WEST HAVEN, VT – Jack Speshock has been on a roller coaster ride during the 2020 dirt track racing season, and on Sunday, August 16 he experienced a skyscraper high and a basement-level low all in the same moment at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. The Malta, N.Y., driver dominated for his second big victory in a 24-hour span, but then he promptly blew his engine during the cool-down lap.
His win, while bittersweet, highlighted a roster of nine winning drivers which also included Austin Comes, Josh Coonradt, Andrew FitzGerald, Chris Sumner, Kamden Duffy, Frank Hoard Jr., Kyle Hoard, and Mike Wheeler.
Speshock had been the hard-luck poster child for several weeks at Devil’s Bowl, having crashed out while in contention to win Pepsi Sportsman Modified features twice in the last month. Things went much better for him during the weekend, starting with a top-10 finish at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday and a win at Airborne Speedway on Saturday. He led every circuit of Sunday’s 30-lap feature at Devil’s Bowl, but he knew for more than half of the race that he was in trouble.
“I think a belt broke around lap 10, and I saw the water temperature spike to 270° right away,” Speshock said after the win. “But I was out front, so I kept going. Then it started to lose power, and I was just hoping for no caution flags. The motor blew just after the checkered flag, and it seized up here in victory lane.”
Two other drivers who are usually championship contenders turned their bad luck around as well, with Tim LaDuc scoring the runner-up finish and Frank Hoard III taking third place; it was the first top-10 finish in four races for LaDuc, and the first in six races for Hoard.
Joey Scarborough finished fourth after battling with his twin brother, Jake, for much of the race. Bobby Hackel came from 16th at the start for fifth place. Kenny Tremont Jr. was sixth ahead of Jake Scarborough, Vince Quenneville, rookie Justin Stone, and point leader Demetrios Drellos. Hackel, Hoard, and LaDuc won qualifying heats, and Tanner Siemons won the last-chance consolation qualifier; 29 cars attempted to qualify for 24 starting positions.
Middlebury, Vt.’s Austin Comes scored the second win of his career and of the season in the 20-lap feature for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division. Kevin Groff paced the field for the first dozen circuits before a pack led by Comes caught up to him. Comes took over at lap 13 and sailed off for the victory, and then he immediately handed his car over to his brother, Justin, to run as a backup ride in the Sportsman Modified race.
The action behind Austin Comes was hot in the final laps, as a large group of cars fought tooth-and-nail for position. When the dust settled, Anthony Warren had come from 10th place to take the runner-up finish on the outside lane. Gary English was a career-best third, and Johnny Bruno was fourth. Josh Bussino crossed the line fifth but was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after the race and placed last on the field, which moved Anthony Ryan into fifth place. Groff, Matt Bilodeau, Shawn McPhee, Marty Hutchins, and Todd Hayward completed the top 10.
The 20-lap combined feature for the Pro Stock and Super Stock divisions felt somewhat like a rerun, as Josh Coonradt and Andrew FitzGerald picked up class wins, respectively. West Milton, N.Y., racer Coonradt led every lap of the race and was way out front at the finish, outdistancing Kim Duell, Scott Towslee, and Jay Fitzgerald.
In the Super Stocks, West Rutland, Vt.’s Andrew FitzGerald – no relation to Jay – was second fiddle to Bill Duprey for much of the race, but he pounced on a restart and pulled away to finish fifth overall and take the class win. Duprey crossed the finish line second but was disqualified when he refused to have his car inspected. That put first-time Devil’s Bowl racer Josh LeClaire second ahead of Ronnie Alger, Russ Farr, and Sam Grandchamp.
Rookie Chris Sumner dominated the 15-lap Mini Stock race for his second win; the Ripton, Vt., driver quickly worked from fifth place at the start to lead every lap. Jarrod Colburn turned in his best effort of the season as the runner-up, followed by Josh LaPorte, Chris Conroy, and Kyle Davis Jr.
Richmond, N.H.’s Kamden Duffy was up front when the Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint feature was halted after just 8 laps of a scheduled 15 were completed; a predetermined time limit was enacted after a rough race that saw several crashes and yellow flags. Duffy – who set a record as the youngest feature winner in Devil’s Bowl history at age 12 last month – took the lead on lap 5 and held off several challengers. Cody O’Brien finished second, followed by Troy Audet, Arnie Kasbua, and Kaidin White.
The Champlain Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series made its second visit of the season with a three-division, 15-lap feature race that combined the Modified, Sportsman, and Antique classes. It was a father-and-son affair the whole way, as Granville, N.Y.’s Frank Hoard Jr. and son, Kyle, finished 1-2 across the line, each picking up class victories – Frank in the Sportsman division and Kyle in the Modifieds. The win was Frank Hoard Jr.’s first at Devil’s Bowl since July 30, 1995. Mike Wheeler of Fort Ann, N.Y., finished 10th to take the Antique class win aboard an original 1937 Ford coach racer once owned by Devil’s Bowl founder C.J. Richards.
Action returns on Sunday, August 23 at 7:00 p.m. with the annual “Charlie LaDuc Memorial” 54-lap race for the Pepsi Sportsman Modified division. Advance sale tickets will be available online, and Vermont State COVID-19 pandemic guidelines remain in place. Grandstand seats are $15 (all ages) and Infield Drive-In tickets are $20, with kids age 12 and under free in the infield. Tickets are for sale online at https://buytickets.at/devilsbowlspeedway (processing fees apply), or at the speedway on race night while tickets last.
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.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Sunday, August 16, 2020
Pepsi Sportsman Modified Feature (30 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (2) Jack Speshock, Malta, N.Y.
2. (5) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
3. (7) Frank Hoard III, Manchester Center, Vt.
4. (8) Joey Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
5. (16) Bobby Hackel, Rensselaer, N.Y.
6. (15) Kenny Tremont Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
7. (3) Jake Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
8. (6) Vince Quenneville Jr., Brandon, Vt.
9. (9) # Justin Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
10. (18) Demetrios Drellos, Queensbury, N.Y.
11. (10) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
12. (17) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
13. (13) Jimmy Ryan, Whiting, Vt.
14. (12) Marty Kelly III, North Bennington, Vt.
15. (19) Tanner Siemons, Orford, N.H.
16. (23) Justin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
17. (20) Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
18. (1) # Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.
19. (4) # James Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
20. (11) Brian Whittemore, Pittsford, Vt.
21. (22) Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald, Gansevoort, N.Y.
22. (24) Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.
23. (14) John St. Germain Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
24. (21) Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt.
Heat Winners: Bobby Hackel, Frank Hoard III, Tim LaDuc
Consi Winner: Tanner Siemons
Did Not Qualify: Wayne Stearns, Bradford, Vt.; Bruce Loomis, Queensbury, N.Y.; Todd Randlett, Holderness, N.H.; Rob Maxon, Pownal, Vt.; Mike Palmer, Salisbury, Vt.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (20 laps)
1. (5) Austin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
2. (10) Anthony Warren, Shoreham, Vt.
3. (2) Gary English, Salisbury, Vt.
4. (11) Johnny Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
5. (6) Anthony Ryan, Benson, Vt.
6. (3) Kevin Groff, Wynantskill, N.Y.
7. (8) Matt Bilodeau, Brandon, Vt.
8. (18) Shawn McPhee, Rutland, Vt.
9. (12) Marty Hutchins, Poultney, Vt.
10. (15) Todd Hayward, Bradford, Vt.
11. (13) Larry Gallipo, West Rutland, Vt.
12. (4) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
13. (16) Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
14. (14) Randy Ryan, Orwell, Vt.
15. (17) Bryon Linendoll, West Pawlet, Vt.
16. (1) Jeff White, Rutland, Vt.
17. (19) Dakota Green, Cambridge, N.Y.
18. (7) Lacey Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
19. (20) Matt Jordan, Cambridge, N.Y.
20. (9) Josh Bussino, Mount Holly, Vt.
Did Not Start: Mike McGinn, Elizabethtown, N.Y.; Montgomery Tremont, West Sand Lake, N.Y.
Heat Winners: Anthony Warren, Gary English, Kevin Groff
Pro Stock/Super Stock Feature (20 laps)
1. (1) Josh Coonradt, West Milton, N.Y. (PS)
2. (2) Kim Duell, Porter Corners, N.Y. (PS)
3. (3) Scott Towslee, Manchester, Vt. (PS)
4. (4) Jay Fitzgerald, Ballston Spa, N.Y. (PS)
5. (7) Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt. (SS)
6. (11) Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y. (SS)
7. (6) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt. (SS)
8. (5) Russ Farr, Middle Granville, N.Y. (SS)
9. (10) Sam Grandchamp, West Rutland, Vt. (SS)
10. (9) Nathan Smart, Plattsburgh, N.Y. (SS)
Disqualified: (8) Bill Duprey, Hydeville, Vt. (SS) (refused inspection)
Did Not Start: Ed Thompson, Castleton, Vt. (PS)
Heat Winner: Josh Coonradt
Mini Stock Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (5) # Chris Sumner, Ripton, Vt.
2. (6) Jarrod Colburn, Rutland, Vt.
3. (15) Josh LaPorte, Peru, N.Y.
4. (12) Chris Conroy, Newport, N.H.
5. (9) Kyle Davis Jr., Cornish, N.H.
6. (4) Katrina Bean, Benson, Vt.
7. (14) Dick Stone, Rutland, Vt.
8. (17) Michael Daniels, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
9. (18) Tim Simonds, Clarendon, Vt.
10. (11) T.J. Knight, Wells, Vt.
11. (10) Craig Kirby, St. Albans, Vt.
12. (16) Brian Blake, Cornwall, Vt.
13. (8) Jake Barrows, Middlebury, Vt.
14. (13) # Griff Mahoney, Brandon, Vt.
15. (20) Greg Zindler, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
16. (3) # Adam Stewart, Benson, Vt.
17. (2) Mary Gardner, Middle Granville, N.Y.
18. (19) Adam Mahoney, Rutland, Vt.
19. (21) Joe Malzac, Salisbury, Vt.
20. (1) # Freddy Burch, Middle Granville, N.Y.
21. (7) Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
22. (22) Mark Lindblade, Stony Creek, N.Y.
Did Not Start: Bobby Fletcher, Plattsburgh, N.Y.; Kevin Withington, West Rutland, Vt.
Heat Winners: Chris Sumner, Katrina Bean
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (3) Kamden Duffy, Richmond, N.H.
2. (6) Cody O’Brien, Springfield, Vt.
3. (4) # Troy Audet, Bridport, Vt.
4. (9) # Arnie Kasuba, Castleton, Vt.
5. (2) # Kaidin White, Monkton, Vt.
6. (8) Austin Chaves, Chester, Vt.
7. (7) Samantha Mulready, Cambridge, N.Y.
8. (10) Sean Beinhaur, Shoreham, Vt.
9. (7) Nadine Coates, Newport, N.H.
10. (11) Joe Kemp, Clarendon, Vt.
11. (1) John McPhee Jr., Rutland, Vt.
Heat Winner: Kamden Duffy
Champlain Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (15 laps)
1. (2) Frank Hoard Jr., Granville, N.Y. (Sportsman)
2. (4) Kyle Hoard, Granville, N.Y. (Modified)
3. (6) Merv Blackwell, Fort Ann, N.Y. (Modified)
4. (7) Pete Corey Jr., Fayetteville, N.C. (Modified)
5. (3) Curtis Condon, Queensbury, N.Y. (Sportsman)
6. (9) Frank Blanchard, Fort Hunter, N.Y. (Sportsman)
7. (1) Carl Cram, Granville, N.Y. (Sportsman)
8. (5) George Palmer, Clifton Park, N.Y. (Sportsman)
9. (8) Tony Kamburelis, Fort Ann, N.Y. (Sportsman)
10. (10) Mike Wheeler, Fort Ann, N.Y. (Antique)
11. (11) Joey Trudeau, Hague, N.Y. (Antique)