Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Local author Erik E. Esckilsen read and signed his third novel for young-adult readers, The Outside Groove (Houghton Mifflin, May 2006), on Wed., May 31, at Barnes & Noble, South Burlington, at 7 p.m. Nearly 50 people attended the event, which was free and open to the public, and marked the books official launch.[image4_right]

In writing The Outside Groove, the Burlington, Vermont, native Esckilsen conducted extensive research at Barres Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, where he interviewed race drivers and track officials and also drove a street-stock car on the high-banked,quarter-mile oval. I realized, when I returned to the pits after my practice run, that some of the drivers had been watching me make my way around the track, Esckilsen says. I doubt anyone was impressed by my skills. Writing about racing is definitely more my speed. In the books acknowledgments, the author credits, among other American-Canadian Tour (ACT) officials, Director of Racing Tom Curley and 2000 Late Model track champion Tracie Bellerose, who is credited with inspiring the novel.

Jason Corliss is your average teenager; he enjoys music, cars and hanging out with his friends. The 18 year-old (HAPPY BIRTHDAY JASON 5/30), Twinfield Union School senior from Plainfield, Vermont has been a regular at Thunder Road since he was a toddler. Parents Jim and Annette would bring Jason and his two older siblings to the mile oval religiously every Thursday night. As a child Jason would sit in the grandstands with neighbor (and fellow Allen Lumber Street Stock competitor) Tim Potter and play with their matchboxes while watching Tims uncle, Mike (Potter) race in the Tiger Sportsman division (current day Late Models). When Jason was seven-years old his father joined the Allen Lumber Street Stock division for one season of competition. Two years later, his father joined the crew of then rookie Late Model driver, Cris Michaud. When Jason was old enough to enter the pits, he joined his father and sister on the #6 crew. However, after being involved in two of Michauds championship ventures, Jason decided that he had the racing bug and wanted to be behind the wheel.

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 Aprils Merchants Bank opening event following the Casella Mothers 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 divisions 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)

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