Courtesy of MemorEvents
Joey Roberts of Fletcher, Vt., celebrates his victory in the Modified division at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.
Roberts takes Modified thriller; Masterson, Bradford, Gray take victories
WEST HAVEN – There wasn’t a full moon over Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Saturday night, May 23, but the action was as crazy as if there had been. When all was said and done, fans witnessed four close finishes, while a disqualification changed the final results of the main event.
Robert Gordon will go into the record books as the winner of the first-ever 100-lap race for the Renegade division at Devil’s Bowl. Though he crossed the finish line in second place, the defending track champion from Milton, Vt., was the driver to watch through the duration of the race. Gordon led 41 laps in the first half of the event and sat in second place behind Richie Turner during a scheduled refueling break at lap 51. Gordon had a right-front tire go flat during the break and was forced to make a pit stop, then marched from the back of the 17-car field at the restart to reclaim the runner-up spot.
Turner dominated the second half of the race and withstood three restarts in the final 28 laps to cross the line first, but was later disqualified in post-race inspection due to unapproved pushrods and valve spring retainers in his engine. Gordon inherited the victory and the $1,000 winner’s purse along with it.
Ryan Boutin of Fairfax, Vt. made the most of a rare Devil’s Bowl appearance with a solid drive from 10th starting spot to officially take the runner-up position. Jason McClatchie of Plattsburgh, N.Y. moved up third, followed by Zach Rabtoy of Fairfax, Vt. and Scott FitzGerald of West Rutland, Vt. Rookie Matt Monaghan finished sixth, followed by Jon Boutin, rookie Shawn Franklin, Jim McKiernan and Jared Blake.
Joey Roberts of Fletcher, Vt. won a rowdy and competitive 35-lap feature for the Modified division. The action started at the initial green flag when the front row starters got crossed up, creating a logjam behind them that left rookies Timex Morgan and Bob Kilburn in a heap. A second wreck just before the halfway mark knocked Nick Heywood and Jamie LaFountain out of the event and the subsequent restart opened the door for Roberts to make his move.
Roberts jumped into the lead at lap 17 and fought off Brandon’s Vince Quenneville Jr. for several laps before squaring off with Jason Durgan. One final caution flag set up a green-white-checker finish; Roberts and Durgan bounced off of each other at the restart, then Durgan and Leon Gonyo came together causing a major shuffle in the running order. At the hectic finish, it was Roberts with his first win of the season, followed by Quenneville. Bucko Branham of Plattsburgh, N.Y. finished third ahead of Gonyo and Greg Atkins, while Cody Sargen, Ron Proctor, Jason Furman, Durgan, and Codie Aubin rounded out the top 10.
The 30-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Late Model feature saw two exciting battles for the lead, first between pole-sitter Walt Hammond Jr. and Robert Bryant Jr., then later between Josh Masterson and Todd Stone. Masterson, of Bristol, Vt., threaded the needle between Hammond and Bryant on a late restart, then held off a charge from Stone in the final two laps for the victory. Bryant crossed the line in third place but was later disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct. Hammond inherited the position with rookie Richard Lowrey III and former track champion Chris Bergeron in tow.
Chuck Bradford of Addison, Vt. scored his first win of the year in the Portland Glass Mini Stock feature. The defending Devil’s Bowl champion had a rear view mirror full of opening night winner Dale O’Neil during the 15-lap race, but held on despite O’Neil’s repeated challenges. Pete Blaney survived a heavily-smoking engine for third place with Kris Clark and Chris LaVair next in line. Bradford announced in victory lane that both he and LaVair would donate their night’s winnings to the CHERUBS children’s charity.
The My Family Tradition (MFT) Sauce & Rub Co. Enduro Series had a barnburner of a 50-lap race, which came down to a rare final-lap pass for the win. Brett Wood of Georgia, Vt. led the first 49-and-a-half laps only to have Rutland, Vt. driver Cory Gray sneak by him in the final corner as the crowd erupted in cheers. Gray’s win was his first Enduro score in five years; Wood took second with Eric Messier third. Jeff Murray and Kirk Brunelle completed the top five finishers as the final two drivers on the lead lap.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway returns to action with a two-day, two-track weekend on June 6-7. The American-Canadian Tour Late Models make their annual stop on Saturday, June 6 with their first-ever race at Devil’s Bowl under the lights at the 100 at 6 p.m. Modifieds, Renegades, and Mini Stocks are also on the card.
On Sunday, June 7, the Dirt Track Series opens on the 3/10-mile infield dirt track at 4 p.m., with a full slate of Modifieds, Renegades, Mini Stocks, and the track debut for thePOWRi Outlaw Midget Series.
For more information, visit www.DevilsBowlSpeedwayVt.com.