After multiple delays due to the effects of a long, snowy Northeast winter, both Thunder Road Speedbowl and the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) are ready to finally drop the green flag on the 2018 season. The 20th Community Bank N.A. 150 will go to post this Sunday, May 6 to kick off the 59th season at Thunder Road and the 33rd year for ACT racing.
Both the track and series spent much of April waiting out lingering snow, water, and mud throughout the region. But better conditions have finally arrived over the past week with a promising weekend forecast in store. All the while, the excitement has continued to build for one of the biggest events of the year.
The ACT Late Model Tour will take center stage this Sunday as they fire up the engines for their 10-race schedule. The Community Bank N.A. 150 will feature many of ACT’s biggest names along with the stars of Thunder Road’s Maplewood/Irving Late Models.
For ACT, the event will begin a frantic opening stretch. Due to a series of postponements, the ACT Late Model Tour will be in action the next three weekends. They head to Lee USA Speedway for the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup on Saturday, May 12 followed by the Summer Showdown Series opener at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday, May 20. As such, the next few weeks will go a long way towards determining the 2018 title contenders.
Defending ACT U.S. Champion Scott Payea of Colchester, VT and reigning Série ACT Champion Jonathan Bouvrette of Blainville, QC will both be looking for this year’s crown. Payea, last year’s Community Bank N.A. 150 winner, is an early favorite to go back-to-back. Bouvrette will try to join Patrick Laperle as the only drivers to win both ACT U.S. and Série ACT titles.
They will have to contend with a number of top racers looking for their first ACT championship. Rowley, MA’s Eddie “The Outlaw” MacDonald immediately became one of the biggest threats when he entered for the full season. Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert and Lebanon, NH’s Rich Dubeau are looking to build on top-5 overall performances in 2017.
Barre, VT’s Christopher Pelkey has recently entered the fray, as the former Thunder Road Rookie of the Year will run the full schedule for car owner David Boyce. Rowland Robinson Jr., Chip Grenier, Bryan Mason, and Corey Mason are among others who could find a path to the title.
On Sunday, they will have to battle the best Thunder Road has to offer. Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg, VT and Scott Dragon of Milton, VT, the last two “Kings of the Road”, will be on hand Sunday, as will defending Vermont Milk Bowl Champion Jason Corliss of Barre, VT. Former weekly winners Trampas Demers, Kyle Pembroke, and Matt White are among those who will join them. St-Denis, QC’s Patrick Laperle has entered the event and will try to bring his first Community Bank N.A. 150 trophy home to Canada.
The first battle of the ACT and Thunder Road seasons will begin at 1:30pm this Sunday, May 6. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors join the ACT Late Model Tour for a full afternoon of racing. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids age 12 and under. The pits will open at 8:00am, the front gates will open at 10:00am, and Class Day ceremonies will begin at 12:55pm.
The Thunder Road Car Show on Saturday, May 5 will preview the upcoming season. All divisions will be on the track from 9:00am to 12:00pm to greet fans and show off their cars. Other attractions include the Race to Read Bounce House provided by Real Bounce of Barre, live music from local band RumbleCaddy, and a pit stop competition at 10:30am for the 2017 champions. The Car Show will be followed by a Test & Tune session from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.