go fast and turn left. The result was Pembroke’s ninth career Late Model victory and second of the season.
The second-generation racer started on the pole after a hot-and-cold month of June. A mere six laps into the feature, Pembroke already had a straightaway lead over Eric Chase with Chris Roberts, Matthew Smith, and Marcel J. Gravel in tow.
Two quick cautions on laps 12 and 13 — one when Darrell Morin and Brendan Moodie tangled racing in turn four for the seventh spot, and another when Chase spun into the turn one tire barrier — were the only way the field could catch Pembroke. Gravel moved into the second spot following the lap-13 restart and kept with Pembroke for a little while. The leader was just too strong, though, cruising through traffic like he was on a Sunday drive to the drug store en route to victory Gravel ended up posting his second runner-up finish of the young season.
Behind the front duo, the action throughout the rest of the top-10 rivaled the Northstar Fireworks display that ended the night. Milton’s Scott Dragon appeared to have come out on top of a multi-way battle for the third spot. However, Dragon was disqualified in postrace technical inspection for a wheelbase violation. That gave the final podium position to Graniteville’s Stephen Donahue, who got underneath Roberts with just few laps to go. Trampas Demers, Jason Corliss, Christopher Pelkey, Brandon Lanphear, Smith, and Phill Scott finished fifth through 10th.
South Hero’s Rich Lowery held off a late bid from Milton’s Sam Caron to win the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger Firecracker 44. Lowrey started fourth and got below Williamstown’s Micheal MacAskill for the lead on lap 12 with rookie Justin Prescott in tow. The pair broke away in the caution-free feature as Brandon Gray, Bryan Wall Jr., Caron, and other tried to fight their way through.
Caron was the first of the top point drivers to bust out of the pack, running down Prescott with nine laps to go. He then got to the rear bumper of Lowrey and looked inside with three circuits remaining. But Lowrey was able to use a trio of lapped cars as a pick to hang on by the skin of his teeth for the win.
Caron — whose uncle Gary won the Late Model Firecracker 100 back in 1995 — came up just short of a family double. Prescott had the best finish of his Flying Tiger career in third. Gray, Wall, Tanner Woodard, MacAskill, Mike Billado, Logan Powers, and Colin Cornell rounded out the top-10.
Shelburne’s Kaiden “Tropical Storm” Fisher whipped up a little precipitation of his own to win the Firecracker 29 for the RK Miles Street Stocks. The 13-year-old had already come from 15th to challenge Milton’s Trevor Jaques for third with 17 laps complete when leader Kasey Collins shut down in turn one. That handed the lead to Graniteville’s Justin “El Chopo” Blakely with Jaques and Fisher in tow.
Fisher then got his nose in front of Jaques for second just before Jared Rouleau Sr. brought out a caution flag the following circuit with mechanical troubles. That put Fisher on the outside of Blakely for a restart. After battling side-by-side for six laps, Fisher finally got clear of Blakely, then outgunned him again on another restart with three laps to go for his fourth career victory.
Both point leader Tommy “Thunder” Smith and Jaques got past Blakely on the final sprint, with the rookie Jaques edging Bakely by a paint job for the third spot. Will Hennequin inherited the fifth position after Josh Lovely was disqualified for an illegal flywheel. Dean Switser Jr., Kyler Davis, Kye MacAskill, Jeffrey Martin, and Mike “Biffer” Gay completed the top-10.
Essex Junction’s Mark Beaulieu followed up a second place effort the week before with his first career Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors win. Beaulieu got the lead early in the Firecracker 24 from Dan Garrett Jr. and quickly pulled out to a huge advantage. Williamstown’s Sean “Chubby Rambo” McCarthy and Graniteville’s “Flyin’” Fred Fleury tried to chase him down, but Beaulieu was on a mission and rolled to a popular victory.
McCarthy and Fleury completed the podium in that order. Jamie York, Josh Vilbrin, Garrett, Rodney Campbell, Nate “Tater” Brien, Paige Whittemore, and Dan Wilder also earned top-10 finishes in a caution-free race.
Round two of the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series highlights a full Thunder Road card next Thursday, July 8 at 7:00pm. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers will go 75 laps along with action for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models, RK Miles Street Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors.
Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-12, and $30 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids). Advance tickets are available at www.happsnow.com/event/Thunder-Road-Speedbowl. All Thunder Road events are also live streamed on FloRacing for those with a monthly or yearly subscription.
For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, email@example.com, or visit www.thunderroadvt.com. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter at @ThunderRoadVT. For more information about FloRacing, visit www.FloRacing.com.