There’s a lot more to Vermont car culture than rusty Subarus. Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road SpeedBowl is no Daytona, but it’s been a staple of American auto racing for half a century. Here’s a really cool look at what that means to the people who live there.
Meet the teams and racers of the “Milk Bowl,” an annual championship Short Track race held in Barre every year for the last 54 years. October 1st, 2017 will be the race’s 55th running.
This is isn’t exactly low-budget racing like Chump Car or AutoCross, but it is everyman racing. These teams are families and friends, not multinational corporations. They’re racing because they want to. “I don’t get paid to do this,” driver Marcel Gravel said. “I mean, I spend a lot.”
Ken Squire, who was a NASCAR pit reporter in the 1980s and ‘90s, hails from Vermont and showed up at last year’s Milk Bowl. As he explained, there are “three to 400 tracks about this size all over the country, and they run every week, most of them have somebody around that dreams about going further... but for the majority of us this is as good as it gets.”
He didn’t mean that disparagingly– it seems pretty clear he had a lot of respect for the grassroots teams making their way in local circuits. After watching this video, I’m pretty keen on this series myself. It’s inspiring to see how much racing is happening in small town garages.