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The Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models once again take the spoils of the Thunder Road schedule with iconic events such as the $100,000 Vermont Milk Bowl. (Alan Ward photo)

64th Season Of Competition Ahead For Thunder Road

BARRE, Vt. — The schedule of events for Thunder Road, the Central Vermont speedbowl, has been finalized for 2023.

Along with the silver anniversary of the Community Bank 150 and the Diamond Jubilee for the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic, exciting format changes for the 64th season of stock car racing have been developed with fan-favorites ready to roll all summer long.  

Beginning with the annual Thunder Road Car Show on Saturday, May 6, an exciting addition has been brought to the schedule. Following the car show and open practice for Thunder Road teams, an evening lid-lifter headlined by the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models will be the first feature event of 2023.

The night will also include the eventful PASS modifieds and the return of the R&R Race Parts NH Open Street Stock Series. The PASS Super Late Models will also return as part of Booth Bros./Hood Milk Bowl Qualifying Day on Saturday, Sept. 30. On May 7, the American-Canadian Tour will travel back to their home track for the 25th Community Bank N.A. 150.

The stars and cars of the ACT Tour will also return for the 45th Labor Day Classic presented by New England Federal Credit Union on Sunday, Sept. 4. Both the silver anniversary of the Community Bank 150 and the $5,000-to-win Labor Day Classic will feature track championship implications for the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers and rk Miles Street Stocks along with the non-point Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. 

Memorial Day weekend brings back the epic doubleheader of the 60th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic 125 for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models and the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series Granite City 100. Last year’s inaugural $10,000-to-win Granite City 100 was such a success for the tour-type modifieds. 

The weekly season starts in earnest with the annual Friday Night special on June 9 that includes the first round of the Myers Container Service Flying Tiger Triple Crown Series. The Flying Tigers will also take center stage with Myers Container extra-distance competition on July 6 and the 100-lap championship round set for Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac Night on August 3. 

June 15 brings the first Thursday night race of the season on Casella Waste Management Night. The New England Antique Racers (NEAR) and their mobile Hall of Fame, featuring many Thunder Road short track heroes, will be on hand to celebrate the 64th season of Thursday Night action on Quarry Hill.  

Community College of Vermont Night on July 22 will host the 9th annual Marvin Johnson Memorial First-Time Winners race for the rk Miles Street Stocks with the annual Scouts Night and Kids Rides rounding out the month of June. 

July begins with the Preston’s KIA Fourth of July Spectacular on Sunday, July 2. On July 13, the track will host the 44th Vermont Governor’s Cup presented by the Vermont Lottery. The 150-lap spectacular is the longest points-counting event of the season for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models.

Flying Tigers and Street Stocks will also be ready to show off for the big midsummer crowds expected on New England NASCAR weekend.  

July caps off with two iconic Thunder Road events, starting off with the Times Argus Midseason Championships on July 20. Double points are on the line for the championship chasers plus the first of two double purse nights. July 27 signals the introduction of WDEV/Calkins Portable Toilets Night with the Port-a-Potty Grand Prix. The top teams in each division will compete for the golden toilet seat.  

After wrapping up the Myers Container Triple Crown Series on August 3, three days later, the 39th annual Bolduc Metal Recycling Enduro 200 will commence. The $3,000-to-win “People’s Race” is a fan-favorite of the season and wouldn’t be complete without the annual 50-lap rk Miles Street Stock Special.  

August rolls off with a trio of special events starting with the 5th annual Burnett Road Warriors Challenge on Thursday the 10th, followed by Vermont Tire and Service Night on August 17, which will serve as the second double purse night along with the annual Kids Poster Contest.  

The final Thursday event of the season on August 24 features the always popular Run-What-U-Brung spectator drags on Jet Service Envelope/Accura Printing Night where everyone’s favorite keyboard warriors put their money where their mouths are and tackle the Barre high banks.

Thunder Road championship night returns on Friday, Sept. 8, with the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model “King of the Road” Track Champion crowned. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger and rk Miles Street Stock track champions will also be awarded their season-long bounties as Thunder Road champions in season No. 64.

The 61st Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank rounds out the 2023 Thunder Road season.

The “Toughest Short Track Stock Car Race in North America” proved its namesake once again this year. With that in mind, officials have determined the same $100,000 purse will be in effect for 2023, while the Milk Bowl is once again set as an American-Canadian Tour 100%er event.  

“We had great reactions from the fans and from teams with the epic Milk Bowl purse and having the ACT 100% teams,” said Thunder Road managing partner Cris Michaud. “After the success of last season, why change the formula? The Vermont Milk Bowl is growing once again and we’re excited about keeping that growth going.”