When the stock car racers at Barre’s Thunder Road get into trouble, it’s Dick Blake and his wrecker crew who get them out. At 84, Blake runs the tow truck at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement,” where fans of all ages enjoy fast cars, fried dough and checkered flags.
VL: How long have you been running the wrecker?
DB: This will be my 53rd year. I was going to retire after the 50th year, but Ken Squier and Tom Curley said I’ve got to stay with ’em … as long as they own the track. I said as long as I’m able, I’ll do it.
VL: Is it a job or volunteer work?
DB: We volunteer, but I get a little gas money every once in a while, and I get good advertisement after all these years, and I enjoy doing it.
VL: Have you ever had a car stuck that you couldn’t get out?
DB: Never. We’ve seen ’em over the fence into the parking lot a couple of times; they’ve been everywhere. I’ve probably picked up a car on every inch of that track over the years — on top of the wall, over the bank in the trees. We’ve seen some pretty mysterious accidents and have been lucky nobody’s been killed.
VL: Where’s the best spot to watch the races?
DB: Off the fourth turn. That’s where a lot of the action happens, or starts to happen.