BARRE, Vt. – Racing stateside is becoming very agreeable with 2013 Série ACT Runner-up Alex Labbe.
One week after winning the ACT Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne Park Speedway, the 20-year-old Canadian racer won the Booth Brothers/HP Hood pole award at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl and will start on the pole for Sunday’s 51st Peoples United Bank Milk Bowl. He became the first Quebec driver to earn the pole award and the $1,000 bonus since Patrick Laperle in 2002.
Labbe best 49 other ACT Late Model teams when he turned Saturday’s fastest lap (13.159) in qualifying. Three-time Milk Bowl winner Brian Hoar (13.206) will be his partner on the front row.
“This was my second time trying to qualify for the Milk Bowl,” the former go-kart racer said. “The first time, in 2010, I didn’t make it. I just wanted to get into the race, but the car felt really good. I practiced on older tires, but I went out on new tires for the time trial. In the 50-lap race, I let (Patrick) Laperle go. I want to keep my stuff for tomorrow.”
Laperle, like Hoar a three-time Milk Bowl winner, handily won the first of three 50-lap qualifying events. He will start third, alongside 2013 Thunder Road Late Model champion Derrick O’Donnell. O’Donnell edged Cody Blake in a tight battle in the second 50-lapper.
Row three will be comprised of Joey Polewarczyk Jr. and Trampas Demers. Polewarczyk ran the final half of his 50-lap qualifier up on the rim of the race track while Nick Sweet pressed him from the low groove. Polewarczyk negotiated lapped traffic well enough to beat Sweet to the finish line by .03 of a second
The Milk Bowl B-Feature Last Chance race rounded out the day’s events. Barre’s own Jim “Boomer” Morris won the 25 lap event, while Bobby Therrien took second. Both were good enough to qualify. Brooks Clark and Labor Day Classic winner Travis Stearns claimed provisionals to round out the 30 car field.
The first half of the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman “Mini Milk Bowl,” consisting of 35 raucous, high-attrition laps, was won by Jason Woodard. Seasonal point leader Shawn Fleury moved closer to claiming the 2013 track championship by placing second at Woodard’s bumper, just ahead of his closest rival Mike Ziter.
Jason Kenison claimed the first leg of the Allen Lumber Street Stocks Mini-Milk Bowl. He edged out Donnie Yates and Nick Pilotte.