Barre, VT — The anticipation has been building for Officials, drivers, teams and fans as opening day for The Nation’s Site of Excitement, Barre’s Thunder Road International Speedbowl gets ever closer. Defending track champions Christopher Pelkey, Sam Caron and Dean Switser, Jr. are all set to return this Sunday, May 7t to jump start the 2023 season in year 64 for the venerable Vermont speedbowl. Along with the locals come the invaders as the American-Canadian Tour comes home to celebrate the 25th Annual Community Bank N.A. 150.
The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, rk Miles Street Stocks and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors are once again pulling strong numbers as they look to continue their growth over the last several years. Former rk Miles Street Stock champions Jeffrey Martin, Tommy ‘Thunder’ Smith, Jamie Davis and Gary ‘The Flying Farmer’ Mullen join Switser in the fan-favorite division. The ‘Crunch Bunch’ held a 30+ average-car-count last season and pre-season registrations look to keep that average steady for 2023. The Road Warriors also continue to grow new faces to battle against veteran highbankers like Neal Foster, Nate ‘Tater’ Brien, ‘Flyin’ Fred Fleury and the Sayers Brothers.
In the ‘Number One Support Division in North America’ former champions Mike Martin and Jason Woodard are looking at the possibility of a part-time schedule as they turn the wrenches for their sons in the Late Model ranks while Brendan Moodie returns to his favorite division to battle with Sam Caron. The door is open for young-guns like 2022 Mini Milk Bowl winner Logan Powers, Cameron Ouellette, Brandon Gray and Jason Pelkey. While young talent floods the Tiger ranks, don’t count out veterans Derrick Calkins, Robert Gordon or Mike Billado as they still have plenty left in the tank.
While the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model season starts on May 28th with the 60th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic, there are plenty of home-grown heroes ready to take on the ACT Touring stars. 2022 King of the Road Christopher Pelkey leads former crown-bearers Jean-Paul Cyr, Derrick O’Donnell, Bobby Therrien and Jason Corliss. Weekly Thunder Road stars like Kyle Pembroke, Tyler Cahoon, Cody Blake and rookies Kaiden Fisher and Cody Schoolcraft. Currently, the Community Bank 150 wins list is evenly split between Thunder Road weekly racers and ACT chasers, we’ll see who tips the scales this weekend!
“We’re all chomping at the bit,” said Thunder Road managing partner Cris Michaud. “We’ve put in a ton of work during the winter between upgrades at the track, working with the folks at SRX and trying new ideas for the schedule to build a spectacular 64th season at Thunder Road, we’re just ready to kick it off.”
The 25th Annual Community Bank N.A. 150 comes to Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road International Speedbowl on Sunday, May 7th. The stars and cars of the American-Canadian Tour go toe-to-toe with the weekly Thunder Road faithful of the Maplewood/Irving Late Models. Also on the docket will be the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, rk Miles Street Stocks and the Burnett Scrap Metal Road Warriors. Annual Class Day activities tp celebrate the 2022 track champions and the 2023 class of racers begins at 12:55pm with post time for the Community Bank 150 set for 1:30pm. Grandstands open at 10:00am on Sunday with general admission pricing set at $30 for adults, kids 12 to 6 are $10 with children 5 and under free!
Want to make it double? The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) invades Thunder Road on Saturday, May 6 to make it a doubleheader weekend to kick start the Thunder Road season. The PASS Super Late Models go for 150 laps along with the Kennebec Equipment PASS Modifieds in race #1 of the four-race Weston’s Automotive Challenge plus the R&R Race Parts Open Street Stock Series. Post time is set for 5:00pm following the annual Thunder Road Car Show during the morning beginning at 9:00am with practice sessions to follow. While the car show is free the Saturday Night Showdown general admission pricing is set at $20 for adults, $5 for children aged 12 to 6 with those 5 and under free!
For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, [email protected], or visit http://www.thunderroadvt.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ThunderRoadVT.
(Alan Ward photo)