Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl fans will see lots of talent during the twin 100 lap events at the Mekkelsen Memorial Day Classic Twin 100’s on Sunday, May 29, 2011. Following a three-hour practice session under perfect weather conditions this week, there is a new corps of Thunder Road racers poised to challenge the veteran teams.
Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, VT, a rookie in 2011 with a past Thunder Road championship title in the Bond Tiger Sportsman division, set a fast time among the twenty-three Late Model teams who took advantage of the three hour practice session.
Former American Canadian Tour (ACT) US driver Scott Payea, with his crew chief Chris Companion in CP Racing, was at the front of the pack during practice and seems to have worked out many of the ‘new car bugs’ they experienced at the Thunder Road opening event earlier this month.
Veteran Jamie Aube from Ferrisburgh, VT made giant strides with his Marcotte & Sons Chevrolet.
“This was a great session for us. Finally, I think I am catching on to these ACT Late Models,” said an enthusiastic Aube. “We have tried for a few years to get back to some fun racing and today we think we are headed in the right direction. The car really turned for us and apparently that is the trick with these cars. Our team got a big lift today. We are anxious for the Memorial Day Classic and can’t wait for the weekly racing to begin”, finished Aube.
With back-to back wins in the Mekkelsen Memorial Day Classic, and a new Ford in the garage, Dave Pembroke from Montpelier, VT seemed to be getting his new VESEC/Lamoille County Ford ride headed in the right direction.
“There is definitely a learning curve with the Ford versus the Chevrolet motors and chassis set-ups, but we are gaining on it. Our team likes the challenge and we are confident we will have it figured out. We hope to contend again for the ‘King of the Road’ title in 2011,” said Pembroke who was the Thunder Road Champion in 2007.
The purse for the both the Late Model portion and Bond/Wix Tiger Tour has been increased and over $20,000.00 has been posted for the event. “We have increased the purse for the Thunder Road Late Models and for the Tiger Sportsman teams for this event. We have also reduced the price of admission for our fans for the Memorial Day Classic. With the change from the Classic being a Tour race or a double header with the Modifieds this season, we felt we could reduce the admission and still increase the purses for those two divisions that support Thunder Road all season. We will pay $1,500 and $1,000 to win for the Late Models and Tiger Sportsman respectively,” said Tom Curley, Promoter at Thunder Road.
A field of thirty (30) teams is expected to take part in the historic 49th running of the Mekkelsen Memorial Day Classic. Defending champion and Merchants Bank winner earlier this May, Nick Sweet, from Barre, VT will lead one of the most competitive fields of cars ever to run the event. T-Road regulars Matt White, Brooks Clark, Chip Grenier and Grant Folsom are looking for breakout wins. A long list of champions will start their season at the 100-lap battle. Three time champs Phil Scott and Cris Michaud will be joined by former champions Jamie Fisher and Dave Whitcomb. Former Memorial Day Classic winner and currently sitting in second place on the ACT US championship point standings, “Irish” John Donahue in the Kendall Roberts owned Ford will begin his run for the Thunder Road title.
Over thirty-five Bond Tiger Sportsman teams are expected to begin their quest for the Thunder Road title at the holiday weekend event, as well as lead the Bond/Wix Tiger Tour after round one. Three champions lead the way to Thunder Road this Sunday. Bond/Wix 2010 champion Jason Bonnett, St Albans, VT, Thunder Road defending champion Tony Rossi, Peacham, VT and Merchants Bank winner Derrick O’Donnell from Bradford will headline the opening event of the year.
Gates will open at 10am. Tickets are just $15 for adults and $5 for children 6-12. A family ticket for two adults and two kids is just $30. Parking is free and post time is slated for 1:30 this Sunday, May 29, 2011.