BARRE – Following weeks of anticipation, the start of the 2020 Thunder Road stock car racing season is now set. Track officials have announced the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” will hold a pay-per-view-only event Thursday, June 18, at 7 p.m. on the Northeast Sports Network.
Under an agreement reached with the state of Vermont, spectator attendance will not be permitted at the event in compliance with state health and safety guidelines related to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, fans around the world can still experience the thrill of the Barre high banks thanks to Northeast Sports Network, which recently also broadcast a doubleheader event at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park.
According to a news release, the event will be available at www.NSNsports.net as well as on most mobile and smart TV platforms. For just $15 — the cost of one adult and one child ticket at a regular Thursday event — the entire family can watch every lap of qualifying and feature action from the comfort of their own homes.
All four Thunder Road divisions are opening their 2020 campaigns at the event. This includes point-counting features for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, and Allen Lumber Street Stocks. The Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors round out the program. Teams will be limited to 10 people including the driver. The Kids Rides that were originally scheduled have been postponed until a time when it is healthy and safe for fans to participate.
As part of the announcement, officials also postponed the Capital City Automart Night event scheduled for Friday, June 12. This decision was made so teams and officials can properly prepare now that there is more certainly about the season ahead.
Beginning with the June 18 pay-per-view, the track’s plan is to follow the original season schedule as closely as possible. The June 12 event, along with the Community Bank N.A. 150 and the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic, will be rescheduled for later in the year. Other adjustments may be made as needed. Officials remain hopeful that fan attendance is approved in the near future.
“We know our teams and fans have been eagerly waiting for this day,” Thunder Road managing partner Cris Michaud said. “We want racing, and they want racing, so we’ve been working non-stop with the state to find a solution that would allow racing in a healthy and safe manner.
“It won’t quite be the same without fans, but we’re optimistic that next step is coming soon,” he continued. “In the meantime, Northeast Sports Network has already shown they can put on a professional-level, easy-to-watch broadcast. With the knowledge everyone has gained from doing pay-per-view events at White Mountain, we’re confident things will just keep getting better.”
Michaud added that the track is working on ways to accommodate Thunder Road season pass holders should the pay-per-view-only format become a long-term necessity.
“We’re hoping this is short-term, because there really is nothing like the experience of being at the track,” Michaud said. “If that’s the case, a season pass will still have the same great value it always has. However, if it ends up being an extended period until spectators are allowed at the track again, we will offer multiple options to make sure pass holders get a fair shake.”
For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.thunderroadvt.com. You can also get updates on Facebook and Twitter at @ThunderRoadVT.