Thunder Road SpeedBowl
“NEW BREED” TO TAKE ON LATE MODELS AT MEKKELSEN RV MEMORIAL DAY CLASSIC
Rookie Chip Grenier's Streeter Concrete #9
Late Model stock car drivers at Barre’s Thunder Road may be in for a surprise on Sunday.  Based on a trend of stellar performances by Thunder Road’s “new breed” young guns, a total changing of the guard may be next on the horizon.

Sophomore hometown racer Mike “Beetle” Bailey turned heads with a back-to-front run against an all-star American-Canadian Tour (ACT) field at the Merchants Bank 150 season opener earlier this month.  He backed it up by flirting with a “Triple Crown” sweep of the Casella Waste Management Mother’s Day event, winning his qualifying heat and the bonus-points semi-feature before finishing sixth in the 50-lap main event.

Rookie Chip Grenier of Northfield has produced solid results as well, winning his Merchants Bank 150 qualifier and finishing eighth in the Casella 50.  Defending Rookie of the Year Marcel Gravel of Wolcott ran in the lead pack for a majority of the Merchants Bank 150 before finishing a strong 11th, and former NAPA Tiger Sportsman Champion Shawn Fleury of Middlesex has shown signs of promise in the Late Model division this year.


DAVE DION REMEMBERS MEKKELSEN RV MEMORIAL DAY CLASSIC

Dave Dion in 2005

No stock car driver in the history of the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic, and perhaps the entire history of Barre’s Thunder Road, has had more success than “Dynamite” Dave Dion.  The Hudson, NH native, now living in Florida, won the spring holiday race a record nine times during his storied career.

He took time to remember the race recently.

“The Memorial Day Classic always had great meaning to the entire team,” Dion said.  “We always felt that the fact that all of us were military veterans played a big part in our magical, and often unlikely, success that day.  Memorial Day in Vermont has always been one of the fondest days in my life and will continue to be so.”

Dion’s first win the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic came in 1975, a year in which he dominated Late Model Sportsman racing at Thunder Road.  The Vietnam veteran won a second time the following year, and continued through 1978 for four consecutive victories.  A fifth win came in 1982, followed by another unprecedented four-year streak from 1989 to 1992.


HOAR WANTS TO JUMP START SEASON WITH FIRST MEKKELSEN RV MEMORIAL DAY CLASSIC WIN

Brian Hoar

Brian Hoar is looking for a spark to get his stock car racing season on the winning track.  With a pair of top-five finishes in three American-Canadian Tour (ACT) events this season, Hoar is trying to work his way back into the form that won his Goss Dodge team five ACT championships.  He wants to set off that magic spark at the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic at Barre’s Thunder Road this weekend.

Despite his winning record and past success at Thunder Road, Hoar has never been able to score in the 100-lap holiday event.  He came within two feet of the win in 1997, but was beaten to the finish line by multi-time “King of the Road” Chuck Beede.

“I’ve been going to the Memorial Day Classic since I was a kid,” said Hoar.  “It’s not an ACT Late Model Tour event, but it’s a very important race on the Thunder Road schedule.  I need to add a Memorial Day Classic win to my resume.”