BARRE, VT – The Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic 100 is more than a stock car race at Barre’s Thunder Road. It is the event with the longest history at the famed ¼-mile oval, and is among the oldest continuously running short track events in United States. The list of past winners reads like a “who’s who” of northeastern stock car racing, and winners are often referred to, throughout their entire careers, as champions of the event. This season marks the 45th running of the race since its inception in 1961.
Roy “Pappy” Forsythe of Keene, NH won the inaugural Memorial Day Classic driving a flathead-powered Ford coupe. Forsythe won nine more feature races that season, setting a record that still stands in 2007. Legendary Canadian racer Jean-Paul Cabana won four times from 1965 to 1988, topped only by Hudson, NH’s Dave Dion, a nine-time champion of the event. Dion won the event four years running on two separate occasions – the first from 1975 through 1978, the second from 1989 through 1992. Dion also won in 1982. Other past winners include championdrivers Robbie Crouch, Joey Kourafas, Russ Ingerson, Jean-Paul Cyr, Kevin Lepage, and Joey Laquerre.
Second-generation racer Brent Dragon of Milton won the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic last year, and considers it to be one of the five most important events in the region. By winning the Classic in May and the
season-ending Milk Bowl in October, Dragon feels he has nothing left to prove.
“I won the Labor Day Classic a couple years ago, and we’ve won the Spring Green and the Fall Foliage,” said Dragon. “Now, we’ve won the Memorial Day Classic and the Milk Bowl. We’ve won our five big races and I’ve completed it now. If I didn’t race another day, I wouldn’t care.”
Kip Stockwell says his family holds a special place for the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic. The Braintree veteran is making his return to full-time Thunder Road racing after nearly ten years away, and looks to
add his name to the winners’ list for a second time.
“The Memorial Day Classic is one of my favorite races at any track, anywhere, with any type of car,” he stated. “We finished third in 1995 when Ralph Nason won, and then we won it in 1996. I had survived three heart attacks just a few weeks earlier, and it was really the perfect way to bounce back. We started on the pole and led every lap, and then my father rode in the car with me on my victory lap. It was a great day for my family. It’s a great race with a lot of history, and I’d love to win it again.”
Dragon and Stockwell will meet the challenges of former Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic winners Trampas Demers, Joey Becker, Joey Laquerre, Cris Michaud, and Phil Scott on Sunday at Barre’s Thunder Road. General admission is $12 for adults, $5 for children, and just $25 for a family of four. Green flag racing action is scheduled to begin at 1:30pm. For more information, call (802) 244-6963 or visit www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com.