WEST HAVEN, VT – Few dirt racing fans in Vermont had heard the name Cody McPherson before Sunday, May 28. Now, they’ll be talking about him for years. The Canadian invader made the six-hour trip from St. Catharines, Ont., and brought $5,000 home with him after winning the 14th annual Northeast Crate Nationals event at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.
The Northeast Crate Nationals 100 is the second-richest race in North America for General Motors “602 crate” engine Sportsman Modifieds, behind only the $10,000-to-win Vermont 200, also held at Devil’s Bowl on Labor Day weekend in September.
McPherson – who finished third at Ontario’s Merrittville Speedway on Saturday night – had never seen Devil’s Bowl before Sunday. Despite his unfamiliarity with the Vermont track, he was a contender all night long, starting third and never falling out of the top five. He followed early leader Justin Comes, a contender in the weekly Sunoco Sportsman Modified division, until about the one-third mark before making his move for the lead and taking over at lap 35.
McPherson was under attack from former track champion Tim LaDuc of nearby Orwell, Vt., shortly thereafter, and through the final 60 laps could not shake him. McPherson had a scare at lap 65 when his car brushed the inside wall and became briefly airborne, but he regrouped. From there, it was a barnburner, and LaDuc dogged him every step of the way, finishing on McPherson’s back bumper.
Local driver Frankie Hoard III of Manchester Center, Vt., shook off some recent bad luck with a win in his qualifying heat and a third-place finish in the 100-lap feature. Orange County (N.Y.) Fair Speedway regular Tyler Jashembowski had a good night in his first Devil’s Bowl start, driving from 12th starting position to finish fourth. Big-money Sportsman invader Brian Calabrese finished fifth, following up a top 10 in a weekly event the previous week and a runner-up finish in last year’s Vermont 200.
Devil’s Bowl regular Kevin Chaffee finished sixth and earned the Hard Charger Award after starting 16th. Comes held on to finish seventh ahead of former Devil’s Bowl champion Bobby Hackel, rookie Josh LeClaire, and Bear Ridge (Vt.) Speedway champion Jason Gray.
A field of 48 cars attempted to qualify for 31 starting positions. Anthony Warren set fast time in Saturday time trials and Comes was fastest in Sunday time trials. Sunday’s heat races were won by Jashembowski, Troy Audet, Hoard, and Jimmy Ryan, and consolation races went to Tyler Corcoran and Mike Fisher.
Stephentown, N.Y.’s Matt Tanner took his fifth win in as many starts at Devil’s Bowl with the Sprint Cars of New England tour. Tanner took the lead from Floyd Billington in heavy lapped traffic at lap 9, and then held Billington and Chris Donnelly off after the race’s only restart with six circuits remaining in the 25-lap feature. Billington took the runner-up finish ahead of Donnelly, Will Hull, and Chase Moran, while the top 10 was completed by Jake Williams, Lacey Hanson, Kadyn Berry, Nick Comeau, and Troy Comeau. Tanner and Donnelly won the heats.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman rookie Daryl Gebo was a first-time winner in Sunday’s 30-lap feature; the Orwell, Vt., racer’s victory marked a stark rebound after a devastating crash on opening night earlier in the month. He traded the lead with fellow rookie Kamden Duffy for the first 10 laps before having a bit of a breather. Former four-time Pro Stock champion Freddie Little made his way to second place at lap 20, but he gave the position back to Duffy after the final restart with four laps left.
Little held on for third place ahead of another rookie, William Lussier Jr., and Katrina Bean. Sixth place went to A.J. Munger, and he was followed by Gary English, Anthony Ryan, Jason Quenneville, and Steve Miller. Saturday’s heats were won by English, John Gosselin, and Bean, and Munger won the special Dash race. Sunday’s consi went to Bob Kilburn.
Sunday night’s 20-lap Mini Stock feature was the first win of the year for Cornwall, Vt.’s Brian Blake, who topped a caution-free race. T.J. Knight scored his best finish of the season as the runner-up, and Chase Allen completed the podium finishers with Griff Mahoney and Cody Dion next in line. Mark Mahoney was sixth ahead of Craig Kirby, Jakobee Alger, Chris Sumner, and Ronnie Alger.
Saturday’s heat races were won by Dion, Adam Mahoney, and Knight, and Sunday’s consi went to rookie Ryan Patch. Sunday night’s “B” Feature for non-qualifiers was won by Swanton, Vt.’s Luke Fellows. Saturday’s Mechanic Race was won by Kaleb Morse, driving Blake’s car.
Multi-time Mini Stock champion Mike Clark got his first open-wheel Modified win in Saturday’s 20-lap Hoosier Daddy Racing Novice Sportsman feature. Clark started seventh and took the lead from Derrick Counter with four laps left to grab the win, one day before his 48th birthday. Counter held on as the runner-up ahead of Matt Wade, Adam LaFountain, and Bobbi Jo Hults. The top 10 was completed by Aaron Clark, Eric Shaw, Ed Bell, Tyler Travis, and Nick Austin-Neil. Heats were won by LaFountain, Russ Farr, and Counter.
Orwell, Vt.’s Ray Hanson took his first win of the year in the Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint feature on Saturday. The 2021 champion got the win in the 15-lap Saturday show, driving in memory of the late Kris Severance. Defending champion Logan Denis – driving a car purchased from Hanson following Hanson’s title – finished second, with Chayton Young third. Joe Kemp was fourth in Vern Woodard’s car ahead of Kevin Smith. The heats were won by Kevin Smith and John Smith, who are of no relation.
The new 9th State Cannabis Crown Vic division returned on Saturday night with North Ferrisburgh, Vt.’s Norm Morrill getting his first win in the 15-lapper. Rob Steele was second in the four-car field, followed by Jackson Ducharme and Derek St. George. Donnie Ducharme won the Mechanic Race on Saturday.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway returns to action on Saturday, June 3, at 7:00 p.m. with a special 50-lap, $500-to-win for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division on McGee Family of Dealerships night. All weekly divisions including Crown Vics will also be on the card. Grandstand general admission is $15 for adults and free for children aged 12 and under. Infield drive-in parking is also available for $20 for adults and free for kids. Pit area passes are $28 for members and $38 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.
OFFICIAL RESULTS – Northeast Crate Nationals
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, 2023
Sunoco Sportsman Modified Feature (100 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (3) Cody McPherson, St. Catharines, Ont.
2. (5) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
3. (1) Frank Hoard III, Manchester Center, Vt.
4. (12) Tyler Jashembowski, Middletown, N.Y.
5. (14) Brian Calabrese, Johnstown, N.Y.
6. (16) Kevin Chaffee, Bradford, Vt.
7. (2) Justin Comes, Fair Haven, Vt.
8. (9) Bobby Hackel, East Greenbush, N.Y.
9. (7) # Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
10. (18) Jason Gray, East Thetford, Vt.
11. (15) Walter J. Hammond, Canaan, N.H.
12. (4) Jimmy Ryan, Shoreham, Vt.
13. (11) Troy Audet, Bridport, Vt.
14. (6) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
15. (13) Dominic Roselli Jr., Middletown, N.Y.
16. (20) Josh Masterson, Bristol, Vt.
17. (19) Dylan Rabtoy, Swanton, Vt.
18. (8) Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.
19. (26) Tanner Siemons, Orford, N.H.
20. (23) Neil Stratton, North Bennington, Vt.
21. (25) Marty Kelly III, Shaftsbury, Vt.
22. (28) Vince Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
23. (29) Brian Whittemore, Pittsford, Vt.
24. (30) James Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
25. (10) Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald, Gansevoort, N.Y.
26. (27) Gary Edwards III, Chelsea, Vt.
27. (21) Tyler Corcoran, Central Square, N.Y.
28. (22) Mike Fisher, Castleton, Vt.
29. (24) David Boisclair, Watervliet, N.Y.
30. (17) Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.
31. (31) Anthony Warren, Shoreham, Vt.
Did Not Qualify: Walt Hammond Jr., Canaan, N.H.; Matt Lashua, Canaan, N.H.; Austin Comes, South Burlington, Vt.; Tyler Stevenson, Watertown, N.Y.; Allan Hammond, Canaan, N.H.; Kyle Huntington, Bradford, Vt.; Ryan Christian, Canaan, N.H.; Wayne Stearns, Bradford, Vt.; Jason Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y.; Travis Witbeck, Troy, N.Y.; Bubba McPhee, Rutland, Vt.; Todd Buckwold, Canaan, N.H.; # Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.; Ron Proctor, Charlton, N.Y.; Tommy D’Angelo, Waterford, N.Y.; Travis Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.; Mike Palmer, Salisbury, Vt.
Elmo’s Pit Stop Hard Charger Award: Kevin Chaffee (+10 positions)
Heat Winners: Tyler Jashembowski, Troy Audet, Frank Hoard III, Jimmy Ryan
Consi Winners: Tyler Corcoran, Mike Fisher
Sprint Cars of New England Feature (25 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (4) Matt Tanner, Stephentown, N.Y.
2. (2) Floyd Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
3. (3) Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
4. (5) Will Hull, Plainfield, Vt.
5. (6) Chase Moran, Fultonville, N.Y.
6. (8) Jake Williams, Center Tuftonboro, N.H.
7. (14) Lacey Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
8. (10) Kadyn Berry, Goffstown, N.H.
9. (12) Nick Comeau, Rumney, N.H.
10. (9) Troy Comeau, Rumney, N.H.
11. (11) # Ron Davis Jr., Moultonborough, N.H.
12. (16) Doug McPhail, Tilton, N.H.
13. (15) Mia Koponen, Ludlow, Vt.
14. (1) Caleb Lamson, Moretown, Vt.
15. (7) Clay Dow, Barnstead, N.H.
16. (13) Jason Goff, Preston Hollow, N.Y.
Heat Winners: Matt Tanner, Chris Donnelly
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (30 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (2) # Daryl Gebo, Orwell, Vt.
2. (1) # Kamden Duffy, Richmond, N.H.
3. (8) Freddie Little, Salisbury, Vt.
4. (3) # William Lussier Jr., Fair Haven, Vt.
5. (5) Katrina Bean, Benson, Vt.
6. (11) A.J. Munger, Benson Landing, Vt.
7. (13) Gary English, Salisbury, Vt.
8. (6) Anthony Ryan, Benson, Vt.
9. (17) Jason Quenneville, Quechee, Vt.
10. (9) Steve Miller, New Haven, Vt.
11. (14) Randy Ryan, Orwell, Vt.
12. (7) Justin Lilly, Castleton, Vt.
13. (16) Bob Kilburn, Fair Haven, Vt.
14. (18) Hunter Nutter, Orford, N.H.
15. (10) Alex Layn, New Haven, Vt.
16. (12) Timmy Aldrighetti, Braintree, Vt.
17. (15) Scott Towslee, Manchester, Vt.
18. (4) John Gosselin, Shoreham, Vt.
19. (19) William Duprey, Hydeville, Vt.
Did Not Start: Bryan Bigue, North Haverhill, N.H.
Heat Winners: Gary English, John Gosselin, Katrina Bean
Dash Winner: A.J. Munger
Consi Winner: Bob Kilburn
Hoosier Daddy Racing Novice Sportsman Feature (20 laps)
1. (7) Michael Clark Jr., Salisbury, Vt.
2. (2) Derrick Counter, Salisbury, Vt.
3. (6) Matt Wade, Fair Haven, Vt.
4. (12) Adam LaFountain, Starksboro, Vt.
5. (11) Bobbi Jo Hults, Benson, Vt.
6. (1) Aaron Clark, Bristol, Vt.
7. (9) Eric Shaw, Wells, Vt.
8. (18) Ed Bell, Queensbury, N.Y.
9. (14) Tyler Travis, Hartland, Vt.
10. (15) Nick Austin-Neil, Salisbury, Vt.
11. (17) Robert Gauthier, Williston, Vt.
12. (13) Donald Williams, Ripton, Vt.
13. (16) Randy Edson, Orwell, Vt.
14. (3) Allen Hewitt, Rutland, Vt.
15. (5) Jason Kerr, Shoreham, Vt.
16. (10) Boomer Patterson, Milton, Vt.
17. (8) Holden Bass, Benson, Vt.
Did Not Start: Russ Farr, Granville, N.Y.
Heat Winners: Adam LaFountain, Russ Farr, Derrick Counter
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (5) Ray Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
2. (10) Logan Denis, Whiting, Vt.
3. (8) Chayton Young, Wynantskill, N.Y.
4. (6) Joe Kemp, West Rutland, Vt.
5. (1) Kevin Smith, Brandon, Vt.
6. (9) John Smith, Poultney, Vt.
7. (7) Roger LaDuc, Castleton, Vt.
8. (11) # John Carleton, Chittenden, Vt.
9. (4) Chris Lennox, Eagle Bridge, N.Y.
10. (3) Tommie Kasuba, Castleton, Vt.
11. (12) Aiden Benoure, Salisbury, Vt.
12. (2) Raelin Dunham, Queensbury, N.Y.
13. (13) Gage Provencher, Bridport, Vt.
Did Not Start: # Quinn Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
Heat Winners: Kevin Smith, John Smith
Mini Stock A-Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (4) Brian Blake, Cornwall, Vt.
2. (9) T.J. Knight, Wells, Vt.
3. (8) Chase Allen, Fair Haven, Vt.
4. (6) Griff Mahoney, Bristol, Vt.
5. (13) Cody Dion, Rutland, Vt.
6. (14) Mark Mahoney, Brandon, Vt.
7. (18) Craig Kirby, St. Albans, Vt.
8. (16) Jakobee Alger, Orwell, Vt.
9. (21) Chris Sumner, Ripton, Vt.
10. (3) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt.
11. (20) Levi Cram, Leicester, Vt.
12. (7) Jarrod Colburn, Rutland, Vt.
13. (5) Adam Mahoney, Whitehall, N.Y.
14. (19) Austin McKirryher, Proctor, Vt.
15. (12) Jake Barrows, Cornwall, Vt.
16. (17) Chris Conroy, Newport, N.H.
17. (15) Clemmy Bell, Peru, N.Y.
18. (11) Tyler Bell, Peru, N.Y.
19. (22) # Ryan Patch, Rutland, Vt.
20. (10) Jake Mallory, Granville, N.Y.
21. (1) Alton McCoy, Whitehall, N.Y.
22. (24) Adam Stewart, Benson, Vt.
23. (23) Freddy Burch, Middle Granville, N.Y.
24. (2) Scott Chandler, Pittsford, Vt.
Heat Winners: Cody Dion, Adam Mahoney, T.J. Knight
Mechanic Race Winner: Kaleb Morse
Mini Stock B-Feature (10 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (2) Luke Fellows, Swanton, Vt.
2. (4) Tom Severance, Fair Haven, Vt.
3. (1) Nick Melotti, Mendon, Vt.
4. (12) Cory Collins, Essex, Vt.
5. (7) # Justin Cook, Peru, N.Y.
6. (3) Damian Olden, Fair Haven, Vt.
7. (11) Carl LaPoint, Wells, Vt.
8. (6) Chris Hewitt, Pittsford, Vt.
9. (5) Tim Robinson, Center Rutland, Vt.
10. (10) Andrea Noble, Wells, Vt.
11. (8) Michael Jerome, Cornwall, Vt.
12. (9) Mary Gardner, Middle Granville, N.Y.
9th State Cannabis Crown Vic Feature (15 laps)
1. (1) Norm Morrill, North Ferrisburgh, Vt.
2. (3) Rob Steele, Bomoseen, Vt.
3. (2) Jackson Ducharme, Rutland, Vt.
4. (4) Derek St. George, Addison, Vt.
Mechanic Race Winner: Donnie Ducharme