Quenneville, Masterson drive to titles
WEST HAVEN — On a Saturday evening at Devil’s Bowl Speedway that saw the death of a veteran driver on the track after a victory, Brandon’s Vince Quenneville Jr. and Lincoln’s Josh Masterson drove to wins and to track championships.
Chazy, N.Y., driver Leon Gonyo, 63, won the second of two 50-lap races in the Bond Auto Parts Modified division and then suffered a medical emergency during his victory lap. After his car then struck a retaining wall, rescue and medical personnel on the scene failed to revive him.
It was Gonyo’s fifth win of the summer at Devil’s Bowl. He had enjoyed success at other regional tracks over four decades, and Devil’s Bowl had in 2013 given Gonyo its John Bruno Award, which is given annually to someone who has made a significant contribution to short-track racing during his lifetime while maintaining high standards of conduct on and off the track.
Quenneville had won the first of the two Bond Auto Parts Modified division races and finished second to Gonyo in the nightcap, performances that allowed him to overtake points leader Ron Proctor and earn his first asphalt track championship at Devil’s Bowl. He had in 2003 won a championship in the speedway’s dirt-track era.
In the opening race in the series, Middlebury’s Todd Stone finished second after an impressive drive from the 17th starting position, followed by Whiting’s Jimmy Ryan in third.
Quenneville finished second in the second race, with Stone third. Quenneville’s runner-up finish gave him 16 top-five finishes in 17 starts and was enough to outdistance Proctor by 34 points for the series championship.
In the Central Vermont Motorcycles Late Model division, Masterson entered the final night with a big series lead and put the exclamation point on his campaign by winning the 100-lap finale. Rich Lowrey Jr. was second, followed by Chris Bergeron in third. Bobby Therrien ran fourth, and Vergennes racer Steve Miller, who had the lead through the 71st lap, settled for fifth.
Richie Turner of Fairfax won the 50-lap finale of the Brileya’s Chrysler-Jeep Renegade division. Robert Gordon of Milton finished second in the race and clinched the championship, his third title in the last four years.
Chris LaVair of Gabriels, N.Y., swept both 15-lap segments of the Portland Glass Mini Stocks twin race, snapping Addison’s Chuck Bradford’s winning streak. LaVair won the series championship, and Bradford took second in the series and fifth on Saturday. Ferrisburgh’s Bradley Bertrand finished fourth on Saturday, and was named the series’ Rookie of the Year.