Fisher, Gordon, Bradford also crowned at Vermont 200 weekend
WEST HAVEN – Devil’s Bowl Speedway crowned its 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champions during a busy and picturesque Sunday afternoon at the Vermont 200 Championship Weekend, Sept. 14.
Todd Stone and Robert Gordon became two-time champions on the asphalt, while Jamie Fisher and Chuck Bradford each celebrated their first titles.
The headline Modified division ran two 50-lap feature races to close its season, and saw very different outcomes. Former track champion Ron Proctor, 62, led wire-to-wire to win the opening race, while 19 year-old Jessey Mueller took the the second event. Charlton, N.Y., veteran Proctor outdistanced a torrid three-way battle for the runner-up spot during his run. Leon Gonyo, after blowing his primary engine in practice on Saturday morning, squeaked out the position ahead of Mueller and Stone, with Canadian Patrice McGrail fifth.
Mueller, of Olmstedville, N.Y.,, broke free from the pack in the second race and collected his fourth Devil’s Bowl victory of the season and 10th overall at tracks across the northeast. Nick Heywood finished second to help pad his lead in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national rookie standings. Joey Roberts finished third ahead of Stone and Gonyo.
Stone’s pair of fourth-place finishes were enough to collect his second consecutive Devil’s Bowl and NASCAR Vermont State championships. The Middlebury, Vt., driver beat Gonyo by 40 points (938-898) to win the track championship title, and won the NASCAR state title over Roberts by an unofficial margin of 12 markers (392-380). Billy Lussier of Fair Haven, Vt., clinched the Devil’s Bowl Speedway Rookie of the Year title, and Jason Durgan of Morrisonville, N.Y., took rookie honors in the NASCAR Vermont standings.
Both 50-lap feature races also counted toward the Northern Modified Challenge Series championship, where Mueller holds a 22-point lead on Gonyo (334-312) entering the 100-lap series finale on the new infield dirt track at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Saturday, October 18.
Late Model division
Trampas Demers of South Burlington, Vt., earned his first-ever Devil’s Bowl Speedway victory in the 100-lap finale for the Late Model division and the four-race Vermont State Late Model Championship Series. Demers took the lead from Rich Lowrey, Jr. at lap 23 and cruised for much of the race, but held off a furious charge by Brandon Atkins, Bobby Therrien, and Nick Sweet over the final 10 laps. Therrien muscled his way underneath Demers in the final corner, but fell about six feet shy at the finish line. Sweet, of Barre, Vt.,, finished third to wrap up his second Vermont State Championship. Atkins was fourth with Lance Allen fifth.
Point leader Jamie Fisher of Shelburne, Vt., struggled to a 12th place finish, but was fortunate to have his championship rivals – Josh Masterson and Emily Packard – suffer a similar fate. Packard was the best of the trio with a 10th-place finish, followed by Masterson in 11th, but Fisher held on to win the track title by 11 points. Masterson took second overall in a tie-breaker, based on his four feature wins during the season to Packard’s three. Dan St. Hilaire of Shelburne, Vt., clinched the Rookie of the Year title in August.
Robert Gordon of Milton, Vt., put an exclamation point on his dominant season in the intermediate Renegade class with his sixth feature victory of the year. Gordon drove through heavy traffic and numerous crashes to win 20-lap halves of the two-segment race and a score a perfect two-point total. A pair of 15 year-olds, Richard Lowrey, III (7 points) and Dylan Rabtoy (8 points), finished second and third overall, respectively. Ray Germain, Jr. was fourth, with Rookie of the Year Scott FitzGerald of West Rutland, Vt., fifth.
Mini Stock division
Chris LaVair of Gabriels, N.Y., posted his third victory of the season in the two-segment feature for the Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock division. LaVair finished second in the opening 15-lap segment and won the final leg to post . Chuck Bradford of Addison, Vt., won the first round and finished third in the second half to end up as the overall runner-up for the race, but easily outdistanced Jake Noble for the track championship. Noble finished third overall in the race, followed by John McCarron and first-time Devil’s Bowl racer Donny Yates. Like his father in the Renegades, Andrew FitzGerald of West Rutland, Vt., clinched the Rookie of the Year title.
The day began with the annual 10-lap “Shootout” races for non-feature winners in each regular division. Jamie LaFountain of Keeseville, N.Y., won the Modified portion with Rich Lowrey, Jr. of Charlotte, Vt., topping the Late Models. Jim McKiernan of Moriah Center, N.Y., won the Renegade race, and Harold LaVair, Jr. of Gabriels, N.Y., won the Mini Stock Shootout.
The Enduro Series ran a wild 50-lap metal-grinder to close the event, with “Mr. Bojangles” Shawn Fountain of Plattsburgh, N.Y., surviving for his second win of the season. Eric “Mongo” Messier finished second with Tyler Rhoades, Jeff Murray, and Andy Botala third through fifth. Richie Turner walked away uninjured after a scary hit into the Turn 1 wall; Turner held the lead at the time of the crash.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway switches over to its new infield dirt track for the three-race “Battle at the Bowl” series, opening on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. Sportsman Modifieds will headline the program with a 50-lap, $1,000-to-win race, and will be joined by Pro Stocks, eight-cylinder Street Stocks, and four-cylinder Mini Stocks.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, Vt., four miles north of Exit 2 on Route 4. For more information, visit www.devilsbowlspeedwayvt.com.