WEST HAVEN, VT – Tim LaDuc waited for two years to grab the checkered flag at The Dirt Track at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, and he did it in exciting style on Sunday, June 25. On a night honoring inaugural track champion Mert “Socks” Hulbert, LaDuc scored his first career NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victory and the 48th overall win of his career at Devil’s Bowl. Five other drivers also visited the winner’s circle for the first time, with Josh Bussino, Robert Garney, Austin Chaves, Rob Sanford, and Buck Gasner all picking up victories.
The 35-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Sportsman Modified division was one for the ages. A brief, unexpected shower just after track preparation at intermission made an already fast and tacky race track even quicker, but the extra moisture also created a few bumps in Turn 4, which led to thrilling action and a grandstand full of excited, vocal race fans.
Pole position starter Wayne Stearns held on through some early caution flags to lead the opening 12 laps before slipping backwards. The fast outside lane was the place to be for many of the front-runners, and LaDuc, Jimmy Ryan, Vince Quenneville Jr., Joey Scarborough, and others made big moves on the high side. LaDuc, from 10th at the start, took command on lap 13 and never relinquished the lead, but he was tested multiple times by Bobby Hackel, Quenneville, and by the race track itself; at one point, LaDuc’s car caught a bump the wrong way and bicycled through Turn 4 on its right-side wheels before landing on all four tires and continuing.
LaDuc and Hackel played head games with each other on multiple restart attempts with six laps left before getting it right. LaDuc jumped ahead but dealt with Hackel on one final restart with three laps remaining; LaDuc came away with the lead and eventually the win, while Quenneville blasted around the outside lane to take second from Hackel. Quenneville and Hackel made big contact coming to the checkered flag, with the front half of Hackel’s car perched atop Quenneville’s rear deck lid; they crossed the finish line in a cloud of smoke, four-wide in traffic.
Quenneville took second place with Hackel third, but both drivers rode to victory lane on the back of the safety truck as their cars came to rest in Turn 1 still attached. Justin Severance tied his career-best finish in fourth and Kenny Tremont Jr. rebounded from two trips to pit road to finish fifth. Justin Comes, Randy Howe, Jackie Brown Jr., Walt Hammond Jr., and Mike Block completed the top 10 in order; only LaDuc and Block started inside the top 10. A thorough review of scoring revealed that Joey Scarborough – who raced among the top five at the finish – was one lap off the pace in 12th after losing a lap during an early pit stop.
The 20-lap Rosen & Berger Auto Recyclers Super Stock feature was a bit of an oddity, as only four cars finished on the lead lap. Josh Bussino of Mount Holly, Vt., dominated the race in a back-up car after a hard crash the week before, grabbing the first win of his Super Stock career. Randy Alger recovered from two spinouts to finish a season-best second, but was more than a half-lap behind Bussino at the checkered flag. Rookie Brian Rogers finished third in his first feature start of the season after battling mechanical gremlins in the first three weeks. Joey Trudeau and Erwin Smith Jr. rounded out the top five.
Robert Garney of Fort Edward, N.Y., was a first-time winner in the 15-lap Portland Glass Mini Stock race. He ran up front the entire distance, but was caught in the final corner by Chris Charbonneau, and the pair finished side-by-side in close quarters. Charbonneau’s runner-up finish was his third in a row; he was followed by Chris Conroy, Derrick Counter, and Cameron Kennedy.
Fifteen year-old Austin Chaves of Chester, Vt., scored his first victory with the new Catamount Mini Sprint club in that division’s 15-lap race. Rain was no match for the rookie – who was in just his third start in a Mini Sprint car after graduating from go-kart racing – and Chaves led both before and after a weather delay with two laps complete. Sean Beinhaur finished second, ahead of Robert Griffin, Nadine Coates, and Mark Mulready.
The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series ran its first race outside of New York State with a 15-lap feature, with both its Modified and Sportsman classes combined. Rob Sanford of Milford, N.Y., ran a former No. 62 Frank Trinkhaus machine to both the Modified and overall victories, with Darral Hulbert second in a No. 8 car resembling one driven by his father, Mert Hulbert. Buck Gasner of Amsterdam, N.Y., crossed the line third to take the Sportsman win in the former No. 78 Maynard Forrette car.
Vermont’s biggest and loudest Independence Day celebrations are at Devil’s Bowl Speedway this weekend, with asphalt racing on Saturday, July 1 at 7:00 p.m., and dirt racing on Sunday, July 2 at 6:00 p.m. Both nights will be capped off by massive fireworks displays presented by Coca-Cola and Northstar Fireworks. General admission for each event is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $5 for teenagers, and free for kids age 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. For more information, visit www.DevilsBowlSpeedwayVT.com or call (802) 265-3112. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at @DevilsBowlSpeedway and on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the hashtag #DevilsBowl.
OFFICIAL RESULTS – Mert Hulbert Tribute Night
Devil’s Bowl Speedway Dirt Track – West Haven, VT
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Central Vermont Motorcycles Sportsman Modified Feature (35 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (10) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
- (18) Vince Quenneville Jr., Brandon, Vt.
- (14) Bobby Hackel, Rensselaer, N.Y.
- (12) Justin Severance, Pittsford, Vt.
- (15) Kenny Tremont Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
- (17) Justin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
- (11) Randy Howe, Lebanon, N.H.
- (21) Jackie Brown Jr., Hurley, N.Y.
- (16) Walt Hammond Jr., Canaan, N.H.
- (9) Mike Block, Ballston Spa, N.Y.
- (7) Codie Aubin, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
- (6) Joey Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
- (3) # James Fadden, Plainfield, N.H.
- (5) Brian Whittemore, Pittsford, Vt.
- (13) Chad Miller, White River Junction, Vt.
- (20) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (8) Jimmy Ryan, Whiting, Vt.
- (4) Lenny Pillsbury, Cornish, N.H.
- (2) # Tomas Kimball, White River Junction, Vt.
- (1) Wayne Stearns, Bradford, Vt.
- (19) # Bruce Loomis, Granville, N.Y.
Heat Winners: Wayne Stearns, Joey Scarborough, Justin Severance
Shiley Fabrication Hard Charger Award: Vince Quenneville Jr.
Shiley Fabrication Hard Luck Award: Jimmy Ryan
Rosen & Berger Auto Recyclers Super Stock Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (3) Josh Bussino, Mouth Holly, Vt.
- (7) Randy Alger, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (12) # Brian Rogers, Castleton, Vt.
- (5) Joey Trudeau, Hague, N.Y.
- (10) Erwin Smith Jr., South Glens Falls, N.Y.
- (4) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt.
- (9) Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt.
- (6) Bill Duprey, Hydeville, Vt.
- (11) Lou Gancarz, North Adams, Mass.
- (2) Larry Bristol, Rutland, Vt.
- (1) Matt Mosher, Queensbury, N.Y.
- (8) Curtis Condon, Queensbury, N.Y.
Heat Winners: Matt Mosher, Bill Duprey
Portland Glass Mini Stock Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
- (4) Robert Garney, Fort Edward, N.Y.
- (7) Chris Charbonneau, Rutland, Vt.
- (3) Chris Conroy, Newport, N.H.
- (6) Derrick Counter, Leicester, Vt.
- (2) Cameron Kennedy, Rochester, Vt.
- (1) # Johnny Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
- (5) # Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
- (8) David LaBarge, Queensbury, N.Y.
Did Not Start: # Josh Kennedy, Rochester, Vt.; Dakota Desabrais, Fair Haven, Vt.
Heat Winner: Chris Charbonneau
Catamount Mini Sprint Feature (15 laps)
- (3) Austin Chaves, Chester, Vt.
- (1) Sean Beinhaur, Shoreham, Vt.
- (2) Robert Griffin, Sunapee, N.H.
- (8) Nadine Coates, Newport, N.H.
- (4) Mark Mulready, Buskirk, N.Y.
- (10) Josh Griffin, Newport, N.H.
- (7) Colby Beinhaur, Shoreham, Vt.
- (6) Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.
- (5) Erick Mulready, Buskirk, N.Y.
- (9) Cody O’Brien, Chester, Vt.
Heat Winner: Nadine Coates
Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series Feature (15 laps)
- (2) Rob Sanford, Milford, N.Y.
- (6) Darral Hulbert, Oak Hill, N.Y.
- (1) Buck Gasner, Amsterdam, N.Y.
- (7) Jeff Hager, Cornwall, N.Y.
- (5) John Hager, Middletown, N.Y.
- (4) Rob Casti, Mahopac, N.Y.
- (3) Doug Mathewson, Broadalbin, N.Y