WEST HAVEN, VT – Vince Quenneville may not have much left to prove in his stock car racing career, but apparently the three-time Devil’s Bowl Speedway champion wants more. On Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, the Brandon, Vt., driver ended a four-year win drought and scored one of the most popular victories in the track’s history, using a late-race surge to secure the Northeast Crate Nationals 100 and its $5,000 payday – one of the region’s top Sportsman Modified purses.
Other drivers who took wins at the big event included Matt Tanner, Austin Comes, Chris Murray, Ray Hanson, and first-time winner T.J. Knight. First-round qualifying was held on Saturday, but rain on Sunday postponed second-round qualifying and the feature events to Memorial Day.
Adam Pierson held serve for most of the race, taking the lead from polesitter Robert Bublak Jr. at lap 8 and staying up front with a big advantage. Ten cautions through the event gave Pierson plenty of sparring partners at the restarts, but he outdistanced them all until the final one.
Quenneville, who slowly but surely worked his way through the field from the 10th starting position, sized Pierson up on the ninth restart at lap 85, but it was the final go on lap 88 that gave him his shot. Quenneville hung tough on the outside lane and passed Pierson to complete lap 90, and he then drove his #78 Green Mountain Feeds Troyer away from the pack in the last 10 circuits.
The pass of Pierson brought the big holiday crowd to its feet in a raucous cheer, which only grew louder when Quenneville pulled into Victory Lane shortly after. The victory puts an exclamation point on Quenneville’s early-season comeback in 2021; he finished a dismal 15th in point standings last year and had not won a race since August 2017. It was the 36th win of his career at Devil’s Bowl; his late father, Vince Quenneville Sr., was a two-time champion and had 34 wins, ranking both men among the top 10 all-time winners at the Vermont track.
Middlebury, Vt.’s Justin Comes – usually known for his preference to run in the outside lane – got his work done on the inside to break through late and take the $2,000 runner-up finish. Kevin Chaffee, Pierson’s friendly rival for more than 20 years, was able to sneak by for third place and $1,200. Pierson settled for fourth, and Tim Hartman Jr. – racing as a substitute driver for Demetrios Drellos – finished fifth. The top 10 was completed, in order, by Tanner Siemons, Tim LaDuc, Brian Calabrese, Justin Stone, and Elmo Reckner.
Saturday heat races were won by Stone, Reckner, Pierson, and Alex Bell. Drellos qualified on the pole position in group time trials on Saturday, but he was committed to racing elsewhere Monday and was replaced by Hartman. Neil Stratton was fastest in Monday’s second-round time trials, consolation races were won by Josh Masterson and Brian Calabrese, and Pat Jones won the last-chance B-Main as 42 cars attempted to qualify for 32 starting positions.
The Sprint Cars of New England (SCoNE) tour opened its 2021 traveling schedule on Monday, and Matt Tanner left little doubt that the trophy would be headed back to Stephentown, N.Y., with him at the end of the 25-lap race. After early leaders Lacey Hanson and Chris Donnelly each brought out the caution flag on successive laps to start the race, Tanner took the lead at lap 3 and blitzed the field in a green-flag run to the end.
Tanner lapped all but runner-up Will Hull, third-place Matt Hoyt, and double-duty driver Adam Pierson during his romp, leaving fifth-place Floyd Billington a lap behind. Clay Dow was sixth ahead of Jake Williams, Hanson, Travis Billington, and Caleb Lamson. Tanner and Pierson won the qualifying heats.
Middlebury, Vt.’s Austin Comes became the first repeat winner of the year in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division, taking home $300 by winning a special 30-lap, 30-car race. Comes was smooth as silk in driving from 16th at the start, and then used two restarts with five laps left to take the lead from Randy Ryan and leave the field in his wake.
Steve Pope was the runner-up, and Dylan Madsen ran from 18th to third in his first Devil’s Bowl start of the year. Bill Duprey scored his first top-five finish in fourth place, and Ryan fell late to fifth. Bob Kilburn, Beau Reeves, Gary English, Craig Wholey, and Cody O’Brien completed the top 10 in order. Saturday heats were won by Joe Venditti, Reeves, and Pope. John Gosselin and Evan Roberts won the consis on Monday.
Chris Murray made it back-to-back wins in the Super Stock division after an exciting 20-lap feature. The Fair Haven, Vt., racer swapped the lead with rookie Chuck Bradford several times throughout the race, finally pulling ahead in the last four laps. Josh LeClaire slipped past Bradford in the final corner for the runner-up finish.
Paul Braymer and Kevin Elliott completed the top five finishers, followed by Josh Bussino, Andy Botala, Ronnie Alger, Chris Brown, and Jason Barrett. On Saturday, heats were won by LeClaire and Bradford, and Bradford also won the bonus-points semi-feature.
T.J. Knight was a popular first-time winner in the Summit Up Construction Mini Stock division. Hard-luck driver Knight was out front ahead of rookie Scott Chandler for most of the race before Daryl Gebo and Chris Sumner arrived at the front. Gebo nosed ahead on the backstretch a couple of times, but Knight pulled back ahead to officially lead all 15 laps for his breakthrough win, and he was then swarmed by a happy crowd in victory lane including several drivers that had been in the race.
Gebo, also a rookie, was second, with Sumner, Chandler, and Tim Simonds rounding out the top five; Simonds came from 23rd at the start. The Top 10 was rounded out by Craig Kirby, Derrick Counter, Willie Rice, Lynn Denton, and Jake Barrows. Chandler and Knight won the heats on Saturday, and Gebo won the semi-feature.
Orwell, Vt.’s Ray Hanson continued his dominance of the Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint division, sweeping to a rare Triple Crown win over the weekend. After winning the heat and semi-feature on Saturday, Hanson on Monday captured his fourth win in the first five races of the season.
Kamden Duffy gave Hanson a good challenge for several laps but settled for the runner-up finish. Austin Chaves, who also won a heat on Saturday, finished third. Kaidin White and Kevin Smith were next in line ahead of Kris Severance, Kyle Bruno, Gage Provencher, Tommy Kasuba, and John McPhee Jr.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway returns to action on Saturday, June 5 at 7:00 p.m. with a special event for the Mini Stock division and the season’s second 50-lap Enduro Series race. The Sportsman Modified, Limited Sportsman, Super Stock, and 500cc Mini Sprint classes are also on the card. Grandstand admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children (12 and under). Tickets will be available online at https://buytickets.at/devilsbowlspeedway and at the speedway on race day. Infield drive-in parking will be $20 for adults and free for kids, available at the speedway. Pit passes are $25 for members and $35 for non-members.
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 Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Monday, May 31, 2021
Sportsman Modified Feature – Northeast Crate Nationals (100 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (10) Vince Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
- (12) Justin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
- (16) Kevin Chaffee, Bradford, Vt.
- (3) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
- (18) Tim Hartman Jr., Glenville, N.Y. (substitute driver for Demetrios Drellos)
- (4) Tanner Siemons, Orford, N.H.
- (13) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
- (15) Brian Calabrese, Johnstown, N.Y.
- (7) Justin Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
- (9) Elmo Reckner, Ballston Lake, N.Y.
- (22) Todd Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
- (14) Josh Masterson, Bristol, Vt.
- (23) Joey Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
- (21) # Johnny Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
- (30) Mike Palmer, Salisbury, Vt.
- (2) Don Mattison, Wells, Vt.
- (8) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (27) Brian Whittemore, Pittsford, Vt.
- (24) Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald, Gansevoort, N.Y.
- (25) Pat Jones, Altamont, N.Y.
- (31) Jason Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y.
- (19) Gene Pierson Jr., East Corinth, Vt.
- (26) # Anthony Warren, Shoreham, Vt.
- (17) Connor Cleveland, Corinth, N.Y.
- (28) # Shawn McPhee, Rutland, Vt.
- (20) Marty Kelly III, North Bennington, Vt.
- (6) Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
- (1) Robert Bublak Jr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.
- (5) Frank Hoard III, Manchester Center, Vt.
- (11) Neil Stratton, Bennington, Vt. (substitute driver for Jimmy Ryan)
- (29) Todd Randlett, Holderness, N.H.
- (32) Mike Fisher, Castleton, Vt.
Did Not Qualify (10 drivers): Keith Wilcox, Stoddard, N.H.; Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.; Ron Proctor, Charlton, N.Y.; Jim Introne Jr., Hartford, N.Y.; Ricky Thompson, Hogansburg, N.Y.; Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.; James Hanson, Orwell, Vt.; Joe Toth, Newtown, Penn.; Billy Dunn, Watertown, N.Y.; Justin Barber, Gansevoort, N.Y.
Lap Leaders: Robert Bublak Jr., 1-7; Adam Pierson, 8-89; Vince Quenneville, 90-100. (2 lead change among 3 drivers)
Cautions: Laps 3-6; 13-15; 19-21; 31-33; 40-42; 44-51; 65-70; 83; 85; 88. (10 cautions for 31 laps – caution laps counted toward the overall distance in the first 75 laps)
Saturday Group Time Trial Qualifiers: Demetrios Drellos, 18.548; Robert Bublak Jr., 18.876
Saturday Heat Winners: Justin Stone, Elmo Reckner, Billy Lussier, Alex Bell
Monday Group Tim Trial Qualifiers: Neil Stratton, 17.988; Vince Quenneville, 17.990; Justin Comes, 18.049; Tim LaDuc, 18.066
Monday Consi Winners: Josh Masterson, Brian Calabrese
Monday B-Main Winner: Pat Jones
Sprint Cars of New England Feature (25 laps)
- (5) Matt Tanner, Stephentown, N.Y.
- (4) Will Hull, Plainfield, Vt.
- (2) Matt Hoyt, Campton, N.H.
- (6) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
- (10) Floyd Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
- (7) Clay Dow, Barnstead, N.H.
- (8) Jake Williams, Center Tuftonboro, N.H.
- (1) Lacey Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
- (9) Travis Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
- (11) Caleb Lamson, Moretown, Vt.
- (12) Rick Stone, Cornwall, Conn.
- (13) Wade Prentice, Campton Hollow, N.H.
- (3) Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
Did Not Start: Doug McPhail, Tilton, N.H.
Heat Winners: Matt Tanner, Adam Pierson
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (25 laps)
- (16) Austin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
- (2) Steve Pope, Shoreham, Vt.
- (18) Dylan Madsen, Spencertown, N.Y.
- (4) Bill Duprey, Hydeville, Vt.
- (6) Randy Ryan, Orwell, Vt.
- (9) Bob Kilburn, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (8) Beau Reeves, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
- (10) Gary English, Salisbury, Vt.
- (22) Craig Wholey, Bolton Landing, N.Y.
- (3) Cody O’Brien, Springfield, Vt.
- (11) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
- (19) John Gosselin, Shoreham, Vt.
- (20) Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
- (1) Katrina Bean, Benson, Vt.
- (5) A.J. Munger, Benson, Vt.
- (27) Joe Kemp, Clarendon, Vt.
- (25) Dakota Green, Cambridge, N.Y.
- (23) Bryon Linendoll, West Pawlet, Vt.
- (24) Timmy Aldrighetti, Bethel, Vt.
- (29) Russ Farr, Granville, N.Y.
- (30) Wesley Sutliff, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
- (28) Shawn Phelps, Richmond, Vt.
- (14) Anthony Ryan, Benson, Vt.
- (12) James Venditti III, Scotia, N.Y.
- (21) Jeff White, Rutland, Vt.
- (7) Joe Venditti, Scotia, N.Y.
- (13) Larry Gallipo, West Rutland, Vt.
- (15) Troy Audet, Bridport, Vt.
- (17) Melvin Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
- (26) Samantha Mulready, Cambridge, N.Y.
Did Not Qualify (4 drivers): Mike McGinn, Elizabethtown, N.Y.; Kyle Kerr, Shoreham, Vt.; Josh Paige, Orwell, Vt.; Justin Lilly, Castleton, Vt.
Lap Leaders: Katrina Bean, pole; Steve Pope, 1-16; Randy Ryan, 17-25; Austin Comes, 26-30. (3 lead changes among 4 drivers)
Cautions (4): Laps 14, 21, 25, 25.
Saturday Heat Winners: Joe Venditti, Beau Reeves, Steve Pope
Monday Consi Winners: John Gosselin, Evan Roberts
Super Stock Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (10) Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (8) Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
- (4) # Chuck Bradford, Addison, Vt.
- (9) Paul Braymer, Granville, N.Y.
- (6) Kevin Elliott, Rutland, Vt.
- (11) Josh Bussino, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (5) # Andy Botala, Grand Isle, Vt.
- (3) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt.
- (1) # Chris Brown, Shrewsbury, Vt.
- (14) Jason Barrett, Queensbury, N.Y.
- (13) Tyler Irwin, Peru, N.Y.
- (7) Mark Norris, Benson, Vt.
- (2) # Griff Mahoney, Bristol, Vt.
- (12) Matt Mosher, Queensbury, N.Y.
Lap Leaders: Chris Brown, 1; Chuck Bradford, 2-7; Chris Murray, 8; Bradford, 9-16; Murray, 17-20. (4 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Cautions (3): Laps 6, 16, 18.
Saturday Heat Winners: Josh LeClaire, Chuck Bradford
Saturday Semi-Feature Winner: Chuck Bradford
Summit Up Construction Mini Stock Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (2) T.J. Knight, Wells, Vt.
- (14) # Daryl Gebo, Orwell, Vt.
- (17) Chris Sumner, Ripton, Vt.
- (1) # Scott Chandler, Pittsford, Vt.
- (23) Tim Simonds, North Clarendon, Vt.
- (15) Craig Kirby, St. Albans, Vt.
- (8) Derrick Counter, Leicester, Vt.
- (9) Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
- (12) Lynn Denton, Milton, Vt.
- (11) Jake Barrows, Middlebury, Vt.
- (16) Chris Conroy, Newport, N.H.
- (25) Jake Fountain, Dannemora, N.Y.
- (27) Clemmy Bell, Peru, N.Y.
- (3) # Jake Mallory, Granville, N.Y.
- (10) # Chase Alen, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (19) # Jakobee Alger, Orwell, Vt.
- (22) Tom Severance, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (26) Tyler Bell, Peru, N.Y.
- (5) # Austin McKirryher, Proctor, Vt.
- (18) # Kaydan Rice, Poultney, Vt.
- (13) Brian Blake, Cornwall, Vt.
- (24) # Adam Mahoney, Rutland, Vt.
Did Not Start (5 drivers): Freddy Burch, Middle Granville, N.Y.; # Jason Kerr, Shoreham, Vt.; Adam Stewart, Benson, Vt.; Mary Gardner, Middle Granville, N.Y.; Josh Ostertag, Deering, N.H.
Lap Leaders: Scott Chandler, pole; T.J. Knight, 1-15. (1 lead change among 2 drivers)
Cautions (1): Lap 12.
Saturday Heat Winners: Scott Chandler, T.J. Knight
Saturday Semi-Feature Winner: Daryl Gebo
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (8) Ray Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
- (7) Kamden Duffy, Richmond, N.H.
- (4) Austin Chaves, Chester, Vt.
- (6) Kaidin White, Monkton, Vt.
- (11) Kevin Smith, Brandon, Vt.
- (10) # Kris Severance, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (9) # Kyle Bruno, Proctor, Vt.
- (5) # Gage Provencher, Bridport, Vt.
- (2) # Tommy Kasuba, Castleton, Vt.
- (1) John McPhee Jr., Rutland, Vt.
- (3) # Vern Woodard, Fair Haven, Vt.
Did Not Start (2 drivers): # Lynn Sumner, Fair Haven, Vt.; # Eric Paige, Orwell, Vt.
Lap Leaders: John McPhee Jr., 1-2; Kamden Duffy, 3-4, Ray Hanson, 5-15. (2 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Cautions (3): Laps 2, 4, 8.
Saturday Heat Winners: Ray Hanson, Austin Chaves
Saturday Semi-Feature Winner: Ray Hanson