Thunder Road will offer another packed program of championship stock car racing Friday night.
The action will kick off at 6:30 p.m. with the Triple Crown 100 for the Flying Tigers. It’s followed by a full card of the Late Models, Flying Tigers, Street Stocks and New England Antique Racers.
Racing begins with the 100-lap Triple Crown showdown, which was postponed from last week’s Memorial Day Classic due to unexpected rain showers. Flying Tiger stars like Sam Caron, Logan Powers, four-time champion Jason Woodard and Triple Crown champions Jaden Perry and Mike Martin will go at it in the series opener. Waitsfield’s Kevin Streeter and Milton’s Caron will lead the field to the green flag.
A full card is scheduled for the Late Models, Flying Tigers and Street Stocks. It will be an extra-busy night in the Flying Tiger pits with 140 laps of feature action.
“It’ll be fun,” Caron said. “We have the 100-lapper, which is essentially two-and-a-half races crammed into one, to start the night. Then there’s the meat and potatoes of the weekly racing season right after that. Patience will probably be the key. Some (teams) might bring two cars, but I don’t have that luxury. So we’ll have to balance aggression and opportunity in the first race, knowing that there’s more to come after the Triple Crown.”
The double features also mean Friday is a big early marker in the 2021 Flying Tiger championship chase. Racers who had a strong Opening Day — such as Perry, Caron, Stephen Martin and points leader Bryan Wall Jr. — can build on the success and start two different title runs. For those drivers whose opener didn’t live up to expectations, a golden opportunity awaits to wipe the slate clean for a fresh start.
“One of the most pivotal nights of the season is usually double-points night — and that’s essentially what you have with two races in one,” Caron said. “And it’s one of three Triple Crown races, so a good start to that season definitely sets you up for the last two. Last year, I think it took three top-fives to win the (Triple Crown) championship. So that’s going to kind of weigh on the back of your mind, with the field being similarly competitive.”
In the Late Model ranks, familiar faces sit atop the standings following the Memorial Day Classic. Barre’s Jason Corliss began his mission for a third straight “King of the Road” crown with his third victory in the historic event. He leads the points race over fellow two-time champion Scott Dragon, who has come out of the gate strong with his new Todd Rueda-owned team.
Two other early notables include Shelburne’s Trampas Demers and Graniteville’s Christopher Pelkey. Demers suffered a hard crash in qualifying last Friday, while Pelkey had most of the driver’s side sheet metal shorn off in an early feature crash. Undaunted, both battled back to finish in the top-5, making a statement for the season to come. Kyle Pembroke and Brendan Moodie both need a quick turnaround after they were unable to start the Memorial Day feature.
The Street Stock drivers are gearing up for a 25-lap feature. Their Memorial Day Classic main event was also rained out, so they’ll run double features June 17. In the meantime, standouts like Jeffrey Martin, Kaiden Fisher, James Dopp and Jamie Davis will attempt to dial things in before the upcoming busy stretch. Derek Farnham, Tommy Smith, Will Hennequin and Josh Lovely all hope that their speed in qualifying last Friday will carry over at least one more week.
Friday’s finale will feature the New England Antique Racers. It’s their first appearance in three years at Thunder Road. The 2019 appearance was cancelled due to weather, while the 2020 event was called off due to the pandemic.
Now in 2021, classic Modifieds and Sportsmen get to roar on the high banks again for a pair of 15-lap features. Some of these vintage vehicles are piloted by former racers familiar to Thunder Road fans, including Milton’s Norm Cyr, Worcester’s Wayne Wojtyna and Stowe’s John Adams.
Friday is also “Scout Night” at the track. All scouts in uniforms will be admitted free of charge. Scout leaders in uniform accompanying scouts who are minors also get free admission.
Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and $30 for a family of four (two adults, two children). All Thunder Road events are live-streamed on FloRacing for those with a monthly or yearly subscription.