The Allen Lumber Street Stock division at Thunder Road Speedbowl is guaranteed to have a different champion in 2015. Defending Champion Tommy Smith is moving up to the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen, which opens the door for a number of contenders to ascend to the Street Stock Championship.
2014 Street Stock runner-up Alan Maynard looks to lead the charge. The Fairfax, VT driver finished in the Top 10 in all 18 races. His impressive run of consistency saw him fall 10 points short of Smith. The University of Vermont associate professor returns this year with the same car and a fresh determination to capture the title.
“We don’t really load up every week to come run third or 10th or 12th. We come to win every week,” Maynard said. “There are probably people that come just for fun, but winning is fun to us, and not winning is not fun to us. It’s a pretty simple equation, I think, on a day-to-day basis. We prepare to win, and we prepare to win championships. Anything short of that is a disappointment.”
Hardwick, VT brothers Jaden and Jamon Perry will also factor into the championship hunt. Both are in their second full season at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement.” Jaden won two races in 2014 and placed third in the final point standings. Jamon got his first career win in the August 28 event and finished seventh in points.
Fellow Hardwick driver Bunker Hodgdon will be trying to recapture the title belt. The 2013 Street Stock Champion has built a new Volkswagen Gulf Street Stock with his familiar number 83 after finishing fifth in the final standings, just 23 points out of first.
“I’ve got to find that balance between aggressiveness and patience,” Hodgdon said. “I was a little too patient last year. You’ve got to find that balance, and you’ve got to take the opportunity when it’s there.”
The list of drivers to watch is a long one. Wolcott, VT’s Jamie Davis had three wins in 2014 and will be back to chase an elusive first title, along with fellow veterans Garry Bashaw of Lincoln and Dave Whitcomb of Morrisville. Young drivers such as Kyle Streeter of Waitsfield, Tyler Austin of East Calais, and Marcel J. Gravel of Wolcott will all return after winning races in 2014.
“I think the division is strong,” Hodgdon added. “With the rules package the way it is, and the tire rule where we can only buy so many, I think the division is only going to grow from here.”
The Street Stocks will begin their championship chase at Thunder Road’s 56th season opener on Sunday, May 3 as part of the ACT Merchant’s Bank 150. Post time is 1 p.m. Saturday, May 2 will see the annual Thunder Road Car Show on Barre’s Main Street from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by the stock car parade to the track and an open practice session for all divisions. This practice session is open to the public.