Orwell driver posts first win in years on Devil’s Bowl dirt
WEST HAVEN — Veteran stock car driver Tim LaDuc of Orwell returned to Devil’s Bowl Speedway victory lane on Sunday after a five-year drought by winning the WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey Independence Day Special on the Devil’s Bowl Dirt Track.
LaDuc earned the checkered flag in the 50-lap Liberty Street Discount Beverage & Deli Sportsman Modified race after a race-long fight with Josh Sunn.
Sunn of White River Junction led the opening 10 laps before LaDuc made his presence known. The pair swapped the lead five times over the final 40 circuits before LaDuc made his winning move, an outside lane pass with five laps remaining. The top two pulled into victory lane showered by cheers in appreciation of their effort. The win was the first for LaDuc since an asphalt victory at Devil’s Bowl in August 2010, and his first dirt score since May 2009.
Brandon’s Vince Quenneville Jr. wrapped up a solid Independence Day weekend with a third-place finish; Quenneville won the Coca-Cola Firecracker 44 on Devil’s Bowl’s half-mile asphalt oval on Friday (see story on Page 1B).
Other winners on the night were Chris Donnelly, Dan Douville, Curtis Condon and Jesse Durkee.
Donnelly won a rough 30-lap main event for the Sprint Cars of New England (SCoNE) tour. Troy Comeau opened up a big lead early while Piermont, N.H., native Donnelly whipped past traffic on the outside lane from 12th starting position.
A red flag for a scary accident involving Rick Martel brought Donnelly to Comeau’s tail for the race’s first restart. Donnelly moved into the lead on lap 13 and held it through two more restarts — including a second red flag when Toby Tatro’s car flipped — and cruised to the win. Neither Martel nor Tatro was seriously injured.
Will Hull of Plainfield finished second, followed by Dan Douville, Kevin Chaffee and Scott Holcomb. Douville, of Bristol, N.H., was crowned the SCoNE Triple Crown champion with the best point total in a three-night, three-track weekend after events at Legion Speedway in Rumney, N.H., on Friday and Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford on Saturday.
Condon of Queensbury, N.Y. picked up the first win of his career in the 20-lap Renegade division race. Condon outlasted several challenges from asphalt specialist Richie Turner, who finished second. Darrell Older was third.
The Portland Glass Mini Stocks had the most unusual event of the evening, and Jesse Durkee of South Royalton was declared the winner when he was the only driver left running in the event. A rough track surface combined with some full-contact maneuvers eliminated competitors at a rate of nearly one car per lap, including Ferrisburgh’s Justin Bishop after a flip on the opening circuit.
Durkee was one of only three drivers left on the track when he took the lead on lap 14 of the scheduled 20-lap distance, just before the cars of Bridport’s Brian Bishop and Robert Garney dropped out of the race with flat tires. Garney was awarded the runner-up position, and Brian Bishop was third.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway returns to action on Friday at 7:30 p.m. on the asphalt half-mile.
Sunday’s winners and local finishers were:
• Liberty Street Discount Beverage & Deli Sportsman Modified Feature (50 laps): 1. LaDuc, Orwell; 3. Quenneville, Brandon.
• Sprint Cars of New England Feature (30 laps): 1. Donnelly; 8. Lacey Hanson, Orwell.
• Portland Glass Mini Stock Feature (20 laps): 1. Durkee; 3. B. Bishop, Bridport; 7. Brent Warren, Salisbury; 8. J. Bishop, Ferrisburgh.
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