Patrick Laperle of St. Denis, QUE, made seven plus one plus five equal one in Sunday’s New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl. The veteran racer’s finishes in the three segment race, which totaled 13, was the lowest of the 30 car starting field. The total gave him the $10,000 victory, a jug of milk and a kiss from Miss Milk Bowl (an Ayrshire cow). Laperle almost lost his shot at victory on the first lap of the third and final 50-lap segment of the unique Monza-style race. As the field took the initial green flag, he almost lost control as he headed into the first turn. With a quick snap of the wheel he righted his car to get back in position to chase the win.

He was emotional in victory lane, “To win the Milk Bowl, I’ve been thinking about it all my life. Wow, what a feeling!” he told the packed house at the high banked quarter-mile oval.

Brent Dragon of Milton, VT, finished second overall, while Moores Forks, NY’s Mark Lamberton took third. Rookie Scott Payea of Milton, VT, was fourth and Waterbury Ctr., VT’s Chad Wheeler was fifth.

Laperle, the event leader entering the final segment, needed to finish within six spots of Milton, VT’s Jean- Paul Cyr, Dave Pembroke of Montpelier, VT, and Dragon, who were tied for second, to take the win. Laperle had 8 points to the 14 of the other three. Adding to the Laperle’s challenge was the Milk Bowl’s inversion rule – each segment’s finish is reversed for the start of the subsequent 50 lapper. Laperle’s victory put him some 10 starting spots behind his closest challengers.

With ten laps remaining, it looked like Dragon was one his way to the 42nd Milk Bowl crown. While there were enough cars for Laperle to pass, he hadn’t been able to make significant progress to narrow up the point margin. A fourth turn wreck collected Pembroke which ended his hopes for a second Milk Bowl title (he won in 2002). Several others were also involved which reignited Laperle’s hope at victory.

As the segment leader, Dragon had advanced as far forward as he could. The only way for him to win was for other cars to pass Laperle. It didn’t happen. Laperle’s margin of victory was two positions. Dragon’s total was 15 points (2 +12+1).

Mark Lamberton from Mooers Forks, NY was fifth in the overall standings (16 points) entering the last 50-lapper. A sixth place gave him a total of 22, good enough for third. ACT Tour Rookie of the Year, Milton, Vermont’s Scott Payea was fourth in his first career Milk Bowl (23 points) and Chad Wheeler from Waterbury Ctr, VT completes the top five (24 points).

Dave Pembroke, who had earned a $500 bonus for posting the second fastest time in Saturday’s Booth Bros/HP Hood Time Trials, won the first segment over Dragon. Cyr, the pole sitter was third. Laperle took the second stage by passing Cooper MacRitchie of Williamstown, VT on the 48th circuit of the 50-lap race. Lamberton was third in the second segment. Finishing behind Dragon in the third portion were Eric Williams and John Donahue.

Even though Cyr fell short of the winning the $30,000 he was eligible through the
ACTion Super Series, he was still a winner. The veteran racer collected his third consecutive ACT Tour championship and fifth overall. “We’ve had a great year, I love all you fans and I hope to see you all next year,” he said in his post-race interview. He also congratulated his fellow competitors in their seasons.

One of the day’s two under cards saw Pete Ainsworth of Middlesex, VT, take the 50 lap NAPA Tiger Sportsmen main event, with Nick Sweet of Barre, VT coming home second, and Northfield, VT’s Jeff French taking the third spot. Shawn Fleury of Montpelier, VT collected the track championship.

In the Allen Lumber Street Stocks Lloyd Blakely of Barre, VT took the victory in the 30 lap main, while Randolph, VT’s Eric Johnson finished second. William Hennequin of Morrisville, VT came home third, and Milton, VT’s Joe Small won his second straight class championship.