Waterbury, VT – For Cris Michaud it was a pretty easy decision. 

Michaud was injured when he fell off a ladder at a job site and broke a vertebrae. When doctors informed him that he would not be able to race in the rained-out 47th annual Chittenden Milk Bowl at Thunder Road this coming Sunday, October 4, the three-time track champion went after one of his biggest Thunder Road rivals to fill the seat for him.

“What better guy to take over my ride in the Milk Bowl than Chad (Wheeler)?  I really wanted to win the three Thunder Road Championships in a row in 2006 (Michaud won the Thunder Road track championships in 2004 and 2005, along with his title in 2001), but Chad was unbelievably consistent with his finishes all season long. He deserved to win the title that year”, said Michaud convalescing at his home in Williamstown, VT.


The 2004 winner of what is known as the ‘toughest short track race in America’ went on to say, “I think the Milk Bowl is the perfect race for Chad to come back and have some fun. He is a patient and smart racer and that’s what it takes to raise the milk can and kiss the cow,” concluded Michaud.


Over $70,000 in purse money, with a guaranteed minimum of $10,000 to win, is up for grabs by the American Canadian Tour (ACT) starting field of competitors. The thirty car field was set last Saturday in the unique format of time trials, triple 50 lap qualifying races, and a ‘Last Chance Race’. Fifty-four (54) teams attempted to qualify for the prestigious event.


A pair of ACT young guns will sit on the front row. 2008 ACT Rookie of the Year, Nick Sweet, in only his second year of racing Late Models, will lead the field to the green flag in segment one of the unique three-segment event. The first segment is lined up according to time trials and the Triple 50 qualifiers. The following two segments are reversed from the previous segments, with the best having to come from the rear twice to have a chance to win the Milk Bowl. Sweet, a hometown favorite from Barre, VT, will start beside Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., a three-time pole sitter and holder of the Thunder Road track record of 12.935 seconds.


“I have heard that Cris had a heck of a run in the Triple 50 qualifiers last Saturday. Coming from dead last to finish fourth was pretty darn impressive. I know I will have a good car under me and I am excited about trying out the only Ford engine. I had a great time racing against Cris for a lot of years and beating him for the title in 2006 got me to thinking that there really wasn’t much more for me in the sport at this time in my life. I wanted to spend a lot of time with my young boys, but now maybe there is one more thing I could accomplish with racing. It sure will be fun to try. I am looking forward to it, and I appreciate the confidence Cris has in putting me in his car,” said Wheeler.


The 47th annual Chittenden Milk Bowl is re-scheduled for this Sunday, October 4th, after having been rained out last Sunday. Gates will open at 10:00 am and pre-race ceremonies, which will include the Catamount Pipe and Drum Corps, the Norwich University color guard and Shock Platoon Drill Team will kick off the festivities at 1:00 pm. Racing will start at 1:30, and all the competitors in the various Thunder Road divisions, except the Late Models, will complete their championship seasons. Late Model racer Jean-Paul Cyr, from Milton, VT was named the King of the Road for 2009 at the final Thursday night event in August.


The Milk Bowl will bring down the curtain on the 50th Anniversary celebration of the racetrack.