ATTACHED PHOTO: TR_Regulars.jpg - Two-time Thunder Road Champions Derrick O'Donnell and Nick Sweet lead the contingent of strong Thunder Road regulars who are favored to win the Milk Bowl. (Photo by Alan Ward)
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Waterbury, VT – The 2014 People's United Bank Milk Bowl has the makings of a battle between the Thunder Road (TR) regular teams and the American Canadian Tour (ACT) teams. The depth of the TR teams seems to give an edge to the Thunder Road regulars. Champions like Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. (Pole), Hudson, NH, Alex Labbe from Quebec City and Patrick Laperle, Montreal, QC, will join touring regulars Jimmy Hebert, Bobby Therrien and Jeff White, but it's the regular Thunder Road weekly teams that look to make 2014 their year to kiss the cow.
"I don't know, Thunder Road is like coming home and putting your slippers on after a hard day's work," said two-time Champion Nick Sweet from Barre. "I just think lots of guys worry more about the widow maker, the high banks, and the narrow front stretch than they do about those of us that race weekly at the 'Road. I know I have my hands full racing Derrick (O'Donnell, Champion in 2013 and 2014), Trampas Demers, Cody Blake, Brooks Clark, Shawn Fleury, David Pembroke and Phil Scott…geez the list goes on and on with who can win 50 lappers at Thunder Road. I just know it is going to be a lot of fun, and it is a great way to end the race season," concluded Sweet.
Teams from around New England and Canada will compete for the $10,000.00 dollars to win. Over 40 of the best Late Model drivers in the Northeast will attempt to qualify through time trials, 50 lap qualifiers, last chance races, and then still have to race three more 50-lap features before one driver will get the Thunder Road tradition of kissing the cow in victory lane. No wonder the 52 year-old race is called the "toughest short track race in America".
"I guess if the Milk Bowl were three 100 lappers or 150 lappers, the regular Tour guys probably have some edge, but I know how hard it is to beat the TR regular weekly teams" said Derrick O'Donnell. "I am really proud to be a Thunder Road defending Champion and welcome the competition from veteran ACT teams. My goal is to win the Milk Bowl. It will not only be a great personal accomplishment, but in some strange way it will feel good to keep the Milk Bowl 'in house'," said the two-time Thunder Road Champion O'Donnell.
Many Thunder Road fans may pick Sweet, the first time winner and now defending Milk Bowl winner, to repeat. Others have seen O'Donnell surge to win his second in a row "King of the Road" title. Many of the famous TR bank dwellers, who generally like the underdogs, might favor a young new star like Jason Corliss or Chip Grenier. Older Thunder Road fans will remember when former champions Phil Scott and Dave Pembroke each won two Milk Bowls. Canadians will be rooting for Patrick Laperle to grab his fourth Milk Bowl, or perhaps the new Champion of the ACT Série Quebec, Alex Labbe, to bring the milk can trophy back to Quebec.
Whatever the outcome, the People's United Bank Milk Bowl is certainly a one of a kind event in all of racing. For half a century racers have been chasing the dream of being the best there is on a fall day in Vermont. This Sunday, October 12, 2014 the dream comes true for the 52nd time.
Camping will open for fans on Friday, October 10 at 9am and campers must be off the grounds by noon on Monday, October 13. Admission to the two day race is just $30 for Saturday and Sunday, only $25 for Milk Bowl Sunday, and $10 for Saturday only qualifying. Saturday will feature triple 50 lap qualifiers for ACT Late Models, time trials for all three divisions, and first segment 'mini milk bowls' for the Allen Lumber Street Stocks and Bond Auto Tiger divisions. Children 12 and under will be admitted free of charge both days. Gates will open at 10am and post time is 1:00 on Saturday and 12:30 for opening ceremonies on Sunday.
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