WEST HAVEN, VT – Chris Donnelly electrified a massive holiday dirt track racing crowd on Independence Day, Sunday, July 4, at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, winning the inaugural “Sprint Car Spectacular” event in dramatic fashion. Donnelly’s win highlighted a jam-packed card that also included a remarkable fireworks show and victories for Demetrios Drellos, Beau Reeves, Chris Murray, Chris Sumner, Greg Zindler Jr., Ray Hanson, and Eric Leno.
The Sprint Car Spectacular event – which was postponed by rain on Saturday – drew entries from both the CRSA Sprint Cars and Sprint Cars of New England (SCoNE) tours, which combined for the first time ever in an interesting matchup between CRSA’s 305-cubic-inch engines and SCoNE’s 360-cubic-inch engines.
Piermont, N.H., racer Donnelly – known as “The Professor” – served notice that class would be in session with a convincing win in his qualifying heat. The six-time SCoNE tour champion started on the front row of the 25-lap main event and built up a big lead in the first 16 laps before the race’s lone caution period bunched the field.
Donnelly again scooted away from the field, but his progress was slowed by lapped traffic, allowing Cory Sparks and Clay Dow to enter the picture. Sparks flexed his muscles coming to the white flag with a breathtaking slide job that gave him the lead momentarily. Donnelly crossed him back over, though, and retook command as the final lap began. Just then, Dow threw down a huge move on Sparks in Turn 1 to steal the runner-up position and he then set to work on Donnelly in the final corner, but the checkered flag waved before he could make a run.
Despite his experience and longevity, Donnelly’s win was his first ever on a larger half-mile track, and it was his first win at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway facility since 2016, when the dirt surface was still the former 3/10-mile infield short track. Behind Dow and Sparks, three-time CRSA champion Jeff Trombley recovered from a trip off Turn 2 under green flag conditions to finish fourth, with Will Hull fifth. Jake Williams was next in line, followed by Travis Billington, Matt Hoyt, Chase Moran, and Josh Flint.
Hull, Sparks, and Donnelly won the qualifying heats, and CRSA driver Dana Wagner took a $100 bonus for winning the Dash race, sponsored by Bruno’s Towing and Mike Emhof Motorsports. The SCoNE tour wraps up its three-race Devil’s Bowl Speedway schedule at the Vermont 200 event on Labor Day Weekend, September 4-5; Hull holds a five-point lead in the track championship standings over Dow, 99-94, with Hoyt, Donnelly, and Williams each within 15 points of the lead.
Demetrios Drellos grabbed his fifth victory of the season in the 50-lap Sportsman Modified feature. The Queensbury, N.Y., native hooked up on the dry slick surface and powered from 18th starting position to catch leader Tim LaDuc at the halfway mark. The pair diced with each other on a series of restarts and under green flag conditions before Drellos was able to take the lead away at lap 34. A final restart with 11 circuits left gave LaDuc one last shot, but Drellos pulled away.
LaDuc fended off Adam Pierson for the runner-up spot. Todd Stone, in only his second Devil’s Bowl start of the season, came from 20th at the start and then rebounded from an early crash to finish fourth. Vince Quenneville was fifth, followed by Elmo Reckner, Justin Stone, rookie Johnny Bruno, Marty Kelly III, and Don Mattison.
Heats were won by LaDuc, Tanner Siemons, and Joey Scarborough, and Alex Bell took the consolation race. Quenneville retains a razor-thin, two-point lead for the title on Drellos, 466-464, entering Saturday’s Mid-Season Championships event with double points on the line.
Fifteen-year-old Beau Reeves became the sixth different first-time winner in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division in 2021, with a convincing 25-lap run. The Plattsburgh, N.Y., teenager started 10th on the field and sliced through traffic to catch and pass leader A.J. Munger with 11 laps left. Restarts on laps 16 and 21 allowed 65-year-old Bob Kilburn to challenge Reeves, but the youngster held serve each time.
Kilburn notched a Devil’s Bowl career-best runner-up finish with Justin Lilly coming alive late in the race to take third place. Melvin Pierson was fourth with a late-charging Craig Wholey scoring his third consecutive top-five finish in fifth place. Munger was sixth ahead of Dakota Green, Steve Pope, John Gosselin, and Austin Comes.
Each of the top-three finishers also won qualifying heats. Evan Roberts won the consi and Bryan Bigue transferred from the last-chance B-Main race. Comes enters the Mid-Season Championships with a 43-point gap on Roberts, 440-397.
The Super Stock division turned in a bruiser of a 20-lap feature, with only six cars running at the finish. Two-time champion Chris Murray of Fair Haven, Vt., survived the carnage for his fifth win of the year, and Josh Bussino took the runner-up spot as Chuck Bradford spun in the final corner.
Paul Braymer led most of the race before a late spin but recovered for third place. Andrew FitzGerald and Mike Bussino completed the top five. Murray leads Braymer for the title by 27 points, 489-461.
The Summit Up Construction Mini Stock division turned out a modern-era record 38 entries, prompting officials to split the division into two 12-lap feature races. Ripton, Vt.’s Chris Sumner notched his fourth win of the season in the opening race ahead of T.J. Knight, Nathan Smart, Chris Conroy, and rookie Chase Allen.
The second Mini Stock feature saw Plattsburgh, N.Y.’s Greg Zindler Jr., take his first-ever victory ahead of rookie Scott Chandler, Clemmy Bell, Derrick Counter, and Craig Kirby. Sumner has a slim 10-point cushion on rookie Daryl Gebo, 426-416, with Kirby just 10 more back at 406.
Ray Hanson continued his domination of the Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint division by winning the 15-lap feature for his seventh victory of the season. The Orwell, Vt., driver chased 11-year-old Kaidin White for nine laps before capitalizing with a move in lapped traffic, and then cruised away in the caution-free race. White was a season-best second ahead of Kamden Duffy, Kevin Smith, and rookie Vern Woodard. Hanson’s point lead over White grew 67 markers, 524-475.
The Enduro Series ended its 50-lap feature in exciting controversy, and Whiting, Vt.’s Eric Leno emerged as the winner. Leno inherited the lead on lap 22 when Matt Wade spun out of the top spot; Wade made an impressive drive through traffic in the balance of the race to catch Leno on the last lap, but then dumped Leno coming to the checkered flag.
Wade crossed the finish line barely ahead of a backwards Leno, but he was immediately disqualified for rough riding. Leno was awarded the win – his second of the year – ahead of lead-lap finishers Trevor Jaques, Scott Richner, and Artie Forrest. Colton Leno was fifth, one lap behind, followed by Ryan Benoit, Edward Mason Jr., Spencer Wood, Robert Tessier, and Mark Mahoney. The next Enduro is scheduled for July 31.
The 55th annual Mid-Season Championships come to Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Saturday, July 10, with double championship points up for grabs in all five weekly divisions, and the long-awaited return of the driver autograph session at intermission. Racing starts at 7:00 p.m.
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, with tickets available at the speedway; infield parking is open from 5:30 p.m. to 6:50 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 Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Independence Day Spectacular
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Sunday, July 4, 2021
CRSA Sprint Cars/Sprint Cars of New England Feature (25 laps)
1. (2) Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
2. (7) Clay Dow, Barnstead, N.H.
3. (1) Cory Sparks, Edinburg, N.Y.
4. (4) Jeff Trombley, Altamont, N.Y.
5. (3) Will Hull, Plainfield, Vt.
6. (5) Jake Williams, Center Tuftonboro, N.H.
7. (6) Travis Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
8. (19) Matt Hoyt, Campton, N.H.
9. (15) Chase Moran, Fultonville, N.Y.
10. (17) Josh Flint, Cherry Valley, N.Y.
11. (10) Dana Wagner, Trout Creek, N.Y.
12. (8) Kyle Pierce, Spencer, N.Y.
13. (9) Jordan Hutton, Hannibal, N.Y.
14. (14) Peter Dance, Warren, Conn.
15. (12) Caleb Lamson, Moretown, Vt.
16. (20) Trevor Years, Honeoye, N.Y.
17. (16) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
18. (13) Jerry Sehn Jr., Deansboro, N.Y.
19. (18) Ronnie Greek, Oneonta, N.Y.
20. (11) Floyd Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
21. (21) Rick Stone, Cornwall, Conn.
22. Lap Leaders: Cory Sparks, pole; Chris Donnelly, 1-25. (1 lead change among 2 drivers)
23. Cautions (1): Lap 16.
Heat Winners: Will Hull, Cory Sparks, Chris Donnelly
Dash Winner: Dana Wagner
Sportsman Modified Feature (50 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (18) Demetrios Drellos, Queensbury, N.Y.
2. (2) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
3. (17) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
4. (20) Todd Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
5. (15) Vince Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
6. (14) Elmo Reckner, Ballston Lake, N.Y.
7. (19) Justin Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
8. (9) # Johnny Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
9. (5) Marty Kelly III, North Bennington, Vt.
10. (13) Don Mattison, Wells, Vt.
11. (16) Justin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
12. (24) Josh Masterson, Bristol, Vt.
13. (26) Jimmy Ryan, Shoreham, Vt.
14. (12) Mike Fisher, Castleton, Vt.
15. (8) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
16. (3) # Anthony Warren, Shoreham, Vt.
17. (10) Mike Palmer, Salisbury, Vt.
18. (27) Dylan Rabtoy, Swanton, Vt.
19. (30) Jason Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y.
20. (28) # Shawn McPhee, Rutland, Vt.
21. (21) Josh Sunn, White River Junction, Vt.
22. (7) Tanner Siemons, Orford, N.H.
23. (1) Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.
24. (29) Keith Patnode, Stoddard, N.H.
25. (6) Brian Whittemore, Pittsford, Vt.
26. (25) Gene Pierson Jr., East Corinth, Vt.
27. (11) Joey Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
28. (23) James Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
29. (4) Frank Hoard III, Manchester Center, Vt.
30. (22) Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
Did Not Start (1 driver): Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.
Lap Leaders: Brent Warren, pole; Tim LaDuc, 1-33; Demetrios Drellos, 34-50. (2 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Cautions (9): Laps 5, 11, 14, 14, 19, 20, 25, 26, 39.
Heat Winners: Tim LaDuc, Tanner Siemons, Joey Scarborough
Consi Winner: Alex Bell
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (25 laps)
1. (10) Beau Reeves, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. (5) Bob Kilburn, Fair Haven, Vt.
3. (9) Justin Lilly, Castleton, Vt.
4. (12) Melvin Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
5. (13) Craig Wholey, Bolton Landing, N.Y.
6. (2) A.J. Munger, Benson, Vt.
7. (4) Dakota Green, Cambridge, N.Y.
8. (8) Steve Pope, Shoreham, Vt.
9. (20) John Gosselin, Shoreham, Vt.
10. (23) Austin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
11. (19) Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
12. (7) Randy Ryan, Orwell, Vt.
13. (17) Cody O’Brien, Springfield, Vt.
14. (21) Hunter Nutter, Orford, N.H.
15. (24) Bryan Bigue, North Haverhill, N.H.
16. (22) Gary English, Salisbury, Vt.
17. (3) Alex Layn, New Haven, Vt.
18. (18) Brent Bouplon, Eagle Bridge, N.Y.
19. (1) Katrina Bean, Benson, Vt.
20. (11) Bill Duprey, Hydeville, Vt.
21. (14) Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
22. (6) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
23. (16) Anthony Ryan, Benson, Vt.
24. (15) Troy Audet, Bridport, Vt.
Did Not Qualify (8 drivers): Russ Farr, Granville, N.Y.; Matt Jordan, Cambridge, N.Y.; Bryon Linendoll, West Pawlet, Vt.; William Lussier Jr., Fair Haven, Vt.; Mike McGinn, Elizabethtown, N.Y.; Samantha Mulready, Cambridge, N.Y.; Kyle Kerr, Shoreham, Vt.; Wesley Sutliff, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
Lap Leaders: Katrina Bean, pole; A.J. Munger, 1-14; Beau Reeves, 15-25. (2 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Cautions (4): Laps 7, 14, 16, 21.
Heat Winners: Bob Kilburn, Beau Reeves, Justin Lilly
Consi Winner: Evan Roberts
B-Main Winner: Bryan Bigue
Super Stock Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (9) Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt.
2. (5) Josh Bussino, Fair Haven, Vt.
3. (4) Paul Braymer, Granville, N.Y.
4. (7) Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
5. (3) Mike Bussino, Mount Holly, Vt.
6. (8) # Chuck Bradford, Addison, Vt.
7. (6) Mark Norris, Benson, Vt.
8. (10) Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, N.Y.
9. (11) Tony Salerno, Mineville, N.Y.
10. (2) # Andy Botala, Grand Isle, Vt.
11. (1) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt.
Lap Leaders: Ronnie Alger, pole; Andy Botala, 1; Paul Braymer, 2-16; Chuck Bradford, 17; Chris Murray, 18-20. (4 lead changes among 5 drivers)
Cautions (4): Laps 2, 7, 12, 17.
Heat Winners: n/a
Summit Up Construction Mini Stock Feature #1 (12 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (7) Chris Sumner, Ripton, Vt.
2. (2) T.J. Knight, Wells, Vt.
3. (17) Nate Smart, Altona, N.Y.
4. (15) Chris Conroy, Newport, N.H.
5. (5) # Chase Allen, Fair Haven, Vt.
6. (12) Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
7. (11) Brian Blake, Cornwall, Vt.
8. (10) # Jakobee Alger, Orwell, Vt.
9. (13) # Adam Mahoney, Rutland, Vt.
10. (1) Mary Gardner, Middle Granville, N.Y.
11. (8) # Jason Kerr, Shoreham, Vt.
12. (14) Cody Dion, Rutland, Vt.
13. (19) Dakota Sweet
14. (3) # Jake Mallory, Granville, N.Y.
15. (9) Griff Mahoney, Bristol, Vt.
16. (4) Lynn Denton, Milton, Vt.
17. (16) Scott Layton, Fair Haven, Vt.
18. (18) Jake Fountain, Dannemora, N.Y.
19. (6) Joe Malzac, East Middlebury, Vt.
Lap Leaders: Mary Gardner, pole; T.J. Knight, 1-2; Chris Sumner, 3-12. (2 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Cautions (3): Laps 4, 4, 5.
Heat Winners: n/a
Summit Up Construction Mini Stock Feature #2 (12 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (9) Greg Zindler Jr., Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. (3) # Scott Chandler, Pittsford, Vt.
3. (11) Clemmy Bell, Peru, N.Y.
4. (8) Derrick Counter, Leicester, Vt.
5. (10) Craig Kirby, St. Albans, Vt.
6. (7) # Daryl Gebo, Orwell, Vt.
7. (15) Kyle Botala, Grand Isle, Vt. (substitute for Jake Barrows)
8. (18) John Mason
9. (17) Tyler Bell, Peru, N.Y.
10. (6) Josh Ostertag, Deering, N.H.
11. (1) # Kaydan Rice, Poultney, Vt.
12. (4) Tom Severance, Fair Haven, Vt.
13. (5) Freddy Burch, Middle Granville, N.Y.
14. (13) Jarrod Colburn, Rutland, Vt.
15. (2) # Austin McKirryher, Proctor, Vt.
16. (16) Michael Daniels Sr., Plattsburgh, N.Y.
17. (12) # Hunter Clark, Salisbury, Vt.
18. (14) Damian Olden, Poultney, Vt.
Did Not Start (1 driver): Tim Simonds, North Clarendon, Vt.
Lap Leaders: Kaydan Rice, 1-2; Scott Chandler, 3; Greg Zindler Jr., 4-12. (2 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Cautions (2): Laps 1, 4.
Heat Winners: n/a
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (7) Ray Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
2. (5) Kaidin White, Monkton, Vt.
3. (8) Kamden Duffy, Richmond, N.H.
4. (2) Kevin Smith, Brandon, Vt.
5. (6) # Vern Woodard, Fair Haven, Vt.
6. (4) John Smith, Poultney, Vt.
7. (3) Roger LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
8. (10) # Tommy Kasuba, Castleton, Vt.
9. (9) # Kyle Bruno, Pittsford, Vt.
10. (1) # Kris Severance, Fair Haven, Vt.
Did Not Start (1 driver): John McPhee Jr., Rutland, Vt.
Lap Leaders: Kris Severance, pole; Kaidin White, 1-9; Ray Hanson, 10-15. (2 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Heat Winners: n/a
Enduro Series Feature (50 laps)
Pos.-(Car No.)-Driver-Laps Completed
1. (623E) Eric Leno – 50 laps
2. (7X) Trevor Jaques – 50 laps
3. (21) Scott Richner – 50 laps
4. (911) Artie Forrest – 50 laps
5. (623C) Colton Leno – 49 laps
6. (8B) Ryan Benoit – 49 laps
7. (99) Edward Mason Jr. – 49 laps
8. (817) Spencer Wood – 48 laps
9. (34) Robert Tessier – 47 laps
10. (623) Mark Mahoney – 47 laps
NOTE: Full Enduro Series results will be posted at www.devilsbowlspeedwayvt.com