When the fans at Vermont’s Thunder Road International Speedbowl pack the frontstretch hillside and the cameras go live on 51 TV’s live video broadcast Sunday, a pair of champions will make up the front row of the 52nd Annual Milk Bowl.
2014 American-Canadian Tour champion Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. earned the pole position for Sunday’s three-segment, 150-lap race at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement” with a 13.114 second lap. Polewarczyk will be flanked by 2014 Serie ACT titlist Alex Labbe, who was second-quick in Saturday’s time trial session.
Polewarczyk, of Hudson, New Hampshire, earned his fourth Milk Bowl pole and picked up a $1,000 bonus from Booth Brothers/Hood dairy farm of Vermont.
“It’s been a while, the last (Milk Bowl pole) was in ’08,” said Polewarczyk, who also started on the pole in 2006 and 2007. “All the credit goes to my guys. The car felt good.”
Polewarczyk, the 2010 Milk Bowl winner, knew he would have to step his game up early if he was going to have a shot at a fourth Milk Bowl pole.
“The first car went out and ran a 13.3 and I was like, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to beat that.’ I knew it was going to be a good lap, but i didn’t know it’d be that good.”
Labbe set fast time in time trials last year, but came up just a four one-hundredths of a second slower than Polewarzcyk Saturday. Labbe will start second in a bid for his first Milk Bowl victory.
“We’ve got (qualifying) figured out pretty good I think,” said Labbe, of St-Albert, Quebec. “I made just a little mistake on the second lap in turns one and two. We’re going to have a lot of fun in the race, that’s for sure.”
While looking forward to going after a fourth Milk Bowl victory, starting alongside a fellow ACT champion in 2014 has Polewarczyk looking forward to Sunday’s main event.
“It’s perfect, I couldn’t have a better guy beside me,” said Polewarczyk of Labbe. “It’s really cool to have the champion of each series represented today. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Eddie MacDonald, who did not qualify for the Milk Bowl in 2013, qualified third and also locked himself into the Milk Bowl main event Sunday.
Beyond the top three, much of the remaining starting lineup for Sunday’s Milk Bowl was set in a trio of 50-lap heat races Saturday afternoon. Five drivers in each heat transferred to Sunday’s Milk Bowl
2014 “King of the Road” Thunder Road track champion Derrick O’Donnell won the first 50-lapper over John Donahue, Brad Babb, Scott Dragon and Chip Grenier.
Cody Blake finished first in 50-lapper number two over Trampas Demers, Dave Pembroke, Brandon Atkins and Mike Bailey.
The third 50-lapper went to Jean-Paul Cyr with Bobby Therrien, Matt White, Phil Scott and Eric Chase also transferring.
The qualifying races set positions four through 18 for Sunday’s Milk Bowl. Positions 19 through 26 were set by the next eight fastest time trial drivers who did not transfer through the qualifiers. Those spots went to Jason Corliss, Tyler Cahoon, Stacy Cahoon, Nick Sweet, Elie Arseneau, Brooks Clark, Ricky Roberts and Jean-Fancois Dery.
Former Milk Bowl winner Patrick Laperle did not qualify for Sunday’s race through any of the transfer opportunities Saturday. He will have to transfer through Sunday’s B-Main. The winner of the B-Main will start 27th, a provisional from Thunder Road points, another provisional from the ACT Tour and a final provisional for Serie ACT drivers will make up the 30-car starting lineup Sunday.
Fans can purchase the 51 TV live video broadcast of Milk Bowl Sunday to see who will “kiss the cow” and claim the $10,000 victory following the three-segment race for just $19.99. Click here to order Sunday’s 51 TV Milk Bowl video broadcast for just $19.99.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter @MattKentfield
– Featured photo credit: VTMotorMag.com