If you had to put money on the drivers in the 52nd Annual People’s United Bank Milk Bowl, what type of odds would you get? Like any sporting event that sees action in Las Vegas, the heavy hitters would not provide as much “bang for your buck,” while those with an outside chance would provide a big payday for those feeling more risky.
We at Speed51.com have taken the projected entry list for the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (VT) and have broken it down as to who we think has the best shot to “kiss the cow” on Sunday afternoon.
Of course, there is no disrespect to any drivers mentioned in this list and odds are based solely off of past performances in the Milk Bowl and in ACT Late Model racing. Of course, these are for entertainment purposes only.
With that being said, here are Speed51.com’s odds to win the 52nd Annual Milk Bowl at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement.” Want to see which picks will pay off at the end of Sunday’s race? Click here to order Speed51.com’s 51 TV live video broadcast of the Milk Bowl event.
5 to 1 – The Favorites
Nick Sweet, Derrick O’Donnell
The Milk Bowl consists of three 50-lap segments and that fact alone gives the weekly Thunder Road Late Model racers an advantage heading into the biggest race of the year at their home track. 2014 “King of the Road” champion Derrick O’Donnell and defending Milk Bowl champion Nick Sweet proved throughout the season that they can get to the front in 50 laps and that’s what it will take to be in victory lane on Sunday.
6 to 1 – The Front Runners
Joey Polewarczyk, Jr, Alex Labbe, Patrick Laperle, Dave Pembroke
When it comes to picking a winner you can’t overlook 2014 ACT champion Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. and 2014 Serie ACT champion Alex Labbe. Polewarczyk is a defending race winner in 2010 and Labbe set fast time in time trials for last year’s Milk Bowl.
And what about that man they call “Le Grande Laperle?” He’s a three-time winner of the Milk Bowl and has already cashed in a $25,000 paycheck earlier this season for winning another segment-style race, the ACT International at Airborne Park Speedway (NY).
Pembroke is a two-time Milk Bowl winner hungry for his first win of 2014.
7 to 1 – Keep an Eye On
Jimmy Hebert, Jason Corliss, Glen Luce, Eddie MacDonald
All three of these drivers have proven that they can get the job done in big-time ACT Late Model races during recent years.
Hebert is the 2014 American-Canadian Tour runner-up and a multi-time winner on the tour.
Corliss plays the role of hometown favorite coming off of his first career ACT Late Model win in the Memorial Day Classic earlier this year.
Over the past few seasons, Luce has chosen to get his feet wet in Super Late Model racing but he proved he can still contend in the ACT ranks by scoring a top-10 finish at the ACT Invitational. He also finished third in the Milk Bowl just two years ago.
Eddie MacDonald has won nearly everything there is to win in a ACT Late Model, but his team’s struggles at Thunder Road keep him away from being higher up on this list.
8 to 1 – Worth a Gamble
John Donahue, Shawn Fleury, Bobby Therrien, Phil Scott
Donahue could very well be the sleeper pick heading into the 52nd Annual Milk Bowl. He kissed the cow following the 2009 running of the race and proved earlier this season that he still has what it takes to win at Thunder Road.
Fleury is a two-time winner at Thunder Road this season and finished third to O’Donnell and Sweet in the championship standings.
Therrien, a past winner on the ACT Tour, began his career at Thunder Road and has a Tiger Sportsman Mini Milk Bowl win on his resume.
Vermont Lt. Governor Phil Scott will take a break from campaigning for re-election and will be hoping to end a rough season at Thunder Road on a positive note by winning his third Milk Bowl.
9 to 1 – Good Money
Travis Stearns, Travis Fadden, Stephane Descoste, Jean-Francois Dery
Travis Stearns enters the Milk Bowl riding momentum from a top-five finish in the ACT Fall Foliage at Airborne Park Speedway (NY). He also has something on his resume that a number of his fellow competitors don’t: a win at Thunder Road.
Travis Fadden, a Late Model regular at White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH), has impressed those watching at the select number of ACT events he has competed in. He is fast at his home track, but can he get it done on the high-banks of Thunder Road?
Stephane Descoste is one of those drivers that can sneak in and compete at the front of the field when you least expect it. He competed for a win during the late stages of an event at Airborne earlier this season and has the potential to be a sleeper pick.
Jean-Francois Dery could wind up being the silent assassin at Thunder Road Sunday afternoon. The 2013 Serie ACT champion is always fast and had a strong showing at the ACT International earlier this year.
10 to 1 – Contenders
Cody Blake, Jean-Paul Cyr, Jonathan Bouvrette, Ben Ashline
Blake burst onto the Late Model scene at Thunder Road following his win in the 2013 Vermont Governor’s Cup. He had a strong sixth-place showing in last year’s Milk Bowl.
Jean-Paul Cyr is a seven-time ACT champion, former Milk Bowl winner and 2009 “King of the Road” champion. He knows how to get the job done in an ACT Late Model at Thunder Road.
Jonathan Bouvrette has shown speed throughout the 2014 ACT and Serie ACT season. If he can avoid carnage, a strong finish could be on the horizon.
After returning from a non-racing related injury that sidelined him for the 2013 season, Ben Ashline has had a number of strong showings in 2014. The problem for Ashline is that he struggles to find himself starting up front at the start of races. If he can turn in a good qualifying attempt, he could certainly turn some heads on Sunday.
12 to 1 – Decent Money
Jeff White, Scott Dragon, Rowland Robinson, Jr., Trampas Demers, Quinten Welch
White was always a threat to win at his home track of Oxford Plains Speedway (ME), but when he scored his first win away from Oxford at White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH) earlier this year, he proved that he’s a threat to run up front anywhere.
Scott Dragon is another Thunder Road regular with a win this season driving the Richard Green-owned No. 16VT.
Rowland Robinson, Jr. and his family-owned team have become a consistent top-10 team on the American-Canadian Tour. Consistency is exactly what you need in order to win a Milk Bowl.
Trampas Demers will be without his crew chief Rick Paya this weekend, but don’t be shocked if the Mid-Season Championship winner is battling towards the front.
Quinten Welch is a strong competitor in the Late Model/Pro Late Model ranks anywhere he shows up. He has a career best finish of eighth in the Milk Bowl.
14 to 1 – Under the Right Conditions
Chip Grenier, Brooks Clark, Brett Gervais, Kyle Welch, Eric Badore
The drivers in this group have all had their shining moments in ACT competition and if the stars align they could be in for a good showing in the 52nd Annual Milk Bowl. Grenier was last year’s Vermont State Late Model Championship runner-up, Clark is a consistent top-10 threat at Thunder Road, Gervais scored a weekly win at Thunder Road this year, Welch scored his first career ACT win at Riverside Speedway (NH) and Badore is the 2014 Thunder Road Rookie of the Year.
15 to 1 – Middle of the Road
Lance Allen, Tyler Cahoon, Brandon Atkins, Jamie Fisher, Josh Demers
Lance Allen would be considered by many to be the shocker of last year’s running of the Milk Bowl. Despite a sub-par run in the final segment, Allen was in contention for the win after two segments before finishing 10th.
Tyler Cahoon has three starts at Thunder Road this season and he appears to be finding his way around the high-banks better and better each time.
Brandon Atkins, the 2014 ACT Rookie of the Year, has yet to score his elusive ACT Late Model win but he’s shown speed on a number of occasions.
Jamie Fisher knows how to get around Thunder Road and that will be half of the battle for many drivers on Sunday. He is a former King of the Road champion and had a strong season at Devil’s Bowl Speedway (VT) in 2014.
Josh Demers is a Thunder Road regular who scored a top-three finish in just his third career Late Model start.
17 to 1 – In the Ball Park
Eric Chase, Joey Laquerre, Jason Allen, Mike Ziter, Brian Tagg
Eric Chase hasn’t had the 2014 he was hoping for, but scored two Late Model wins at Thunder Road in 2013.
You may be hard pressed to find a driver in the field with more laps around Thunder Road than Joey Laquerre. The 71-year-old veteran is always a threat to steal some thunder from the youngsters if he can stay out of trouble.
Jason Allen showed tremendous improvement throughout the 2014 season and would like nothing more than to end it with a strong run in the Milk Bowl.
Mike Ziter, the 2014 ACT Rookie of the Year runner-up, is a hometown favorite and will have the crowd behind him on Sunday.
Brian Tagg turned heads with an impressive performance in the season-opening ACT event at Lee USA Speedway and then had a strong showing in his first career race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He’s shown that he has the ability to compete in ACT Late Model competition.
20 to 1 – Would Pay Off Well
Joey M. Laquerre, Jimmy Linardy, Boomer Morris, Matt Anderson, Matt White, Kyle Pembroke
Many of the drivers in this group are capable of scoring a top-10 finish in the Milk Bowl, but a lot of things will have to go their way to do so.
25 to 1 – Big Money Bets
Terry Reil, Ricky Roberts, Mark Norris, Dave Whitcomb, Tom Estes, Scott Coburn
Looking to turn $10 into $250? This would be the group of drivers to bet on if these odds were offered in the “city that never sleeps.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com