BARRE, Vt. — The winner of the richest points race on this season’s American-Canadian Tour schedule is now aiming for an even bigger score.
Dillon Moltz is the first official entry for the 58th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank set for Sunday, Oct. 4. The multi-time ACT victor will take his first shot at the legendary stock car race at Thunder Road Speedbowl.
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 win in the Midsummer Classic 250 at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park.
He also led a large chunk of the Full Throttle 75 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway before a late-race spin.
Now the veteran and his RB Performance/Brackett Mechanical team turn their attention to the Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank. Moltz has a third place and two seventh place efforts in three starts at Thunder Road.
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.
“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 leading 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 feature, 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.”
Saturday, Oct. 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 non-qualifiers feature on Sunday fills the last few spots.
“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 five 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.
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.”