Contributed by: ACT Staff
The Mekkelsen Memorial Day Classic Twin 100’s at Thunder Road for American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models and the True Value Modified Racing Series will also honor generations of racing heroes who helped build the venerable quarter mile high-banked short track into one of the most famous in North America.
Flathead drivers of the 60’s like Harold Hanaford, Johnny Gammell and the Ingerson Brothers, along with the stars of the 70’s --- ‘Mod Squad’ members, Robbie Crouch, Johnny Rosati and Joey Kourafas, and favorite Bay State adopted son, Dave Dion, have all provided race fans in the Northeast with spectacular racing. Generations of Vermont Dragons, Canadians Cabana, Whitlock, and Laperle, and present champions Scott, Michaud and Williams have all helped Thunder Road earn its moniker as the ‘Nation’s Site of Excitement’. Located in the granite capital of the world, Barre, Vermont, a new Memorial Park has been established to help celebrate the 50th anniversary year to pay tribute to the long list of Thunder Road champions.
A number of granite memorials have been commissioned from Goslant Granite to be located throughout the facility providing future generations a racing history which will stand the test of time. “While preparing over the past couple of years for this historic season, the entire Thunder Road staff kept talking about the importance of the history of racing that Thunder Road has provided over 5 decades. It was natural for us to turn to what we might be able to do that would be unique to the character of T-Road, and also respect the local granite industry and its workers who have been such supportive fans for all these years. We think our Memorial Park and King of the Road tribute does just that,” said Tom Curley, co-owner and promoter of Thunder Road over the past thirty years.
There are additional improvements that fans will be aware of this Memorial Day weekend when they arrive for the 47th annual Memorial Day Classic. A new grandstand addition for pit crew members and families has been added since the opening Merchants Bank event earlier this month. There is a redesigned main concession area for more fan space and viewing access to the pits. A new tech inspection area for the Allen Lumber Street Stock and Power Shift Warrior division has been constructed.
Founder and co-owner Ken Squier said, “Tom and I both wanted to be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Thunder Road in a respectful manner. It has been important for us to make sure that we give our fans a very special season along with the testimonials and memorializing of the great teams that have competed over all these years. We think the racing today is as good as it has ever been over the past 50 years, but by bringing in a mix of the old champions like Richard Petty and Bobby Allison, the new star of NASCAR today, Tony Stewart, and the coming stars represented by David Ragan, we will showcase our present ACT and Thunder Road stars in the best way possible, while giving our fans a truly memorable 50th anniversary season”.
The Mekkelsen Memorial Day Classic Twin 100, featuring the two most popular regional touring seasons together for the only time in 2009, will highlight the racing over the holiday, but there is a whole lot more for race fans to reminisce about after visiting Thunder Road this Sunday. Gates open at 10:00, admission is $20 for Adults and $5 for children 6-12. Post time is 1:30 and will feature all the Thunder Road divisions. Over 140 cars are expected to compete.
Sunday, May 24 will also mark the date when discount tickets for the CARQUEST Vermont Governor’s Cup featuring Tony Stewart will go on sale. The ticket has been designed to be a 50th anniversary souvenir ticket and may be purchased for only $17 Adult for the June 25th 150 lap Governor’s Cup race.