Waterbury, VT – The 13th annual Merchants Bank 150 will open the new season at Thunder Road International Speedbowl on Sunday, May 1, 2011. There is no track on the American Canadian Tour (ACT) schedule that presents a bigger challenge to the ACT regular touring teams than Thunder Road and its regular teams. As many as eight (8) former Thunder Road “King of the Road” champions are expected to be at the opening event.

Defending ACT Champion and 2011 point leader coming out of the opening event at Lee USA Speedway, Brian Hoar said, “I have had some pretty good success over the years at Thunder Road, I even won the King of the Road title in 1999, but that seems like a long, long time ago.”

“When you have to compete against the kind of talent we have on the Tour this year with guys like Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. (Pole), John Donahue, Randy Potter, Brent Dragon, Joey Laquerre and a whole lot of others, and then you add in Thunder Road champions like Nick Sweet (defending Champion), two three-time champions: Phil Scott and Cris Michaud, guys like Fisher, Pembroke and Whitcomb, just to name a few, it really is mindboggling. I love the competition, and this is about as good as it gets in short track racing,” concluded an excited Hoar.

There are over forty (40) entries for the Merchants Bank 150 opener at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement”. Many of Thunder Road’s top ten from last season are threats to win at their home track — Matt White, Joey Becker, Reno Gervais, and Brooks Clark, all top 10 finishers in 2010, will participate in the opening event.

“I expect this to be the biggest opening day field of ACT Late Model cars we have ever had at Thunder Road,” said promoter Tom Curley.

“There are a lot of stories with the return of Jamie Aube and Mike Bruno, along with all the new teams on the Tour this year. I even heard this week that Patrick Laperle might be at the Merchants Bank 150. Why not? The Laperle team has won nearly every major event at Thunder Road, some twice, I am sure they would like to notch one more in their belt,” concluded Curley.

The weekend will begin at 9:00am with the annual downtown Barre, VT car show on Saturday, April 30. There will be the Champion’s pit stop contest, and then at high noon, the traditional parade of race cars will fire off the 2011 season with a drive up Route 14 to Quarry Hill into the pits at Thunder Road. Practice will be open to the public all Saturday afternoon beginning at 12:45pm.

Admission to the Merchants Bank 150 is $18, kids 6-12 are just $5, and a family pass will be available for a family of two adults and two kids for just $36.00. Class Day opening ceremonies begin at 1:00 on Sunday, May 1 and post time is slated for 1:30 for the 13th annual running of the Merchants Bank 150.

For additional information contact the ACT office at 802.244.6963, www.acttour.com, or media@acttour.com.