PHOTO: Nick Sweet celebrates his Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic victory with the “Race to Read’ winner Avery Murphy. Murphy chose Sweet as the Race to Read Driver of the Week, and was able to celebrate his win in victory lane. (Leif Tillotson photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson
VMM Editor

Nick Sweet should be an inspiration for any kid sitting in the grandstand hoping to, one day, be Nick Sweet.

Why? Because Sweet was one of those kids.

Sweet grew up at Thunder Road, started his racing career in the Street Stock division there, and won the championship in the Tiger Sportsman division in one of the most competitive years in the modern era. Sweet may have never envisioned himself becoming a Late Model drivers, but he is there now. And he isn’t just another car, he is a champion. And making his mark on the history of Thunder Road.

As Travis Barrett wrote this week on the Granite Stripe, there may not be anybody better than Nick Sweet at Thunder Road when it’s all said and done.

And, in my eyes, that’s off the track, too.

Nick Sweet is Barre’s favorite, and he wears that cap to the best of his ability. And that’s pretty damn good. Sweet, the first driver selected as the “Race to Read Driver of the Week” by the first winner of the Race to Read program Avery Murphy, has continually set the recent standard on how to do it. He takes time for everyone.

Sweet’s a fierce competitor, too. You don’t have to look past last year’s TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway to see how disappointed and frustrated he was to finish second — to NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch, no less.

Sweet’s name will be in the same conversation as Dion, Hannaford, Fadden, Dragon, and every other legendary driver who deserves to be at the top. Part of it is his off-the-track maturity. Most of it is his recent dominance.

I remember being that kid Nick Sweet once referenced. My racing career was short lived. Sweet, however, is racing out that dream for many of us who couldn’t obtain it.

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Vermont Motorsports Magazine would like to wish Jamie Lynn Dragon, daughter of American-Canadian Tour competitor Brent Dragon and wife June, and Sydney Perry, daughter of former driver Rick Garand and niece to Dave Pembroke, well on the Miss USA pageant this weekend in Las Vegas. Jamie will be representing the state of Vermont, while Sydney is representing the state of North Carolina.

The Miss USA Pageant can be seen Sunday night on NBC.

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I was sent a message Sunday night saying Sunday’s Memorial Day Classic was a pretty good day of racing. I’d say it was a pretty good weekend.

Ron Proctor’s drive on the outside – twice – Friday night at Devil’s Bowl was pretty good. Will Hull’s last lap pass on Tyler Rich in the Sprint Cars of New England race was pretty good. Justin Comes’ three-wide spectacular during the DIRTcar Modified feature at Bear Ridge was pretty good. The four car, two-by-two, side-by-side battle for the lead between Ricky Rolfe, Scott Payea, Phil Scott, and Sweet was more than pretty good.

I’d say the race fan got their money’s worth this weekend.

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Thank you, Ralph Teetor, for inventing cruise control. My leg and knee is appreciative after over 500 miles of driving this past weekend.

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I’m pretty sure Nick Sweet would be categorized by Ken Squier’s great saying, race car drivers are “common men doing uncommon things.”

Squier, along with MRN Radio’s Barney Hall, was recognized by the NASCAR Hall of Fame with an award, that will be named in their honor, for Media Excellence.

To me, it’s about time Squier and Hall get their due in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. NASCAR would not be at the height it is today without Squier and Hall. Squier sold CBS on broadcasting the 1979 Daytona 500 flag-to-flag. And we are all left with his “And there’s a fight.” It’s still one of the most recognizable calls across any sports platform today.

Squier helped bring NASCAR racing into the homes of millions. He helped make it a multimillion dollar business that it is today. It’s only right that he should be honored by the hall of fame.

My only argument is that if he’s good enough to have an award named after him, he’s good enough to be enshrined, fully, into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Without him, there may have never been the NASCAR we see today.

I think Ken Squier, NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2014, has a nice ring to it.