Contributed by: ACT Staff
MERCHANTS BANK OPENS THUNDER ROAD APRIL 29, 2012
The 14th annual Merchants Bank 150 will open the 53rd season of stock car racing at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (TR) in Barre, VT on Sunday, April 29, 2012.
There have been nine different winners since the inaugural event in 1999. Jean Paul Cyr, Milton, VT, a former ACT multi-time champion and 2010 ‘King of the Road’ at the Speedbowl leads the list of winners with three Merchant Bank 150 wins (2002, 2004, and 2006).
“I have come to really like the Merchants Bank openers at Thunder Road. I was on a pretty good run from 2002 through 2006, winning every other year. Scott (Payea), Milton, VT stopped that win streak in 2008 when he backed up his 2007 win. I’m feeling pretty good about how our team is finally getting back on track after a couple tough years, and stopping Scott and Nick Sweet from tying the Merchants Bank opening record of three wins is a pretty good motivator going into this year’s race,” said Cyr.
Hometown favorite Nick Sweet from Barre, VT has won back-to-back opening day events and is not only the defending champion, but is considered by many to be the first who might win three in a row by capturing this year’s 150 lap event.
The Merchants Bank 150 is also the second race on the American Canadian Tour (ACT) schedule. In addition to Sweet and Payea, the Tour teams will have to face some of the best weekly Late Model racers in the country in the second of their 2012 point-counting Tour events. Defending Thunder Road Champion, and 2005 winner of the Merchants Bank 150, David Pembroke, along with three-time TR champion and 1999 winner Phil Scott, are just some of the Thunder Road teams that will test the Tour teams.
“I can’t wait for the Merchants Bank race. I love racing the ‘Road, and I love the competition we get from the great weekly racers at that place,” said Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. (Pole) from Hudson, NH. “It took me a few years and a lot of trips on the end of a wrecker to figure it out, but after winning some races there, and the way the crowd appreciates the racing, there really is no better short track to tackle”, finished Pole.
Thunder Road will open the Vermont State Late Model Championship Series with the Mekkelsen Memorial Day Classic 100 at the end of May. A number of teams that will be racing at Devil’s Bowl Speedway will likely visit the high-banked quarter mile to test and tune for that upcoming inaugural event during the Merchants Bank opener.
One of the largest and most competitive opening day fields of Late Models is now expected to be at Thunder Road on Sunday, April 29, 2012. They will be joined by a full field of Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman limited late model racers and a full field of Allen Lumber Street Stocks. Both divisions will be starting their 2012 track championship efforts.
The anticipated Hess Used Car Rough Rider Division is expected to open on the first weekly event, Sunday, June 10, 2012. More information will follow on the Thunder Road website.
Gates will open on Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 10:00am, and tickets can be purchased at the gate during practice on Saturday or Sunday morning. Adults will be only $20.00 and kids age 12 and under will be admitted free. Season passes for all 2012 Thunder Road events continue to be sold at the offices PO Box 296, Waterbury, VT 05676, or by calling 802.244.6963.