The Community Bank N.A. 150 at Barre’s Thunder Road Speedbowl on Sunday, April 29 has gotten even bigger. With the NH Governor’s Cup at Lee USA Speedway recently postponed for a second time, the track’s 59th season opener will now also serve as the opening event for the American-Canadian Tour (ACT), adding further fanfare to the occasion.
The cars and stars of the ACT Late Model Tour will take on many of the weekly racers from the Maplewood/Irving Late Model division at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” for nearly $30,000 in posted awards. Thunder Road has long been the “home track” for ACT and is sure to kick off the sanctioning body’s 33rd year of competition in style. And with every driver looking to start 2018 on a high note, a little extra intensity will surely be in the air.
A full field and then some is expected for the 20th edition of the 150-lap event. The ACT invaders will be led by reigning U.S. Champion Scott Payea. The Colchester, VT veteran is also the defending winner of the Community Bank N.A. 150. Former Milk Bowl winner Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, MA will surely be hot on his heels. Both are predicted by many to be frontrunners for the 2018 championship.
Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert got his start at Thunder Road and is looking for his first ACT win at the speedway after two prior runner-up finishes. Lebanon, NH’s Rich Dubeau is considered a dark horse ACT title contender and is aiming for a solid Thunder Road performance. A strong Canadian contingent is expected as well with defending Série ACT Champion Jonathan Bouvrette of Blainville, QC highlighting the bill.
But they will have to battle a squadron of racers who spend their entire summer turning laps around the Barre high banks. Reigning Maplewood/Irving Late Model Champion Bobby Therrien dominated last year’s event before a late crash and is looking for redemption. He will be joined by fellow “King of the Road” Scott Dragon of Milton, who won the Community Bank N.A. 150 back in 2004.
Defending Vermont Milk Bowl Champion Jason Corliss of Barre has entered the event, as has 2017 weekly runner-up Trampas Demers of South Burlington. Northfield’s Matt White and Fayston’s Brooks Clark could also break into Victory Lane.
Qualifying for the ACT Late Model Tour and Thunder Road season opener begins at 1:30pm on Sunday, April 29. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors will kick off their weekly racing series as well. Admission for the 4-division card is $25 for adults and free for kids age 12 and under. The pits will open at 8:00am and the front gates will open at 10:00am.
Many of the drivers who will be in action on Sunday will also be at the annual Downtown Barre Car Show on Saturday, April 28 beginning at 9:00am. Cars from all classes will line Main Street and a pit stop competition is set to feature last year’s champions. A parade up Quarry Hill to the race track at 12:00pm will be followed by an afternoon Test & Tune session.