New owners, but the same good racing expected at Thunder Road on Sunday.
The Merchant's Bank 150 kicks off the 2017 campaign. Thunder Road officials held their annual season opening press conference Thursday at the Cornerstone Pub and Kitchen in Barre. New co-owner Cris Michaud said a few words thanking the community for making the sale possible. Former co-owner, Ken Squier also spoke as he hands over the reigns to Michaud. A couple of drivers were on hand as well, Barre's Nick Sweet and reigning King of the Road champ, Scott Dragon. They are looking forward to another great year which gets going on Sunday.
"Coming back as the defending champ kind of adds a little more pressure to the deal, but I think we are going to be real good," Dragon said. "We just got to try to stay out of trouble, dodge as many as we can and do the same thing we did last year."
As for Sweet, the former two-time King of the Road and the ACT points champion from a year ago is going to be racing a lighter schedule. He is going to compete in the bigger races, The Governor's Cup, The Labor Day Classic and the Milk Bowl. In those races he is going to be driving his own car. This Sunday, Sweet will be racing in the number 40 car of Eric Chase.
"We raced that opening day last year with Eric's Car and won, so hopefully we can go this year and try to repeat that," Sweet said. "We are doing a lot of different types of racing this year, ACT racing, we are racing a different series now doing more on the road. It's a little bit more strenuous, but I'm also trying to stay home with my family. I have three children and a beautiful wife at home it's nice to be home with them once in a while."
Sweet will also be racing Super Late Models in the Pro All Star Series.
Governor Phil Scott was the first ever winner of the Merchant's Bank 150 in 1999. The Governor said he plans on racing this season in Barre. He's going to practice on Saturday and if he feels competitive enough, he'll give it a go on Sunday.
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