Story By: CALE KING / AMERICAN-CANADIAN TOUR – BARRE, VT – On another gorgeous Sunday afternoon in Barre, Vermont, the American-Canadian Tour returned home to Thunder Road International Speedbowl for 200 laps of hair-raising action with just one driver was able to claim a spot on the iconic granite tablets at the world-famous ‘Naton’s Site of Excitement.’
After taking a +3 in their respective qualifying heat races, Thunder Road hot-shoes Brandon Lanphear and Darrell Morin earned the front row with Jaden Perry starting third. Unfortunately in the second consolation qualifier, top tour runner Derek Gluchacki was caught as Hollis, Maine’s Jason Gammon flew across turn four, smashed the Widowmaker frontstretch wall and flipped on the frontstretch. A bent rear clip sent Gluchacki’s car back into the trailer and homebound on what started as a hopeful day for the North Dartmouth, Massachusetts crew.
While Darrell Morin stole away the lead under the initial green flag, Brandon Lanphear powered back to lead lap three through the first caution for Cam Huntress’s run-in with the frontstretch wall. The battle between Morin and Lanphear resumed until defending Thunder Road champion Chris Pelkey entered top-two contention. In a dog-fight battle, Pelkey would lead over Morin one lap before the 17VT powered back once more with both facing a rear-view mirror full of Bobby Therrien.
Therrien, the 2020 Labor Day Classic champion, had a powerful car underneath him that allowed the Hinesburg, Vermont driver to take the lead on lap 38. While the Thunder Road regulars showed the way, rookie Tanner Woodard and Jimmy Renfrew Jr. held the Tour banner high in their fight to join the top-10. A spinning Walter Sutcliffe called out the caution on lap 73 with Renfrew, Oxford 125 winner Gabe Brown and others jumping pit-side for their change tires.
Therrien again led the show on the return to green before top ACT rookie contender Andrew Molleur cut a right front tire to throw the yellow once more. At the halfway point, defending champion D.J. Shaw continued to battle as the highest Tour regular in 9th as Brown and Woodard fought to join him. The ACT championship battle got red-hot around lap 115 as Shaw used Brendan Moodie as a pick to hold back Brown in hopes that Monday’s updated point standings continued in his favor.
Following a wild wreck for Jaden Perry after several strong American-Canadian Tour runs this season saw the Hardwick, Vermont driver fly side-over-side and land atop the turn one berm, Therrien continued his domination at the front. While Therrien held on and dug deep, never pitting for change tires, Shaw and Brown continued to battle out back, unable to make a charge for the lead and valuable lap-leader bonus points.
Through it all, Bobby Therrien proved his was the car to beat and drove his Casella Waste Management ride all the way to Thunder Road victory lane and claim his second Labor Day Classic win along with the New England Federal Credit Union granite trophy. Former Oxford 125 winner, and top-5 Thunder Road pilot, Marcel Gravel took home second with top Thunder Road rookie Kaiden Fisher claiming third. Chris Pelkey salvaged a fourth-place run and Tanner Woodard took the top touring finish in fifth.
Thunder Road hot-shoes Cody Blake and Kyle Pembroke nabbed sixth and seventh with Brown taking eighth, Jason Corliss ninth and D.J. Shaw rounding out the top ten.
The American-Canadian Tour faithful takes a much-needed off-weekend to prepare for the final events in the 2023 season. Returning to action for the 45th Fall Foliage 200 at White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday, September 16th the top ACT Tour teams then move on to Thunder Road for the 61st Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank on Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st before wrapping up the 45th season of Championship Stock Car Racing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut for the Haunted Hundred on Saturday, October 21st.
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl – Barre, VT
Sunday, September 3, 2023
The 45th Labor Day Classic 200 presented by New England Federal Credit Union
American-Canadian Tour Labor Day Classic – (200 Laps)
1. 14VT Bobby Therrien Hinesburg, VT
2. 86VT Marcel J. Gravel Wolcott, VT
3. 18VT #Kaiden Fisher Shelburne, VT
4. 64VT Chris Pelkey Graniteville, VT
5. 68NH #Tanner Woodard Waterbury Ctr., VT
6. 99VT Cody Blake Barre, VT
7. 27VT Kyle Pembroke Montpelier, VT
8. 60ME Gabe Brown Center Conway, NH
9. 66VT Jason Corliss Barre, VT
10. 04VT D.J. Shaw Center Conway, NH
11. 77NH #Bryan Wall Jr. E. Kingston, NH
12. 68VT Brooks Clark Fayston, VT
13. 0VT Scott Dragon Milton, VT
14. 94VT Brendan Moodie Wolcott, VT
15. 16VT Brandon Lanphear Morrisville, VT
16. 7VT Cooper Bouchard Hinesburg, VT
17. 36NH Erick Sands Derry, NH
18. 00NH Jimmy Renfrew Jr. Candia, NH
19. 17VT Darrell Morin Westford, VT
20. 04NY #Justin Prescott Milton, VT
21. 55VT #Keegan Lamson Berlin, VT
22. 41QC Jonathan Bouvrette Blainville, QC
23. 31KS #Cody Schoolcraft Claremont, NH
24. 31CT #Andrew Molleur Shelton, CT
25. 92VT Jaden Perry Hardwick, VT
26. 12CT #PJ Evans Uncasville, CT
27. 58VT Jimmy Hebert Williamstown, VT
28. 78CT Walter Sutcliffe E. Haven, CT
29. 01VT Stephen Martin Craftsbury Common, VT
30. 27NH Cam Huntress Rochester, NH
DNS 03MA Derek Gluchacki North Dartmouth, MA
DNS 25ME #Jason Gammon Hollis, ME