The 55th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank on Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1 will see a familiar face return to the Barre high banks. Shelburne, Vt. native Kevin Lepage, a three-time Milk Bowl Champion, has officially entered the “Toughest Short Track Stock Car Race in North America” and will look for victory number four in what is expected to be his final event behind the wheel.
Lepage competed on the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Pro Stock Tour from 1980 through 1993, posting 11 career wins which included Milk Bowl victories in 1985, 1989, and 1993. He moved to North Carolina in 1994 to join what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series, eventually working his way up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Lepage is a two-time winner in the Xfinity Series and has more than 550 career starts in NASCAR’s three national series.
“One thing I always vowed to myself and vowed to Ken (Squier) and Tom (Curley) when I left Vermont to pursue being a NASCAR driver was to never forget where I came from,” Lepage said. “When I first started looking at retirement five or six years ago, I decided that I might as well retire where it all started. A lot of guys down here, they retire at their last race of the year at Homestead (Florida) or something like that, and that’s not where you started. The fans in Vermont and the people in Vermont watched me grow up, watched me take the step to become a NASCAR driver, watched my progression all the way up to the Cup Series, and were there when I had the good days and there when I had the bad days. For me and my wife to go back home – it’s bittersweet, because I still want to race, but Father Time has spoken, and it’s time to say ‘it’s been a good ride, and let’s close the curtain at Thunder Road.’”
For the 55th Vermont Milk Bowl, Lepage will drive a car fielded by Dave Boyce, a long-time Late Model car owner in the region. East Montpelier’s Jeff Laquerre, who has previously been the crew chief for Thunder Road track champions Tracie Bellerose, Cris Michaud, and Jean-Paul Cyr, will prepare Lepage’s ride. Many of his long-time sponsors, including Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Allen Lumber Company, and State Water Heaters, have signed on for the event.
Lepage is one of a trio of three-time Vermont Milk Bowl winners who plan to compete in the 55th running of the famed event. Barre’s Nick Sweet, who has won three of the last four Milk Bowls, has entered the event, as has St-Denis, Qué.’s Patrick Laperle, who won it in 2005, 2007, and 2008. Robbie Crouch is the all-time leader with four Milk Bowl wins.
“Robbie Crouch put up a big number, and to go back and to retire as a four-time champion at the Milk Bowl and tie the record with Robbie would be extra-special,” Lepage said. “But at the end of the day, it’s about saying thanks to all the fans and to all the sponsors that have jumped on board for this last race. It’s really exciting to have everybody do this last ride with me.”
The multi-time former winners join a host of the top Late Model drivers from the Northeast U.S. and Quebec looking to come out on top of the $10,000-to-win event. New “King of the Road” Bobby Therrien, current ACT Late Model Tour point leader Scott Payea, current Serié ACT Champion Jonathan Bouvrette, 2014 Serié ACT Champion Alex Labbé, and multi-time White Mountain Motorsports Park Champion Quinny Welch are just a few of the drivers who have entered this year’s event.
The action kicks off on Saturday, September 30 at 1:00pm with Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Milk Bowl Qualifying Day. Time Trials and “Triple 50” qualifying races for the Thunder Road Late Models will help set the starting grid with the 55th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank scheduled for Sunday, October 1 at 1:00pm. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, and New England Dwarf Cars will hold two-segment “Mini Milk Bowls” on Saturday and Sunday, with the Flying Tigers paying $1,000 to win and the Street Stocks paying $500 to win. The Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors are on the Saturday program.
Adult admission is just $30 for a two-day ticket or $10 for Saturday only with kids age 12 and under admitted free. The front gates will open at 10:00am on both days. An optional practice day for the Thunder Road Late Models, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, and Allen Lumber Street Stocks is slated for Friday, September 29 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.