BARRE -- Former Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl champion Chad Wheeler of Waterbury Center will return to the track on Sunday at the second attempt at running the 47th Annual Chittenden Bank Milk Bowl.
Northfield's Cris Michaud, who qualified 14th for the race last Saturday before rains postponed the main event the next day, was injured in a work accident this week and has asked Wheeler to compete in his place.
Wheeler ended Michaud's bid for three consecutive Thunder Road track championships in 2006, taking the title despite going winless on the season; after wrapping up the "King of the Road" crown, Wheeler retired on the spot and has not driven a race since.
"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," said Wheeler in a Thunder Road press release. "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.”
"What better guy to take over my ride in the Milk Bowl than Chad?" said Michaud.
Michaud won the 2004 Milk Bowl en route to his second of three Thunder Road championships. Wheeler won the second leg of the three-segment event in 1999; his best overall efforts in the race were fifth-place finishes in 1999 and 2005.
Nick Sweet and Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. will start from the front row of the Milk Bowl on Sunday at 1:00pm.