Thunder Road SpeedBowl
The historic Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic marked the official start to weekly racing at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont on Sunday, May 28th. Fans and drivers have anxiously waiting to get back on track since April’s Merchants Bank opening event following the Casella Mother’s Day Sportsman Series 100 rained out on April 14. Over 136 race cars turned out for the 42nd running of the Memorial Day race. The Late Model division’s 100-lapper was not the only race that brought the fans to their feet as the NAPA Tiger Sportsman, Allen Lumber Street Stocks and Power Shift Warriors provided the fans with plenty of door-to-door action. (PHOTO: Matt White bounces off Thunder Road's front stretch wall during NAPA Tiger Sportsman action)

Veteran racers Joe Steffen from Essex Junction, VT and the “King of the Kingdom,” Reno Gervais, a resident of Island Pond, VT finished in the top two spots in Sunday’s Tiger Sportsman feature. During the 35-lap main event, `Double-O’ Joe Steffen, a former champion, had an eye on fellow former champion, Gervais. “I kept one eye on the rear view mirror, I knew that the 12 (Gervais) was on my outside, he’s not someone you want out there, he’s tough to beat.” (PHOTO BELOW: The top three NAPA Tiger Sportsman finishers with Bruce Mekkelsen (left to right), Justin Hart (3rd), Joe Steffen (winner) and Reno Gervais (2nd))

Gervias also commented on Steffen’s performance, “Our car wasn’t quite up to snuff today, I’m glad Joe won, I didn’t have much for him but I will soon!” Coming in third place was Justin Hart, the youngster from Williamstown, VT. Rounding out the top five were veteran Chuck Beede also of Williamstown and sophomore runner, Matt White from Northfield, VT.

It was youngster Joel Hodgdon from Craftsbury, VT who took the checkered flag in the Street Stock feature. In victory lane the very excited teen driver wished his grandfather a Happy Birthday. He exclaimed, “This is awesome” as he was handed his first place trophy in the winners circle.

The runner-up was Gary Mullen a resident of Tunbridge, VT. He had to hand it to Hodgdon, “The kid is quick, I didn’t have the fastest car, but I certainly had the second best car here today.” Finishing in the third spot was veteran driver David Allen from North. Troy, VT. “I came into this race second in points; this finish really helps our championship effort.” Allen unofficially moves atop the standings. (PHOTO RIGHT: Four-wide Allen Lumber Street Stock action down the back stretch)

Completing the top five were Hardwick, Vermont’s Joe Fecteau and Tim Potter from Plainfield, VT.

The always entertaining Warrior division put on an incredible show for the packed grandstands. As usual, the Warriors feature was packed full of action even though it went uncustomarily from green to checkered flag without a caution. Jeremy Perkins of Johnson, VT was victorious in the final feature of the day the second of his career. The runner up finisher was Kevin Streeter from Waitsfield, VT, and rounding out the top three was David Whitcomb from Elmore, VT. (PHOTO: Dust storms created by off-track excursions are just one of the obstacles competitors in the PowerShift Warrior class have to overcome)

The next event at Thunder Road is Sunday’s (June 4) Casella Mothers Day Classic, which was rained out on May 14th. The Mother’s Day event will feature a special 15-lap “Mama’s Boy” event for the Allen Lumber Street Stocks. The track held a Mother’s Day contest where children of all ages could nominate their mother to be a “Race Official for a Day”. Ten Moms were chosen from the essays received and have been assigned positions in race management including: announcer, scorer, race director, pace car driver, flagger, backstretch flagger, back gate, pit steward, technical inspector, and handicapper/pit announcer. Post time is 1:30 pm, Sunday, June 4th. Spectator gates will open at 10:00 am.