Barre, VT — The 63rd season of racing at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road was one for the record books with three deserving drivers each winning their first track championship at ‘The Nation’s Site of Excitement.’ Each of these drivers had a unique way of earning the top spot, valuable stories worth sharing to better understand their respective triumphs.
In our first installment we dove into the career of rk Miles Street Stock Champion Dean Switser, Jr. but today we recognize someone who fought the good fight, a long fight, and came out on top. Sam Caron has been a far cry from the top throughout his career but through pure perseverance climbed the heap to become the 2022 Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger Champion.
Sam Caron was in the world of stock car racing from the very beginning. The Caron family name has been synonymous with racing in Vermont and New Hampshire since the 1970s. Uncle Larry Caron was a two-time Catamount Stadium champion and the 1984 Thunder Road ‘King of the Road’ who also took down a couple NASCAR Busch North Series wins in his career while Sam’s father Dennis and Uncles Gary and Richard also successfully dabbled in Flying Tiger and Street Stock racing at Catamount and Thunder Road. While Larry might have led the family by way of championships, Gary was no slouch either, nearly taking the 1995 American-Canadian Tour championship but missing out by a mere three-points to Williamstown’s Lance Ferno.
With help from his father Dennis, Sam joined the family hobby in 1997 by jumping headlong into the Thunder Road Late Model division while attempting several American-Canadian Tour events. Unfortunately for Sam, his introduction to stock car racing was less than impressive and for the better part of a decade he failed to win a Late Model event at Thunder Road or on the ACT Tour before finally hanging up the helmet in 2012.
Getting the bug once again, Sam Caron returned to Thunder Road in 2018, this time piloting a Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger. Starting off lack-lustre, Sam turned it all around on June 27th, 2019 by taking his first career win at Thunder Road before stealing two more in 2020, including the Flying Tiger Mini Milk Bowl. Although winless in 2021, Sam bounced back in 2022 to finish with one win, six top-5 and eleven top-10 finishes to claim the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger track championship ahead of Justin Prescott and Derrick Calkins. Once again for the first time in decades, the Caron’s Auto Body machine was on top at Thunder Road International Speedbowl as the pride of Chittenden County.
Sam Caron is prepared to defend the Flying Tiger championship with his Advanced Machine & Tool, Vermont Wholesale Lumber Chevrolet Monte Carlo starting on Sunday, May 7th with the 25th Community Bank N.A. 150. The epic opening weekend will feature the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models, PASS Modifieds and R&R Race Parts NH V-8 Street Stocks on Saturday, May 6th after the annual Thunder Road car show. Sunday, May 7th will feature the American-Canadian Tour, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, rk Miles Street Stocks and Burnett Scrap Metal Road Warriors.
For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, [email protected], or visit http://www.thunderroadvt.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ThunderRoadVT.
(Alan Ward photo)