WEST HAVEN, VT. – Bradford, Vermont’s Kevin Chaffee picked up the Sunoco Modified feature event win on Saturday, May 13th using a different lane and a track surface that fits his driving style. After winning his heat race and starting 5th in the feature, Chaffee bested all 23 other starters and led nearly the entire race.
Allan Hammond and Vince Quenneville, Jr. led the field to green on a slick racetrack that contrasted opening night’s tacky surface. Chaffee didn’t waste any time working his way towards the front.
“I started on the bottom and I think I got past two or three cars and then we had that first caution and I restarted on the outside,” Chaffee said.
He used that outside lane to take the lead in his heat race, and then searched around the track and ran the bottom to feel the car out there. He found the two grooves to be quite similar.
“That’s about as good a racetrack as you’re going to have in terms of being smooth top to bottom and having an even surface all over,” he said.
Despite that, Chaffee still wasn’t as comfortable down low and used the outside lane to pass Allan Hammond for the lead in the early going—until the yellow flag negated the pass.
“It took me a lap to get by Allan and when I did the caution came right out,” he said. “I kind of showed him my hand and I wasn’t sure if I was good enough on the bottom to pass him, but then he chose the bottom for the restart.”
When the green flag came back out into the air, Chaffee took the lead from Hammond and went largely unchallenged for his second career Devil’s Bowl Speedway win, the first coming in July of 2018. Following him across the stripe were Marty Kelly, III, Vince Quenneville, Jr, Jimmy Ryan and David Boisclair.
The win is an early indication of good times to come for the 41-year-old auto mechanic, whose racing program has recently experienced some major changes. Support from the McGee Family of Dealerships, the addition of a new crew member and some custom fabrication work on his chassis have helped tremendously.
“Jason [Quenneville] hired Paul [Licourt], so now I’ve got somebody with me all the time I can bounce ideas off,” Chaffee said. “Paul’s mind works super fast because that’s all he does is racecar stuff…it’s awesome.”
As for the chassis, Chaffee’s Teo Pro Car was not as potent on slick surfaces last season, so he went to work on trying to make it better this past offseason.
“I cut it up this winter and put some of my own stuff in it…so far in the slick at Devil’s Bowl we are undefeated, so as long as I don’t get myself out in left field somewhere I think we’re going to have a pretty good summer,” he said.