Getting Ready for A Big Weekend of Racing

It is not uncommon for stock car drivers and fans to travel from all over the Northeast and eastern Canada for the New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl. American Canadian Tour (ACT) competitor, Ryan Vanasse will likely be making the furthest trip of all, from the California!  The Warwick, RI driver is currently in California on a business trip which he could not reschedule.
Therefore, the young racer will make his voyage to the ¼ mile high-banked oval of Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road via a “red eye” flight to Burlington, VT.

“The company I work for has been great about trying to get me back east and to the track as early as possible on Saturday,” the 24-year old driver stated. “I’ll leaving Los Angeles about ten o’clock on Friday night, (Sept 29th) and should arrive in Burlington around 9:30 am Saturday morning.”  He continued, “I’m sure I’ll be exhausted from the cross country flight, but I wouldn’t miss the Milk Bowl for anything!”

The sophomore driver enjoys racing at Thunder Road, but
it hasn’t always been that way. “The first time we to the track it was raining and we got the trailer stuck in the parking lot.  It wasn’t the best way to start out at Thunder Road. I’ve been involved in accidents there, many of which tore up my car so badly I wasn’t able finish the race, but I still love the track.”

Vanasse continued, “There’s no denying it’s a tough place to get around, and when you add other competitors to the mix, it’s a lot to handle. I would love to win the Milk Bowl, but it would be an honor just to qualify. There will be a lot of experienced racers who will attempt to make the show, and a lot of great drivers won’t make it. It’s definitely the most exciting race of the season.”

Vanasse, who cut his racing teeth at Seekonk (MA) Speedway, has a pair of top five finishes in 2006.  He recently returned to the 1/3 mile Seekonk oval on a free weekend and was victorious. 
In just his second year of ACT competition, Vanasse has worked his way into 13th in the season-long standings as the Series enters the final event on the schedule.  He is within striking distance of 12th place driver, A.J. Begin of Merrimac, MA.


The Green Mountain State of Vermont is among the minority in the Union to hold political elections every two years.  The bi-annual balloting occurs in even years and will again take place this year, in 2006.
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, the high banked, quarter-mile paved stock car racing oval in Barre, VT annually hosts the New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl stock car race.  This year will be no different as the 43rd edition is slated for Sat, Sept 30 and Sun, Oct 1.  Many of the regions top Late Model drivers will vie for the $10,000 winner’s purse.  But that’s not the only title that’s on the line.

As it does in every political year, the Milk Bowl will have a special added attraction – a Cow Chip Throwing Contest, or as it’s also known locally, the Political Poop Pitch.

For the past several weeks, a few select dairy farmers from across the state have been sent out on top secret missions by track management to clandestinely scour their fields forthe perfect cow flops. 
The poop toss is a big deal at The Milk Bowl. 
(51 Photo)

While the location and plant of manufacture is not critical, according to the rules of the event, stringent specifications must be met for the pasture paddies to be accepted into the Sunday, October 1 competition.  The cow chips can’t be too large or too small, too wet or too dry.  According to one of the farmers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the recent spell of sunny, 80º weather should help with the final curing of his offerings for the competition.

In the recent past, most of the top candidates for various political offices across the state have made it a point to campaign, er, participate in the Political Poop Pitch.  This year’s event should be no different with several high profile races on the ballots.


New Hampshire Int’l Speedway (NHIS) in Loudon has posted a $500 bonus for the drivers leading at the half-way mark in each of the New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl’s three 50-lap segments.  The first competitor to take the mid-point indicator Sunday during each portion of Thunder Road’s 43rd annual event will receive a $250 bonus; the second driver will get $150 and the third, $100.  All told, more than $8,800 in “Lap Leader” money will be paid out following Sunday’s event for the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) competitors.  The other 147 laps will each pay $50 to be split among the top three racers $25, $15, and $10.

Coupled with the $10,000 winner’s purse, the $1,000 Booth Bros/H.P. Hood Fast Timer Award, $500 Five Star RaceCar Bodies Award, $150 Lenny’s Hot Shoe Challenge Award, and others, the winner of Sunday’s event could take home nearly $15,000.

Racing begins at 1:00 on both Sat and Sun.  Adult tickets are $25 for both days and $5 for children (6-12). A $5 Super Discount Coupon is available at New England Dodge Dealers (while supplies last) which can be applied toward the purchase of an adult general admission ticket (one coupon per ticket purchased).


Thunder Road’s action packed weekend begins on Saturday with door-to-door qualifying for the track’s local divisions and the ACT Late Models. The Tour competitors will begin with the Booth Brothers/H.P. Hood Time Trials with everyone seeking the $1,000 bonus available to the driver who posts the fastest time of the day and earns the pole starting position. The three drivers with the quickest lap times will be guaranteed starting spots at the head of the pack in Sunday’s first Milk Bowl segment.  Drivers not among the top three will transfer to one of the Triple 50 qualifiers.  A final chance at making the 30-car starting field remains in Sunday’s Last Chance “B” Feature.
Ryan Vanasse's #11  (Alan Ward Photo)
The winner kissing the Milk Bowl "Queen" is a tradition at Thunder Road.  (51 Photo)