One of the nation’s most exciting and historic short track races takes place this weekend at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont. The Milk Bowl, a tradition like no other, consists of three 50-lap segments with the field being inverted after each segment. At the end of the three segments, the driver with the lowest score will have the honor of kissing a Vermont dairy cow, also known as the bovine beauty queen.
So, who is the favorite to lay a smooch on Miss Daisy Dalton? We at Speed51.com powered by JEGS did our best to handicap the field heading into Sunday’s big race.
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, ACT Late Model racing and Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl. These odds are for entertainment purposes only.
2 to 1 (The Favorite): Nick Sweet
It’s the Milk Bowl. It’s Nick Sweet. We don’t need to say much more. He’s won three Milk Bowls overall and has kissed the cow two straight years. The hometown driver will be looking for a record third straight win and a record-tying fourth win overall this Sunday. Oh, and did we mention he’s doing it with the same, untouched car he won last year’s race with?
Each year we place the “King of the Road” champion in this category because earning that title shows us that you know a thing or two about getting around Thunder Road. “The Bad Boy” Bobby Therrien knows just that and has the aggressiveness to get to the front in the second and third segments. Scott Payea also knows how to win at Thunder Road, as he’s swept the two ACT races at the track this season. He’s also driving for the same team that helped Brian Hoar visit Milk Bowl victory lane in the past.
5 to 1 (Major Threats): Trampas Demers, Scott Dragon, Alex Labbe, Patrick Laperle
Statistically, Demers was the most successful driver in feature racing this season at Thunder Road; he simply was outperformed by Therrien in heat and semi-feature racing. Dragon, the 2016 Thunder Road champion, hasn’t had the success he did one year ago but has started to find speed as of late. And of course, you can never count out three-time Milk Bowl champion Laperle
7 to 1 (Don’t Be Surprised): Jimmy Hebert, Phil Scott, Cody Blake, Jason Corliss, Dillon Moltz
Hebert is coming off a second-place finish in the ACT Invitational, a race he believed he should have won. Governor Phil Scott, a former Milk Bowl winner, will also be a contender. Blake and Corliss are a pair of local drivers who know how to get around Thunder Road and have won big races at the track in the past. Moltz, the second-place points driver on the American-Canadian Tour, also can’t be counted out.
11 to 1 (Good Shot at It): Tyler Cahoon, Kyle Pembroke, Eric Chase, Kevin Lepage
Cahoon, Pembroke and Chase are a trio of drivers who have displayed speed at one point or another at Thunder Road this season. While they may not be favorites, they could definitely driver their way to a top-five finish. On the other hand, nobody really knows what to expect out of Lepage in his final race. He’s obviously found success at Thunder Road in the past, but does he still have it?
13 to 1 (Sleepers): Jonathan Bouvrette, Marcel Gravel, Matt White, Rowland Robinson Jr., Boomer Morris, Quinny Welch
This year’s Serie ACT champion Bouvrette could definitely surprise folks in Barre, Vermont this weekend. He showed some speed early on in the Vermont Governor’s Cup earlier this year and could be a contender if things go his way. Gravel, White and Morris are Thunder Road regulars hoping for an underdog win at their home track. Meanwhile, Robinson will make his way from the State of Maine hoping for a strong run.
15 to 1 (Middle of the Road): Ricky Roberts, Darrell Morin, Josh Masterson, Stephen Donahue, Brooks Clark, Shawn Fleury
Don’t be surprised if one or more of these drivers turn in a top-five performance come Sunday afternoon. While they’re not favorites, they’re also not flukes.
20 to 1 (Worth a Gamble): Dave Whitcomb, Oren Remick, Claude Leclerc, Mike Bailey, Evan Hallstrom, Christopher Pelkey, Josh Demers
If you’re looking to make a small bet that could pay off well, this would more than likely be the group you’d want to look at. The chances of winning the race are slim, but who would have ever picked Trevor Bayne to win the Daytona 500 a few years back?
25 to 1 (Would Pay Off Well): Scott Coburn, Mike Foster, Matthew Smith, Mark Norris
Looking to turn a small fortune into a big one? This would be the group of drivers to take a gamble on.
-Text by 51 Staff
-Photo Credit: Alan Ward