Quenneville gets checkered flag at Devil’s Bowl in July 3 main event
WEST HAVEN — Brandon’s Vince Quenneville Jr. came out on top of a dramatic Coca-Cola Firecracker 44 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on July 3 for his first win of the season. The veteran Modified driver had a long and hard-fought battle with Joey Roberts and then held off a late charge from Ron Proctor.
Rookie Bob Kilburn led the opening nine circuits before Roberts took command. Quenneville broke free from traffic and chased Roberts down, and the two engaged in a duel before being joined by Leon Gonyo for a three-car fight. But Gonyo’s night came to an abrupt end at lap 34, when his car clipped the inside retaining wall and shot nearly head-on into the outside wall.
The fireworks on the track were just beginning, though. Roberts and Quenneville bumped during the ensuing restart, sending Roberts flying off the top of the first turn and bringing out the caution flag again. Quenneville found a new dancing partner in Proctor with two restarts in the final nine laps, and was only able to break free from Proctor with two laps remaining.
Proctor, of Charlton, N.Y., retained the point lead with a runner-up finish, while Greg Atkins finished third. After pitting for a new tire after the earlier contact, Roberts rebounded to finish fourth. Billy Lussier rounded out the top five finishers.
Other feature winners on the night for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series were Bobby Therrien, Jim McKiernan, Chris LaVair and Jeff Murray.
Therrien was a first-time Devil’s Bowl winner in the 44-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Late Model feature. Seventeen-year-old Walt Hammond of Canaan, N.H., led the first 27 laps before Therrien made his way to the point. The Hinesburg racer started ninth and worked through traffic, sparring with Bristol’s Josh Masterson, Brandon Atkins, Robert Bryant Jr., and Hammond’s father, Walt Hammond Jr., on his way to the front.
A spin on lap 35 took “Little Walt” Hammond out of the race, setting up a battle between Atkins and Masterson for second. Atkins took the spot by about a foot at the finish line after a clean-but-full-contact drag race out of the final corner. Middlebury’s Todd Stone finished fourth, with Bryant fifth.
Jim McKiernan of Moriah, N.Y., picked up the first victory of his career in the 20-lap Brileya’s Chrysler-Jeep Renegade feature. McKiernan stretched out to big lead early before defending track champion Robert Gordon tracked him down in the last five laps. McKiernan held Gordon off by just a car length for the win. Rookie Matt Monaghan finished a career-best third, followed by Jimmy Bushey and Scott FitzGerald.
Chris LaVair of Gabriels, N.Y., extended his Portland Glass Mini Stock win streak to four in a row in that division’s 20-lap feature. Addison’s Chuck Bradford finished second, with Kris Clark third, Harold LaVair fourth, and Ferrisburgh rookie Brad Bertrand fifth. Race director Mike Bruno announced that a $100 bonus will be awarded to the first driver to beat LaVair for a feature win.
Jeff Murray of Georgia won a wild 50-lap race for the MFT Sauce & Rub Co. Enduro Series for his second career victory. Murray benefitted from the misfortunes of early leader Cory Gray, then outdistanced runner-up Zach Wood. Wood’s father, Brett Wood, finished third, followed by Shawn Moquin and Andrew Lopes.
The winners and local finishers in traditional asphalt-track racing at Devil’s Bowl this past Friday were:
• Coca-Cola Firecracker Bond Auto Parts Modified Feature (44 laps): 1. Vince Quenneville Jr.; 6. Dave Snow, Brandon; 9. Jimmy Ryan, Whiting.
• Central Vermont Motorcycles Late Model Feature (44 laps): 1. Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg; 3. Josh Masterson; 4. Todd Stone; 8. Steve Miller, Vergennes.
• Brileya’s Chrysler-Jeep Renegade Feature (20 laps): 1. (4) Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, N.Y.
• Portland Glass Mini Stock Feature (20 laps): 1. Chris LaVair, Gabriels, N.Y.; 2. Chuck Bradford; 5. Brad Bertrand.
• MFT Sauce & Rub Co. Enduro Series Feature (50 laps): 1. Jeff Murray; 22. Eddie Shackett Jr., Middlebury.
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