The Thunder returns to Barre on Sunday, May 27 at 1:30pm as Thunder Road wraps up the month of May with the 56th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic. With the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models joining the hometown Thunder Road favorites as part of a 5-division card, a big holiday afternoon of racing is in store as the 59th season of competition kicks into high gear.
The PASS North Series has been bringing their high-octane action to the Memorial Day weekend event since 2015. Last year’s track repaving kicked things up a notch as they ran some of the fastest laps ever recorded at Thunder Road. With another year to adjust to the new surface, a thriller of an event is expected.
The top Super Late Model drivers in the region will look to take home the first of two PASS events at Thunder Road in 2018. Multi-time PASS Champions Travis Benjamin of Morrill, ME and D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, NH are neck-and-neck in this season’s early standings. Hudson, NH’s Derek Griffith and Scarborough, ME’s Garrett Hall have also been running strong, while Worcester, MA’s Derek Ramstrom is a multi-time PASS winner. Turner, ME’s Glen Luce has struggled early this year but scored a PASS win at Thunder Road in 2016.
Multiple drivers with ACT Late Model success have entered the event as well. Hinesburg’s Bobby Therrien won the 2017 Memorial Day Classic for the Thunder Road Late Models and will look to take down the PASS portion this year. Auburn, ME’s Travis Stearns triumphed in the 2013 Labor Day Classic.
Thunder Road’s popular local classes will join PASS to give Northeast racing fans a full afternoon of breathtaking competition. The 100-lap Memorial Day Classic for the Maplewood/Irving Late Models will also open the 2018 “King of the Road” chase. A full field is expected for the long-distance event, which will see the winner’s name engraved in granite on the track’s monuments.
Contenders such as Community Bank 150 winner Jason Corliss of Barre, 2016 track champion Scott Dragon of Milton, and former Vermont Governor’s Cup winner Cody Blake of Barre will look to start their point-counting season on the right foot. Former Memorial Day Classic winners like Trampas Demers, Tyler Cahoon, Corliss, and Therrien are expected to try and get their name in granite for a second time.
In other action, the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers and Allen Lumber Street Stocks will continue their 2018 title chases. Morrisville’s Dwayne Lanphear and Essex Jct.’s Matthew Smith sit in the early catbird seats after their respective wins on Opening Day. But both will have plenty of challengers as they look to continue their hot start.
Flying Tiger racers Joel Hodgdon, Matt Potter, and Mike Billado were among those who impressed on Opening Day, while other contenders such as Trevor Lyman and Kyle Streeter will look to bounce back after disappointing runs. On the Street Stock side, Jeffrey Martin, Gary Mullen, Stephen Martin, and defending champion Jamie Davis all looked the part of early-season frontrunners. The Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors will round out the day’s excitement as James Dopp goes for his second straight win.
The first qualifying heat for the 56th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic will roll onto the track at 1:30pm on Sunday, May 27. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids ages 12 and under. More than 500 laps of racing are planned across all divisions, making it one of the best values of the season. The full schedule of events will be released in the near future.