WEST HAVEN, VT – Mike Palmer set the clocks back at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Sunday, July 22. The Salisbury, Vt., racer earned his first victory in 26 years, setting a new track record for time passed between wins. His win highlighted a fun night of action sponsored by Brown’s Orchard & Farm Stand and Brown’s Quarried Slate, which also saw Austin Chaves, Brent Warren, Chris Murray, Kaleb Shepard, and Evan Roberts as repeat winners.
Palmer returned to competition in 2018 after many years away, racing in the Central Vermont Motorcycles Sportsman Modified division of the weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. He dominated the former Pro Stock class in the first part of his career, winning a championship in 1988; his last win came on June 20, 1992.
Palmer led every step of the 30-lap distance on Sunday night. The win erased the emotional sting of some recent near-misses and eased the physical pain of a nagging shoulder injury suffered earlier in the season. Palmer had been in position to win several times and has led more laps during the season than all but one driver, but had been wiped out without the finishes to show for his strong runs; his previous best finish had been 16th place.
“I started racing here in 1986, and it feels so good to be back home at Devil’s Bowl,” a jubilant Palmer said in victory lane. “We’ve had a tough year, and this win is just incredible.”
Palmer wasn’t the only underdog celebrating; Rookie of the Year contender Marty Kelly III ran strong all night and scored a career-best finish as the runner-up. Veteran driver Ron Proctor turned a hard year around with a third-place showing, and tough-luck Brian Whittemore came home fourth. Adam Pierson completed the top five, followed by Vince Quenneville Jr., Justin Comes, Kenny Tremont Jr., Allan Hammond, and John St. Germain Jr.
Austin Chaves of Chester, Vt., scored his second win of the summer in the Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint division. The winged, open-wheel cars ran two scored 10-lap segments for their Mid-Season Championship race, and defending champion Chaves was only named the overall winner after a frantic scramble in the final laps.
Rookie Kevin Smith won the first segment to score one point in the overall tally, outdistancing Michael Bradley, Mark Mulready, Chaves, and Cody O’Brien, but Smith struggled in the beginning of the second round. Chaves, meanwhile, went to work on O’Brien, taking the lead coming to the white flag. Chaves’ pass broke up what would have been a four-way tie in scoring points for the overall win and he appeared to have smooth sailing to the finish, but Smith came alive in the final lap to pass three cars.
Chaves won the second segment with O’Brien second, Mulready third, Smith fourth, and Joel Belanger fifth. The scoring totals showed Chaves and Smith tied at five points apiece, but Chaves’ better finish in the final segment gave him the tiebreaker and the overall victory. Smith was the overall runner-up for his best-ever finish, followed by Mulready (6 points), O’Brien (7 points), and Bradley (8 points).
Brent Warren came from deep in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman field to post his second win of the season. After starting 11th, the Salisbury, Vt., runner stalked and then passed Kyle Hoard for the lead with seven tours left in the 25-lap race. Hoard settled for second, Matt Bilodeau was third, and R.J. Germain was fourth; each were career-best finishes. Point leader Travis Billington completed the top five.
Chris Murray of Fair Haven, Vt., copped his sixth win in nine starts in the Super Stock division, taking an exciting 20-lapper. Scott FitzGerald gave Murray a run for his money right up until the final corner when contact from behind sent him spinning out of contention. Kevin Elliott was scored in second place ahead of Jim McKiernan, Curtis Condon, and Garrett Given.
Kaleb Shepard of Vergennes, Vt., backed up the first win of his career a week ago by taking his second-straight victory in the Portland Glass Mini Stock division’s 15-lap race. Shepard held on in a green-white-checkered shootout at the finish, fending off Mike Preston, Zach Wood, Mike Lique, and rookie Craig Kirby for the win.
Evan Roberts of Fletcher, Vt., picked up his second win in the six-lap feature for the Bandit Youth Mini Stocks. Roberts got the lead early and drove away from runner-up Nick Austin-Neil and third-place Thomas Given.
The night was capped by the ever-popular Street-Legal Spectator Races, and a strange and diverse field of 13 entries signed up – including cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and a 1985 Cadillac with an original 1960s Don Garlits “Swamp Rat” rail dragster mounted on the roof. When the one-on-one, elimination-style races whittled the field down, former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver William “Nipper” Alsup of Woodstock, Vt., took the win in the two-lap finale driving a 2003 BMW 325, beating a 2013 Dodge Journey driven by Adam Sears of Brandon, Vt.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is back on Sunday, July 29, as Carrara Masonry & Concrete presents the $3,000-to-win “C.J. Richards Memorial 67” for the King of Dirt Racing 358 Modified Series. Also on the card are the Limited Sportsman, Super Stock, and Mini Stock divisions. Special event general admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, $5 for teens (13-17), and free for kids age 12 and under. Racing starts at 7:00 p.m.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, Vt., four miles north of U.S. Route 4, Exit 2, 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, Instagram, and Snapchat at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Brown’s Orchard & Farm Stand and Brown’s Quarried Slate Night
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Sunday, July 22, 2018
Central Vermont Motorcycles Sportsman Modified Feature (30 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (2) Mike Palmer, Salisbury, Vt.
2. (4) # Marty Kelly III, North Bennington, Vt.
3. (3) Ron Proctor, Charlton, N.Y.
4. (5) Brian Whittemore, Pittsford, Vt.
5. (16) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
6. (13) Vince Quenneville Jr., Brandon, Vt.
7. (15) Justin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
8. (24) Kenny Tremont Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
9. (11) Allan Hammond, Canaan, N.H.
10. (21) John St. Germain Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
11. (14) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
12. (10) Jake Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
13. (7) Tomas Kimball, White River Junction, Vt.
14. (20) # Jeff Washburn, Benson, Vt.
15. (22) Codie Aubin, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
16. (1) James Fadden, Plainfield, N.H.
17. (17) Joey Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
18. (8) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
19. (18) Walt Hammond Jr., Canaan, N.H.
20. (9) Josh Sunn, White River Junction, Vt.
21. (6) # Tanner Siemons, Orford, N.H.
22. (12) Kevin Chaffee, Bradford, Vt.
23. (19) # Bruce Loomis, Granville, N.Y.
24. (23) Jimmy Ryan, Shoreham, Vt.
Heat Winners: Tanner Siemons, James Fadden, Brian Whittemore
Shiley Fabrication Hard Charger Award: Kenny Tremont Jr. (+16 positions)
Shiley Fabrication Hard Luck Award: Josh Sunn
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (25 laps)
1. (11) Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.
2. (4) Kyle Hoard, North Granville, N.Y.
3. (1) Matt Bilodeau, Pittsford, Vt.
4. (2) R.J. Germain, Bristol, Vt.
5. (10) Travis Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
6. (8) Paolo Pascarella, Troy, N.Y.
7. (13) Aaron Mulready, Wethersfield, Conn.
8. (7) Mike Parodi, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
9. (3) Mike Ryan, Chelsea, Vt.
10. (12) Montgomery Tremont, West Sand Lake, N.Y.
11. (9) Joey Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
12. (14) Matt Atwood, Whitehall, N.Y.
13. (5) Tanner Forbes, Jay, N.Y.
14. (6) Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.
Shiley Fabrication Hard Charger Award: Brent Warren (+10 positions)
Shiley Fabrication Hard Luck Award: Adam Piper
Super Stock Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (7) Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt.
2. (5) Kevin Elliott, Rutland, Vt.
3. (13) Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, N.Y.
4. (8) Curtis Condon, Queensbury, N.Y.
5. (4) Garrett Given, Cornwall, Vt.
6. (12) Joey Trudeau, Hague, N.Y.
7. (6) Josh Bussino, Mount Holly, Vt.
8. (3) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
9. (10) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt.
10. (1) # Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
11. (2) Lou Gancarz, North Adams, Mass.
12. (11) Michael Clark Jr., Salisbury, Vt.
13. (9) # Dustin Stevenson, Lake George, N.Y.
Portland Glass Mini Stock Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (15) Kaleb Shepard, Vergennes, Vt.
2. (11) Mike Preston, Panton, Vt.
3. (17) Zach Wood, Georgia, Vt.
4. (8) Mike Lique, Lebanon, N.H.
5. (10) # Craig Kirby, Winooski, Vt.
6. (22) Tim Simonds, Clarendon, Vt.
7. (12) Chris Conroy, Newport, N.H.
8. (19) # Corey Mossey, Pittsford, Vt.
9. (7) Jake Barrows, Cornwall, Vt.
10. (2) Dakota Desabrais, Whitehall, N.Y.
11. (1) # Shawn Rogers, Fair Haven, Vt.
12. (6) Cameron Kennedy, Rochester, Vt.
13. (4) # Chris Guyette, North Clarendon, Vt.
14. (3) # Lynn Denton, Milton, Vt.
15. (20) Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
16. (9) # Tanner Lunt, Fort Ann, N.Y.
17. (5) Josh Kennedy, Rochester, Vt.
18. (23) Johnny Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
19. (16) # Andrew Kayhart, Addison, Vt.
20. (24) Hunter Given, Orwell, Vt.
21. (13) Shawn Moquin, Milton, Vt.
22. (14) Chad White, Fort Ann, N.Y.
23. (18) P.J. Cram, Fair Haven, Vt.
24. (21) Justin Biathrow, West Rutland, Vt.
Heat Winners: Josh Kennedy, Shawn Moquin
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (10 laps x2)
# – denotes rookie
1. (4) Austin Chaves, Chester, Vt. – 5 pts.
2. (2) # Kevin Smith, Brandon, Vt. – 5 pts.
3. (9) Mark Mulready, Buskirk, N.Y. – 6 pts.
4. (12) Cody O’Brien, Springfield, Vt. – 7 pts.
5. (6) # Michael Bradley, Hoosick Falls, N.Y. – 8 pts.
6. (5) # Joel Belanger, Washington, N.H. – 12 pts.
7. (7) # John McPhee Jr., Rutland, Vt. – 14 pts.
8. (13) Erick Mulready, Hoosick Falls, N.Y. – 16 pts.
9. (1) # Shawn McPhee, Rutland, Vt. – 17 pts.
10. (8) # Tye Vaillancourt, New Ipswich, N.H. – 20 pts.
11. (15) # Gordon Sheehan, West Rutland, Vt. – 24 pts.
12. (14) Brandon Emerson, Williamstown, Vt. – 25 pts.
13. (11) # Dakota Green, Eagle Bridge, N.Y. – 25 pts.
14. (10) # Samantha Mulready, Hoosick Falls, N.Y. – 27 pts.
15. (3) Nadine Coates, Newport, N.H. – 29 pts.
Segment Winners: Kevin Smith, Austin Chaves
Bandit Youth Mini Stock Feature (6 laps)
1. (3) Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
2. (1) Nick Austin-Neil, Salisbury, Vt.
3. (2) Thomas Given, Cornwall, Vt.
Street-Legal Spectator Races
Nipper Alsup, Woodstock, Vt. def. Adam Sears, Brandon, Vt.