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The 59th Northfield Savings Bank Vermont Milk Bowl will take place Oct. 16-17 at Vermont's Thunder Road. (Daniel Holben photo)

Drivers Still Eager for 59th Vermont Milk Bowl

Barre, Vt. — Thunder Road will take its second crack at the 59th Northfield Savings Bank Vermont Milk Bowl Oct. 16-17. Despite a two-week delay due to Mother Nature, drivers are still excited about tackling “The Toughest Short Track Race in North America”.

The 59th edition of the Milk Bowl adds another chapter to one of the country’s most recognized stock car races. The unique format of three 50-lap segments, with full-field inversions between segments and the best combined finish winning, makes it a race unlike any other. That has drivers like Jason Corliss, Bobby Therrien, Joey Polewarczyk, Tyler Cahoon, Christopher Pelkey, and Brooks Clark ready to battle for a spot on the granite monument.

“The Milk Bowl, to me, is a very prestigious race,” Danville’s Cahoon said. “It’s something that’s stood the test of time for what Thunder Road is. Since the Milk Bowl began (in 1962), there’s only one time the Milk Bowl hasn’t been run. The Milk Bowl been one of the biggest, most steadfast races for as long as Thunder Road has been Thunder Road. So it’s a huge race to be a part of.”

The prestige of the Milk Bowl is how hard it is to win. Only 37 drivers have claimed the title. The list of Milk Bowl winners includes names that hold a hallowed place in the racing community. Legends like Robbie Crouch, Jean-Paul Cabana, Dave Dion, Russ Ingerson, Randy LaJoie, and Butch Lindley are joined by modern heroes Jason Corliss, Nick Sweet, Patrick Laperle, and Brian Hoar.

At the same time, underdog stories can and have reigned at the Milk Bowl. Kevin Lepage scored his first ACT victory in the 1985 edition while Dan Beede and Danny Bridges showed the little guy can win on the right day. For some drivers, simply qualifying for a race like the Milk Bowl is the highlight of their season. Everyone will enter the race with their own goals, while also knowing one break can mean the world for a team’s chances at immortality.

“It really shows what type of team, what type of driver, and what type of racing you’re capable of,” Cahoon noted. “A three-segment, lowest-score-wins type of race is something that no one else around really has. You have to be on your A-game and you have to have a lot of luck to get through it. It’s not just you having a fast car and being able to drive up through every segment and win — it’s missing the crashes, it’s not running over something and puncturing a tire, it’s not spinning out while trying to avoid a wreck. You need to have a lot of luck with that, which is part of what makes it such a hard race to win.”

In addition to the Northfield Savings Bank Vermont Milk Bowl, six other divisions are running two-segment “Mini Milk Bowls” throughout the weekend including street stocks, stock minis, trucks and karts.

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