Drivers from throughout the Northeastern U.S. and Quebec converged at Barre’s Thunder Road on Friday, September 29 for Milk Bowl Practice Day. With the 55th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank coming up this weekend, the top Late Model races in the region took advantage of the additional day to get their cars dialed in for the $10,000-to-win event.
Barre’s Nick Sweet, winner of three of the last four Milk Bowls, showed he will be a serious contender for a record-tying fourth win by laying down the fastest lap of the day at 12.151 seconds. Newly crowned “King of the Road” Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg was close behind at 12.243 seconds. Both times would beat the official track record of 12.245 seconds set by Sylvain Metivier in 1995, meaning a new record will be in play at Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Qualifying Day on Saturday, September 30.
More than 30 Late Models were in the pits on Friday with additional cars expected on Saturday. St-Denis, Qué.’s Patrick Laperle and Shelburne native Kevin Lepage joined Sweet as three-time Milk Bowl Champions in attendance. Three-time 2017 Thunder Road feature winner Jason Corliss of Barre steadily moved up the speed charts throughout the day, while St. Albert, Qué.’s Alex Labbé, Danville’s Tyler Cahoon, Barre’s Cody Blake, and Northfield’s Matt White were among the other drivers consistently in the top-10.
Top American-Canadian Tour runner Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown was fifth-fast in the first practice session, but then had to leave the speedway to repair a reported coolant leak. He returned to the track during the final session and was able to log some additional laps.
The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers and Allen Lumber Street Stocks also took part in the practice day. Reigning Flying Tiger Champion Jason Woodard of Waterbury Center logged the fastest lap of the day at 14.001 seconds in the final session. Morrisville’s Dwayne Lanphear, East Calais’s Tyler Austin, and Hinesburg’s Cooper Bouchard also paced various sessions. Top 2017 runners Brendan Moodie of Wolcott and Trevor Lyman of Hinesburg were fast throughout the afternoon as well.
The Tigers were marred by one incident in the third session when Waterbury’s Clem Despault spun out and Grand Isle’s Joe Steffen ended up off turn three in his efforts to avoid him. Both cars escaped serious damage.
Morrisville’s Will Hennequin set the fast time of the day in the Street Stocks, with Craftsbury Common’s Stephen Martin and Waterbury Center’s Kelsea Woodard close behind. Several new drivers wheeled out cars for the season finale, including 2017 Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warrior winners Issac Spaulding and Tyler Pepin.
Milk Bowl Weekend kicks off with Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Qualifying Day on Saturday, September 30 at 1:00pm. The Late Models will have time trials and “Triple 50” qualifying races to set the starting field. The New England Dwarf Cars will join the Flying Tigers and Street Stocks in running time trials and segment 1 of two-segment “Mini Milk Bowls”. The Road Warriors are on the Saturday card as well. The 55th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank goes to post at 1:00pm on Sunday, October 1.
Adult admission for the Milk Bowl is $30 for Saturday and Sunday or $10 for Saturday only. Kids ages 12 and under will be admitted free both days.