Racers hunting for track titles at Devil’s Bowl

WEST HAVEN — New York driver Cody Sargen edged veterans Leon Gonyo of New York and Todd Stone of Middlebury in Friday’s 30-lap Bond Auto Parts Modified feature race for his first-ever victory. Nevertheless, Stone still leads Gonyo in the race for the championship of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
In other action, East Montpelier teen Emily Packard was perfect on the night in winning a Triple Crown in the Late Model division, while Robert Gordon, Jake Noble, Jeff Murray, and Kaitlyn Baker were also winners.
In the Modified feature, Sargen led the first lap from the outside pole position, but surrendered it to Billy Lussier on a restart one lap in. Sargen fought back on the outside to lead lap 6, then waged a battle with fellow youngster Jamie LaFountain. The pair officially traded the lead six times at the start/finish line between laps 7 and 21, and many more times through the corners.
Gonyo crept into the mix and eventually took second away from LaFountain on lap 22. A final restart on lap 24 didn’t help Gonyo, though, and Sargen pulled away for the win. Meanwhile, Stone recovered from a spin through the infield at lap 12 to charge up to third place. Ron Proctor and Jessey Mueller came from the back of the field to round out the top five finishers.
Stone carries a 45-point lead on Gonyo (729-684) with five feature races remaining on the schedule. Joey Roberts, who finished 13th after crashing, is third, 65 points behind Stone.
Union-32 High School student Emily Packard kept the crowd roaring with a dominant night in the Late Model division. Packard swept her qualifying heat, the bonus semi-feature, and the 30-lap main event to become the first-ever Triple Crown winner in the division. The feature win was her second of the season and tightens the championship battle among her, Josh Masterson of Bristol and Jamie Fisher.
Packard moved from sixth starting position to take the lead from Jamie Aube at lap 9 and was never headed in a caution-free race. Fisher caught up to Packard late in the race, but was unable to make a move for the win and settled for his fourth consecutive runner-up finish. Masterson took third, followed by Aube and Robert Bryant, Jr. Fisher now leads Masterson by six points for the championship (514-508), with Packard just six more behind in third place.
Robert Gordon of Milton drove from the back of the Renegade field to post his fourth win of the year in that division’s 20-lap race. Brad Bushey finished second in his first start of the season.
Defending Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock champion Jake Noble of Benson earned his second win of the season in the entry-level division’s 20-lap event. Noble started fifth and was in the lead by lap 5, cruising to the win. Bobby LaVair finished second with Addison’s Chuck Bradford hot on his heels in third place.
Jeff Murray of Georgia, Vt., dominated the 50-lap Enduro Series event for his first-ever win. Murray benefitted from the mechanical failures of several of his nearest challengers, but led every step of the way and beat runner-up Eric “Mongo” Messier by half of a lap. Shawn Fountain finished third.
Kaitlyn Baker of Unionville, Conn., put on a show in the Daredevil class to take a popular win. After being drawn at random to race in the “community” division in a set of track-owned racecars, the sister of Late Model driver Kyle Baker beat the field for the win.
The winners and local drivers in the Aug. 8 races were:
•  Bond Auto Parts Modified Feature (30 laps): 1. Sargen; 3. Stone; 7. Vince Quenneville Jr., Brandon.
•  Late Model Feature (30 laps): 1. Packard: 3. Masterson; 4. Jamie Aube, Ferrisburgh; 8. Tommy Eriksen Jr., Ferrisburgh.
•  Renegade Feature (20 laps) 1. Gordon.
•  Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock Feature (20 laps): 1. Noble; 3. Bradford; 9. Mitchell Dundon, Orwell.
•  Enduro Series (50 laps): 1. Murray; 23. Seth Gero, Middlebury; 27. Eric Raymond, Bristol.

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