Barre, VT — It’s time for another year’s installment of Rookies at The Road and 2023 is once again looking bright for new teams and new cars ready to take on the challenge of Thunder Road’s 64-year-old highbanks. Between the established stars moving up to the next division and a strong showing of new faces and names ready to grace the Barre, Vermont asphalt, the future looks bright and so do the upcoming battles for Rookie of the Year.
After averaging over 30 cars per event in 2022, the rk Miles Street Stocks once again lead the way in the rookie count for the upcoming season. Ryan Foster, the former Burnett Scrap Metal Road Warriors winner and front runner from Waterbury, has taken the step up to the Street Stocks to take on the most competitive four-cylinder division in New England. Shae Wheeler from Waterbury Center is ready to take on the Street Stocks this season as is local Barre driver Logan Farrell. Braintree’s Cole Badger, Georgia’s Paul Rocheleau and Burlington’s Travis Gay, son of ‘The Biffer’ Mike Gay, have also taken steps to join the division for the first time.
The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger rookie class for 2023 is led by several former rk Miles Street Stock drivers. 2022 Street Stock Rookie of the Year Zach Audet from Morrisville and 2022 Mini Milk Bowl victor Luke Peters of Groton have jumped up to the “Number One Support Division in North America’ as has former Street Stock winner Tyler Pepin from Barre. Newcomers into the Tiger field include Moretown’s Owen Cheney, Alburgh’s Jim Paquette and Derby’s Nathan Hamblett who will also make some trips to New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park throughout the season.
As reported previously, the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models Rookie of the Year contest will be one to follow all season long. Longtime Thunder Road drivers Justin Prescott and Kaiden Fisher lead the way as a pair who’ve made their way up the ladder system at the venerable Barre speedplant while also having deep family roots in Vermont and Northeast racing. An exciting addition has been thrown in the pot, planning to haul in from Claremont, New Hampshire is Cody Schoolcraft. The former Claremont Speedway standout is ready to have a go at Thunder Road and is ready to take on the pair of establishment drivers for the rookie honors.
“I enjoy seeing that we have a mix of drivers moving up the ladder and those coming in who maybe don’t have a lot of experience here,” said Thunder Road managing partner Cris Michaud. “I think it shows that our ladder system continues to work but also shows that Thunder Road still creates that interest to get people involved in motorsports sixty-four years into this adventure.”
Thunder Road opens with an epic 25th annual Community Bank N.A. lid-lifter weekend. It all starts with the PASS Super Late Models, PASS Modifieds and R&R Street Stock Open Series on Saturday, May 6th following the annual Thunder Road car show starting at 9:00am. Sunday, May 7th will feature the silver anniversary for the American-Canadian Tour Community Bank 150 plus the start of the championship season for the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers and rk Miles Street Stocks with the Burnett Scrap Metal Road Warriors in tow.
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)