Sweet, Corliss win Twin 50 qualifying races

–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
VMM Editor

BARRE – Joey Polewarczyk Jr. beat Mother Nature and 37 fellow Late Model competitors to grab his fifth career pole position for the Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl.

The Hudson, N.H. driver posted a lap of 13.169 seconds, which was the fastest lap time recorded during time trial qualifying for Sunday’s 54th Milk Bowl.

“Somehow, times trials have always been our strong point here,” Polewarczyk said. “We’ve been able to do this a few times. It’s cool to do it again. It’s a lot of hard work.”

Polewarczyk was the tenth car to race against the clock when his pole time was set under overcast skies on a brisk day welcoming autumn. Qualifying had to be delayed to the end of the racing card due to the light rain.

“Every segment is just as important,” Polewarczyk said. “Everyone says that the last segment is the most important or the middle segment is the most important. But they’re all important.

“Anytime you can get a ‘one’ you have to take advantage of it. If you finish first in the first segment, then you have a ways to go in the next one. So if we can get a one out of this, it’ll put us ahead for the rest of the race.”

Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg, Vt. posted the second quickest lap of the day with a 13.224. Therrien’s time was one of the few where his first lap was actually better than his second lap.

Defending Milk Bowl champion Nick Sweet won the first of two 50-lap qualifying races and will start third. Fellow Barre, Vt. driver Jason Corliss won the second 50-lap qualifier to roll off from the fourth spot for Sunday’s Milk Bowl.

Sweet used a lap 45 restart to get back by Trampas Demers to claim the win. He first took the lead on lap 34 from Demers, but surrendered it following a lap 42 restart.

Demers, of South Burlington, Vt., will start fifth after his runner-up finish in the first qualifying race. Cody Blake, Phil Scott, Kyle Pembroke, Alex Labbe, Matt White, and Todd Davis were the other qualified cars from the first 50-lap qualifier. Davis made a thrilling last lap pass on Dave Whitcomb as he snuck to Whitcomb’s inside off of the final turn to steal the spot.

Corliss took the lead following a lap 26 restart in the second 50-lap qualifying race from Jimmy Hebert. However, a late race restart put recently crowned Thunder Road champion Scott Dragon to Corliss’ outside and produced a thrilling photo finish. Unofficially, Corliss’ margin of victory was 15/1000ths of a second.

Hebert finished third and will start sixth in the Milk Bowl on Sunday. Shawn Fleury, Scott Payea, Marcel Gravel, Mike Bailey, and Brooks Clark also transferred into the Milk Bowl through the 50-lap qualifying race.

Devin O’Connell, John Donahue, Luke Hinkley, Ricky Roberts, Jason Allen, Lance Allen, Whitcomb, and Chip Grenier also transferred into the Milk Bowl based on their time trial speeds and will start 19th through 26th, respectively.

Thunder Road will begin on Sunday with the last chance qualifier that will see three cars transfer into the Milk Bowl.

Opening ceremonies for the 54th Milk Bowl begin at 1:00pm.

STARTING LINEUP – 54th Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre, Vt.
Saturday, October 1, 2016


1. Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, N.H.
2. Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg, Vt.
3. Nick Sweet, Barre, Vt.
4. Jason Corliss, Barre, Vt.
5. Trampas Demers, South Burlington, Vt.
6. Scott Dragon, Milton, Vt.
7. Cody Blake, Barre, Vt.
8. Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, Vt.
9. Phil Scott, Middlesex, Vt.
10. Shawn Fleury, Middlesex, Vt.
11. Kyle Pembroke, Montpelier, Vt.
12. Scott Payea, Milton, Vt.
13. Alex Labbe, St-Albert, Que.
14. Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott, Vt.
15. Matt White, Northfield, Vt.
16. Mike Bailey, South Barre, Vt.
17. Todd Davis, Claremont, N.H.
18. Brooks Clark, Fayston, Vt.
19. Devin O’Connell, Madison, Conn.
20. John Donahue, Graniteville, Vt.
21. Luke Hinkley, Claremont, N.H.
22. Ricky Roberts, Washington, Vt.
23. Jason Allen, Barre, Vt.
24. Lance Allen, Barre, Vt.
25. Dave Whitcomb, Essex Junction, Vt.
26. Chip Grenier, Graniteville, Vt.
27. Last Chance Qualifier Winner
28. Last Chance Qualifier 2nd Place
29. Last Chance Qualifier 3rd Place
30. Thunder Road Top 20 provisional

PHOTO: Joey Polewarczyk Jr. (97) and Bobby Therrien (5) will lead the 54th Milk Bowl to green as the front row starters on Sunday. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)