The 56th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic at Barre’s Thunder Road is just days away from coming to the starting line. The first green flag for the annual holiday event will fly at 1:30pm on Sunday, May 27, kicking off a busy afternoon at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement”.
Up to 120 cars are expected on one of the most popular days for racing in North America. The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models join Thunder Road’s local Maplewood/Irving Late Models, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. With more than 500 laps of action planned, fans will be getting their money’s worth on Sunday.
“Memorial Day has always been a big day at Thunder Road, and this year is no exception,” Thunder Road co-owner Cris Michaud said. “It’s been three weeks since the opener, and we know our teams and fans are ready to get back to the track. We think every division is going to put on a fantastic show.”
Each class of racers has multiple storylines to follow on Sunday. The PASS North championship battle is heating up as they make the first of two visits this season to the Barre high banks. Defending champion Travis Benjamin of Morrill, ME sits just two points ahead of fellow former champion D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, NH. Reid Lanpher, Derek Griffith, and Garrett Hall are also in the hunt.
A number of drivers familiar to Thunder Road fans will also be going for the win in the 150-lap event. Defending “King of the Road” Bobby Therrien, current American-Canadian Tour point leader Scott Payea, former Community Bank N.A. 150 winner Brad Babb, and former Labor Day Classic winner Travis Stearns are among those who have entered Sunday’s race.
Following the PASS feature, the Memorial Day Classic 100 will open the 2018 “King of the Road” chase for the Maplewood/Irving Late Models. While Therrien does not plan to defend the title, a number of top racers are eager to take his place atop the throne. Opening Day winner Jason Corliss, 2017 runner-up Trampas Demers, 2016 track champion Scott Dragon, and perennial contender Cody Blake are just some of those who will look to start their season strong. Kyle Pembroke, Marcel J. Gravel, Eric Chase, and former Memorial Day Classic winner Tyler Cahoon are among others expected to do battle.
The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers have experienced large growth already this season and will look to back it up with great action. Morrisville’s Dwayne Lanphear won on Opening Day and is hunting for his second track championship 27 years after his first one. But he’ll have to contend with Trevor Lyman, Mike Martin, Joe Steffen, Cameron Ouellette and others who have something to say about it.
In the Allen Lumber Street Stocks, Matthew Smith will look to continue his winning ways, while Stephen Martin and Logan Powers both hope to bounce back after they tangled racing for the lead late in the Opening Day event. The Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors put on one of the best races of the opener, as James Dopp won a back-and-forth duel with Derek Farnham, and they should thrill the crowd once again.
Qualifying for the 56th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic gets underway at 1:30pm on Sunday, May 27. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids ages 12 and under. The pits will open at 7:30am and the front gates open at 10:00am. The full schedule of events is available at www.thunderroadvt.com.