Vermont Driver Has Now Swept All of The Big ACT Events
When Brent Dragon woke up on Sunday morning, he already owned a pretty darn impressive resume in ACT Late Model competition.  Among his victories have been some of the biggest races on the tour.
Meanwhile, Jay Laquerre pulled away for the lead and the victory.  Dragon finished 12th and Pole took 14th despite bouncing off the frontstretch wall with a handful of laps left in the segment.

During the break, the points were totaled with only one marker separating Dragon from Pole.  Three points back sat the quiet but consistent #6 of Cris Michaud.  If any of those three drivers faltered or ran into bad luck in the final segment, they would be done. 
“We won the Memorial Day Classic here [at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont] earlier this year,” explained Dragon.  “I won the Labor Day Classic a couple years ago.  We’ve won the Spring Green and the Fall Foliage [at New York’s Airborne Speedway].”

But there was one race that Dragon had not won and it was the Crown Jewel of the schedule – The Milk Bowl at Thunder Road.  Brent’s father Beaver and uncle Bobby had both won the race, but bad luck had plagued Brent just about every year there.

That was until this year.  On Sunday, Dragon added the one feather to his hat that wasn’t already there.  After years of trying, he finally won the Milk Bowl.

“We’ve won the Milk Bowl,” said Dragon.  “We’ve won our five big races [on the schedule] and I’ve completed it now.  If I didn’t race another day, I wouldn’t care.

“Everything fell into place today.  When it’s going to be your day, it’s going to be your day.  Today was our day.”
Last week, the Milk Bowl was delayed by rain.  This time, there was picture perfect New England fall weather.  (51 Photo)
Don’t dismiss that as simple good luck though.  Dragon made the right moves all day long.  The Milk Bowl is a Monza-style event where the total score of three 50-lap segments determines the race winner. 
But winning isn’t as simple as staying out front through the segments either.  Time trials and consi races determined the starting field for segment one, but after that the fast drivers have some work cut out for them.  Segment two is inverted and segment three is semi-inverted.  Other Thunder Road divisions run their events between segments, so that gives teams plenty of time to dial their cars in or out of contention.

Dragon wasn’t lightning quick or flashy in his three segments.  He knew what he needed to do and got the job done.  Segment finishes of second, 12th and third won him the race.  When the day was over, Dragon’s score of 17 easily topped the 22 points earned by Milk Bowl runner-up Cris Michaud.

In segment one, Dragon shadowed 17-year-old polesitter Joey Polewarczyk Jr. [who goes by the easier to say and spell nickname ‘Joey Pole’] for most of the mini-feature.  Pole and Dragon finished just as they had qualified – first and second while a hard charging Patrick Laperle took third-place.

Segment one wasn’t nearly as kind to several other drivers.  D.J. Shaw got caught up in a turn four wreck that ended his day and mangled his #60 machine.  Jean-Paul Cyr got tangled up with another car in the same place at a different time.  His car was fine, but his wrist was not.  Cyr rode out the segment with a possible sprained wrist before getting the chance to ice it down.

In segment two, the name of the game was racing from the back to the front.  Dragon wasted little time doing so.  Pole took a little bit longer and Laperle didn’t have the opportunity.  He got beat and banged around and eventually lost the nose of his #91 car, taking him out of contention.
Rowe races his #10 with the #29 of Mark Lamberton.  (Jamie Williams Photo)
Pole was the one to find bad luck.  When Phil Scott spun on the frontstretch, Pole had to loop his own #97 around to avoid hitting him.  No contact was made, but with only 34 laps left in the race, Pole had to restart 22nd with a lot of ground to make up.  He passed a half dozen cars, mostly on the outside, in the next few laps but catching and passing Dragon and Michaud just wasn’t going to happen.

Cyr’s troubles continued in the third segment.  With three laps to go, he was the odd man out in a game of bumper cars in turn one.  The contact sent him out of the track and sitting on his roof.  Still, an overall finish of 27th was good enough to clinch the 2006 ACT Late Model championship, which ties Cyr with Robbie Crouch as a six-time ACT champion.

“It’s a great honor,” said Cyr.  “Robbie Crouch, in my eyes, was a great racer and it is a real honor to be with him in the record books.”

We’ll have more on Cyr’s rough day with a happy ending later this week in our Milk Bowl Leftovers.

The red flag that came out from Cyr’s wreck gave Dragon a little bit of time to both look forward to and also worry about the race that he was about to win.
RACE #11 - New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl
Thunder Road International Speedbowl -  October 8, 2006


1, 55, Brent Dragon, Milton, VT, Dodge Charger, 150, Running, 17
2, 6, Cris Michaud, Williamstown, VT, Ford Fusion, 150, Running, 22
3, 97, Joey  Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, NH, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 24
4, 89, Scott  Payea, Milton, VT, Ford Fusion, 150, Running, 27
5, 18, Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 29
6, 86, Dennis Demers, Shelburne, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 29
7, 29, Mark Lamberton, Mooers Forks, NY, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 32
8, 26, John Donahue, Graniteville, VT, Dodge Charger, 150, Running, 32
9, 78, Ryan Nolin, Georgia, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 37
10, 99, Roger Brown II, Lancaster, NH, Ford Fusion, 135, Running, 39
11, 85, Trampas Demers, So. Burlington, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 39
12, 52, Dave  Pembroke, Montpelier, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 40
13, 14, Phil Scott, Middlesex, VT, Ford Fusion, 150, Running, 41
14, 8, Rich Lowrey, Charlotte, VT, Dodge Charger, 150, Running, 42
15, 95, Craig Bushey, Cambridge, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 149, Running, 44
16, 66, A.J. Begin, Merrimac, MA, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 45
17, 10, David Avery, Lincoln, NH, Dodge Charger, 150, Running, 46
18, 27, Marc Curtis Jr., Worcester, MA, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 46
19, 45, Dave  Wilcox, Fairfield, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 150, Running, 50
20, 15, Joey  Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT, Pontiac Grand Prix, 150, Running, 53
21, 24, Steve Fisher, Shelburne, VT, Dodge Charger, 134, Axle, 53
22, 50, Jay Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 141, Overheating, 55
23, 91, Patrick Laperle, St.Denis, Que, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 93, Overheating, 58
24, 16, Joe  Becker, Jeffersonville, VT, Ford Fusion, 150, Running, 59
25, 12, Steve Reny, Boothbay, ME, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 148, Running, 61
26, 57, Doug Coombs, Livermore, ME, Ford Taurus, 150, Running, 62
27, 32, Jean Paul Cyr, Milton, VT, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 147, Running, 63
28, 33, Quinney Welch, Lancaster, NH, Dodge Charger, 150, Running, 73
29, 75, Pete Fecteau, Morrisville, VT, Pontiac Grand Prix, 48, Handling, 87
30, 60, DJ Shaw, Center Conway, NH, Dodge Charger, 19, Wreck, 92

The Milk Bowl finish is determined by the cumulative total of points drivers earn in three 50-lap segments

Dragon, in his #55, had to race Joey Pole (#97) early on (Top - 51 Photo) and Cris Michaud #6 late in the race. (Middle- 51 Photo).  By beating them both overall, he won the three-segment Milk Bowl.  (Bottom - Alan Ward Photo)
But nothing fell off Dragon’s car and there was no last moment bad luck for him.  Dragon did what he needed to do in segment three.  He kept ahead of his two closest pursuers and finished third behind segment winner Scott Payea and Jamie Fisher.

“Right now, it feels great, but I think that tomorrow it will sink in even more than it does today,” said Dragon.  “I’ll have time to think about it.  Everything is going on right now.

“We worked so hard the last three weeks and the hard work pays off.  I had an awesome car and an awesome crew who did an awesome job.  We were short handed
“When that red flag came out with three laps to go, it really hurt,” said Dragon.  “It was such an awesome feeling.  I knew that we needed to finish it off.  Last year we lost it with seven laps to go.”
Brent Dragon in victory lane.  (Leif Tillotson
this weekend [because the race had been delayed one week due to rain], so that put us behind.  But we worked through it.”
An added “bonus” to winning the Milk Bowl is getting to give the beauty queen of the race a kiss in victory lane.  In keeping with tradition, that queen is a dairy cow – who Dragon was very happy to make acquaintances with.

“It was everything that I dreamed of,” said Dragon of kissing the cow.  “She smelled better that I did, I think!”

Finishing behind Dragon were Michaud, Pole, Payea and Jamie Fisher. will have much more from the Milk Bowl later this week with our leftovers from the event.
Jean-Paul Cyr also got to celebrate after winning the 2006 ACT title - even with a mangled racecar and wrist.  (Leif Tillotson Photo)
Dragon kisses his new friend.  (Leif Tillotson Photo)