The 56th Vermont Milk Bowl Weekend launches on Friday, September 28 with the inaugural Northfield Savings Bank “Milk Bowl Friday”. The special Friday night affair will feature the region’s top racers from a trio of top Northeast touring series duking it out the night before Milk Bowl qualifying.
The Pro All Stars Series (PASS), North East Mini Stock Tour (NEMST), and V8 Street Stock Showdown Series all will make the trip to Barre. It marks the first time there has been Friday racing at the Milk Bowl, and many are already hoping it will become a new tradition on the racing calendar.
“I think adding Milk Bowl Friday is awesome,” Hudson, NH’s Joey Polewarczyk Jr. said. “So many people make the Milk Bowl one of their last big weekends of racing – they’re camping there, and everyone is there from Friday until Sunday anyway. So why not add some other premier divisions on what’s already a huge weekend? I think it’s going to draw more people, and it’s going to be a really good thing for the track.”
The PASS North visit is the first for Super Late Models at Milk Bowl weekend since 1995. But while the 150-lap event will include the biggest names in Northeast Super Late Model racing, it is also taking on a distinct local flavor. Numerous current and former Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model and American-Canadian Tour (ACT) competitors are ready to tackle the high banks.
“Joey Pole” jumps out on the list of early PASS entries. After bouncing back from a flat tire to win on Memorial Day Weekend, Polewarczyk is going for the season sweep. The 2010 Vermont Milk Bowl winner has also entered this year’s running in hopes of a weekend sweep as well.
“It’s going to be tough to repeat,” Polewarczyk said. “It was tough on Memorial Day, but it’s just about who can get their car driving the best and last the longest. Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to. We definitely haven’t set the world on fire with practice times, but it’s a matter of working on the car. If we can sweep, that would be unreal.”
Hometown racers Jason Corliss and Nick Sweet, two other former Milk Bowl winners, are expected to join Polewarczyk in double-duty action. Corliss will attempt to defend his 2017 Milk Bowl crown on Saturday and Sunday after debuting a new PASS car from the Burnett Motorsports stable on Friday. Sweet has run a limited schedule the last two years, but the 3-time Milk Bowl Champion can never be counted out at Thunder Road.
Several other Thunder Road household names are on the list of those running Milk Bowl Friday. Colchester’s Scott Payea has entered the Milk Bowl, and the defending ACT Late Model Tour champion has informed Thunder Road officials that he also plans to run the PASS event. Multi-time Late Model winner Matt White of Northfield has entered both events and will make his PASS debut. Former ACT regular Glen Luce of Turner, ME has also entered the PASS 150.
They will join the top contenders for the 2018 PASS North Championship. Center Conway, NH’s D.J. Shaw, the 2017 Thunder Road PASS winner, has a 51-point edge over Morrill, ME’s Travis Benjamin following their most recent event at White Mountain Motorsports Park. Hudson, NH’s Derek Griffith and Scarborough, ME’s Garrett Hall remain in the hunt, while Turner, ME’s Ben Rowe just broke a long PASS North winless streak.
Also on the Friday night card, the NEMST and the Street Stock Showdown Series will run 50-lap main events. NEMST is coming to Thunder Road for the first time since 2013. According to the series’ most recent updates, Waterville, ME’s Cody LeBlanc enters the event with a 15-point advantage over Contoocook, NH’s Emerson Cayer, the 2017 series champion. Seekonk, MA’s Michael Viens and Windsor’s Cody Sabins have also been among the top runners this season.
The Street Stock Showdown Series makes their Thunder Road debut in a $1,000-to-win event. Somersouth, NH’s Alby Ovitt, a former American-Canadian Tour (ACT) racer, captured the series’ event held earlier this year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Thunder Road’s own Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors will round out the program. The Warriors have a special 30-lap feature scheduled for their season finale.
The evening will conclude with a massive fireworks display courtesy of Northstar Fireworks. The company has declared it will be one of the biggest displays in the history of Vermont.
The first green flag of Milk Bowl Friday flies at 6:00pm on September 28. The front gates open at 2:30pm. Admission is $20 for adults and free for kids ages 12 and under. The pits open at 10:00am with an optional Vermont Milk Bowl practice from 12:00-2:30pm.