Thunder Road is ready to celebrate its 60th season of competition in style. The track has set its official 60th-anniversary bash for Saturday, September 14 at 5:00pm as part of Championship Night at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement”. The event will be presented by the Barre Granite Association (BGA), a fitting partnership for the high-banked oval that sits atop Quarry Hill.
All four Thunder Road divisions will be in action that night with added-distance features to celebrate the landmark season. The Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models and Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers will run twin 60-lap features in recognition of the 60th season. The Late Models have been the top division at Thunder Road since 1992, while the Flying Tigers are the track’s oldest division and have competed non-stop for nearly 40 years.
The Allen Lumber Street Stocks and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors will get in on the fun with twin 30-lap features. The Late Model, Flying Tiger, and Street Stock events all will end with the crowning of the 2019 division champion. This includes the presentation of the “2019 King of the Road” honors following the Late Model feature.
“The Barre Granite Association is proud to sponsor this year’s ‘Championship Night’ at Thunder Road,” Barre Granite Association director Doug Grahn said. “2019 marks the 130th anniversary of our founding and we congratulate Thunder Road on their 60th anniversary. Our member companies and employees have played an important role in supporting Thunder Road over those 60 years. Sponsoring these championship races as part of our 130th celebration highlights the continued resurgence of our local granite industry and our commitment to providing quality employment opportunities in Central Vermont.”
Following the night’s racing action, all teams and fans are invited down to the pit area for a 60th-Season Pit Party. The occasion is an opportunity for folks to reminisce about the 2019 season and the previous 60 years of action at Thunder Road while also looking forward to the upcoming Vermont Milk Bowl and future seasons at the high banks. The concession stands will be open during the party and there will also be live music from a local band.
“We had been trying to find a good date to properly celebrate the 60th season, but nothing quite seemed to fit,” Thunder Road managing partner Cris Michaud said. “Then the Bullring Bash event moved from Championship Night to Labor Day weekend. It created the perfect opportunity for an event that honors both the 2019 champions and the six decades of racing that came before.
“Having the Barre Granite Association come on board for this event is the icing on the cake,” he added. “Both the granite quarries and Thunder Road have long been intertwined with the city of Barre. And the reason (track co-founder) Ken Squier chose Thursday nights for weekly racing is because that’s when the local granite workers got paid! We hope this is the start of a long-lasting partnership with the BGA.”
Ticket prices for the 60th-season celebration will be the same $12 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12, and $25 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids) that they are for a regular weekly event. Everyone who attends the event will be admitted to the Pit Party free of charge.
Thunder Road opened its doors on June 30, 1960 to a capacity crowd. In the 60 years since, it has been one of the most recognized short tracks in North America. The speedway has undergone a significant facelift in the last two years under the ownership of Cris Michaud and Pat Malone as it prepares for another 60 years of operation.
The Barre Granite Association is a non-profit organization that provides collective bargaining, industrial relations, regulatory representation, and other services for members. It also conducts research, educational programs, and public relations on a national level as well as publishing the annual Barre Life Magazine. The BGA was founded in 1889 and its members include Barre-area granite quarriers, manufacturers, and business that provide industry-related products and services. You can learn more about the Barre Granite Association by visiting www.barregranite.org.