Thunder Road officials announced early this week a $50,000 bonus to any competitor who wins all three segments of the 50th People’s United Bank Milk Bowl, Sept. 29-30.
The 50 grand will be added to a purse already exceeding $120,000, making the race one of the biggest sporting events in Vermont’s history. In the first 49 years of the Milk Bowl, it’s only been done three times. Larry Demar did it in 1967, Dave Dion in 1975 and Robbie Crouch in 1986.
Thirteen times a driver has won two segments, nine of those times they went on to win the race. Brian Hoar scored four points when he won it in 1998. Last year Brian Hoar won a total of $13,645, add $50,000 to that and you have $63,645. Just so you know, the most a winner of the Oxford 250 has ever won was $52,150 when Dave Whitlock won it in 1995.
Before you say it’s impossible, think about this. Sure there are 30 starters so you’d think the winners of the first and second segments would have to start 30th in the next two segments. But the rules say only the top 24 will be inverted. And remember, for the third time in as many years, those final two segments are now 75 laps after many, many years of being 50 laps for all three segments.
I for one hope bossman Tom Curley boots the first guy using the bump-and-run to gain a spot. I know most of these guys just want their name on that milk can, but with 50 big ones on the line it could get a little crazy out there.
I asked Nick Sweet (knowing these guys enjoy taking Curley’s money) if Hoar wins the first segment and he’s (Nick) leading the second segment with Brian on his bumper with two to go would he consider letting him by if Brian gave him 10-15 grand of the bonus money. Nick said not a chance, he wants to win the Milk Bowl!
“We are excited about the possibility of one of our teams running for a bonus $50,000 to help celebrate the 50th annual Milk Bowl,” said ACT President Tom Curley. “It sure will add some additional pressure on the entire Milk Bowl experience for both teams and fans.”
• Thirty cars will qualify for the Milk Bowl. Before lap money and driver’s auction money is added in, the winner will get $10,050. Second pays $5,050, third $3,050, fourth $2,050, fifth $1,550. Tenth pays $1,260, 15th $1,210, 20th $1,160, 25th $1,110 and last $1,000.
• With 60 Late Model teams expected, a “Reserve” or “Mini Milk Bowl” has been added to the weekend. This is a two 50-lap segment race with an inversion after the first segment. The winner’s share of the $20,000 purse just for this event is $3,000. This will be run between Milk Bowl segments on Sunday so the winner does not advance to the Milk Bowl. Last in this special race is a few dollars less than $400. I think I read $380 but at this time I can’t find my payoff sheet.
Schedule of Events:
10 a.m. Pits Open for Late Models Only ($10)
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Late Model practice
10 p.m. Huge Bonfire in the Gravel Pit
7:30 a.m. Pits Open for Late Model teams ONLY. Tigers and Streets Haulers Staged in front parking lot
8 a.m. Late Model Tech Open (Draw for Time Trials) Tire Compound Open
8:30 a.m. Pits Open for Tigers and Streets
9 a.m. Practice
10 a.m. Front Gate Opens
12:15 p.m. Practice Ends, Driver’s Meeting
12:35 p.m. Late Model Time Trial Tech to Grid
1 p.m. Street Stock Time Trials – five at a time (top 16 qualify) Tiger Sportsmen Time Trials – five at a time (top 16 qualify)
1:30 p.m. Late Model Time Trials (qualify pole and outside pole)
2:45 p.m. Street Stock B-Feature (qualify Pos. 17 up to 33) Tiger Sportsmen B-Feature (qualify Pos. 17 up to 30)
3:30 p.m. Late Model Triple 50 Qualifiers (qualify top 5 from each into Pos. 3-17). Next seven fastest times from time trials qualify to Pos. 18-24.
Two Top 20 Thunder Road Points Provisional to Pos. 25-26
Two ACT Tour 100% Provisional to Pos. 27-28
Two Série ACT Castrol Provisional to Pos. 29-30
NOTE: (Provisionals will only be available if at least five competitors in attendance are eligible. Otherwise additional qualifying spots will be added to fill field.
4:30 p.m. Street Stocks Mini-Milk Bowl Segment No. 1 (25 laps). Tiger Sportsmen Mini-Milk Bowl Segment No. 1 (35 Laps)
5:15 p.m. Late Model Final Practice
6 p.m. Track Closed
6:30 p.m. Spaghetti Dinner ($10 ticket includes Calcutta (drivers auction) and Dance
8 p.m. Calcutta
9 p.m. Tent Dance with Tammy Fletcher
10:15 p.m. Fireworks
Midnight Party Closed
8 a.m. Pits Open
9:30 a.m. Driver’s Meeting
10 a.m. Practice and Front Gate Opens
12:30 p.m. Close Practice
1 p.m. Opening Ceremonies
1:30 p.m. 50th People’s United Bank Milk Bowl Segment No. 1 (50 laps)
2 p.m. Street Stocks Final Segment No. 2 (25 laps)
Victory Lane (2012 Champion)
Late Model Mini-Milk Bowl Segment No. 1 (50 laps)
2:55 p.m. Milk Bowl Segment No. 2 (75 Laps, 24 cars inverted)
3:25 p.m. Tiger Sportsmen Final Segment No. 2 (35 laps)
Victory Lane (2012 Champion)
Late Model Mini-Milk Bowl Final Segment No. 2 (50 laps)
Cow Chip Throwing Contest
4:30 p.m. Milk Bowl Segment No. 3 (75 laps, 24 cars inverted)
5:15 p.m. Victory Lane
(Schedule subject to change.)
ACT Late Model Tour
OK race fans, let’s start with a show of hands: How many of you picked Ray Parent to win the fourth Annual Bond ACT Invitational at NHMS, Sept. 22? Better yet, how many of you can tell me what his car number is? Or should I ask how many of you knew what number he was before you asked – who’s Ray Parent? The answer is 17RI.
His best finish in the season’s nine point-counting races was a fourth at Devil’s Bowl back in May. He was sixth at White Mountain in June. His only other top 10 was 10th in the season opener at Lee. Twice (at Thunder Road and Oxford) he failed to qualify and his last four finishes before this win were 17 (Beech Ridge), 18 (Sanair), 22 (St-Croix), and 18th at the Labor Day Classic at Thunder Road.
Last year Parent finished 23rd in this event after starting 17th. I know very little about the guy or his team but I have heard he was very successful down south before joining ACT last season. And don’t kid yourself, very few teams just show up for an ACT race and start running up front. I have heard him say he didn’t know what he was getting into with these cars on eight-inch tires and the qualifying system.
But he earned it at New Hampshire. He started 20th in the 42-car field and he had to re-pass Joey Polewarczyk Jr. By that I mean Joey got by him to lead lap 25 but a lap later Parent drove by him to retake the lead. Parent first took the lead from early leader Ricky Rolfe on lap 20 and then led every lap other than lap 25 in the 50-lapper.
• Notes from the day: I’m still amazed when I walk through the tunnel (at 5:50 a.m.) at NHMS on race day knowing the ACT Late Model Tour guys have the opportunity to race on a NASCAR Cup track. I don’t know of any other non-NASCAR class that runs on the same day as the Cup guys. Maybe the World of Outlaws at Bristol.
• It’s too bad with four other divisions in the infield ACT gets stuffed onto the side of the busiest road in the place. The haulers parked on either side of the two-lane road that 95 percent of the people who went in and out of the infield had to travel (riding or walking) on. It ended up as a very narrow one-lane road that NHMS workers tried to keep clear. If you’ve ever been to a Cup race you know there are hundreds of golf cart-like rigs taking people every which way and they all seem to be running five minutes late. Oh, if I had a nickel for every person who went by the haulers in the 10 hours I was in there …
• I’ll never understand why some people think they’re so special just because they have a Cup hot pass and a shirt with a sponsor’s logo on it. Some of the dopes you run into at these events make me chuckle. So your daddy knows someone, big deal, you’re still a dope who knows nothing about racing. Just get out of the garage area. More on that another day.
• I’m guessing no one was happier than me after the draw for starting spots. Forty-two car field, Dan McHattie (top runner in Ontario) starting 24th, 25th Jeff Taylor, 26th Eddie MacDonald, 27th Brian Hoar, 28th Wayne Helliwell Jr., 29th Nick Sweet, 30th Shawn Martin, 31st Patrick Laperle, 32nd Jean-Francois Dery, 33rd Polewarczyk Jr., 34th Joey Laquerre, 35th Brent Dragon, and 36th Austin Theriault. The final six were cars who were a tad slow on the clock or drivers who had no experience there.
I’m not sure how to incorporate this system into a regular Tour event, but I for one love to see the top dogs deep in the field.
Laperle gained 29 spots, Polewarczyk Jr. gained 30. Helliwell Jr. picked up 24 spots, Hoar 20, McHattie, 15, Dery 21, Martin 17 and Theriault 21. This, race fans in 50 laps.
• The first half of the race was slowed by cautions on lap 11, 15 and 26. The final yellow flew on lap 33.
• Lap leaders were: Jamie Aube 1, Rolfe 2-11, Jimmy Hebert 12-15, Rolfe 16-19, Parent 20-24, Polewarczyk Jr. 25, Parent 26-50.
• The race took just over one hour and five minutes to complete.
• Although it was a fun day at the races, I’ll stick with the short tracks, thank you very much.
Don’t look for Sweet running practice at The Road today (Sept. 29). He’s in Dover, Del. driving the No. 53 K&N Pro East car again. He was going to restart around 15th at NHMS last Saturday for a green/white/checkers. The team is not running for points and on a limited budget decided to park it and not risk tearing the car up with little or nothing to gain.
He’s never even seen Dover, but after talking to Brian Hoar who ran, I believe, six years on the Busch Series that it’s a fun, fast, track and he’ll love it.
Heading into the last race of the season, Late Model point leader Quinny Welch decided to go to the ACT event at NHMS which started at 4:30 p.m. He started the day with a 15-point lead over Brock Davis and a 19-point lead over Stacy Cahoon at WM.
By missing his heat race Welch gave up any chance at the extra-point semi. Davis and Cahoon both finished second in their heats, banking nine points and transferring into the semi. Cahoon picked up nine more points in the semi while Davis earned six. So, headed into the 50-lap main event, where points drop two per spot, Welch and Davis were deadlocked at 757 points with Cahoon one point back. Toss away your pencil, this was easy – whoever was the first guy under the checkers was going to be the champion.
Because Welch missed the heat he was forced to start at the rear of the field. A few cars elected the rear so Welch started around 14th while Davis and Cahoon started inside the top 10. Welch’s crew didn’t have time to change the set-up in his car so he borrowed a car from Tim Churchill.
When the 50-lapper was over, Cahoon finished third, Welch was seventh and, after contact with Tyler Cahoon on lap 43 sent him to the rear, Davis finished 11th.
Final Points: Late Models – 1. Stacy Cahoon 802, 2. Welch 795, Travis Fadden 794, Davis and Oren Remick 787.
Tigers – 1. Gerald Griswold 818, 2. George May 805, 3. Jeff Huntington 791, 4. Ryan Olsen 750, 5. Stephen Denio 659.
Strictly Stocks – 1. Chandler Potter 775, 2. Shane Sicard 767, 3. Lucas Wheeler 763, 4. Brandon Allbee 715, 5. Tom Keith 713.
Strictly Stock Minis – 1. Lisa Hodgdon 716, 2. Dave Driscoll 710, 3. Jason Fallman 694, 4. Desirae Sicard 677, 5. Craig Willis 663.
Pro All Star Series
Cassius Clark went into last weekend’s race at White Mountain Motorsports Park with an eight-point lead. An early race tangle and a second-place finish by Travis Benjamin has Benjamin now up by eight points. Clark finished eighth. The final point race of the season is at Oxford, Sept. 30. Post time is 1:30 p.m.
Results from WMMP: 1. Derek Ramstrom, 2. Travis Benjamin, 3. Scott Dragon, 4. Ben Rowe, 5. Johnny Clark, 6. Mike Landry, 7. Lonnie Sommerville, 8. Cassius Clark, 9. Gary Smith, 10. Dan Colby, 11. Matt Matheson, 12. DJ Shaw, 13. Dave Pembroke, 14. Martin Latulippe, 15. John Donahue, 16. Richie Dearborn, 17. Chad Dow, 18. Alan Wilson, 19. Kevin Roberge, 21. Matt Harris.
Rain interrupted the races at the Ridge Sept. 22. On Sept. 29 the NE Dirt Track Championship feature events for the Sportsman Modified, Limited Late Models and Fast Four divisions will be run starting at 5:30 p.m., before the Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank Night season finale program begins. A division-record 26 Sportsman Modifieds are scheduled to start the 50-lap main event.
Denny Hamlin won the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last Sunday, leading 193 of the 300 laps. This after starting 32nd. He didn’t take the lead until lap 94.
It was his fifth win of year, 22nd of his career and the 100th win for Joe Gibbs Racing. He was the fastest car on the track for 98 of the 283 green flag laps.
• Only four cautions slowed the race. Once for competition and three times for debris, no spins or crashes. Those types of races don’t keep the fans on the edge of their seats.
• The playoff field looks to have been cut in half after only two weeks. The top six are separated by 15 points. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is seventh 26 points back. Sure 26 points isn’t a lot but tying to gain 26 points on six different drivers is going to be tough.
If the championship doesn’t go down to the last week with two or three drivers in contention, maybe NASCAR will drop this daffy playoff deal all together. Then again maybe they’ll just award points to the guys in the playoffs.
• Kurt Busch will drive the No. 78 next season and now word is Regan Smith will be out of that car after Talladega. Busch was driving the No. 51 for long-time independent James Finch. No word on Finch’s plans for the rest of the season or next, but he’s raced a whole bunch of years with very little sponsorship.
• Mike Olsen brought the No. 32 home in one piece, didn’t screw anyone up, much less screw up a playoff driver. He was 11 laps down finishing 33rd. He’ll tell you he did it once, and his Cup career is now over.
Until Next Week
You’re a race fan and aren’t going to the Milk Bowl because the lawn needs raking or the garage needs to be cleaned? Tell me you’re kidding. I need to tell you there’s a whole lot of racing on Saturday. Look me up for a chat, but remember: “If you’re not having fun, stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”