Teams from all over New England will celebrate Memorial Day weekend at Thunder Road in Barre, Vermont for the traditional running of the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic Doubleheader. It is the only time in 2009 when fans can see the stars from both the American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models and the open wheel ground-pounding monsters from the True Value Modified Racing Series racing together on one card.
American Canadian Tour point leader Scott Payea watched the heavyweight fight between Randy Potter of Groveton, New Hampshire and Brad Leighton of Center Harbor, New Hampshire at Airborne last Sunday. Potter and Leighton punched and counter-punched for over 90 laps of what was a classic 35th Furniture World of Vermont Spring Green battle royal on the fast, newly renovated Airborne Speedway half mile.
“I watched them swap leads, bang doors, beat on each other for most of the race. It was great! I had the best seat in the house, and should have bought a ticket. It really was like a pair of heavy-weight prizefighters softening each other up in the early rounds. I thought about watching the end of the fight to see who was going to win, but fortunately I had some car left to slide past them with 5 laps to go. Loved the new track, and for me, it was special to win at Airborne. Now I need one more spot than last year at Thunder Road in the Memorial Day Classic to keep my momentum going,” said Payea. Payea finished second to John Donahue of Graniteville, VT in the Mekkelsen Memorial Day Classic one year ago.
Late Model and Modified champions from every state in New England and two provinces of Canada will converge on the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” for the second annual Memorial Day Classic Doubleheader. Kirk Alexander of Swanzy, NH, the multi-time True Value Modified Champion, was masterful in a late charge to take the inaugural event. The Jarvis brothers, Dwight and Peter from Ascutney, VT, finished second and third respectively. “I really enjoyed the race at T-Road last May. It is a tough place to get around, but once I figured out not to think about that wall in turn 4, things improved a whole lot. Now I have to get from second to first this year,” said Dwight Jarvis.
The Late Model contingent will have the best of the ACT TOUR along with a host of Thunder Road regular racers at this year’s Late Model portion of the Classic. Defending Thunder Road Champion, Eric Williams from Hyde Park, VT will try for two-in-a-row after winning Thunder Road’s Merchants Bank 150 opening day. Cris Michaud will be in the R&D Ford trying to be the first Ford in the history of the ACT Late Model Tour to win in a Ford crate motor.
Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., the young superstar from Hudson, New Hampshire said, “I am ready to win at Thunder Road. I have such a love – hate relationship with that track. I used to wreck in turn 4 when I first started going up there---every time! I think I have that figured out and have won poles for the Chittenden Milk Bowl races, but I have not been able to string together three good segments in those races. During practice I am as fast as the regular T-Road guys, now I want to win there as much as any place. I know I can. I love the place with all the fans and all the history, and I want to be in the history books. I feel really good about our chances in this year’s Memorial Day Classic”.
Fans will see lots of tributes to the past 50 years of racing at Thunder Road when they arrive on top of Quarry Hill for the Memorial Day weekend. Camping will open at noon on Friday, May 22. Thunder Road support divisions will qualify on Saturday afternoon, May 23rd, and then the pit gates open for the Late Models and Modifieds on Sunday, May 24 at 8:00. Front gates will open for fans at 10:00. Post time is 1:30. Admission for the Twin 100 Double Feature Mekkelsen Memorial Day Classic will be $20 Adult; $5 for children (6-12); and $40 for a family of four.
Tickets will be on sale for the June 25th CARQUEST Governor’s Cup 150, featuring NASCAR’s Tony Stewart in a Joey Pole Racing (JPR) prepared race car beginning Sunday at Thunder Road. Advanced tickets for the Governor’s Cup will be $17 for Adults in advance, $20 day of race, and $3 for children 6-12.
The next event on the ACT Tour is this Sunday afternoon at the Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford Maine. The New England Dodge Dealers 150 is expected to draw nearly 50 teams to the famous speedway, as it is the only appearance for the Late Models before the TD Bank 250 in July. Post time is 2:00.