If you had to put money on the drivers in the 53rd Annual 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. These odds are for entertainment purposes only.
With that being said, here are Speed51.com’s odds to win the 53rd Milk Bowl at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement.” Want to see which picks will pay off at the end of Sunday’s race? Follow along on Speed51.com powered by JEGS for live Trackside Now coverage presented by Goss Cars.
5 to 1 – The Favorites
Derrick O’Donnell, Nick Sweet, Brian Hoar
O’Donnell, now the three-time defending “King of the Road,” will be looking to break out with the biggest win of his career on Sunday. He and Sweet are weekly competitors at Thunder Road and know how to get it done over the course of 50 laps. Hoar has had a relatively quiet season while competing part-time in Late Model competition throughout the Northeast, but the three-time Milk Bowl winner has to be considered a favorite coming off a win in the Fall Foliage 200.
6 to 1 – The Front Runners
Joey Polewarczyk, Jr, Alex Labbe, Wayne Helliwell, Jr.
Looking at this list you’re probably wondering how these three drivers aren’t listed among “The Favorites.” Make no mistake, this group of drivers will have a very good chance of winning on Sunday, but they’re just a tier below the Thunder Road weekly warriors (O’Donnell and Sweet) and the three-time Milk Bowl champ. Polewarczyk is the only driver among this group that has kissed the cow before. He did so in 2010.
7 to 1 – Keep an Eye On
Cody Blake, Jason Corliss, 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.
Blake is a former Vermont Governor’s Cup winner, while Corliss is a former Memorial Day Classic winner.
Until last year, Eddie Macdonald had struggled mightily at Thunder Road. The Milk Bowl is a tough race to repeat in, but if there’s any team with the potential to do it, it’s “The Outlaw’s.”
8 to 1 – Worth a Gamble
Jimmy Hebert, John Donahue, Scott Dragon, Brad Babb, Dave Pembroke
If there’s been a way to encounter bad luck, Hebert has found it during the 2015 season. He’s displayed speed at a number of events including the ACT Invitational. A season of bad luck could turn around quickly for the 58vt team if they’re able to kiss the cow.
Donahue could very well be the sleeper pick heading into the 53rd 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. He finished third in last year’s Milk Bowl and has an aggressive driving style that will have him working his way to the front in each segment.
Dragon has been one of the most consistent drivers in big events at Thunder Road this season. He could very well fly under the radar and be there when it matters most.
Prior to this year’s Merchants Bank 150, Babb was another driver who would admit that he had struggled at the Barre, Vermont oval. But he proved he could get it done at the track by winning that race. He’s shown enough speed throughout the season to make him “worth a gamble” in this year’s Milk Bowl.
Compared to his success at Thunder Road over the course of his career, Pembroke has struggled in 2015. He’s still just three years removed from winning the Milk Bowl from the pole, so you certainly can’t count the No. 44 out.
9 to 1 – Good Money
Trampas Demers, Chip Grenier, Brooks Clark, Jean-Paul Cyr, Bobby Therrien, Jean-Francois Dery
If you’re looking to take a small gamble on one of these drivers, it could certainly reward you with a good payoff.
Demers, Grenier and Clark have all been fast at Thunder Road at different times during recent years. If they hit the nail on the head and stay out of trouble they could be contenders.
Cyr, a six-time ACT champion, has struggled in recent years but you can never count out a champion.
Therrien, who has earned the nickname “The Bad Boy,” considers Thunder Road his home track. He hasn’t competed full-time with ACT in 2015, but he’s certainly been fast in previous ACT starts at Thunder Road.
Dery, an invader from Quebec, is one of the top cars on the Serie ACT circuit. He’s been fast in practice before at the Milk Bowl, but never a true threat to win. Could this be the year?
10 to 1 – Contenders
Dave Farrington, Jr., Kyle Pembroke, Brett Gervais, Matt White, Tyler Cahoon
Farrington, a member of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, picked up a big Late Model win in the Coastal 150 at Wiscasset Raceway (ME) earlier this year.
Pembroke, Gervais and White are a trio of Thunder Road regulars who have progressed throughout the 2015 season. Pembroke scored the first two wins of his career at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement,” Gervais recorded five top-five finishes, while White finished in the top-five on four occasions during the season.
Cahoon is another driver who never seems to have luck on his side. He does have some experience at Thunder Road over the touring drivers and that never hurts.
12 to 1 – Decent Money
Jeff White, Eric Badore, Jason Allen, Josh Demers, Jonathan Bouvrette. Brandon Atkins, Quinny Welch
While none of these drivers may be considered favorites to win, they are all certainly capable of picking up a solid top 10 finish in one of the toughest short track racing events in America.
15 to 1 – Middle of the Road
Josh Masterson, Boomer Morris, Rich Dubeau, Mike Ziter, Eric Chase, Phil Scott
Have $10? Want to turn it into $150? That’s what you could do if these odds were real and you picked one of these drivers to win. It’s a good payoff and a list that includes a Devil’s Bowl Speedway champion (Masterson), ACT Rookie of the Year (Dubeau) and former Milk Bowl winner (Scott).
17 to 1 – In the Ball Park
Joey Laquerre, Dave Whitcomb, Bryan Mason, Jason Woodard, Mike Bailey, Jamie Fisher
This list of driver’s will more than likely be in the ball park. They may not contend for a win come Sunday afternoon, but there’s a good chance they’ll qualify and have a shot at a respectable finish in Vermont’s biggest race of the year.
20 to 1 – Would Pay Off Well
Jimmy Linardy, Darrell Morin, Lance Allen, Stephen Donahue, Brad Bushey, Arthur Heino, Jr.
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
Mike Kenison, Ricky Roberts, Chad White, Mark Norris, Scott Coburn
If you like betting little and taking a big risk to win a lot, this is the group of drivers for you.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com