Courtesy of MemorEvents
Rookie Richard Lowrey III of Charlotte, Vt., grabbed his career-first win in the Late Model division at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.
Rookie wins wild Late Model main; Bradford snaps LaVair’s streak
WEST HAVEN–Devil’s Bowl Speedway played host to a some wild stock car racing action under a full moon on Friday, July 31, and saw two first-time winners. The event kicked off the second half of the season for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Veteran drivers Leon Gonyo of Chazy, N.Y., and Greg Atkins of Clintonville, N.Y., split a pair of 20-lap “shootout” feature races for the Bond Auto Parts Modified division. In the opening race Billy Lussier held the early lead and began to stretch out before a caution period with five laps complete bunched the field for a restart. Gonyo pounced to seize the lead and then drove away for his second victory of the season. Vince Quenneville, Jr., finished second. Joey Roberts survived an early scrape with Codie Aubin to finish third, followed by Jimmy Ryan and Ron Proctor.
In the nightcap, Ryan took the lead after Roberts and Aubin came together again on lap 3 and held off a spirited drive by Atkins in the first half of the race. Atkins finally completed his pass for the lead at lap 12, then sped away to take the first Devil’s Bowl win of his long career. Proctor was the runner-up, followed by Quenneville, Ryan, and Lussier.
Proctor continues to lead the track championship standings, though Quenneville was able to trim his deficit from 14 points down to just nine (548-539). Atkins moved into third place, 29 points behind Proctor. Atkins’ win will also help him stay near the top of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings; he ranks ninth out of more than 1,000 drivers at nearly 60 short tracks across North America.
In the Late Model division, 17-year-old rookie Richard Lowrey III of Charlotte, Vt., became the seventh different winner in as many races after an intense finish. Seth Bridge led the first 23 laps uncontested and looked like a first-time winner before the action heated up behind him, when point leader Josh Masterson got turned around to bring out the caution flag. Bridge held the lead for four laps after the restart but faced heavy pressure from Lowrey, Todd Stone, Steve Miller, and others. Bridge then got turned around himself and nailed the inside retaining wall to set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Lowrey and Miller produced hard, clean racing over the final two laps before Lowrey scooted ahead to take the popular victory. Miller finished second, and Masterson rebounded in impressive fashion in the final seven laps to finish third. Former champion Chris Bergeron finished fourth with Robert Bryant Jr. fifth. Masterson leads Bryant by 46 points (422-376) for the championship, with Miller another 19 back in third.
Robert Gordon of Milton, Vt., won an ever-changing two-segment race for the Renegade division. The defending champion finished second in each of the two 15-lap, cumulatively scored runs to earn a low total of four segment points. He battled the entire distance in tight quarters with segment winners Scott FitzGerald and Jimmy Bushey, and rookies Matt Monaghan and Shawn Franklin. FitzGerald scored five segment points (first, fourth) to take the overall runner-up position. Bushey and Monaghan each earned six points, and Bushey earned the tiebreaker by winning the second leg to take third place overall.
Chuck Bradford of Addison, Vt., was a popular winner in the 15-lap Mini Stock feature. Bradford snapped a five-race win streak by Chris LaVair and earned a $100 “bounty” bonus in the process. The action was non-stop as Bradford, LaVair, John McCarron, and Harold LaVair ran in a tight group up front. Bradford passed Chris LaVair on the outside to take the lead on lap 12, then LaVair’s car shut down on the final lap. Harold LaVair took the runner-up spot with McCarron third. Kyle Sorensen was a career-best fourth, with rookie Tanner Crary fifth.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is back in action on Friday, Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m. with the fourth annual “C.J. Richards Memorial” event. The Modified division will race 67 laps in honor of the track’s late founder, Richards, who opened the facility in 1967. Late Models, Renegades, and Mini Stocks will be on the card, along with the Enduro Series. Special general admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, and free for kids age 12 and under. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.with racing at 7:30 p.m.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, Vt., four miles north of Exit 2 on U.S. Route 4. For more information, visit www.DevilsBowlSpeedwayVT.com.