Thunder Road is getting set to open its 59th season of racing on Sunday, April 29 with the Community Bank N.A. 150 for the American-Canadian Tour (ACT). The 20th edition of the event has teams and fans buzzing as they prepare for another year atop Quarry Hill.
Racers from all across the Northeastern U.S. and Quebec are expected for the event that has served as the traditional season opener since 1999. With the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Allen Lumber Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors also on the card, a huge field of race cars is anticipated.
The opener comes a year after Cris Michaud and Pat Malone took ownership of the track from founder Ken Squier and late promoter Tom Curley. With a full year under their belts, both are looking to build on a 2017 season that saw the speedway named one of the top-3 short tracks in the United States by Speed51.com.
“We can’t wait to get the season underway,” Michaud said. “We’ve made a number of capital improvements over the winter that we’ll be unveiling on Opening Day. We’re also starting to see the benefits of the work done in recent years to solidify our weekly divisions so they’ll continue to be successful long-term. All we need now is for the snow to finish melting!”
The Community Bank N.A. 150 is the first in a 19-event Thunder Road schedule. Many popular events from previous seasons have returned, including the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic on May 27, the Aubuchon Hardware Holiday Spectacular on July 3, the VP Racing Fuels Vermont Governor’s Cup on July 19, and the Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic on September 2. The Myers Container Services Triple Crown Series for the Flying Tigers will also be back for its second season. The Road Warriors will compete at 10 events after a wildly successful return in 2017.
Several new schedule additions will also be seen this summer. The Street Stocks will take part in a new Twin State Series with Speedway 51, featuring Thunder Road events on June 21 and August 5. A third day of racing has also been added for the Vermont Milk Bowl weekend. Milk Bowl Friday presented by Northfield Savings Bank on September 28 will feature the Pro All Stars Series, the North East Mini Stock Tour, and the 8-cylinder Street Stock Showdown Series.
“The Community Bank 150 is just the first of many great events this year,” Michaud said. “We want Thunder Road to be a showplace for Northeast short track racing. To do that, you need to take care of your weekly racers while also bringing in the regional series that fans want to see. We think the schedule has something positive for everyone.”
The 59th season of Thunder Road racing will begin on Sunday, April 29 at 1:30pm. The Community Bank N.A. 150 will feature the ACT Late Model Tour plus many of the stars of the Maplewood/Irving Thunder Road Late Models. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors will complete a packed day of racing. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids age 12 and under.
The weekend begins on Saturday, April 28 with the annual Downtown Barre Car Show. Cars from all divisions will line the streets of Barre from 9:00am to 12:00pm followed by a parade to the race track. An open practice session will follow.