WEST HAVEN, VT – Jessey Mueller left the crowd speechless at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Friday night, staging a spectacular comeback to win the third annual C.J. Richards Memorial presented by Carrara Masonry & Concrete. The 19 year-old from Olmstedville, NY took the fourth round of the Northern Modified Challenge Series with the win, and was joined in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victory lane during the evening by Josh Masterson, Shawn Duquette, and Bobby LaVair.
Mueller’s night almost ended as quickly as it began, as the engine in his No. 19 Mueller & Sons Heavy Duty Towing machine blew in a huge cloud of smoke early in his qualifying heat. The Mueller team located and purchased a spare engine, then set to work in making the changeover. With less than 10 minutes to spare before the green flag, Mueller pulled his car onto the starting grid.
A random draw set the field, placing Airborne Park Speedway regulars Nick Heywood and Jayson Criss on the front row. Heywood was stout in the early going, leading the opening 23 laps despite heavy pressure from Leon Gonyo. A restart gave Gonyo the jump on the outside lane, and he was able to distance himself from the field.
Mueller, meanwhile, had made his way through traffic and tacked himself onto Gonyo’s rear bumper. After dogging Gonyo for 30 laps, Mueller swung wide trying to take the lead as the pair approached lapped traffic, but the hole closed quickly as Gonyo navigated the slower cars, and Mueller bounced hard off the concrete wall. A spin by a backmarker two laps later brought the field together with eight laps remaining, and Mueller, unfazed by the contact, grabbed the lead and sped to the win.
“I have to thank my whole crew, my dad, Bucko Branham, and everyone who put the car back together,” an excited Mueller said in victory lane. “No one ever gave up. This is a huge win.”
Gonyo, of Chazy, NY, settled for the runner-up finish. Devil’s Bowl weekly series point leader Todd Stone of Middlebury, VT made a late charge through the field to take third place. Vince Quenneville, Jr. hung inside the top five throughout the race and finished fourth, while Joey Roberts made several late moves to take fifth. Jamie LaFountain, Jason Durgan, Ron Proctor, Heywood, and Cody Sargen completed the top 10.
Josh Masterson of Bristol, VT posted his third victory of the lead in the 30-lap Late Model feature, bringing his No. 11X Carrara Masonry & Concrete Chevrolet to the winner’s circle in his sponsor’s event. Masterson held off repeated challenges from championship rival Jamie Fisher during the event, making all the right moves through lapped traffic to keep Fisher at bay.
The pair finished 1-2 in the race, and now sit just one point apart at the top of the title chase, with Fisher leading 452-451, unofficially. American-Canadian Tour star Jimmy Hebert drove a clean race from deep in the field to finish third in his first weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series start of the year. Emily Packard rebounded from an early crash to finish fourth with Jamie Aube fifth.
Shawn Duquette of Morrisonville, NY became the second consecutive Renegade driver to win his first Devil’s Bowl start of the season in a wild 25-lap race. Duquette had a substantial lead for much of the event before a late caution flag brought the field to him. Young racer Richard Lowrey, III made a valiant charge and briefly took the lead, but spun soon after, eliminating him from contention.
Point leader Robert Gordon gave Duquette a run in the final laps but settled for the runner-up finish. Fifteen year-old Dylan Rabtoy had a career-best showing in third place, followed by veteran drivers Jamy Begor and Don Franklin.
Bobby LaVair of Saranac Lake, NY ran to his second victory of the year in the 20-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock feature. Mike Whalen, Jr. finished second, and early leader Lance Masterson came home a career-best third driving the only rear-wheel-drive car in the field with his Ford Mustang. Point leader Chuck Bradford finished fourth, with Jake Noble fifth.
Ron Ritchie of Rutland, VT held off former dirt Modified star Lee Nutting to win the four-lap Daredevil “community division” race. Matt Mulcahy held the lead early before his car sputtered, leaving him in third place.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is back in action on Friday, August 8 with a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event that also features the wild-and-crazy Enduro Series and kids’ racecar rides. Regular general admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and free for kids 12 and under. Racing begins at 7:00 p.m.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, VT four miles north of Exit 2 on U.S. Route 4. For more information, call (802) 265-3112 or visit www.devilsbowlspeedwayvt.com. 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 – Carrara Masonry & Concrete Night
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Northern Modified Challenge Series
Devil’s Bowl Speedway, West Haven, VT
Friday, August 1, 2014
Bond Auto Parts Modified Feature – 3rd Annual C.J. Richards Memorial (67 laps)
(# – denotes rookie)
- (6) Jessey Mueller, Olmstedville, NY
- (4) Leon Gonyo, Chazy, NY
- (12) Todd Stone, Middlebury, VT
- (3) Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon, VT
- (11) Joey Roberts, Fletcher, VT
- (14) Jamie LaFountain, Plattsburgh, NY
- (9) Jason Durgan, Morrisonville, NY
- (10) Ron Proctor, Charlton, NY
- (1) Nick Heywood, Plattsburgh, NY
- (13) Cody Sargen, Greenfield Center, NY
- (2) # Jayson Criss, Plattsburgh, NY
- (5) # Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, VT
- (8) Leonard Drown, Morrisonville, NY
- (15) # Jason Reome, Ballston Spa, NY
- (7) Johnny Scarborough, Bomoseen, VT
Lap Leaders: Nick Heywood, 1-23; Leon Gonyo, 24-60; Jessey Mueller, 61-67.
Heat Winners: Joey Roberts, Todd Stone
Semi-Feature Winner: Todd Stone
Late Model Feature (30 laps)
(# – denotes rookie)
- (5) Josh Masterson, Bristol, VT
- (4) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT
- (13) Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, VT
- (6) Emily Packard, East Montpelier, VT
- (3) Jamie Aube, North Ferrisburgh, VT
- (10) Robert Bryant, Jr., Brooklyn, CT
- (14) Robert Hagar, Windsor, VT
- (12) Walt Hammond, Canaan, NH
- (17) Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, NY
- (11) Walter Hammond, Jr., Canaan, NH
- (2) Rich Lowrey, Charlotte, VT
- (8) # Scott Coburn, South Barre, VT
- (1) # Dan St. Hilare, Shelburne, VT
- (16) Carol Parker, Fair Haven, VT
- (9) Tommy Eriksen, Jr., Ferrisburgh, VT
- (7) Joey M. Laquerre, East Montpelier, VT
- (15) Mark Norris, Farmington, ME
Heat Winners: Josh Masterson, Jamie Fisher
Renegade Feature (25 laps)
(# – denotes rookie)
- (4) Shawn Duquette, Morrisonville, NY
- (6) Robert Gordon, Milton, VT
- (3) Dylan Rabtoy, Swanton, VT
- (13) Jamy Begor, Mooers Forks, NY
- (11) Don Franklin, Milton, VT
- (2) Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, NY
- (1) # Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, VT
- (5) Stephen Donahue, Graniteville, VT
- (9) Zach Rabtoy, Fairfax, VT
- (7) Richard Lowrey, III, Charlotte, VT
- (8) Tony Putzier, Jericho, VT
- (10) Steve More, Grand Isle, VT
- (12) # Jared Blake, North Hero, VT
Heat Winners: Richard Lowrey, III, Robert Gordon
Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock Feature (20 laps)
(# – denotes rookie)
- (6) Bobby LaVair, Saranac Lake, NY
- (5) Mike Whalen, Jr., Plattsburgh, NY
- (1) Lance Masterson, Lincoln, VT
- (7) Chuck Bradford, Addison, VT
- (10) Jake Noble, Benson, VT
- (13) Chris LaVair, Gabriels, NY
- (9) John McCarron, Rensselaer, NY
- (3) # Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, VT
- (12) Steve Longchamp, Waterbury, VT
- (2) Matt Monaghan, Colchester, VT
- (8) # Shaylynn Senecal, West Rutland, VT
- (11) Harold LaVair, Jr., Gabriels, NY
- (4) Kyle Sorensen, Ballston Spa, NY
Heat Winners: Chris LaVair, Chuck Bradford
Daredevil Feature (4 laps)
- Ron Ritchie, Rutland, VT
- Lee Nutting, Rutland, VT
- Matt Mulcahy, Castleton, VT
- Mitch Fantastic, Seven Mile Ford, VA
– Devil’s Bowl Speedway press release. Photo credit: MemorEvents