Barre, VT – Drivers from six U.S. states and the Canadian province of Quebec found their way to Barre’s Thunder Road on Friday, September 27 for Vermont Milk Bowl Practice Day. Racers in the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models, Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, and Allen Lumber Street Stocks all had the opportunity to get their cars dialed in for the 57th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank.
A stout field of Late Models was on hand with many more big names expected for Saturday’s Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Qualifying Day. But throughout the afternoon, one name stood above them all. Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert, the 2018 Milk Bowl polesitter, led all three practice sessions. He set the fastest time of the day in the final session with a lap of 12.525 seconds.
A mix of drivers were fast during the day. Track record holder Marcel J. Gravel of Wolcott, VT was in the top-three in the first two practice sessions before electing to call it a day early. Danville, VT’s Tyler Cahoon did the same after going second-fastest in the second session. Veterans Trampas Demers of Shelburne, VT and Brooks Clark of Fayston, VT were consistently fast all afternoon long as was first-year Late Model competitor Joel Hodgdon of Crafsbury Common, VT.
Senioa, GA’s Bubba Pollard arrived from a Thursday practice in Virginia just in time to make it out near the end of session one. Pollard showed he’s learning the ropes at Thunder Road as he, along with teammate Joey Polewarczyk of Hudson, NH, were in the top-10 of the final two sessions. Fellow national invader Mason Mitchell of West Des Moines, IA made noticeable gains throughout the day as he attempts to redeem last year’s non-qualifying effort.
Only a few minor incidents slowed the afternoon down. Barre, VT’s Jim “Boomer” Morris stalled out during the second practice session while fellow home-towner Lance Allen, who is subbing for Christopher Pelkey on Saturday, went for a spin through the infield in the same session. Barton, VT’s Blair Bessett spun in turn two his first time out during the final session. None of the drivers sustained any significant damage.
In the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Hinesburg, VT’s Cooper Bouchard made like Hebert did and led all three practice sessions. He set the fast time of the day in session one at 14.123 seconds and continued to pace the pack the rest of the afternoon.
Newly crowned Flying Tiger champion Jason Woodard of Waterbury Center, VT got a late start to the day but was second fastest in the final session. Williamstown, VT’s Micheal MacAskill placed in the top-four in all three sessions. He was so fast that his hood went flying off in turn three early in the final session. (He quickly got it reattached.) Danny Doyle, Dwayne Lanphear, Brad Bushey, and Robert Gordon were among the others who had good speed. Bradford, VT’s Amanda Wheeler, a White Mountain Motorsports Park (WMMP) regular, made her first laps at Thunder Road and gained several tenths during the day.
Several PASS Super Late Models turned out to try and get a head-start on Saturday’s 150-lap showdown. Hudson, NH’s Derek Griffith, who is just three points out of the championship lead, took full advantage of the extra practice time offered as he goes for the season sweep at Thunder Road. Several locals also decided to turn some more laps at their home track, including Nick Sweet, Bobby Therrien, Evan Hallstrom, and Vermont Governor Phil Scott.
The Allen Lumber Street Stocks also had practice on Friday with Dean Switser Jr., Bryan P. Wall, Keegan Lamson, and Tanner Woodard among those working to get a leg up on their four-cylinder brethren. Littleton, NH’s Ryan Ware, the number-two point man in WMMP’s Strictly Stock Mini’s, showed up to try and match that success at Thunder Road. The division also welcomed a new driver with Juan Marshall’s crew chief Joe Fuster taking the reigns of the #79 for the weekend.
These drivers and many, many more will return for Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Milk Bowl Qualifying Day this Saturday, September 28 at 3:00pm. The Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models have time trials and 50-lap qualifying races to help set the Milk Bowl starting field while the PASS Super Late Models go 150 laps on the high banks. Thunder Road’s Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors have qualifying and “Mini Milk Bowl” action. The night ends with a fireworks show by Northstar Fireworks and live music from local band Rumblecaddy. The pits open at 9:30am and the front gates open at 12:00pm.
Sunday, September 29 is the 57th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank. The Last Chance “B” Feature at 12:15pm determines the final spots on the Milk Bowl starting grid. The three-segment Milk Bowl will follow along with the conclusion of the Flying Tiger and Street Stock Mini Milk Bowls plus a Mini Milk Bowl for the 7-Eleven Dwarf Cars. The pits open at 8:00am and the front gates open at 10:00am.
Adult admission for Vermont Milk Bowl Weekend is $45 for a two-day ticket, $30 for Sunday-only, and $20 for Saturday-only. Kids ages 12 and under are admitted free both days. Speed51 TV will also be doing a live pay-per-view broadcast of all the racing action. A 100-mile blackout is in effect for this broadcast. Visit www.speed51.com to learn more.