Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Mekkelsen Memorial Day Classic Kick off LM Chase
Thunder Road's weekly Late Model point battle begins tomorrow with one of the biggest races of the season, the 42nd annual Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic. Some 30 cars are expected to attempt to qualify for the event, one of two 100 lappers on tap for 2006, including several ACT Tour competitors. The Tour drivers have the weekend off following a partial rain-out last Sunday at New Hampshire's Lee USA Speedway.

Cris Michaud of Williamstown, Vermont is the last of the 2005 Thunder Road title holders to begin defense of a championship. The NAPA Tiger Sportsman, Allen Lumber Street Stocks and Power Shift Junk Yard Warriors began their title hunts at April's Merchants Bank 150 opening event at the ¼ mile oval.

The Memorial Day Classic is a historical race for the Barre speedplant. The prestige of the event is drawn from the extensive list of past winners including the inaugural victor, Roy "Pappy" Forsythe, who captured the checkered flag in 1961. The list of previous champions reads like a who's who of late model racing across the region. Among those who've claimed victory in the Memorial Day Classic are legendary Canadian racer, Jean-Paul Cabana (4 wins), Bobby Dragon, Dave Dion (9 wins), Robbie Crouch (3 wins), and others.

Last year, the victory went to second generation driver, Trampas Demers of South Burlington, VT. “Winning the Mekkelsen event was such an accomplishment. Thunder Road is a tough track with competitors who are equally as tough,” Demers said. “To have my name on the list of previous winners with legends like Bobby Dragon and Jean-Paul Cabana is remarkable.”

Reigning champion, Michaud won the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic 100 as well as his first Late Model title in 2001. If history repeats itself, and he is able to hold off hard chargers like Dave Pembroke, Jamie Fisher and Chad Wheeler to win the 100 lap event, another championship could be in the cards. The 42-year-old racer is going for his third straight title and fourth overall, which would vault him over Phil Scott (1996, ’98, 2002) and Chuck Beede (1992, ’93, ’94) for most title’s held at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement”. Michaud, who also won the championship in 2001 and 2004 is ready for the chase.

“It’s been a long winter, but my crew and I are ready to go for it again. There are a lot of tough competitors and staying out of trouble each race is always important when in contention for a championship, but we are focused on what we need to do in order to be the car to beat each week,” he said.

Post time for tomorrow's 42nd annual Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic is 1:30 pm. Spectator gates open at 10:00 am. Adult admission is $10.00, kids (ages 6-12) are $3.00 and the "Family Fare" is $20.00 (for any two adults and two kids, ages 6-12)

PREVIOUS WINNERS
MEMORIAL DAY CLASSIC
YEAR DRIVER
1961 Roy Forsythe
1962 Paul Martel
1963 Russ Ingerson
1964 Ronnie Marvin
1965 Jean-Paul Cabana
1966 No Event
1967 Russ Ingerson
1968 Ron Barcomb
1969 Bobby Dragon
1970 Jim Gates
1971 George Horne
1972 Jean-Paul Cabana
1973 Jean-Paul Cabana
1974 No Event - RAIN
1975 Dave Dion
1976 Dave Dion
1977 Dave Dion
1978 Dave Dion
1979 No Event
1980 Mike Barry
1981 No Event
1982 Dave Dion
1983 Robbie Crouch
1984 Robbie Crouch
1985 Joey Kourafas
1986 Robbie Crouch
1987 Kevin Lepage
1988 Jean-Paul Cabana
1989 Dave Dion
1990 Dave Dion
1991 Dave Dion
1992 Dave Dion
1993 Mike Weeden
1994 Derek Lynch
1995 Ralph Nason
1996 Kip Stockwell
1997 Chuck Beede
1998 Greg Blake
1999 Phil Scott
2000 Pat Corbett
2001 Cris Michaud
2002 Joey Laquerre
2003 Pete Fecteau
2004 Joe Becker
2005 Trampas Demers