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Thunder Road prepares for season opener

Sunday’s Community Bank 150 first on 19 race schedule for 2021
Published: May. 1, 2021 at 9:47 AM EDT
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BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) - After a delayed start to the 2020 campaign and all the challenges that went along with racing during a pandemic, Thunder Road is set to open the 2021 season Sunday afternoon. The 23rd running of the Community Bank 150 will kick off a 19-race schedule at the Nation’s Site of Excitement, with the Tiger and Street Stock divisions beginning their chase for championships and the Late Model locals taking on the best drivers the region has to offer in the first of two American Canadian Tour stops in Barre this Summer.

Contrary to last year, which began with no fans in the stands and limited spectators to 150-person sections later on, Thunder Road is planning to take advantage of changes in COVID guidelines this year. While the number of tickets available to non-fully vaccinated individuals will still be limited, there is no cap on the number of fans that are two weeks out from their final shot. Thunder Road Co-owner Cris Michaud said he’s looking forward to seeing things continue to creep toward normalcy at the track.

“We were prepared to do it like last year if we had to,” Michaud said. “We’re really happy with the way the state is kind of loosening the restrictions as far as their guidelines with the unvaccinated and the vaccinated people. I think that’s really gonna play into our fans’ hands where they’re gonna feel safer at the race track.”

With that in mind, not all the precautions implemented last year will be disappearing from the High Banks. The temporary fencing is gone but fans will still be strongly encouraged to maintain their distance from people they didn’t arrive with. And even with the changes to CDC and state guidelines, don’t plan on showing up to the track without a mask, vaccinated or not.

“I saw yesterday some of the CDC, they changed the facemask guidelines etc.,” Michaud said. “We’re still gonna enforce that for now. I think what it does, it helps people feel safer when they’re moving around. And you know, we’re still in a pandemic so we have to take the precautions that we need to keep our fans safe.”

Post time is set for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

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