Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Memorial Day Classic Doubleheader up Next at Thunder Road

Stock car racing fans will have a new reason to celebrate Memorial Day on the weekend of Sat./Sun., May 24/25, as a doubleheader for the ages comes to Barre, VT’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl.  The American-Canadian Tour Late Models will be in town for the 46th Annual Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic, and will be joined for the first time at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement” by the open-wheel True Value Modified Racing Series.  Even more reason to celebrate is the ticket price: At just $20 for adult general admission or only $40 for a “Family” ticket for any two adults and two children (12 and under), the prices are the best racing bargain in New England.

The Modifieds have been absent from Thunder Road’s 1/4-mile, high-banked track for more than 40 years, and will return with former TVMRS champions Kirk Alexander of West Swanzey, NH and Dwight Jarvis of Ascutney, VT, top drivers Les Hinckley of Windsor Locks, CT, Louie Mechalides of North Tyngsboro, MA, and rookie sensation David Pinkham of Buxton, ME.

The ACT Late Model Tour visited Thunder Road for the 10th Annual Merchants Bank 150 on May 4, with Milton, VT youngster and current point leader Scott Payea taking the checkered flag.  Payea will be joined by Série ACT Castrol Champion and Chittenden Milk Bowl winner Patrick Laperle of Montréal, ACT and Thunder Road standout John Donahue of Graniteville, VT, and New Hampshire’s Randy Potter and Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk.

Donahue Scores at Thunder Road

Late Model stock car driver John Donahue of Graniteville, VT scored a popular victory in the 50-lap Harvest Equipment Mother’s Day Special at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl in Barre Sunday evening.  Donahue, who started seventh in the 28-car field, was in the midst of a stellar battle for the lead with Trampas Demers before the caution flag flew for a wreck on lap 40.  During the caution period, Demers’ car suffered a driveline failure, ending his chances for the night.

Following the restart, Donahue was able to stretch his lead out to a three car-length margin over Hyde Park’s Eric Williams.  Donahue and Williams crossed the finish line in first and second, respectively.

Mike Bailey of South Barre posted a career-best third-place finish after holding off Jeffersonville’s Joe Becker.  Bailey demolished his car in a qualifying crash at last week’s Merchants Bank 150, and nearly crashed again in Harvest Equipment qualifying.  Becker and his team were instrumental in the repair of Bailey’s car.  Jerry Lesage of Winooski finished in fifth place.

Late Model Championship Season Opens Sunday at Thunder Road

The Late Model stock car championship season opens on Sunday, May 11 at Barre’s Thunder Road with the 50-lap Harvest Equipment Mother’s Day Special.  “King of the Road” Track Champion Dave Pembroke of Middlesex will begin his title defense against the likes of Cris Michaud, Phil Scott, Joe Becker, Jamie Fisher, and 2007 Rookie of the Year Chip Grenier.

Pembroke, a network administrator for Vermont State Employees Credit Union, a sponsor on his #44VT Chevrolet Impala, finished third in last weekend’s American-Canadian Tour Merchants Bank 150 at Thunder Road after an exciting duel with eventual winner Scott Payea.

“I’m pretty excited to get back on the track, especially after last weekend,” said Pembroke.  “We had a new car built by Dale Shaw over the winter, and it was just about perfect the first time out of the box.”