Two segment winner earns come-from-behind win again
–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BARRE – Nick Sweet may have felt a sense of déjà vu on Sunday at Thunder Road.
The hometown driver entered the final segment with an all-to-similar scenario as one year ago – down a relatively large gap and ultimately needing a win to put the most pressure on his Milk Bowl challengers.
And like one year ago, Sweet produced a win and watched his Milk Bowl challengers unable to get work through the field to claim his second straight Milk Bowl win and his third overall.
“To pull out another victory here is just unbelievable,” Sweet said. “I just can’t believe it right now. It’s going to be really nice to go to bed and think about that as you’re closing your eyes.”
Sweet started the three, 50-lap segment race from the third position and wasted no time in moving to the top spot. He moved into the second spot on lap eight and then used a lap nine restart to get past then leader Bobby Therrien to lead.
Sweet would pull out to a mammoth lead until two late segment caution flags would put Therrien in the preferred outside lane on restarts, but Sweet would pull away each time and win the first segment Therrien would finish second with Thunder Road champion Scott Dragon third, Trampas Demers fourth, and Cody Blake fifth.
A 24th place starting spot would welcome Sweet in segment two and he would see Therrien get smaller in his windshield as he struggled to work his way through traffic. Polewarczyk would win segment two after he was spun midway through the first segment. Therrien would run to an eighth place finish and take command of the Milk Bowl lead.
Sweet would finish 15th and see himself in fifth place overall with 16 points, behind Therrien at 10, Corliss at 12, and Dragon and Demers at 14.
Sweet would start in the tenth spot in the final segment and made quick work toward the front of the field. He sat in the sixth spot by lap ten and used a lap 14 restart to jump to fourth. That caution came out for Milk Bowl leader Therrien who’s car lost power off of turn two and roll to a stop in turn three. He would not return.
Another restart on lap 17 saw Sweet go from fourth to second and plant himself on segment leader John Donahue’s rear bumper.
Two restarts would see Sweet unable to use the outside to get past Donahue, but a final lap 30 restart saw Sweet power past his counterpart and into the lead. As Sweet led, Jason Corliss broke free of the other two competitors and began to chase the spot he needed to finish, fourth, to win the Milk Bowl.
By lap 40, Corliss would move into sixth spot with the two cars he needed to pass side-by-side in front of him. He would work inside the fifth place car of Alex Labbe and run up on fourth place driver Cody Blake’s rear bumper. Blake, however, would begin to fade with an apparent tire issue and allowed the outside to roar past. Another car – that of Kyle Pembroke’s – would move past Corliss. Corliss would make one last-ditch effort on the final lap, but Sweet would claim the segment three victory and the overall win.
“We knew we had to go out in that third segment and win,” Sweet said. “I thought I drove the wheels off of it to pull it out to a victory. It was just an outstanding day.”
As Sweet led, he said he had no idea of what was happening behind him or that he had won the Milk Bowl until the checkered flag fell.
“I had no idea,” Sweet said. “I just knew we had to go win and do the best job I could.
“I got a ‘woohoo’ (over the radio). I didn’t even hear ‘you won the Milk Bowl’. I got a ‘woohoo’. So I assumed we won the Milk Bowl. And then when I came to victory lane and got to hold the checkered flag I knew we won the Milk Bowl.”
“Every year it’s just an honor to be able to put your name on any of those plaques amongst any of those guys,” Sweet said. “In my opinion, they’re as much professional as anybody. And those are the people you have to look up to.
“They’re true champions.”
The Milk Bowl is about putting the most perfect weekend together. For Sweet, he did that. He time trialed in the ninth spot and then won his 50-lap qualifying race. He then put two segment wins together with a 15th place segment two finish, which gave him the lowest overall total of 17 points. He won three of the four races his competed in during the Milk Bowl weekend.
“I didn’t think about that,” Sweet said when noted that he won three races. “That’s pretty neat. That’s one to put in the record book for even myself.
“This was a great weekend.”
Corliss, of Barre, Vt., finished second overall after he finished seventh in the final segment with 19 points overall. South Burlington, Vt. driver Trampas Demers finished third overall with 22 points while Cody Blake used a pair of fifth place finishes to score 24 overall points to finish fourth. Kyle Pembroke charged late in the final segment to finish fourth and fifth overall with 25 points.
Dragon finished sixth overall with 26 points with Jimmy Hebert seventh. Scott Payea, Shawn Fleury, and Alex Labbe completed the top-ten overall finishers.
Therrien would be credited with a 13th place overall finish after he finished 26th in the final segment. Segment two winner Polewarczyk finished 11th overall.
UNOFFICIAL REUSLTS – 54th Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre, Vt.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
1. (3) Nick Sweet, Barre, Vt. — (1 + 15 + 1 = 17)
2. (4) Jason Corliss, Barre, Vt. — (6 + 6 + 7 = 19)
3. (5) Trampas Demers, South Burlington, Vt. — (4 + 10 + 8 = 22)
4. (7) Cody Blake, Barre, Vt. — (5 + 14 + 5 = 24)
5. (11) Kyle Pembroke, Montpelier, Vt. — (12 + 9 + 4 = 25)
6. (6) Scott Dragon, Milton, Vt. — (3 + 11 + 12 = 26)
7. (8) Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, Vt. — (7 + 16 + 6 = 29)
8. (12) Scott Payea, Milton, Vt. — (18 + 2 + 10 = 30)
9. (10) Shawn Fleury, Middlesex, Vt. — (10 + 13 + 9 = 32)
10. (13) Alex Labbe, St-Albert, Que. — (9 + 21 + 3 = 33)
11. (1) Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, N.H. — (22 + 1 + 11 = 34)
12. (16) Mike Bailey, South Barre, Vt. — (16 + 4 + 16 = 36)
13. (2) Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg, Vt. — (2 + 8 + 26 = 36)
14. (20) John Donahue, Graniteville, Vt. — (13 + 22 + 2 = 37)
15. (14) Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott, Vt. — (20 + 5 + 17 = 42)
16. (28) Jeremy Davis, Tamworth, N.H. — (17 + 3 + 24 = 44)
17. (19) Devin O’Connell, Madison, Conn. — (19 + 7 + 19 = 45)
18. (26) Chip Grenier, Graniteville, Vt. — (14 + 12 + 22 = 48)
19. (15) Matt White, Northfield, Vt. — (21 + 18 + 14 = 53)
20. (17) Todd Davis, Claremont, N.H. — (15 + 17 + 23 = 55)
21. (29) Eric Chase, Milton, Vt. — (24 + 19 + 15 = 58)
22. (9) Phil Scott, Middlesex, Vt. – (8 + 27 + 27 = 62)
23. (23) Jason Allen, Barre, Vt. – (30 + 20 + 13 = 63)
24. (22) Ricky Roberts, Washington, Vt. — (26 + 24 + 18 = 68)
25. (18) Brooks Clark, Fayston, Vt. — (11 + 29 + 28 = 68)
26. (25) Dave Whitcomb, Essex Junction, Vt. — (25 + 23 + 21 = 69)
27. (27) Darrell Morin, Westford, Vt. – (27 + 26 + 20 = 73)
28. (23) Lance Allen, Barre, Vt. – (29 + 25 + 25 = 79)
29. (21) Luke Hinkley, Claremont, N.H. – (23 + 28 + 28 = 79)
30. (30) Boomer Morris, Barre, Vt. – (28 + 30 + 28 = 86)
1 – Nick Sweet celebrates his third Milk Bowl win on Sunday afternoon at Thunder Road. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)
2 – Nick Sweet takes a drink of milk after he won his third Milk Bowl on Sunday afternoon at Thunder Road. (Alan Ward photo)
3 – Nick Sweet kisses Velveeta, cementing his third win in the Milk Bowl on Sunday afternoon at Thunder Road. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)