ACT Young Stars Ready to Spoil Milk Bowl for Veterans
The American Canadian Tour (ACT) young stars heading to the 51st Peoples United Bank Milk Bowl has a list deep in numbers and talent. Looking for first wins in what is arguably one of the most famous short track races in the country, first time winners include young local and young touring stars from throughout New England and Quebec.Thunder Road hopefuls who have not held up the Milk Can are led by two-time ‘King of the Road’ Nick Sweet. Sweet is the home-town kid who made Thunder Road his own playground, coming up through the ranks of 4-cyl racing, then graduating to the intermediate Limited Late Model Tiger Sportsman division. He is always a favorite to win at his home track in any event. “I guess I would like to win this race as much as any I have ever been in. I almost won at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s ACT Invitational a couple years ago. I’ve done well and been in a position for a win a couple times at the Oxford 250, and have been lucky to have won a few of Thunder Road’s big ACT events, but I am still missing the biggest one!. Maybe this is my year,” said Sweet.
Brooks Clark from the Mad River Valley has enjoyed a break-out season at Thunder Road. Clark is a steady 50-lap racer who fits the Milk Bowl format perfectly. “I have watched a lot of Milk Bowls, and been lucky enough to race in a few. I think the biggest thing is to have a strategy, take a few chances, and get really lucky. If you have that kind of day, you have a chance to be a Milk Bowl winner. It would certainly be special to our team if we could ever pull it off”, said Clark.
Early 2013 ACT point leader and winner of the Lee USA opening event to start the season off was Jimmy Hebert from nearby Williamstown, VT. Hebert also won on the SANAIR mile in mid-summer. The former Bond Auto Tiger Champion at Thunder Road knows his way around the high banks of the ‘Nation’s Site of Excitement’. Derrick O’Donnell, the newly-crowned 2013 Thunder Road Late Model Champion, is the only rookie ever to win the title. Another Tiger Champion, from Bradford, VT, O’Donnell made everyone take notice by winning the Memorial Day Classic is his first point race of the year, on his way to the title. Cody Blake, a second generation driver from Barre has proven he can get to the front under pressure. Earlier this summer he won the Governor’s Cup 150, beating Clint Bowyer and 29 other teams.
The young touring talent who will look to give their race team a big win heading to the off-season includes teams from both sides of the border. A breakout season for Alex Labbé from Ste. Albert, QC saw him win two Série ACT events in Quebec. He beat the best of the US and Canada at the recent Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne Speedway for his third win in 2013. The Larue Industrial driver looks to cap a dream season at Thunder Road in the 51st Milk Bowl.
Another graduate with a Thunder Road Tiger title is Bobby Therrien from Hinesburg, VT. Earlier this season Therrien won a Tour race at White Mountain Motorsports Park, and finished an outstanding season in 4th place on the overall ACT US.
Seven-time ACT Champion and 2009 Thunder Road Champion, Jean-Paul Cyr said, “These young guys have great equipment, and they are talented drivers. We have seen many come through the Thunder Road system and it speaks well for the future of racing in our area. The 50-lap segments suit their style, probably better than the Tour guys that like the 100- and 150-lap long distance races. It would not surprise me at all to see one of the new young breed win the race. Whoever wins will need some luck,” the 1996 winner said.Qualifying begins on Saturday with the Booth Bros./Hood Time Trials and Triple 50-lap qualifiers. First segments of the mini Milk Bowls for Tigers and Street Stocks will also take place on Saturday. Sunday is race day with all the features and ceremony that makes the Peoples United Bank Milk Bowl one of the great fall classic events in the country. Post time each day is 1:00pm. Gates open each day at 10:00am. Adult tickets are just $30.00 dollars for two days, $25.00 for Sunday and kids age 12 and under are free both days.