Photo by Mike Bruno
The cars of Hunter Murray (#80) and Stephen Williams (#15) took an off-track excursion during the Enduro Series race at Devil’s Bowl Speedway and wound up in this precarious situation on the bank of a running brook next to the race track.
Therrien, McKiernan first-time winners
WEST HAVEN – Vince Quenneville Jr. came out on top of a heart-stopping stock car holiday special at the Firecracker 44 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Friday, July 3. The Brandon, Vt., native and veteran Modified driver had a long and hard-fought battle with Joey Roberts, then held off a late charge from Ron Proctor for his first win of the season.
Other feature winners on the night for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series included Bobby Therrien, Jim McKiernan, Chris LaVair, and Jeff Murray.
Rookie Bob Kilburn led the opening nine circuits the 44-lap Modified race before Roberts took command. Quenneville broke free from traffic and chased Roberts down, and the two engaged in a thrilling duel before being joined by Leon Gonyo for a three-car fight. Gonyo’s night came to an abrupt end at lap 34, though, when his car clipped the inside retaining wall and shot nearly head-on into the outside wall.
The fireworks on the track were just beginning, though, as Roberts and Quenneville came together at the ensuing restart, sending Roberts flying off the top of the first turn and bringing out the caution flag again. Quenneville found a new dancing partner in Proctor with two restarts in the final nine laps, and was only able to break free from Proctor with two laps remaining.
Quenneville, a long-time loyalist with Troyer Race Cars, won the race in his debut with a new chassis. Proctor, of Charlton, N.Y., retained the point lead with the runner-up finish, while Greg Atkins finished a quiet but solid third. After pitting for a new tire after the earlier contact, Roberts rebounded to finish fourth. Billy Lussier rounded out the top five finishers.
Bobby Therrien was a first-time Devil’s Bowl winner in the 44-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Late Model feature. 17-year-old “Little Walt” Hammond of Canaan, N.H., had a breakout performance in leading the first 27 laps before Therrien made his way to the point. The Hinesburg, VT racer started ninth and worked through traffic, sparring with Josh Masterson, Brandon Atkins, Robert Bryant Jr., and Hammond’s father, Walt Hammond Jr. on his way to the front.
A spin on lap 35 took early leader Hammond out of the race, setting up a sensational battle between Atkins and Masterson second position. Atkins took the spot by about a foot at the finish line after a clean-but-full-contact drag race out of the final corner. Todd Stone finished fourth, with Bryant fifth.
Jim McKiernan of Moriah, N.Y., picked up the first victory of his career in the 20-lap Renegade feature. McKiernan stretched out to big lead early before defending track champion Robert Gordon tracked him down in the last five laps. McKiernan held Gordon off by just a car length for the win. Rookie Matt Monaghan finished a career-best third, followed by Jimmy Bushey and Scott FitzGerald.
Chris LaVair of Gabriels, N.Y. extended his Mini Stock win streak to four in a row in that division’s 20-lap feature. Chuck Bradford finished second with Kris Clark third, Harold LaVair fourth, and rookie Brad Bertrand fifth.
Race director Mike Bruno announced that a $100 bonus will be awarded to the first driver to beat LaVair for a feature win moving forward.
Jeff Murray of Georgia, Vt., won a classically wild 50-lap race for the Enduro Series for his second career victory. Murray benefitted from the misfortunes of early leader Cory Gray, then outdistanced runner-up Zach Wood. Wood’s father, Brett Wood, finished third, followed by Shawn Moquin and Andrew Lopes.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, Vt. For more information, visit www.DevilsBowlSpeedwayVT.com.