Not all of the politicians at the track were there primarily to gather votes though. Phil Scott, who won the third segment of the Milk Bowl, is a member of the State Senate and is running for re-election this year.
AVERY HAS CAREER DAY
David Avery has had a diverse year of racing with four starts in the Late Model class at his family’s White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH), five PASS Pro Stock (Super Late Model) races and five starts in ACT Late Model competition as well. Entering the Milk Bowl, his highlight of all that was a single top five ACT finish and one top five at WMMP.
But his off season will be much sweeter after a career run in the Milk Bowl. The New Hampshire driver finished fifth in the first segment, third in the final segment and came one point short of an overall victory after he was 17th in segment two.
“It was a good run, but I guess that we came up one car short,” said Avery. “We would have had it in a couple more laps, but we’ll take this though.”
HISTORIC CARS OUT AT T-ROAD
MILK BOWL LEFTOVERS by Mike Twist
Stone, Old Racecars, Leperle, Dragon, Winners DNQs and More
STONE TO CUT BACK ACT RACING
With five victories in the past few seasons, Todd Stone has been one of the most impressive young drivers on the ACT Late Model tour. However, his racing plans are going to be a little bit different for next season.
“We had a good car until about lap 25 when it got real loose,” said Stone. “After that, we just had to live with the car and see what we could get and that was it.”
“I definitely thought that we could win starting the race,” said Stone. “The first segment, the car stayed the same, but in the second segment, the car started out good, but got loose. The third segment, we were also good and then ended up loose. As soon as we got loose, it slowed us up and that killed us.”
FROM FIRST TO GOING HOME EARLY IN ONE WEEK’S TIME
A week made all the difference in the world for the #39 team and D.J. Kennington. The duo was victorious in the Late Model Nationals at Lee, but had more than their share of trouble at Thunder Road.
Dave Whitlocks' #39 and D.J. Kennington (#12 car) both combined their efforts to win at Lee. Neither entry qualified at Thunder Road.
“I’m not going to race ACT full-time next year,” said Stone. “I’m going to a limited schedule and I’m going to run my dirt car at Devil’s Bowl and Grandby, Quebec. It’s a small block. I don’t know what Tom (Curley) is going to have yet for big shows with these cars, but if there are some big money shows, we’re going to run them.”
Stone currently runs the #1 Late Model. He ended up with a
fourth-place finish in the Milk Bowl. He started by finishing second in the first segment, but the handling on his car faded from there and left him with finishes of 11th and 10th in the final two 50 lappers.
Todd Stone (#1) chases down the #91 of Patrick Leperle. ACT fans won't be seeing as much of Stone in 2005. (51 Photos)
“It’s pretty disappointing to come down here and not make it into the show,” said Whitlock. “We at least thought that we could run the show. It’s not to fun to go home now. But, we’ll go home and sort things out and maybe we’ll be back next year with the right combination.”
POLITICIANS KISS BABIES, SHAKE HANDS AND THROW COW DROPPINGS
There was a different type of track politics out in force at Thunder Road. With a large crowd gathered and elections coming up next month, many candidates took to the track to solicit votes.
Under the watchful eye of Ken Squier, Vermont's Governor Douglas gets ready to hurl a pile of cow dung.
The #39 car was entered with two-time Milk Bowl winner Dave Whitlock, while Kennington picked up a ride in the #12 car. As it turns out, neither entry qualified for Sunday’s main
“We just bumped wheels and had a tire go down (in the B-
Main),” said Whitlock. “It was a tough weekend, but we worked hard. We came with an iron headed motor . With the older and bigger motor, you needed to run more weight and that just wasn’t the trick set-up for here. I think that we
needed the spec motor with the aluminum heads. We struggled all weekend and hoped that we could get in the show. But it wasn’t our weekend.”
Track owner Ken Squier was happy to host them and gave them something else to do with another Milk Bowl tradition - a cow chip throwing contest. This year’s winner didn’t have to travel very far.
Brian Kenyon, a resident of Nearby Randolph who heads up his family’s third generation construction business during the week is running for the Vermont State Senate . The Orange County resident celebrated his first victory of the political season by beating Vermont Governor James Douglas in the contest.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Kenyon. “I haven’t done that
since I was a kid. I look forward to doing that up in the Vermont Senate come January.”
Coupes were in the pits at Thunder Road, but not racing.
Fans got an extra treat at Thunder Road when several historic racecars from the past were assembled in the infield before the race, and later parked in a line in the pit area, to display to people at the track.
After the race, track management opened up the pit gates to
let fans down and meet the drivers. However, just as many
fans made a beeline for the vintage racecars and got a
chance firsthand to check those out machines that looked
much more dangerous than the modern machinery at the track.
“Six of the cars from when this race began are here today,”
said Ken Squier. “You look at them now and say, Good Lord, how did those drivers live through racing those.”
DRAGON ENDS UP SECOND IN ACT POINTS
Although it was pretty much a given that Jean-Paul Cyr would win the CAT championship with all type of a decent finish at Thunder Road, the second position in the standings was a closer race between Bobby Dragon and Patrick Leperle.
Leperle won the battle with a finish of third, but Dragon won the war and maintained his second-place perch in the points with a top ten finish.
“It was a tough day,” said Dragon. “We struggled with the car all weekend and we don’t know why. I don’t know if something is bent on it or an A-Frame is bound up or something. We managed to finish seventh and that’s what we needed to do to stay second in points.”
Although the off-season will no doubt be busy, there isn’t much damage for Dragon’s #55 team to fix before returning to the ACT wars in the spring.
“Both cars are actually in pretty good shape,” said Dragon. “We just put bodies on both of them. There really isn’t a lot to do on them. We’ll be in good shape to start next year.”
LEPERLE THIRD IN RACE AND POINTS
Although he didn’t pass Brent Dragon in the standings, Patrick Leperle still had a good finish in the Milk Bowl. The race was redeeming for him after a few weeks of bad racing luck.
“We had lot of traffic and power problems all day,” said Leperle. “But we finished third. I really wanted to finish on the podium and we did it, so I’m pretty happy with it. Finally, we had a good finish. We had a good run at Lee, but not a good finish because the tire went flat.”
After the event, Leperle's entry was randomly drawn to have its engine pulled out and sent to the dyno. ACT engines are spec engines that are sealed and can have no major modifications made to them.
Leperle ended the season with ten top ten finishes in 12 events. He also had a lone victory, which came at Twin State Speedway (NH).
Coupes were in the pits at Thunder Road, but not racing.
Patrick Leperle gets ready for driver introductions in the back of a pick-up truck.
CREW WORKS TO MAKE WRECKED CAR FAST IN FINAL 50 LAPPER
Cooper MacRitchie won the first segment and took a hard hit in the second segment. The impact dropped him out of the middle portion of the event, but amazingly he was able to get his car back together and finish second in the final 50 lapper.
Cooper MacRitchie's crew attacks the damage to the front end of their car between segments.
MacRitchie’s crew was pretty busy to do that. Their front
end was heavily damaged and even though a chance at the
victory was now gone, they made the most of a bad situation.
“The right front corner was bent pretty bad,” said MacRitchie. “It needed upper and lower control arms and a
bunch of stuff.”
When MacRitchie wrecked, he immediately knew that there was plenty of damage to his #3 car.
“I hit so hard that I felt it through the steering wheel,” said MacRitchie. “I thought that we were done for the day, so I was happy to get back out.”
OTHER CLASSES ALSO SHINE ON MILK BOWL SUNDAY
The ACT Late Models were not the only cars racing in the Milk Bowl. Thunder Road’s regular Flying Tiger and (four cylinder) Street Stock divisions also had big event that consisted of two segments sandwiched in between the ACT show.
Brendan Moodie won the Flying Tiger portion of the activities, but not after first struggling through the
“I can’t believe this,” Moody said. “We’ve fought the car for two days now and ended up winning the race.”
Nicholas Sweet won the Street Stock feature, while Joe Small ended up with the championship in his Ford Escort.