Two of the most accomplished drivers in Milk Bowl and American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model history look to add to their accolades on Sunday, October 11. Three-time Milk Bowl winners Patrick Laperle and Brian Hoar have both entered the 53rd Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl at Barre’s Thunder Road. Both will look to tie Robbie Crouch’s record of four victories in the event known as “the toughest short-track stock car race in North America.”
“Patrick and Brian are really capable of doing it if anyone can,” Crouch said. “I would love to see it.”
St-Denis, QC’s Laperle put his stamp on the Milk Bowl from 2005-2008 when he became only the second driver to win three times in a four-year span. Laperle was one of the first to enter this year’s event. In seeking a fourth win, he also looks to erase the sting of failing to qualify in 2014.
“To equal Robbie Crouch would be a great accomplishment,” Laperle said. “I know that Brian Hoar has three wins as well, and he has a good chance too. But winning this race again would be awesome. I do miss that cow!”
Williston’s Hoar has finished 1st, 2nd, and 2nd in his previous three Milk Bowl starts and returns after a one-year absence. Although Hoar admits it’s harder to remain competitive running a partial schedule, the 43-year-old is ready to show he’s still on top of his game.
“The Milk Bowl’s a really tough race to win,” Hoar said. “It’s got a ton of history, so it means a lot to everybody, whether it’s your first or fourth win. Obviously winning a fourth Milk Bowl would be amazing.”
Both drivers must once again master the Milk Bowl’s unique format. The event consists of three 50-lap segments, with the starting grid for the second and third segments determined by inverting the finish of the previous segment. The driver with the lowest combined finish in the three segments is the winner.
“I grew up knowing the Laperle family, and they were always great supporters of the Tour, Catamount, and Thunder Road,” Crouch said. “And I’ve watched Brian grow up, and he’s clearly one of the greatest drivers to come out of Vermont. I love to see these guys being successful, because I think it’s good for racing.”
Laperle and Hoar have to contend with multiple former winners, including defending Milk Bowl Champion Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, MA and 2009 Champion John Donahue of Graniteville. Season-opening Merchants Bank 150 winner Brad Babb of Windham, ME will be in the hunt for the overall win, while former Milk Bowl polesitter Trampas Demers, Matt White, and Brooks Clark are among the locals gunning for an upset.
The 53rd Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl weekend kicks off with Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Qualifying Day on Saturday, October 10 at 1:30pm. Time trials followed by “Triple 50” qualifying races will help set the 30-car Milk Bowl starting field. The Saturday program also includes time trials and first segments of “Mini Milk Bowls” for the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen and Allen Lumber Street Stocks. The first segment of the Milk Bowl rolls to the grid at 1:00pm on Sunday, October 11.
Adult admission is $30 for a two-day ticket, $10 for Saturday-only, and $25 for Sunday-only. Children ages 12 and under will be admitted free both days.
-ACT Tour Press Release. Photo Credit: Jamie Williams Photo