WEST HAVEN, VT ; Jason Durgan picked the right night to become the first repeat winner of the season at Vermont’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway, scoring in the double-points Mid-Season Championship race presented by Friend Construction on Saturday, July 23. Durgan was one of four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series stock car winners on the half-mile Asphalt Track on Saturday, including Robert Bryant Jr., Richie Turner, and Eric Messier.
The event was in jeopardy of being cancelled due to a powerful thunderstorm that swept through the area during pre-race practice and left half of the speedway property without power, but the decision was made to continue on. That decision proved to be the right one, as a gorgeous sunset fell over a competitive night of action.
Morrisonville, N.Y., native and championship point leader Durgan played the role of spoiler in the 30-lap Bond Auto Parts Sportsman Modified feature race. Crowd favorite Bob Kilburn of Fair Haven, Vt., looked to be headed for an upset career-first win by leading the first 24 laps before Durgan was able to come from 11th starting position and break free from traffic to take the lead away, bringing Vince Quenneville Jr. with him.
The race’s lone caution period came two laps later to set up a mad scramble to the finish. Durgan and Brandon, Vt., racer Quenneville scooted away from the pack and finished 1-2, while Travis Bruno – also from Morrisonville, N.Y. – held onto third place after running near the front the entire distance. Fair Haven’s Billy Lussier finished fourth with Kilburn fifth. Jackie Brown Jr., Ron Proctor, Alex Bell, Joey Roberts, and rookie Chuck Bradford completed the top 10 finishers in order, unofficially.
Durgan holds a 29-point lead in the division (419-390) over Quenneville, who jumped into second place. Proctor sits third, 46 points behind Durgan, with Lussier and Brown close behind.
Robert Bryant Jr. stopped what looked like a runaway for Steve Miller in the 30-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Late Model race. After a long side-by-side battle with Josh Masterson for second place, Brooklyn, Conn., driver Bryant tracked Miller down in the final 10 circuits from a full straightaway behind. Bryant moved to the inside on Miller and after both cars broke loose in Turn 4 coming to the white flag, Bryant grabbed the lead with an exciting pass and drove away in the last half-mile for a popular first win of the season.
Miller, of Vergennes, Vt., took the runner-up spot for the second race in a row, with Bristol, Vt.’s Masterson third. Former champion Chris Bergeron finished fourth in his first Devil’s Bowl start of the year and Jamie Aube was fifth. With his victory, Bryant moved ahead of Masterson by a single point in the championship standings, 349-348, unofficially. Miller is just 10 points behind in third, followed by Seth Bridge and Aube.
Former champion Richie Turner of Fairfax, Vt., made his first Devil’s Bowl start of the season count in a big way, as he tore through the field to win the 20-lap Rosen & Berger Auto Recyclers Renegade race. Turner battled with Jim McKiernan of Moriah, N.Y., in the opening circuits before taking control on lap 7, then held McKiernan off over the balance of the race for the victory. Matt Monaghan and Jason McClatchie waged an entertaining fight for third place, which went to Monaghan by a half-car length. R.J. Germain finished fifth, unofficially.
McKiernan vaulted into the point lead to take a 10-point advantage on Scott FitzGerald (418-408), who finished sixth after a mid-race spin. Monaghan, rookie Austin McKiernan, and Tony Salerno are next in the order.
Rookie Eric “Mongo” Messier of Hinesburg, Vt., ran to his third consecutive win in the 15-lap Portland Glass Mini Stock race. He ran three-wide with leaders Andrew FitzGerald and Brett Wood while making his move, then drove away from the field for the win. Harold LaVair of Gabriels, N.Y., finished second with West Rutland, Vt., driver FitzGerald third. Brad Bertrand and Wood completed the unofficial top five.
Messier’s win broke a tie for the point lead with Bertrand and moves him into sole possession of first place with a 14-point advantage (411-397). Zach Wood, LaVair, and Garrett Given run 3-4-5 in the standings.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is back in action on Saturday, July 30 at 7:00 p.m. on the Asphalt Track as the Community College of Vermont presents Twin 25s for the Sportsman Modifieds. The 3/10-mile Dirt Track returns to action on Sunday, July 31 at 6:00 p.m., with the Whelen Engineering Mid-Season Championships. General admission at each event is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (62+) and teens (13-17), and free for kids 12 and under.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, Vt., four miles north of Exit 2 off of U.S. Route 4 and just 20 minutes from Rutland, Vt. For more information, visit www.DevilsBowlSpeedwayVT.com or call (802) 265-3112. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at facebook.com/DevilsBowlSpeedway and on Twitter and Instagram at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Friend Construction Mid-Season Championships
Devil’s Bowl Speedway Asphalt Track – West Haven, VT
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Bond Auto Parts Sportsman Modified Feature (30 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (11) Jason Durgan, Morrisonville, N.Y.
2. (5) Vince Quenneville Jr., Brandon, Vt.
3. (3) Travis Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y.
4. (6) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
5. (1) Bob Kilburn, Fair Haven, Vt.
6. (8) Jackie Brown Jr., Hurley, N.Y.
7. (9) Ron Proctor, Charlton, N.Y.
8. (4) Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
9. (10) Joey Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
10. (12) # Chuck Bradford, Addison, Vt.
11. (2) Jimmy Ryan, Whiting, Vt.
12. (7) Dave Snow, Brandon, Vt.
13. (13) # Matt Bilodeau, Pittsford, Vt.
2. (1) Steve Miller, Vergennes, Vt.
3. (3) Josh Masterson, Bristol, Vt.
4. (8) Chris Bergeron, Claremont, N.H.
5. (2) Jamie Aube, North Ferrisburgh, Vt.
6. (6) Chad White, Fort Ann, N.Y.
7. (5) Seth Bridge, Mendon, Vt.
8. (7) Jesse Carris, Rutland, Vt.
Rosen & Berger Auto Recyclers Renegade Feature (20 laps)
2. (5) Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, N.Y.
3. (4) Matt Monaghan, Colchester, Vt.
4. (9) Jason McClatchie, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
5. (3) R.J. Germain, Bristol, Vt.
6. (7) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
7. (2) # Austin McKiernan, Moriah Center, N.Y.
8. (1) Tony Salerno, Mineville, N.Y.
9. (6) # Bill Burlingame, Gansevoort, N.Y.
10. (10) # Alexis Aiken, Claremont, N.H.
Portland Glass Mini Stock Feature (15 laps)
2. (8) Harold LaVair Jr., Gabriels, N.Y.
3. (2) Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
4. (7) Brad Bertrand, Ferrisburgh, Vt.
5. (1) # Brett Wood, Georgia, Vt.
6. (4) Garrett Given Sr., Cornwall, Vt.
7. (10) Roger LaBounty, Morrisonville, N.Y.
8. (3) # Zach Wood, Georgia, Vt.
9. (11) # Kaleb Shepard, New Haven, Vt.
10. (5) Mike Whalen Jr., Peru, N.Y.
11. (12) # Roo Forrest, West Rutland, Vt.
12. (13) Brian Bishop Jr., Bridport, Vt.
13. (6) C.J. LaVair, Saranac Lake, N.Y.