For the second straight year, Todd Stone won the Sportsman Modified championship at Vermont’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway, as well as the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Vermont State Championship. Though the end result was the same, the path taken in 2014 was much different.
In 2013, Stone ran full-time at Devil’s Bowl and at Airborne Park Speedway (NY) and won both championships. This year he elected to run full-time only at Devil’s Bowl.
In 2013, the veteran racer from Middlebury, Vermont scored a combined total of 17 wins (10 at Devil’s Bowl and 7 at Airborne) at the two tracks. This year, Stone scored just four wins competing in the competitive Modified division at the West Haven, Vermont oval.
“Last year we had a phenomenal year,” Stone told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “The pressure was on after we won the first one. We had to go back it up and win another one. We were up for the challenge. We had a lot of ups and downs through the year but we ended up pulling it out and winning it.”
Even when Stone encountered a “down” moment he was still able to turn it into a good result. There’s no better example of that than the team’s final race weekend of the 2014 season. Stone blew the motor under the hood of his No. 1x during practice on Saturday, one day ahead of twin features that would take place on Vermont 200 race day. The way his team rebounded on Sunday afternoon helped put him in a position to go out and clinch his second straight title.
“I had to pull my backup car out that I hadn’t practiced with all week,” he said. “I put it right into action and it did well. We had to change carburetors, tires, shocks. No practice at all. We just started the feature. I was pretty proud of my team and the outcome.”
In 18 races this year, Stone finished outside of the top 10 just once. He scored top-five finishes in all but four races. And how about that back-up car that hadn’t seen the track at all for practice? Stone finished fourth in both features to conclude his second straight championship winning season.
So where does the two-time and defending NWAAS Vermont State Champion head from here? Well, right back to the place he call his second home, Devil’s Bowl Speedway. Just in a different type of race car.
“We are going to chase the Late Model points,” he said. “I used to race ACT for five years and then I got out of that and went back to dirt racing again. Now I’m jumping into a Late Model again. I’m not blind to it, but I haven’t been in one except for this past year running a couple Granite State Pro Stock Series races. I haven’t run a full-fendered car in a long time.”
In addition to that, Stone said he’s purchased two Pro Late Models; one from Jeff Taylor in Maine and another from two-time Snowball Derby winner Augie Grill. Stone said he hopes to run some Pro All Stars Series (PASS), races as well as some more shows with the Granite State Pro Stock Series.
But Stone’s main focus will be on capturing the Late Model championship at Devil’s Bowl. He now will have a chance to win three straight championships at the same track in two different divisions.
“That would be pretty awesome,” he said with a laugh. “I’d probably have some people mad at me, but that’s alright. I’m not in it for the popularity contest. Honestly, I’ve got a great crew. I really feel that, of course you’ve got to crawl before you run, but I feel we have an opportunity to at least take a stab at it.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Regional Editor (Long Island, CT and NJ) -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: MeMor Events