Todd Stone prevails on two race tracks in one weekend
WEST HAVEN — Veteran Middlebury racecar driver Todd Stone opened his 2013 season this past weekend with wins on two tracks, in South Plattsburgh, N.Y.’s Airborne Speedway on Saturday and at Devil’s Bowl in West Haven on Sunday.
On Sunday, Stone ran to a convincing victory in the 35-lap Bond Auto Parts Modified feature to open the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season at Devil’s Bowl. Stone came from 10th at the start to grab the lead from defending champion Ron Proctor on lap 27, then won the main event going away. The win came in the first NASCAR-sanctioned race of Stone’s long and successful career.
Proctor, of Charlton, N.Y., survived an early scrape with Brandon’s Vince Quenneville Jr. to lead much of the event before succumbing to Stone, but held on for the runner-up finish. Quenneville finished third, followed by Joe Williams of Scotia, N.Y., and East Middlebury’s Hunter Bates.
On Saturday, Stone began defense of his 2012 Airborne DIRTcar Modified title with a convincing win in the Craig Ormsby Memorial 60-lap main event before a large opening day crowd. Stone started on the pole by luck of the draw and it was a good place to be — the race included eight cautions and two red flags.
Stone was pressured on the early restarts by Pierre Berthiaume, but he was always able to assume command after a lap or two of green flag racing. Berthiaume had to pit for a tire in the latter stages of the race, which ushered Craig Reyell, Leon Gonyo and Jessey Mueller into contention.
Gonyo took over second with five laps left. Mueller moved into third on the final lap. Reyell was fourth with Maxime Viens fifth.
The first red flag was needed after Kris Vernold brushed Mueller’s car and swerved into the path of Patrick Dupree sending him hard into the first turn wall. Dupree was uninjured, but his car ended up on top of Vernold’s and both machines were severely damaged.
In the closing laps, Mike Reyell, running in the top-10, slammed violently into the fourth-turn wall, bringing out the second red flag.
Stone said he was happy with his first race.
“We’re out to try and win another title,” Stone said. “Starting first definitely helped. Sometimes your races have lots of cautions. I felt I had to keep pushing the car even though at times I had a big lead.”
In other races at Devil’s Bowl on Sunday, American-Canadian Tour stock car drivers Wayne Helliwell Jr. of Dover, N.H., and Brian Hoar of Williston brought a full house to its feet for a photo finish in the race dubbed the “101.5 ‘The Fox’ Spring Green 113.” Helliwell eventually nosed ahead for the victory by just .027 seconds — about two feet.
ACT Late Model Tour point leader Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown finished a third, and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. of Hudson, N.H., took fourth. Ray Parent of Tiverton, R.I., was fifth.
Several Devil’s Bowl Speedway regulars tackled the ACT field for the first time, including Bates, who was 19th, Bristol’s Josh Masterson, who was 20th. Masterson, the 2012 Devil’s Bowl Speedway Mini Stock champion, was in contention for a top-ten finish in his first-ever Late Model start with five laps remaining before a blown tire caused him to crash.
Local finishers in other races included Bristol’s Ray Germain Jr., fifth in the 15-lap Renegade feature; and four racers in the 15-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock feature: Garry Bashaw of Lincoln (sixth), Lacey Hanson of Orwell (seventh), Chuck Bradford of Addison (ninth), and Jason Sabourin of Vergennes (12th).
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