BARRE, Vt. (August 24, 2001) - No stop on the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring schedule is home ground for as many teams as Thunder Road International Speedbowl. A half-dozen of the series' regulars call the high-banked quarter-mile on Quarry...
BARRE, Vt. (August 24, 2001) - No stop on the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring schedule is home ground for as many teams as Thunder Road International Speedbowl. A half-dozen of the series' regulars call the high-banked quarter-mile on Quarry Hill their home track. One of them is Dennis Demers, a fixture in the top ten of the Busch North Series standings who sees the True Value 150 on Saturday night, September 1, as his best chance to join the ever-growing list of 2001 race winners.
The 5th annual True Value 150 is scheduled as a one-day event on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Practice begins at 1 p.m., with Bud Pole Qualifying at 6:15 p.m, and the feature event at approximately 8 p.m. Thunder Road's regular Thursday night classes will also be in action during the evening.
Demers, a businessman from nearby Shelburne, Vt., who joined the Busch North Series in 1998 after a successful career in short-track late models from Maine to Florida, finished second in last year's True Value 150 after repeatedly trading the lead with Brad Leighton. It was his second runner-up finish in three tries at his home race. "Every time we've been there we've had pretty good luck, we just haven't been able to win one yet," he noted. Demers owns one career Busch North Series victory, scored at Stafford Motor Speedway in 1999.
Thunder Road is unique among Busch North Series tracks in several ways. While it's not the only quarter-mile oval, it's the only one which is truly high-banked, and it's not as symmetrical from the driver's seat as it appears on paper. "It's a big advantage having raced there before," says Dennis Demers. "You take anyone who hasn't; they find the track very intimidating and it takes them one or two races before they figure out how to get around it."
As much a part of the Thunder Road scene as the track itself is the crowd, packing two concrete grandstands and the hillside between them and offering vocal support to their local favorites. "They get into their racing there and that makes it special," Dennis Demers commented.
Finally, there's the Widow Maker- the concrete wall which extends to the very edge of the racing groove in turn four. "That's certainly the feature that will jump out quickest and get you," Demers observed, adding "There's other things you need to pay attention to, but that's definitely the thing a newcomer notices first and needs to really have respect for."
The local advantage was shown dramatically in the 1997 True Value 150 inaugural, when the top five places were swept by drivers with strong Thunder Road roots- Kip Stockwell, Dave Dion, Stub Fadden, Bobby Dragon, and Jamie Aube. All except Dragon are expected to compete in the year's event, as Fadden plans to make his first BNS appearance since 1999.
The Busch North Series is one of nine NASCAR Touring series which blanket the USA, bringing special events to short tracks, superspeedways, and road courses. The NASCAR Touring program is recognized as the premier training ground for NASCAR's national series, the Winston Cup Series, Busch Series, Grand National Division, and Craftsman Truck Series, while also providing career opportunities for professional racers at the regional level. Corporations making major contributions to NASCAR Touring point funds include Anheuser-Busch Inc., Featherlite Trailers, Goody's Headache Powders, Gatorade, RE/MAX International, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Raybestos Brakes, and R.J. Reynolds' Winston brand.