Wild Sunday for Devil’s Bowl: Local drivers take 2nd amid crashes
WEST HAVEN – The full moon hovering over Devil’s Bowl Speedway seemed to influence just about every lap of the dirt track action on Sunday, when Frank Hoard III and Floyd Billington ended long victory droughts and four drivers found themselves upside down.
No local racers won, but Orwell’s Tim LaDuc took second to lead a strong county showing in the main event, and Middlebury’s Jake Barrows also posted a second-place effort.
Manchester Center’s Hoard prevailed in the 30-lap Sportsman Modified feature after several top-five finishes in recent weeks. Hoard came from 21st starting position to blast past LaDuc on a restart with two laps left and earn his first win since 2009. But that only tells part of the story of the race.
A huge pileup on lap 8 left series leaders Kenny Tremont, Jr. and Adam Pierson in a big mess, with Pierson’s car upside down and partially on top of Tremont’s car. No one was hurt, and both Pierson and Tremont returned to the race after repairs.
Walter J. Hammond then squared off with LaDuc in a battle for the lead that saw both drivers trading body blows lap after lap. LaDuc pulled away at lap 18, but just one lap later Hammond spun his car and barrel-rolled in Turn 2; he walked away unharmed during the red flag.
A third red flag for a multi-car tangle stopped the race with four circuits left, followed by the final restart that gave Hoard the opportunity he needed.
LaDuc settled for second. Shoreham’s Jimmy Ryan took third, and Salisbury’s Brent Warren earned fourth.
The Sprint Cars of New England tour made its third appearance of the season in a 25-lap feature, and it was the Floyd Billington Show from start to finish. The New York veteran sped away uncontested for his first Devil’s Bowl win since a Sportsman Modified victory in 1999.
CONNECTICUT DRIVER RICK Stone walked away uninjured after an end-over-end flip sent his car out into an adjacent hayfield; his crash started on the track in West Haven and ended in the field across the town line in Benson.
Orwell’s Lacey Hanson took sixth for the best local result. For the second week in a row, a racecar ended up in an adjacent hayfield north of the speedway property line in the town of Benson: Connecticut driver Rick Stone’s wild end-over-end flip left his car in a crumpled heap, but Stone was not hurt.
Technical inspections decided the outcomes of both the Limited Sportsman and the Super Stock features.
Chelsea’s Mike Ryan vacated the win in the Limited class, while the top two Super Stock drivers — original first-place finisher Chris Murray of Fair Haven and runner-up Garrett Given of Orwell — were also disqualified. The drivers were found with unapproved valve springs in their General Motors “602 crate” engines.
After the penalties, original runner-up Johnny Bruno of Castleton became the winner of the Limited Sportsman race.
West Rutland’s Scott FitzGerald, who crossed the finish line in third place, inherited the Super Stock win. Kaleb Shepard of Vergennes and Ronnie Alger of Orwell were fourth and fifth, respectively. Bill Duprey was uninjured in a flip on the final corner.
Milton’s Shawn Moquin continued to dominate the Mini Stock division, taking his fourth win of the year in a 20-lap race. Barrows came out second after an entertaining three-car battle. Winooski’s Craig Kirby was third.
Rookie Evan Roberts, 13, of Fletcher grabbed his third win of the season in the 500cc Mini Sprint division.
Sunday’s winners and local finishers were:
• Pepsi Sportsman Modified Feature (30 laps): 1. Hoard; 2. LaDuc, Orwell; 3. Ryan, Shoreham; 4. B. Warren, Salisbury; 6. Vince Quenneville Jr., Brandon; 9. Joey Scarborough, Brandon; 13. Mike Palmer, Salisbury; 21. Justin Comes, Middlebury.
• Sprint Cars of New England Feature (25 laps): 1. Billington; 6. L. Hanson, Orwell.
• O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (20 laps): 1. Bruno; 4. J. Hanson, Orwell; 6. Anthony Warren, Shoreham; 8. Dave Snow, Brandon; 12. Adam Piper, Leicester; 14. (3) Austin Comes, Middlebury.
• Super Stock Feature (20 laps): 1. FitzGerald; 4. Shepard, Vergennes; 5. Alger, Orwell.
• Mini Stock Feature (20 laps): 1. Moquin; 2. Barrows, Middlebury; 6. Scott Cowdrey, Leicester.
• Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (15 laps): 1. Roberts; 6. Kevin Smith, Brandon; 10. Alyza McKeighan, Brandon.
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