The countdown is on for the American-Canadian Tour’s (ACT) $10,000 to win Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl. With the Sunday, Sept 3 race just over three weeks away, it won’t be surprising to see some unfamiliar faces at the high banked quarter-mile oval at the last two weekly events of the season.

Already this week, several out of state teams have contacted the ACT/Thunder Road office in Waterbury, VT wanting to know what the tire rules are for weekly competition, when the pit gates open and how their driver will be handicapped.

“Those of us who race Thunder Road on a weekly basis do have a bit of an advantage over the drivers who only come to the Tour races a couple of times a year,” said Marc Curtis Jr of Worcester, MA. Ironically, 22 year-old driver has been on both sides of the fence. Last year, in his freshman season with ACT, Curtis only raced at the Barre, VT speedplant in Tour events. He never qualified for a feature race.

During the off-season, the Merriam-Graces/Curtis Plows team decided their young driver needed more seasoning and Thunder Road was a great place to do it. They made the commitment to travel the 120+ miles to the track on a weekly basis for the education it could offer. “I’ve learned a lot racing at Thunder Road – patience and handling, the car’s set-up, are the name of the game. The drivers I run against on a weekly basis – Cris Michaud, Phil Scott, Jamie Fisher, Pete Fecteau, Chad Wheeler, the Demers, and the others, have really helped me with my Late Model program. And I’ve been able to transfer those lessons to the other tracks where the Tour’s raced this year,” Curtis explained.

He continued, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ben Rowe and some of the other Tour regulars from out of town come to Thunder Road this Thursday or next, or even both! Ben’s got a ton of experience on tracks all over the east, but he didn’t qualify at the Tour’s Merchants Bank season opener at Thunder Road. That’s an indicator as to how tough that little track can be,” he finished.

One team rumored to be coming to Thursday’s (Aug 17) ACE Hardware Trophy Dash is the 0 car owned by New Hampshire’s Chad Sullivan. Sullivan and team took Massachusetts driver Scott Bonney to the ACTion Super Series’ inaugural Bond Auto/WIX Reserve Champion title last year. In 2006, Maine’s Johnny Clark, a former PASS Champion, has driven the car in two earlier ACT Tour events this year, including a top-10 finish in July’s ACTion Super Series race at Sanair. Since Clark is unavailable for the Sept 3 Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200, it is reported that Sullivan will put one of two veteran drivers from Lee USA Speedway in the driver’s seat.

Already confirmed for the August 24 Kinney Drugs Dash is ACT Tour veteran and former Labor Day Classic winner Brent Dragon. Dragon has already posted a win this year at Thunder Road in May’s Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic, an l00 lap race.

With no repeat winners in the Late Model class thus far this year at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement”, any new face could change the complexity of the competition.

Post time is 7:00 pm for the final two weekly Thursday events at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road. Spectator gates open at 5:00 pm. Adult admission is just $9.00, kids (6-12) are $3 and the “Family Fare” is $18 (any 2 adults and 2 kids).