The 49th season of racing at Thunder Road International Speedbowl got underway yesterday as cars revved their engines and fans streamed through the doors to witness this great event. According to Ken Squirer, the co-owner of Thunder Road, auto racing is still the “largest spectator sport” in this particular state. Short track racing plays a key role in this and the quarter-mile oval track Thunder Road is the perfect place to get the season underway.
Races kicked off yesterday with a burst of speed as rubber was shredded on this short track for the first time this year. The main event of the day was the Merchants Bank 150. This race marks the third event in the 12-race schedule of the American-Canadian Late Model Tour. Other divisions that raced included the Junkyard Warrior, Street Stock and Tiger Sportsman divisions. From the start the race looked poised to unleash some exhilarating action as teen Joey Polewarczyk Jr. got ready to start from first place with the 165 points he’d gathered during the season opener earlier at Lee USA Speedway. He faced stiff competition from drivers Cris Michaud, Patrick Laperle, John Donahue and Brent Dragon. These drivers are followed up by legendary greats Scott Payea and Jean Paul-Cyr. Payea, who took off from seventh place, is the defending champion of the Merchants Bank 150. Jean Paul-Cyr, at eighth place, is also no blow-over with six ACT championships under his belt.
Three-time champion of the Thunder Road track Cris Michaud, noted that the new racing schedule that has been set up makes it very tempting for drivers such as himself to run fulltime on the ACT during the summer months ahead. However, he noted that Thunder Road was his first priority and he certainly seemed ready for action at the track yesterday.
Clearly this year’s racing season is off to a good start, but it will not be ending here. The four different divisions of racing will continue to take place regularly at Thunder Road throughout the summer. The wildly popular Thursday night races will start on June 12 and end on September 28 with the massive Milk Bowl race. With the excellent start to the season that took place last night, it certainly looks as if fans can expect to enjoy an excellent racing season this year.