Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Chaffee Flexes Muscle with First Devil’s Bowl Win in Five Years

Tanner takes SCoNE race; Munger picks up where he left off in Limited Sportsman

Kevin Chaffee ended a long dry spell at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Saturday, May 13, and he did it with authority. The Bradford racer posted his first win at the track in five years, while six other feature races featured a mix of first-time winners and familiar faces in victory lane.

Chaffee’s victory in the headline Sunoco Sportsman Modified division was his first since July 2018. He started fifth on the 24-car field and was able to capitalize on two quick cautions in the first four laps to get through traffic and take the lead from Allan Hammond at lap 5. Two more back-to-back yellow flags bunched the field at laps 14 and 15, but Chaffee held serve the whole time and drove away for a comfortable 4.254-second margin of victory.

Marty Kelly III’s up-and-down race ended “up,” as the Shaftsbury, racer posted the runner-up finish. Kelly started fourth and fell to as low as seventh place at the halfway mark, but he marched through traffic to get to second place with five laps to go. Former track champion Vince Quenneville ran with the leaders all race and finished third, followed by fellow veteran Jimmy Ryan and strong young racer David Boisclair.

The top 10 finishers were rounded out by Walter J. Hammond, Frank Hoard III, Justin Comes, Tim LaDuc, and Billy Lussier, who earned the $100 Hard Charger bonus. Qualifying heats were won by Chaffee, Kelly, and Troy Audet, who crashed at the finish line after contact with LaDuc and was unable to race in the feature.

The traveling Sprint Cars of New England (SCoNE) tour opened its 2023 season with its first of four Devil’s Bowl appearances of the year, and a familiar driver stood in the winner’s circle at the end of a quick 25 laps. Stephentown, N.Y.’s Matt Tanner took the lead from polesitter Travis Billington on the second lap and never looked back, beating Canadian racer Jordan Poirier by 5.223 seconds.

Beloeil, Que., native Poirier – the defending champion of the New York-based Empire Super Sprints tour – made his first start in Vermont a profitable one, running from a 14th-place starting spot after a qualifying crash to the runner-up finish. Young driver Chase Moran scored his first-ever Sprint Car podium finish by taking third. Defending SCoNE champion Chris Donnelly finished fourth and Billington held on for fifth.

Caleb Lamson was sixth ahead of Will Hull, Kadyn Berry, Jim Lowrey Jr., and Troy Comeau. The heats were won by Donnelly and Hull.

Second-generation driver A.J. Munger of nearby Benson Landing,  picked up right where he unexpectedly left off last week, topping the 25-lap feature for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division. Munger was leading on opening night with just 10 laps left when his engine let go, but a new powerplant helped him keep his momentum, and this time he led every circuit on his way to the win – the third of his career.

Gary English was a solid runner-up finisher, tying his best mark, while polesitter Hunter Nutter held on to third place. Jason Quenneville and Bob Kilburn both went forward from their starting positions to complete the top five finishers. The balance of the top 10, in order, was Anthony Ryan, William Duprey, Steve Miller, Justin Lilly, and Scott Towslee. Heats were won by Kilburn, Duprey, and Ryan.

The Hoosier Daddy Racing Novice Sportsman class saw its first first-time winner of the year in Josh “Boomer” Patterson. The Milton, Vt., resident – who grew up just a few miles from Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Benson – was perhaps the most popular winner of the night. Bobbi Jo Hults lead the first five laps of the race, but Patterson took command after a restart on lap 6, and then survived a final restart with just three circuits left in the 20-lapper.

Tyler Travis finished second for the second time in as many events in 2023, and Adam LaFountain posted his first podium run of the season in third place. Hults had a solid night with a fourth-place showing, followed by Randy Edson. Donald Williams was sixth, followed by Michael Clark Jr., Aaron Clark, Eric Shaw, and Holden Bass. Heat wins went to Matt Wade and Donald Williams.

Chayton Young took the trophy home to Wynantskill, N.Y., following the 15-lap Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint feature. Young started third and zoomed into the lead on the first lap, but he held it for only three laps before fellow teenager Gage Provencher took over. Provencher looked the part of a winner, but Young got back by him on lap 12 and held on for the win.

Provencher settled for second ahead of defending champion Logan Denis, veteran John Smith, and relative newcomer Chris Lennox. Past champ Ray Hanson was sixth, followed by Roger LaDuc, Joe Kemp, John Carleton, and Tommie Kasuba. Hanson and Denis won the heats.

Orwell, Vt.’s Jakobee Alger was a first-time winner in the 15-lap “A” Feature for the Mini Stock division. Alger drew the outside front-row starting position and scooted away on the opening lap to pace the field every step of the way. Former champion Craig Kirby rebounded from a tough opening-night to post the runner-up finish, and Mini Stock veteran Jake Barrows took his first podium of the year in third.

Mark Mahoney was fourth and Levi Cram crossed the finish line in fifth, but Cram’s computer module failed technical inspection and he was disqualified, moving Jarrod Colburn up in line. The rest of the top 10 was made up of Austin McKirryher, Brian Blake, Ronnie Alger (the winner’s father), Clemmy Bell, and Robert Steves. McKirryher, Cram, and Mahoney won the qualifying heats, and former champion Chris Conroy won the “B” Feature for non-qualifiers.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway returns to action on Saturday, May 20, at 6:00 p.m. with the season’s first 50-lap Enduro race. All weekly divisions (except Crown Vics) will be on the card, and the 500cc Mini Sprints will have a special three-segment, $250-to-win event. The annual Kids’ Poster Contest will also be held. Grandstand general admission is $15 for adults and free for children aged 12 and under. Infield drive-in parking is also available for $20 for adults and free for kids. Pit area passes are $28 for members and $38 for non-members; the minimum age in the pit area is 10 years old, per Vermont state law.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven,, four miles north of. Route 4, exit 2 and just 20 minutes from Rutland  For more information, visit or call (802) 265-3112. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at, and on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.



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