Second generation American Canadian Tour (ACT) driver Brent Dragon had to wait an extra week to fulfill a life-long dream when the 43rd annual Milk Bowl was rained out on October 1. Sunday, Dragon won the final race of the 2006 season, the prestigious New England Dodge Dealers event at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl. After starting on the outside pole of the first segment, he strung together finishes of second, 12th and third for the lowest total (17) of the 30 starters. The victory, worth more than $10,000 was the largest of his career.

“I’ve been chasing this for almost 20 years,” the Milton, VT racer stated. “Last year I finished second (to Patrick Laperle). It was the most upsetting week of my life. I was leading but lost with seven laps to go when Patrick passed another car. It’s really incredible that next year, I’ll be able to part of the pre-race ceremonies with my dad and the other former Milk Bowl Champions,” he added. The elder Dragon (Beaver) won the Milk Bowl in 1978.

Due to its unique format, the Milk Bowl is known as the toughest short track stock car race in the country. The event consists of three segments with the finishing order from the first 50-lapper inverted to set the starting line-up of the second. An inversion of the second segment finish lines up the starting order for the third. The winner of the race is determined by adding together the three finishing positions of each driver. The lowest total earns the victory.

Second went to Williamstown, Vermont’s Cris Michaud, the 2004 Milk Bowl winner. Michaud, who is also a multi-time Late Model champion at the high-banked, quarter-mile oval scored 22 points (12+5+5). Seventeen year-old sophomore racing sensation, Joey Polewarczyk of Hudson, NH was third in the final tally. Polewarczyk started on the pole after setting a new Thunder Road Late Model track record one week ago. He was the first of three drivers to turn in a sub-13 second lap. His total was 24 points (1+14+9).

Scott Payea from Milton, VT (27 points) was fourth and Shelburne, VT racer, Jamie Fisher celebrated his 33rd birthday with a fifth place performance (29 points).

Following the critical second segment, Dragon held a one-point advantage over the youngster, “I knew the battle for the win was going to be close. Joey (Polewarczyk) is a great kid and I enjoy racing with him. We have a lot of young talent racing each week, it lets the older guys, like me, know the future of the Tour is strong.”

Runner-up Michaud, was thrilled for the winner, “Brent’s been chasing this a long time. Having already won a Milk Bowl, I know what it’s like to be hungry for a victory in this race – it’s the one everyone wants to win because of the history. Plus, the list of past champions is a real ‘who’s who’ of racing in our region. And, after all, how many race winners get to kiss a cow?” he finished.

In spite of his youth, the pole sitter handled the pressure well, “It’s been a great week, I spent most of that time baffled that I had broken the track record and would be starting on the pole for the Milk Bowl,” Polewarczyk commented. “To finish third in this race is special, I’m happy for Brent (Dragon), he’s wanted this one for a long time.”

As Dragon was greeted by his crew and father he added, “I’ve finally won the one race that’s always haunted me, it’s a great feeling!” His next order of business was to give the trophy queen a requisite kiss, “She’s beautiful,” he enthused, “I’d love to take her for a spin around the track!”

Completing the top ten were Dennis Demers (Shelburne, VT) in sixth, Mark Lamberton (Mooers Forks, NY), John Donahue (Graniteville, VT), Ryan Nolin (Georgia, VT) and Roger Brown (Lancaster, NH).

In spite of his 27th place finish in the Milk Bowl ,Jean-Paul Cyr on Milton, VT was crowned as the 2006 ACT Champion, the sixth time he earned the honor. Cyr, the 1996 Milk Bowl winner, had, what he referred to as ‘A bad day at the office.’ His Chevrolet never handled the way he wanted it to throughout the event, plus he had to overcome a sprained wrist which he sustained in the first 50-lap segment. In the third and final segment, Cyr found himself catapulting off the second turn. The car came to rest on it’s wheels after flipping over, “Looking at the car, you wouldn’t think that I had flipped it,” Cyr commented adding, “I had the lap full of dirt to prove it.”

“It’s a pleasure to be the champion,” he continued, “We’ll be back on the Tour next year looking for number seven.” Cyr tied the ACT championship record of legendary racer, Robbie Crouch with the 2006 title. Crouch, of Tampa, FL secured most of his crowns in the 1980s with his final one coming in 1990.

RACE #11 - New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl
Thunder Road International Speedbowl - October 8, 2006

1, 55, Brent Dragon, Milton, VT, Dodge Charger, 150, Running, 17
2, 6, Cris Michaud, Williamstown, VT, Ford Fusion, 150, Running, 22
3, 97, Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, NH, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 24
4, 89, Scott Payea, Milton, VT, Ford Fusion, 150, Running, 27
5, 18, Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 29
6, 86, Dennis Demers, Shelburne, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 29
7, 29, Mark Lamberton, Mooers Forks, NY, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 32
8, 26, John Donahue, Graniteville, VT, Dodge Charger, 150, Running, 32
9, 78, Ryan Nolin, Georgia, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 37
10, 99, Roger Brown II, Lancaster, NH, Ford Fusion, 135, Running, 39
11, 85, Trampas Demers, So. Burlington, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 39
12, 52, Dave Pembroke, Montpelier, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 40
13, 14, Phil Scott, Middlesex, VT, Ford Fusion, 150, Running, 41
14, 8, Rich Lowrey, Charlotte, VT, Dodge Charger, 150, Running, 42
15, 95, Craig Bushey, Cambridge, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 149, Running, 44
16, 66, A.J. Begin, Merrimac, MA, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 45
17, 10, David Avery, Lincoln, NH, Dodge Charger, 150, Running, 46
18, 27, Marc Curtis Jr., Worcester, MA, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 46
19, 45, Dave Wilcox, Fairfield, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 50
20, 15, Joey Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT, Pontiac Grand Prix, 150, Running, 53
21, 24, Steve Fisher, Shelburne, VT, Dodge Charger, 134, Axle, 53
22, 50, Jay Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 141, Overheating, 55
23, 91, Patrick Laperle, St.Denis, Que, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 93, Overheating, 58
24, 16, Joe Becker, Jeffersonville, VT, Ford Fusion, 150, Running, 59
25, 12, Steve Reny, Boothbay, ME, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 148, Running, 61
26, 57, Doug Coombs, Livermore, ME, Ford Taurus, 150, Running, 62
27, 32, Jean Paul Cyr, Milton, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 147, Running, 63
28, 33, Quinney Welch, Lancaster, NH, Dodge Charger, 150, Running, 73
29, 75, Pete Fecteau, Morrisville, VT, Pontiac Grand Prix, 48, Handling, 87
30, 60, DJ Shaw, Center Conway, NH, Dodge Charger, 19, Wreck, 92

The Milk Bowl finish is determined by the cumulative total of points drivers earn in three 50-lap segments