Barre, VT – In a race that had eluded his prestigious racing career, Barre, VT’s Nick Sweet methodically worked his way to the victory in the 50th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic at Thunder Road in Barre, VT on Sunday, May 27, 2012. The Memorial Day Classic was the first of four events in the Vermont State Late Model Championship series. Sweet held off Lt. Governor Phil Scott and Brent Dragon, who flew through the field from the 12th and 16th starting positions to finish second and third.
The race began with pole sitter and former Oxford Plains Speedway Champion Ricky Rolfe showing the way early, only to engage with a heated back and forth struggle with Milton’s Scott Payea. Rolfe and Payea traded the lead back and forth, side by side for more than half of the race. Scott and Sweet trailed the pair for the majority of the exchange as the top four ran in a tight battle for the point. Scott took over on the outside lane for 12 laps only to see Nick Sweet steal it away for good on a lap 68 restart.
Weekly standouts Brooks Clark, who started 14th on the grid, and Scott Payea came home fourth and fifth respectively. 2011 Rookie of the Year Jimmy Hebert, Rolfe, Chip Grenier, Dave Pembroke, and Cris Michaud rounded out the top ten.
The race was completed in 42 minutes and 24 seconds. The race was slowed by five minor cautions.
Sweet not only won his first Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic, but he also earned the fifth invite to the Bond Auto Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 22 joining Brian Hoar, Wayne Helliwell, Ben Ashline, and Karl Allard. He was also chosen as the Race to Read driver of the week, and celebrated with Thunder Road’s Race to Read raffle winner in victory lane.
In the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen top-five point driver from 2011 Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg took a convincing victory winding his way through heavy lap traffic. He lapped the majority of the field after starting 10th in the 50 lap event, which saw no cautions. He was chased to the line by Brendan Moodie, Jr, Eric Badore, Jason Allen, and Shawn Fleury. David Finck, John Lambert, Jason Corliss, Mike Ziter, and Joel Hodgdon completed the top ten.
Jefferson, NH’s Nick Pilotte thrilled the crowd on his way to an Allen Lumber Street Stock victory in a three wide pass. It was the second straight Memorial Day weekend win for Pilotte. Will Hennequin and Garry Bashaw would survive a wild 5 laps at the end to place second and third. Alan Maynard and Dan Lathrop rounded out the top five.
Thunder Road continues its 2012 schedule with the first of two Sunday twilight events on Sunday, June 10 presented by Sherwin-Williams. Thunder Road’s regular three divisions will be joined by the New England Antique Racers.
The Vermont State Late Model Championship series will continue on Friday, June 8 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, VT.
50th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic
Thunder Road International Speedbowl
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Vermont State Late Model Championship
Pos. (Start) Driver, Hometown, Laps Completed
1. (8) Nick Sweet, Barre, VT, 100 Laps
2. (12) Phil Scott, Berlin, VT, 100 Laps
3. (16) Brent Dragon, Milton, VT, 100 Laps
4. (14) Brooks Clark, Fayston, VT, 100 Laps
5. (3) Scott Payea, Milton, VT, 100 Laps
6. (4) #Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, VT, 100 Laps
7. (1) Ricky Rolfe, Albany Twp, ME, 100 Laps
8. (17) Chip Grenier, Graniteville, VT, 100 Laps
9. (23) Dave Pembroke, Middlesex, VT, 100 Laps
10. (5) Cris Michaud, E. Montpelier, VT, 100 Laps
11. (24) Trampas Demers, S. Burlington, VT, 100 Laps
12. (6) Mike Bailey, South Barre, VT, 100 Laps
13. (22) John Donahue, Graniteville, VT, 100 Laps
14. (26) Jim Morris, Barre, VT, 100 Laps
15. (19) Jamie Aube, No. Ferrisburg, VT, 100 Laps
16. (11) Brett Wheeler, Waterbury, VT, 100 Laps
17. (28) Grant Folsom, Waitsfield, VT, 99 Laps
18. (25) Cody Blake, Barre, VT, 99 Laps
19. (18) Joey Becker, Jeffersonville, VT, 99 Laps
20. (15) Matt White, Northfield, VT, 99 Laps
21. (13) Spencer MacPherson, Carleton Place, ON, 99 Laps
22. (20) Eric Chase, Milton, VT, 98 Laps
23. (2) Jerry Lesage, Winooski, VT, 57 Laps
24. (27) Ricky Roberts, Washington, VT, 39 Laps
25. (21) Dave Whitcomb, Essex Jct., VT, 39 Laps
26. (9) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT, 7 Laps
27. (7) Jay Laquerre, Barre, VT, 2 Laps
28. (10) Lance Allen, Barre, VT, 2 Laps
Lap Leaders: Ricky Rolfe (1-2), Scott Payea (3-5), Rolfe (6), Payea (7-24), Rolfe (25-34), Payea (35-37), Rolfe (38-55), Phil Scott (56-68), Nick Sweet (69-100)
Time of Race: 42:24
Margin of Victory: 1.317 seconds
Cautions: 5 (Lap 0, 2, 54, 68, 71)
Heat Winners: Spencer Macpherson, Jay Laquerre, Nick Sweet
Consi Winners: Jamie Aube