BARRE, VT – The top Late Model stock car racers in the northeastern U.S. and Canada will be at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl for this weekend’s 10th Annual Merchants Bank 150 (Sat./Sun., May 3/4), the third round of the 2008 American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Championship Series.  Seven-time and defending ACT Late Model Tour Champion Jean-Paul Cyr and his cross-town Milton, VT neighbors, Scott Payea and Scott Dragon, have combined to win five of the previous nine Merchants Bank 150s.

              Cyr’s victories came in 2002, ’04, and ’06.  Payea earned his first ACT win at the event last year, while  Dragon’s win came in 2003.  After two events this season, Payea and Cyr rank seventh and eighth in ACT point standings, respectively, while Dragon sits tied for 10th overall with New Gloucester, ME’s Ron Henry. 

    Dragon sees the Merchants Bank 150 as not only a big event to win, but also a chance to set his quest for a championship on the right path.        “It would be great to win another Merchants Bank 150,” he said.  “The whole weekend is fun, with Saturday’s car show and parade, the ceremony on Sunday, and the race itself.  To be honest, the start to my season hasn’t gone as well as I planned it, and it would be great to turn it around by winning at Thunder Road this weekend.  But there’s going to be plenty of good competition to beat.”

       Others expected at the Merchants Bank 150 include 18 year-old Hudson, NH driver Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk, Jr., the ACT point leader and a winner at Lee USA (NH) Speedway two weeks ago, Thunder Road Track Champions Cris Michaud and Dave Pembroke, defending Série ACT Castrol Champion Patrick Laperle of Montréal, Henry, who finished a career-best second in last year’s Merchants Bank 150, and a talented rookie crop that includes New Hampshire’s Ricky Wolf, Jr., Ontario’s Jonathan Urlin, and hometown Barre, VT driver Nick Sweet, the 2007 Thunder Road NAPA Tiger Sportsman division champion.

       The annual Merchants Bank Car Show will be held in Downtown Barre City on Saturday, May 3 from 9:00 am until 12:00 noon, where nearly 100 race cars from all four ACT/Thunder Road racing divisions will line Main Street.  A pit stop contest will begin at 10:45 am, followed by a two-mile parade up to the race track at noon. Practice will follow at 1:00 pm.

       Opening “Class Day” ceremonies at Thunder Road begin at 1:00 pm on Sunday, May 4, with racing action for the 10th Annual Merchants Bank 150 scheduled to start at 1:30 pm.  General admission if $17 for adults, $5 for children (6-12), and just $35 for a family of any two adults and two kids.  Gates open on Sunday at 10:00 am.  For more information, call (802) 244-6963 or visit or