BARRE, Vt. – Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl honored its 2013 champions with the annual Banquet of Champions at the Barre Elks Club on Saturday.
Rookie Derrick O’Donnell received the top honors in the Late Model division, while Shawn Fleury and Bunker Hodgdon claimed the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen and Allen Lumber Street Stock Championships respectively.
O’Donnell was dominant in his first season behind the wheel of a late model at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement.” He claimed his first career late model win in the first point counting event of the season on Memorial Day weekend. He took home another victory just a few weeks later. To cap it off, the former Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman champion became the first rookie driver to claim a late model “King of the Road” title.
Thunder Road officials also handed out several special awards during the evening’s festivities. Radio Vermont’s Lee Kittell was awarded the Pete Hartt Memorial Media Award. Kittell produced the broadcasts for ACT Radio Network on Radio Vermont stations and has become the familiar voice of ACT and Thunder Road radio ads. Kittell was honored for his commitment to stock car racing in the Northeast.
Longtime Thunder Road and ACT official Dan Bigelow was awarded the annual Ken Squier Award for his dedication to the “Nation’s Site of Excitement.” Bigelow was honored for his versatile efforts in the pit area at Thunder Road and at ACT events.
Middlesex’s Shawn Fleury made history in the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman division. He became the first three-time champion of the division, which began in 1982. He also sits second on the division’s all-time wins list after claiming his 14th victory earlier this year. Cameron Ouellette of Barre was honored for his Tiger Rookie of the Year title.
Bunker Hodgdon of Hardwick celebrated his first career Allen Lumber Street Stock title. The young veteran secured his fourth career Street Stock win during his championship campaign. Jennifer Getty was awarded the annual Ed Carroll Sportsmanship Award for her positive attitude on the track and in the Street Stock pit area.
Tyler Austin of East Calais earned the Doc Nielsen Rookie Award along with his Allen Lumber Street Stock Rookie of the Year honors. The 16-year-old showed tremendous improvement all season long and will be fun to watch as he climbs the ranks at Thunder Road.
The Banquet of Champions officially concludes the 2013 Thunder Road season. The 55th season of stock car racing at Thunder Road will commence on the weekend of April 26-27 with the 16th annual Merchants Bank 150.