Shaw Etches Name Into Labor Day Classic Granite Monument

DJ Shaw (#04VT), Shawn Swallow (#04NH), Derrick O’Donnell (#60NH) and Nick Sweet (behind Swallow outside O’Donnell) in the ladies’ doubles for the 44th Federal Credit New England Union Labor Day Classic at Thunder Road. (Photo by Alan Ward)

BARRE, Vermont — While parts of Vermont were blanketed in cold fog and rain showers, Barre’s Thunder Road was nothing but sunshine and scorching summer heat for the 44th annual New England Federal Labor Day Classic Sunday’s Credit Union.

As one of the crown jewels of the annual Thunder Road calendar, the NEFCU Labor Day Classic brought out the best and the brightest from all four divisions in attendance, leading to fierce battles during the iconic holiday weekend event.

The ranks of the US-Canada tour were once again flooded with Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model loyalists.

Although not a points tally event for the Thunder Road Track Championship, all of the top racers were in attendance, including points leader Christopher Pelkey ​​and top contenders Scott Dragon, Kyle Pembroke and Stephen Donahue.

The Labor Day Classic itself was green-flagged by longtime Thunder Road supporters Chip Grenier and Brendan Moodie, followed closely by three road kings Jason Corliss and Derrick O’Donnell.

Throughout the race, the top four weekly riders Pelkey, Dragon, Pembroke and Donahue were in a constant herd in the middle of the field looking for a position while fifth-place points fighter Marcel Gravel lived through the roller coaster of his life.

Early on, Gravel fell back last in the field before turning the wick on his Pete’s Equipment Toyota Camry. After taking second place behind Jason Corliss, tragedy struck on lap 184 when something was wrong.

Gravel ended his day early, a true contender for victory but nonetheless stuck next to the pits to watch the closing laps.

Corliss would lose his left front tire on the same lap, allowing Granite Staters Shawn Swallow and DJ Shaw to battle for the final fifteen laps.

After standing side by side until the end, Shaw narrowly edged out Swallow at the line to engrave his name next to his father, Dale Shaw, on the classic granite Labor Day monument.

At the end of the day, rookie contender Stephen Martin held the best finish of the Thunder Road regulars after taking seventh place.

The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers event was won by Cameron Ouellette.

The Rk Miles Street Stock event was won by James Dopp, while Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors first place went to Frank Putney.

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