Wednesday, August 8th
BARRE, Vt. -- If you've been to the Nation's Site of Excitement this year, you have probably seen Cody Blake's 99 car finishing near the front of the pack. The Barre native has recorded 9 top 10 finishes to go along with 2 wins, putting him in the title race all year long.
"We're in fourth right now, which, that's where we want to be for now.", says Cody.
Since it can be difficult for drivers to get a view of the whole track while they're in the heat of the race, teams include spotters at the top of the grandstand to guide them. But Blake has a bit of an advantage over most drivers. His spotter is a former Thunder Road Track champion, his father Greg Blake.
"Most spotters that do real well or whatever, they're either previous racers or been around the sport a long time.", says Greg. "And they understand what's happening so we click pretty good most of the time."
"Memorial Day, we got to put our name on the same piece of granite as him, so we're gonna try to do it again. Out front, they have a list of the champions and we want to put our name right next to his.", adds Cody.
But not even Greg was the first member of the Blake clan to get involved at Thunder Road
"My grandfather was a cop up in the grandstands for years and years.", says Cody.
"And my mom used to sell tickets when I was a kid so yeah, we've been around a while.", adds Greg.
And one member of that first generation is still around every week.
"My great uncle, Uncle Dick, he still runs the tow truck. He's been here since day one, so he knows. He's watched more laps around this track than anyone else, I can promise you that.", says Cody.
"I sat up in the stands up there for the first two years, then we started having our own car up here.", says Dick Blake. "Then my nephew started driving, Greg. So we've been in the racing business for a long time and I've had my wrecker service here ever since. I've picked up a car on every inch of that track, I promise."
The 87-year-old didn't plan to stick around the track this long, but says there are worse places to be.
"We've tipped them over and did a good job, and everyone wants us to keep doing it.", says Dick. "I'd like to get done. I thought I was gonna get done when I was 50 years up here but they won't let me. But I guess I still like it up here, something to do and I enjoy seeing my grandnephew race."
And given how ingrained the Blake family is at the high banks, it hard to imagine them walking away any time soon.
"It's crazy how supportive my family is.", says Cody. "There's not even, I couldn't even name them all, it's just you know I probably have 15-20 family and friends that come every week and support us, and we just try and do well for them."
"It's...it's always been very important to all of us. It's just a way of life.", adds Greg.