Sports

Devil’s Bowl opens season with many local drivers

DRIVER RAY HANSON of Orwell celebrates winning the Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint race at Devil's Bowl Speedway this past Saturday evening.

WEST HAVEN — Demetrios Drellos picked up right where he left off last year: On top at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. The reigning Sportsman Modified champion from Queensbury, N.Y., opened the new season on Saturday, May 1, with a dominant win during a wildly unpredictable night presented by Mike’s Fuels of Bridport. A total of 118 racecars jammed the pit area and outer parking lot as a nice spectator crowd filtered in for the 2021 lid-lifter, and Drellos collected $3,200 for his victory in the race honoring the late Matt Bilodeau.
Joining Drellos in victory lane during the evening were Steve Pope of Shoreham, and Orwell residents Daryl Gebo, and Ray Hanson.
Drellos benefitted from a good draw for starting position in the 32-lap main event, and he was lucky to be ahead of an incredible wreck on the second lap that involved 10 cars and sent Frank Hoard III flipping wildly down the front stretch; no drivers were injured.  Six restarts bunched the field and gave Tim LaDuc multiple chances to get to Drellos. LaDuc, an Orwell veteran, drove a brand-new car with extra motivation, as his mother, Barbara LaDuc — a staple of the local racing community for seven decades — had passed away the previous night. LaDuc tossed his car into the corners and put up a strong fight, but Drellos pulled away each time and knocked down the win. LaDuc was second.
Justin Stone, the 2020 Rookie of the Year, drove from 21st starting position to finish third, followed by Robert Bublak Jr. and a hard-charging Vince Quenneville of Orwell, who earned his first top-five finish since September 2019.
Rookie Steve Pope scored a huge upset in the 25-lap feature for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division. Making his first start in any kind of racecar, the Shoreham racer wheeled his open-wheel Modified out front from the drop of the green flag. The race was slowed three times, including one red flag for a scary flip and fire by Timmy Aldrighetti and a second red flag for another 10-car pileup following a botched restart.
Third-year racer Anthony Ryan challenged Pope, and the pair traded the lead in each of the final four laps, but Pope made a sensational drive on the outside lane in the final corner to beat Ryan to the checkered flag. Pope won an impressive $570.
Andrew FitzGerald wasted no time in making a statement that the Super Stock championship will once again run through him. The West Rutland runner needed just four laps to drive from sixth to the lead. After a brief battle with Chris Murray, FitzGerald checked out on the field over the balance of the 20-lapper.
Daryl Gebo authored an impressive start to his racing history book, winning in his very first race in the Summit Up Construction Mini Stock division. The Orwell rookie rocketed from fifth place at the start to lead the opening lap, and he never looked back with a dominant 15-lap run.
Ray Hanson picked a good night to return to racing, winning on the night presented by his employer and main sponsor, Mike’s Fuels. The Orwell veteran took several years off from racing, but returned to win an ultra-competitive 15-lap feature for the Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint division. Young drivers Kaidin White of Monkton and 12-year-old Kamden Duffy traded the lead back-and-forth in the first half of the race before Hanson entered the fray, and then he assumed the point and drove away in the final five circuits.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway returns to action this Saturday, May 8, at 6 p.m. with the Mother’s Day special.
Winners and local finishers on May 1 were:
Sportsman Modified Feature
1. Demetrios Drellos, Queensbury, N.Y.
2. Tim LaDuc, Orwell
3. Justin Stone, Middlebury
5. Vince Quenneville, Brandon
9. James Hanson, Orwell
11. Jimmy Ryan, Shoreham
13. Josh Masterson, Bristol
14. Mike Palmer, Salisbury
22. Justin Comes, Middlebury
23. Joey Scarborough, Brandon
30. Anthony Warren, Shoreham
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature
1. Steve Pope, Shoreham
2. Anthony Ryan, Benson
4. John Gosselin, Shoreham
6. Gary English, Salisbury
8. Austin Comes, Middlebury
17. Troy Audet, Bridport
20. Randy Ryan, Orwell
21. A.J. Munger, Benson
Super Stock Feature
1. Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland
3. Don Williams, Ripton
5. Mark Norris, Benson
7. Chuck Bradford, Addison
11. Griff Mahoney, Bristol
12. Ronnie Alger, Orwell
Summit Up Construction Mini Stock Feature
1. Daryl Gebo, Orwell
4. Chris Sumner, Ripton
6. Jake Barrows, Middlebury
10. Brian Blake, Cornwall
11. Derrick Counter, Leicester
16. Jakobee Alger, Orwell
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature
1. Ray Hanson, Orwell
4. Kaidin White, Monkton
5. Roger LaDuc, Orwell
6. Gage Provencher, Middlebury

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