WEST HAVEN, VT – Mike Palmer is going out on top. The longtime Salisbury, Vt., stock car racer chose the best possible place to announce his retirement from full-time competition: Victory Lane at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. Palmer’s achievement highlighted a busy event on Sunoco Race Fuels/New England Racing Fuel Night on Saturday, September 16, which included wins by Anthony Ryan, Pat Miner, John Carleton, Jacob Demgard, Scott Chandler, Rob Steele, and Brent Wilbur.
Palmer led all but one trip around the Devil’s Bowl half-mile during the 30-lap feature race for the Sunoco Sportsman Modified division. He took off from the pole position at the drop the green flag and the first 13 circuits before a pair of quick caution periods. Allan Hammond nosed ahead after the second restart on lap 14, but Palmer regained control and never relinquished it in the run to the checkers. Incredibly, Palmer is the 18th different winner in 20 Sportsman Modified races held at Devil’s Bowl in 2023.
David Boisclair passed Hammond on lap 24 to take over the runner-up spot, and he finished there for the second-straight week. Hammond’s third-place run was his best of the season and came as a relief after some hard luck during the summer. Kevin Chaffee finished fourth, and Tim LaDuc collected another $100 Elmo’s Pit Stop “Hard Charger” bonus after driving from 13th to fifth.
The top 10 was completed, in order, by Brian Whittemore, Tanner Siemons, Justin Comes, rookie Josh LeClaire, and Billy Lussier. Qualifying heat wins went to Evan Roberts, Palmer, and Siemons. LaDuc holds a narrow 15-point lead for the championship over Comes, 742-727, entering the season finale on Saturday, September 23.
Palmer’s win was the 25th overall victory of his long career at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, which places him inside the top 20 of the track’s all-time win list. His first Devil’s Bowl win came on July 27, 1986, in the former four-cylinder Amateur class, and he won a championship in the original Pro Stock division in 1988.
Anthony Ryan scored his second victory of the year in the 25-lap race for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division. The Benson, Vt., driver started fourth and chased early leader Alex Layn before taking over on lap 6. He was unchallenged after the race’s only restart on lap 15 and cruised to the win over Layn, A.J. Munger, Scott Towslee, and Randy Ryan – the winner’s cousin.
Katrina LeClaire finished sixth ahead of Steve Miller, Hunter Nutter, William Duprey, and Jason Quenneville. The qualifiers were won by Towslee and Anthony Ryan.
Randy Ryan holds an insurmountable 113-point lead over Quenneville entering the final race, but Layn, Gary English, and Anthony Ryan are all within just eight points of Quenneville for the runner-up position.
Monkton, Vt.’s Pat Miner continued his hot streak in the second half of the season, racing to his third victory in the Hoosier Daddy Racing Novice Sportsman division. Miner started 10th on the grid and worked his way through the field as Russ Farr III held the lead and seemed destined for his first win. Two cautions in the final moments extended the race distance from 20 to 22 laps, and Miner was able to jump ahead for the lead as Farr dropped back.
Miner pulled away in the final two laps to win ahead of Matt Wade, Donald Williams, Bobbi Jo Hults, and Adam LaFountain. Eric Shaw came home sixth and was followed by Randy Edson, Boomer Patterson, Tyler Travis, and Farr. The heats were won by Allen Hewitt and Miner. Travis has a comfortable 48-point margin over LaFountain heading into the finale.
The Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint division had a competitive 20-lap feature, with rookie John Carleton winding up in victory lane for the second time. Carleton, despite being a rookie, is the division’s senior driver at age 68, and held off Gage Provencher – just a week after his 14th birthday – for the win. Carleton, Provencher, and Tommie Kasuba traded the lead five times in the first 12 laps before Carleton was finally able to break away.
Defending champion Logan Denis, age 15, came from ninth place to finish third, with another former champion, Ray Hanson, hot on his heels. John Smith was fifth, followed by Lane Saville, Kevin Smith, Kasuba, and Roger LaDuc. Denis has a 23-point lead over Hanson in the title chase.
Orwell, Vt., rookie Jacob Demgard was a first-time winner in the Mini Stock division, beating teammate Jakobee Alger to take down the 15-lap feature. Demgard started on the pole and surrendered the lead to Jarrod Colburn in the first lap, but he regained control and dominated the caution-free race for the win.
Alger beat Colburn for the runner-up spot, with Jake Mallory fourth and Levi Cram fifth. Point leader Brian Blake ran sixth with Adam Mahoney, Damian, Olden, Jake Barrows, and Craig Kirby in tow. Blake, Alger, and Mahoney were the heat winners. Blake has a 48-point lead on Mark Mahoney entering the finale.
Bomoseen, Vt.’s Rob Steele continued his winning ways in the 9th State Cannabis Crown Vic division, taking his third consecutive win and sixth overall. Norman Morrill was second ahead of first-time Crown Vic racer Trevor Jaques. Early leader Chad Merrill and Jackson Ducharme completed the top five. Steele leads Morrill by 21 points in the inaugural Crown Vic title fight.
Brent Wilbur scored one for the Whiting crew in the 50-lap race for the 5 Star Roofing Enduro Series. Wilbur led every circuit and escaped from four red flags during the rough-and-tumble race. Zach Wood was the runner-up ahead of Eric Messier, Kevin Pearsall, and Andrew Lopes. Wilbur has a too-close-for-comfort lead of just six points on Pearsall entering the 100-lap, $1,000-to-win finale on Saturday.
The Stove Depot presents Championship Night on Saturday, September 23 at an early 5:00 p.m. start time, with all seven divisions in action. Grandstand general admission is $15 for adults and free for kids aged 12 and under.
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 – Sunoco Race Fuels/New England Racing Fuel Night
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Saturday, September 16, 2023
Sunoco Sportsman Modified Feature (30 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (1) Mike Palmer, Salisbury, Vt.
- (5) David Boisclair, Watervliet, N.Y.
- (3) Allan Hammond, Canaan, N.H.
- (9) Kevin Chaffee, Bradford, Vt.
- (13) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
- (4) Brian Whittemore, Pittsford, Vt.
- (11) Tanner Siemons, Orford, N.H.
- (10) Justin Comes, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (6) # Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
- (2) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (15) Anthony Warren, Shoreham, Vt.
- (17) Walt Hammond Jr., Canaan, N.H.
- (7) # Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
- (18) Vince Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
- (16) Marty Kelly III, Shaftsbury, Vt.
- (12) Frank Hoard III, Manchester Center, Vt.
- (14) Walter J. Hammond, Canaan, N.H.
- (8) Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.
- (21) Jimmy Ryan, Shoreham, Vt.
- (19) Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.
- (20) Josh Masterson, Bristol, Vt.
Heat Winners: Evan Roberts, Mike Palmer, Tanner Siemons
Elmo’s Pit Stop Hard Charger Award: Tim LaDuc (+8 Positions)
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (25 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (4) Anthony Ryan, Benson, Vt.
- (1) Alex Layn, New Haven, Vt.
- (5) A.J. Munger, Benson Landing, Vt.
- (6) Scott Towslee, Manchester, Vt.
- (8) Randy Ryan, Orwell, Vt.
- (2) Katrina LeClaire, Benson, Vt.
- (11) Steve Miller, New Haven, Vt.
- (7) Hunter Nutter, Orford, N.H.
- (3) William Duprey, Hydeville, Vt.
- (9) Jason Quenneville, Quechee, Vt.
- (14) Kyle Kerr, Shoreham, Vt.
- (16) Freddie Little, Salisbury, Vt.
- (15) Bob Kilburn, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (13) Gary English, Salisbury, Vt.
- (17) # Kamden Duffy, Richmond, N.H.
- (12) Robert Gauthier, Williston, Vt.
- (10) Justin Lilly, Castleton, Vt.
Heat Winners: Scott Towslee, Anthony Ryan
Hoosier Daddy Racing Novice Sportsman Feature (20 laps)
- (10) Pat Miner, Monkton, Vt.
- (3) Matt Wade, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (7) Donald Williams, Ripton, Vt.
- (2) Bobbi Jo Hults, Benson, Vt.
- (11) Adam LaFountain, Starksboro, Vt.
- (6) Eric Shaw, Wells, Vt.
- (8) Randy Edson, Orwell, Vt.
- (9) Boomer Patterson, Milton, Vt.
- (12) Tyler Travis, Hartland, Vt.
- (1) Russ Farr III, Granville, N.Y.
- (5) Derrick Counter, Salisbury, Vt.
- (4) Allen Hewitt, Rutland, Vt.
Heat Winners: Allen Hewitt, Pat Miner
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (4) # John Carleton, Chittenden, Vt.
- (7) Gage Provencher, Bridport, Vt.
- (9) Logan Denis, Whiting, Vt.
- (10) Ray Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
- (8) John Smith, Poultney, Vt.
- (11) Lane Saville, Warrensburg, N.Y.
- (6) Kevin Smith, Brandon, Vt.
- (2) Tommie Kasuba, Castleton, Vt.
- (5) Roger LaDuc, Castleton, Vt.
- (1) Aiden Benoure, Salisbury, Vt.
- (3) # Quinn Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
Mini Stock A-Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (1) # Jacob Demgard, Hubbardton, Vt.
- (18) Jakobee Alger, Orwell, Vt.
- (2) Jarrod Colburn, Rutland, Vt.
- (4) Jake Mallory, Granville, N.Y.
- (8) Levi Cram, Leicester, Vt.
- (17) Brian Blake, Cornwall, Vt.
- (7) Adam Mahoney, Whitehall, N.Y.
- (6) Damian Olden, Rutland, Vt.
- (16) Jake Barrows, Cornwall, Vt.
- (12) Craig Kirby, St. Albans, Vt.
- (3) Nick Melotti, Mendon, Vt.
- (14) Luke Fellows, Swanton, Vt.
- (10) Austin McKirryher, Proctor, Vt.
- (13) # Ryan Patch, Rutland, Vt.
- (19) Adam Stewart, Benson, Vt.
- (15) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt.
- (9) Chase Allen, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (21) Glenn Engstrom, Peru, N.Y.
- (11) Mark Mahoney, Brandon, Vt.
- (20) T.J. Knight, Wells, Vt.
- (5) Alton McCoy, Whitehall, N.Y.
Heat Winners: Brian Blake, Jakobee Alger, Adam Mahoney
Mini Stock B-Feature (6 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (2) Scott Chandler, Pittsford, Vt.
- (6) Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
- (3) Griff Mahoney, Benson, Vt.
- (9) Speedy Bresette, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
- (8) Chris Conroy, Newport, N.H.
- (1) Cody Dion, Rutland, Vt.
- (7) Donald Olden, Poultney, Vt.
- (5) Tim Robinson, Center Rutland, Vt.
- (4) Brendan Lauzon, Putnam Station, N.Y.
Did Not Start: Rick Doner, Clintonville, N.Y.
9th State Cannabis Crown Vic Feature (15 laps)
- (4) Rob Steele, Bomoseen, Vt.
- (3) Norm Morrill, North Ferrisburgh, Vt.
- (7) Trevor Jaques, Milton, Vt.
- (2) Chad Merrill, Londonderry, Vt.
- (5) Jackson Ducharme, Rutland, Vt.
- (8) Brett Wood, Georgia, Vt.
- (6) Shawn Moquin, Milton, Vt.
- (1) Elisabeth DuPont, Monkton, Vt.
5 Star Roofing Enduro Series Feature (50 laps)
- (00B) Brent Wilbur
- (20VT) Zach Wood
- (88X) Eric Messier
- (10X) Kevin Pearsall
- (33X) Andrew Lopes
- (21) Scott Richner
- (13) Tim Dunster
- (54) Tim LaDuc
- (9) Tyler Bell
- (79) Jeremy Brownell
- (827) Bruce Poirier
- (91) Eric Friend
- (16) James Parker
- (43) Daniel Coonradt
- (11) Andy Botala
- (55) Kyle Botala
- (119) Chris Sumner
- (66) J.T. Blanchard
- (188) Kenny Torrey
- (1) Chase Thompson
- (802) Shane Wood
- (30X) Dan Desforges
- (11X) Steven Johnson
- (19) Owen Ball
- (231) Bob Bathalon
- (51X) Lukas Longtin
- (C8) Rich Rose
- (43X) Evan Lathrop
- (74) Ryan Benoit
- (70) Anthony Johnson
- (17T) Ron Tollner
- (331) George Wanner
- (80T) Dawson Thompson
- (1X) Chase Cram
- (25) Michael Pope
- (00E) Eric Leno
- (98) Landon Lathrop
- (4) Erwin Pinney
- (X88) Cagney Hamblett
- (71) Brody Hamel
- (114) Abby Botala
- (MPW) Ryan Castonguay
- (5) Walter Miller