TR 1

The Flying Tigers will go 75 laps in their Myers Container Service Triple Crown opener at Thunder Road on Friday.

BARRE — The weekly racing season at Thunder Road is ready to begin. The cars and stars of the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” hit the high banks Friday at 7 p.m. for Capitol City Auto Mart Night. More than 100 cars are expected for the packed program of events.

The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers take the spotlight on Friday as they raise the curtain on the Myers Container Service Triple Crown. The trio of 75-lap features throughout the summer have become some of the most popular events for the division’s teams and fans. With separate points and a separate point fund, the weekly regulars have something else on the line while they’re also chasing the season-long championship, while invaders and part-timers can pursue a potential title of their own.

More than 30 Flying Tigers were at the year’s first two events, and Friday’s Triple Crown opener is expected to at least match those numbers. Current point leader Brandon Lanphear, of Morrisville, is expected to try and defend his then-upset win in the same event last year. But he’ll have to face down other strong early runners such as number-two point man Tyler Austin, of East Calais, Opening Day winner Micheal MacAskill, of Williamstown, former champion “Double-O” Joe Steffen, of Grand Isle, and Memorial Day winner Jaden Perry, of Hardwick.

Craftsbury’s Mike Martin, the 2017 Myers Triple Crown champion, will try to reclaim his title while son Stephen Martin looks to extend his early lead in the Rookie of the Year standings. From veterans like two-time Tiger champion Jason Woodard, Robert Gordon, Mike Billado and Matt Potter to up-and-comers like Kyle Streeter, Cooper Bouchard, Kelsea Woodard and Jason Pelkey, everyone is aiming to capture one of the biggest Flying Tiger races of the year.

Before the first green flag drops, the Flying Tigers and the rest of Thunder Road’s divisions will give children a chance to experience the high banks for themselves. The annual Kid’s Rides go from 4 to 4:40 p.m. for all children ages 12 and under who want to ride along with a driver.

Capitol City Auto Mart Night also has a full card of racing scheduled for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models, Allen Lumber Street Stocks and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. Barre’s Jason Corliss became just the fourth driver to win four straight Thunder Road features at the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic and the first to do so in a Late Model. He’ll be hunting for five in a row on Friday, which has been accomplished only by Roy Forsythe and Joey Laquerre in Thunder Road annals.

Doing so won’t be easy against some stiff Late Model competition. Two-time and defending “King of the Road” Scott Dragon, of Milton, already was on the podium this year at the non-point Community Bank N.A. 150. South Burlington’s Trampas Demers has picked up right where he left off last year with consistent strong runs. Northfield’s Matt White and Wolcott’s Marcel J. Gravel turned some heads by joining Corliss on the Memorial Day podium, and look to carry the momentum under the lights. Chris Pelkey, Boomer Morris, Stephen Donahue, Kyle Pembroke and many others are expected to join them for Friday’s 50-lap feature.

The Allen Lumber Street Stocks have had a topsy-turvy start to the season. Fifteen-year-old Kasey Beattie, of St. Johnsbury, holds the early point lead by three over two-time champion Jamie Davis, of Wolcott. J.T. Blanchard, Kasey Collins and Tyler Pepin have been three of the biggest early surprises as they sit third through fifth in points. But last year’s top runners such as Tim Hunt, Jeffrey Martin and Bryan P. Wall aren’t far behind.

In the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors, the question is if anyone can unseat Nate “Tater” Brien. The Brookfield resident has won the season’s first two races, with the second victory coming from 19th position. He’ll be challenged by other strong early runners like Brodie Frazier, Josh Vilbrin, Chris Davis and Brian Putney in the always-entertaining feature.

Admission for the Friday night special is $12 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12 and $25 for a family of four (two adults, two children).

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.