Story By: THUNDER ROAD INTERNATIONAL SPEEDBOWL – BARRE, VT – The 59th edition of the Northfield Saving Bank Vermont Milk Bowl gets underway this coming Friday, October 1 to Sunday, October 3.
The three-day racing festival brings 11 classes and touring series together at Barre’s Thunder Road for a series of no-holds-barred showdowns that can be witnessed at the track or live worldwide on FloRacing.
The $10,000-to-win Vermont Milk Bowl capstone on Sunday, October 3 is a crown jewel of the national motorsports circuit. With three 50-lap segments, full-field inversions between segments, and the win going to the lowest overall score, it’s the most unique event around. Drivers need to be on their game every second to succeed. It’s a challenge that racers like Jason Corliss, Joey Polewarzyck, Bobby Therrien, Jimmy Hebert, Brooks Clark, and Alby Ovitt are welcoming with open arms.
“The Milk Bowl means a lot to me,” Hudson, NH’s Polewarczyk said. “We’ve been talking about it a lot the past couple weeks as we’re getting ready for it. We’ve been doing this a long time, and to win it in 2010 when we did, you realize that was over a decade ago. We want to do it again. We were so young when we won it, especially me, that we’d appreciate things a lot more if we were able to pull it off now.”
While the Milk Bowl is the flagship of the weekend schedule, there are many other races worth watching. In recent years, the Northfield Savings Bank Vermont Milk Bowl has expanded to three days of stock car racing. It’s become a true celebration of the sport, and this year, there is something for everyone.
Action begins with Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Milk Bowl Friday on October 1. Following an optional open practice for Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model teams, a four-division card takes to the track beginning at 6:00pm. The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models headline the Friday night program with a 150-lap event that counts for National Championship points.
That means the best of the best Super Late Model racers will be at Thunder Road, including reigning New Smyrna Speedweeks champion Derek Griffith, 10-time PASS champion Ben Rowe, current PASS North point leader Johnny Clark, and five-time champion D.J. Shaw. Several locals, including former Milk Bowl winner Bobby Therrien, will make it a full weekend by running the PASS event before turning their focus to the Late Model.
Friday night’s card also includes a trio of 50-lap features for the PASS Modifieds, Honey Badger Bar & Grill Street Stocks, and North East Mini Stock Tour. The Modifieds had a wild 2020 Milk Bowl Friday race and have been putting on great shows all year. The 8-cylinder Street Stock race is using the same rules as the R&R Race Parts NH Street Stock Open that drew 42 cars last Saturday at White Mountain Motorsports Park. This includes an option that allows Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger teams to compete with select modifications.
Saturday, October 2 at 1:00pm, things start to get serious with Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Milk Bowl Qualifying Day. The Late Models are running single-car time trials for the only time all year. After the front row of Segment 1 is locked in based on fast times, a pair of 50-lap qualifying races set positions 3-18. Spots 19-22 go back to the time trial speeds among drivers not yet qualified.
On Saturday, fans also get to watch group time trials and the first segment of Mini Milk Bowls for the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers and RK Miles Street Stocks. The Flying Tigers are racing for $1,000 to win while the Street Stock have a $500 winner’s prize. The Dads 4 By Tool & Supply Kids Trucks and Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank Strictly Stock Minis of White Mountain are visiting for two-segment Mini Milk Bowls. After racing and final Late Model practice are done on the big track, the Junior Champ Karts for 6-14 year-olds run Mini Milk Bowls to wrap up their season.
Everything comes to a head on Sunday, October 3. At 12:15pm, the Last Chance B-Feature rolls out to decide who gets the final four spots in the Northfield Savings Bank Vermont Milk Bowl starting field. Opening ceremonies begin at 1:00pm with the first 50-lap segment taking the green flag at 1:30pm. In between segments, fans can watch the conclusion of the Flying Tiger and Street Stock Mini Milk Bowls plus a two-segment Mini Milk Bowl for the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors.
The format of the Milk Bowl is part of what makes it so tough to win. The Segment 1 finish will be inverted to start Segment 2, and then the Segment 2 finish will be inverted to start Segment 3. Drivers are awarded 1 point per position (1 for 1st, 5 for 5th, etc.), and the driver with the fewest points after three segments is crowned Milk Bowl champion. Any ties go to the driver who had the best finish in the third segment.
“I feel pretty good,” Polewarczyk said of his chances. “The Thunder Road guys and ACT guys are obviously going to be tough. They’re tough anywhere you go — especially the ACT regulars. And there’s a lot of guys I haven’t really even raced with yet, so it’ll be interesting. But I’m looking forward to getting there on Friday. We have a lot of practice time, and we’re really focused on trying to get the car dialed in to where it needs to be.”
The biggest names in Northeast Late Model racing will be at Thunder Road this weekend. Former Milk Bowl winners Polewarczyk, Corliss, Therrien, and John Donahue know what it takes to win “The Toughest Short Track Race in America”. Jimmy Hebert has finished 1st, 2nd, and 1st in the last three ACT Late Model Tour races, putting him on the ultimate heater. It’s also a platform where locals like Tyler Cahoon, Marcel J. Gravel, Kyle Pembroke, Brendan Moodie, and Matt White can make a national name for themselves.
Thunder Road caps its 62nd season with Northfield Savings Bank Vermont Milk Bowl Weekend this Friday, October 1 to Sunday, October 3. The weekend begins with Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Milk Bowl Friday on October 1 at 6:00pm. The Milk Bowl prelude includes a PASS Super Late Model National Championship event plus 50-lap features for the PASS Modifieds, North East Mini Stock Tour, and Honey Badger Bar & Grill Street Stocks.
Saturday, October 2 at 1:00pm is Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Qualifying Day. The Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models run time trials and 50-lap qualifying races to set the Milk Bowl starting field. The Last Chance B-Feature is Sunday, October 3 at 12:15pm followed by the 59th Northfield Savings Bank Vermont Milk Bowl. The weekend also includes Mini Milk Bowls for the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, RK Miles Street Stocks, Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors, Dads 4 By Tool & Supply Kids Trucks, and Junior Champ Karts.
A three-day ticket to Vermont Milk Bowl Weekend is just $50 for adults, $15 for kids ages 6-12, and free for kids ages 5 and under. Single-day tickets are also available. Advance tickets can be purchased at www.happsnow.com/event/Thunder-Road-Speedbowl.