Thunder Road SpeedBowl

Stock car racing fans have long counted on their local television news stations for accurate and timely reports on racing throughout the region.  The 2007 season at Barre’s Thunder Road, along with the traveling American-Canadian Tour, is jam-packed with racing action, and both WCAX-TV 3 (Burlington, VT) and WPTZ NewsChannel 5 (Plattsburgh, NY) are geared up to bring race fans the best coverage available.

WCAX Sports will cover all Thunder Road events on a weekly basis, and will have video segments prepared for both live television news broadcasts and for viewing online at  Highlights from the Casella Waste Management Mother’s Day Extravaganza are currently featured on the WCAX website, and Joey Laquerre’s exciting victory in the Casella 100 was named the number-one play of the week in Mike McGill’s popular “Top 3 on 3” segment.


Roy "Pappy" Forsythe won the first Memorial Day event in 1961 driving this car owned by George Barber

The Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic 100 is more than a stock car race at Barre’s Thunder Road.  It is the event with the longest history at the famed ¼-mile oval, and is among the oldest continuously running short track events in United States.  The list of past winners reads like a “who’s who” of northeastern stock car racing, and winners are often referred to, throughout their entire careers, as champions of the event.  This season marks the 45th running of the race since its inception in 1961.

Roy “Pappy” Forsythe of Keene, NH won the inaugural Memorial Day Classic driving a flathead-powered Ford coupe.  Forsythe won nine more feature races that season, setting a record that still stands in 2007.  Legendary Canadian racer Jean-Paul Cabana won four times from 1965 to 1988, topped only by Hudson, NH’s Dave Dion, a nine-time champion of the event.  Dion won the event four years running on two separate occasions – the first from 1975 through 1978, the second from 1989 through 1992.  Dion also won in 1982.  Other past winners include champion drivers Robbie Crouch, Joey Kourafas, Russ Ingerson, Jean-Paul Cyr, Kevin Lepage, and Joey Laquerre.

MEET: Mike Bailey

Driver: Mike “Beetle” Bailey
Hometown: Barre, VT
Car: #00 ACT Late Model
Sponsors: DB Design, Inc./D+D Smokehouse/Bob’s Camera/Jet Service Envelope
Began Racing: 1995, Thunder Road, Allen Lumber Street Stock division

Quick Q&A…
TR: What was the greatest race you’ve been in?
Beetle: I’d say the 1998 Street Stock Mini Milk Bowl at Thunder Road.  It was the final race of the year and was five points behind Kris Grout for the championship.  I made one point in the heat race, and then I ended up winning the overall feature.  Kris had a bad run and I ended up winning the championship.

TR: You spent a long time in the Tiger Sportsman division, what was your favorite moment there?
Beetle: When I finished second to Shawn Fleury in the 100-lapper at Thunder Road in 2005, I felt like we finally had it all together.  We had won championships at Groveton, but Thunder Road is so much harder to figure out.  I felt like we really were at the top of our game at that point.

TR: What has been your favorite track?
Beetle: Thunder Road, of course.