MILTON — As a kid, Trevor Jaques sat in the stands and watched as the cars at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre sped around the track.
Now, many years later, Jaques, a resident of Milton, is in the driver's seat.
So far this season, Jaques has clinched two first place finishes at Thunder Road — in the road warriors races July 30 and Aug. 27. In nine of the 12 races he’s competed in this summer, he’s landed in the top 10.
Jaques first got into auto racing in 2005, when he was working on cars for other Vermont drivers. Most notably, he worked on the car of local Barney McRae, who competed in NASCAR races in the 1980s and 90s.
A few years later, Jaques struck out on his own and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he attended the NASCAR Institute.
“It’s always really been a dream of mine to do more than work on a car, but to race a car,” he said.
Jaques has spent much of his career as a driver racing enduro at Thunder Road, a race which typically consists of hundreds of laps. He later started competing in road warrior and street stock races, which use cars that can be bought by the general public.
“It’s basically any front-wheel drive, four-cylinder car that fits into the rulebook,” he said.
Jaques’ car, number 57, is currently sponsored by Kershner Signs, Black Beauty Driveway Sealing, True North Construction and Little One’s University, a child care center in Essex.
He said all drivers struggle to get sponsors when they are first starting out, it comes down to a lot of convincing and persuading of your talent and potential.
“When I was talking to Black Beauty about a sponsorship, he was really hemming and hawing about it and then finally what sold him on it is that my car number is the year he was born,” he said. “It’s little things like that make people want to invest in you and see you succeed.”
On race days, Jaques gets help with his car from friends like McRae, James Norton and the car’s owner Mark Beaulieu. The work is all volunteer, but Jaques said he pays them in food and drinks after the race.
Jaques is happy with how his 2020 season has gone so far.
Though being out of work earlier this year, due to the pause in all non-essential construction, was hard on his family financially, it had a silver lining — he had more time to build his car faster and better.
“We’ve had a fantastic run in the warriors races this year,” he said. “And there is still time left.”
When he isn’t racing, Jaques enjoys spending time with his wife and four kids in Milton, where they’ve lived for the past several years. He owns True North Construction and is a member of the Air National Guard.