Sunday, October 12, 2014

52nd People's United Bank Milk Bowl
Eddie Kisses the Cow at Thunder Road

Since teaming up, Eddie Macdonald and Rollie LaChance have recorded impressive wins together in the American Canadian Tour and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. On Sunday the duo added the famed People's United Bank Milk Bowl trophy held at Barre, Vermont's Thunder Road International Speedbowl to their list of accomplishments that include two Oxford 250 wins and three ACT Invitational wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Billed as the toughest short track race in America, Eddie Mac, crew chief Rollie LaChance and the dedicated crew set the tone early with a win in the first of the three 50 lap segments for the ACT final race of the season and the 52nd running of the event.

"Winning the first segment was huge for us," said the winning driver after the race. "It really put us in a good position to win this race if we could run the last two segments without a problem. The car was a little loose in the first, then a little tight in the second, and then a lot loose in the final segment but we planned to take what we could, stay out of trouble, and stay ahead of Derrick O'Donnell and John Donahue. I had a couple of close calls but we kept going, fortunately. It is so hard to win this thing; you have to be lucky and good. Today we were both."

The Hancock Electric Motor Service/Grimm Construction Chevy started third in the 30 car field as a result of posting the third fastest time in time trials on Saturday. The remainder of the field was set by qualifying heats and provisionals. When the green flag waved, the Rowley, Mass. veteran driver took second place on the opening lap, then into first by lap ten. From there it was all Eddie Mac as he took the checkered flag and awarded one point. The lowest point total for the combined three segments would be crowned the winner. With the field inverted for the top 24 finishers for the final two segments, Eddie Mac started 24th and staged one of his patented charges to the front while dealing with heavy lapped traffic and an encounter with the turn four wall aptly named "The Widowmaker." The Freddie Peterson owned Chevy made a hard charge from the 12th position to score a fifth place finish. Eddie Mac now totaled six points going into the final segment leading O'Donnell by three points and Donahue by four.

"We knew starting 24th was going to be difficult, so we just had to be patient and not force the issue," said Eddie Mac. "The car was a little tight but I was able to pass a number of cars but things got a little hairy when I tagged the wall in four but I didn't spin out and was able to finish fifth. We felt we had a good shot at winning this thing but tire management would be huge for us in the final segment. We had a three point lead which isn't much so we planned to be patient, smooth and try to keep the second and third place guys behind us. We had to start 20th so we knew patience and dealing with lapped traffic would be the key."

With the final segment underway, Eddie Mac drove from 20th to 10th at the halfway mark saying, "The car was very loose by then and the tires were really gone by that time but we managed to stay ahead. The final 25 laps I just tried to be smooth and not spin the tires and stay in front of O'Donnell and Donahue. Fortunately for us, the tires lasted and I was able to finish eighth and win this race. It is definitely a great feeling to win one of the biggest races in the country and get to kiss the cow. I was not looking forward to that but it turned out to be pretty cool. It is something I will remember for the rest of my life."

With the eighth place finish, Eddie Mac totals for the event read 1-5-8=14 points besting the second place finisher by six points. "This is such a great win for us especially after not even qualifying last year and not running too well in the past. We didn't even know we were going to race here but Freddie Peterson talked us into it. Freddie loves this place and we committed to run this season for him and his wife Sheila and it turned out to be a great decision. Freddie wanted to win this for quite a while and both Rollie and I have wanted this win. I had to miss the Oktoberfest at Lee to run here but my father has already forgiven me. This certainly ranks up there with our other wins in the late model."

"There are so many people to thank when you win something as prestigious as the Milk Bowl," said Eddie Mac. "Rollie did a great job setting up the car and the crew, Tom, Rob, Donny, Laura, Steve, Lavelle, Jt and the countless others who make all this possible deserve special thanks. Ken and Scott Thompson from Hancock Electric have been there for us for a number of years and I want to send special thanks to them. Of course, Sheila and Freddie Peterson are fantastic car owners and do whatever it takes for us to win. Winning the Milk Bowl is special and it takes all these people to make it happen."


Photos by
Richard Casey

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