Barre, VT — The winner of the richest point-counting race on the 2020 American-Canadian Tour (ACT) schedule is now aiming for an even bigger score. New Sharon, ME’s Dillon Moltz is the first official entry for the 58th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank on Sunday, October 4. The multi-time ACT winner will take his first shot at “The Toughest Short Track Stock Car Race in North America”.
Moltz returned to ACT competition in 2020 following a two-year absence and has made a big mark in a limited schedule. The Connecticut native took home a $10,000 check for his triumph in the Midsummer Classic 250 at New Hampshire White Mountain Motorsports Park. He also led a large chunk of the Full Throttle 75 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway before a late spin.
Now the veteran and his RB Performance/Brackett Mechanical team turn their attention the Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank. Moltz has a 3rd-place and two 7th-place efforts in three starts at Thunder Road, showing he can get around the high banks.
He’ll chase another $10,000 minimum top prize in an event that dates back to 1962. The early entry list also includes two-time Milk Bowl champion Jason Corliss, last year’s runner-up Brooks Clark, and multi-time Thunder Road Late Model winner Shawn Fleury, with more challengers sure to arise in the coming days.
“We figured out at the beginning of the year that we were going to focus on the bigger races,” Moltz said. “We’ve always run really well (at Thunder Road). We were the Labor Day 200 there a couple years ago before we had a tire issue, and we’ve had a podium finish. I think we’ve always been a contender and had a good car there. We’ve got some ideas that will hopefully transfer over and make us even better.”
The Milk Bowl format is one thing Moltz must master. Instead of a straight 150-lap race, the Milk Bowl is run in three 50-lap segments. The finish of each segment is inverted for the start of the next segment. The driver with the lowest three combined finishes is the overall winner.
Some drivers can be thrown off by the all-out style of the Milk Bowl. Moltz, however, sees it as an opportunity. He noted the breaks between segments allow time to make major changes and get back in contention even if the day starts slow.
“I look at it as being a little more forgiving,” Moltz remarked. “You might be able to make some changes that can help you progress through each segment, as opposed to when you just have straight-up races. You can have a pit stop in those events, but usually there’s not enough time to make significant changes. Hopefully that can play into our hands if the track changes or conditions change.”
Before making the car better during the event, though, Moltz must get into the field. Saturday, October 3 is Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Milk Bowl Qualifying Day where time trials and 50-lap qualifying races set most of the starting grid. A B-Feature on Sunday fills the last few spots.
Like every other entrant, Moltz must find the balance between a car that can earn a good starting spot and one that can contend for the overall win. Failing to give either its proper due would put a quick end to Milk Bowl dreams.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Moltz said. “You have to look at Saturday in and of itself and make sure you’re 100 percent prepared for that. But you can’t forget about Sunday, either. You can’t just have raw speed that only lasts 5 or 10 laps — then you’re hurting come Sunday when you have to make 150 laps. You have to put a good amount of emphasis on Saturday, and then you have to make sure you’re doing the same for your long run speed on Sunday so the car stays under you for the whole race.”
Should Moltz find the winning combination, he would join a list of legendary Milk Bowl winners that includes the late Harold “Hard Luck” Hanaford, Robbie Crouch, Dave Dion, Kevin Lepage, and Nick Sweet. Pole awards and lap money could swell the payout well above the $10,000 minimum. The winner’s name is also carved into a granite monument for all eternity.
“That would just be the icing on the cake,” Moltz concluded. “I’ve always loved running Thunder Road. I think it’s a beautiful race track, and there’s a lot of prestige that goes along with winning there. It would be awesome to get my name etched in the granite up there. That would mean a lot to me and our team.”
Advance tickets for all three days of Vermont Milk Bowl Weekend are available now at https://happsnow.com/event/Thunder-Road-Speedbowl. The weekend includes Mekkelsen RV Milk Bowl Friday on October 2 featuring the Pro All Stars Series, Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Milk Bowl Qualifying Day on Saturday, October 3, and the 58th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank on Sunday October 4.
Adult admission is $20 for Friday, $10 for Saturday, and $30 for Sunday. Kids ages 12 and under will be $5 on Friday/Saturday and $10 on Sunday. All three days of the Vermont Milk Bowl will also be broadcast live on the Northeast Sports Network. Sign up now atwww.NSNsports.net/sponsors/racing.
Thunder Road wraps up the weekly racing season this Friday, September 18 at 6:30pm with Barre Granite Association Championship Night on. The Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models crown the “King of the Road” in a 61-lap feature to celebrate the track’s 61st season. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers decide both the season-long and Myers Container Service Triple Crown champions in a 100-lap, $1,000-to-win showdown. The Allen Lumber Street Stocks and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors also have extra-distance events.
Admission is $15 for adults and $3 for kids ages 12 and under. Advance tickets are on sale until 10:00am Friday at https://happsnow.com/event/Thunder-Road-Speedbowl. Please visit www.thunderroadvt.com for the track’s face mask policies plus other health and safety guidelines. Fans can watch from home for $15 on the Northeast Sports Network at www.NSNsports.net/sponsors/racing along with most smart TV platforms.
For more about the Northeast Sports Network, visit www.NSNsports.net or follow them on Facebook and Twitter at @NSNsports.