Monday, August 31, 2009

Stone Wins, Tremont Consistent on Wild Night at Devil's Bowl

Six flips highlight long night at West Haven track

WEST HAVEN -- Todd Stone sure knows how to make things interesting.

On a wild, wrecked-filled night with double features that could make or break the Middlebury driver's hopes to win his second-straight 358 Modified championship at Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Stone looked, with eight laps in the books, broken.

The scene was set perfectly for the large crowd in attendance: three championship contenders battling each other for a title, running tightly together in heavy traffic on a rough but fast race track. Tremont, of West Sand Lake, N.Y., entered the race with an 11-point advantage over Orwell racer Tim LaDuc, with Stone jsut 13 points back. As the trio raced hard, even three-wide for a moment, LaDuc and Stone got together in Turn 3 eight laps into the first feature. LaDuc spun, but had no damage. Stone, on the other hand, had a broken shock tower on his right-front corner.

Thanks to back-to-back caution periods, Stone made a couple of lengthy trips to pit road for repairs. As the field took the green flag to restart the race, Stone was not on the track. Finally, he barrelled out of the pits just in time to stay on the lead lap as the race resumed, more than a half-lap behind the leaders. But again, because of caution flags, he was able to catch the pack and pick off cars one by one over the final 22 laps, finishing an impressive seventh. But Tremont and LaDuc were third and fifth, respectively.

Now facing an even bigger deficit, Stone had his work cut out for him in the second 30-lap feature. So to work he went, slicing his way through the field from 12th starting position into seventh by lap 4, then avoiding a huge pileup on a lap 5 restart that sent fourth-place driver Don Mattison flipping as the cars of LaDuc, Brian Whittemore, Marc Johnson, Scott Duell, and others slammed into each other. Stone passed his father, Gardner, for third on the ensuing restart, and Chris Vernold for second one lap later. Vince Quenneville, Jr., the runner-up to Ray Hoard in the opening feature, held Stone off for nine more laps before bobbling in Turn 4. Stone took the lead on lap 16, then buried the field by nearly a quarter of a lap for the win. Tremont again finished third behind Quenneville, with LaDuc recovering for fourth.

"I think the first feature, to be honest with you, I had a real good car in the first feature," said Stone. "I don't know if we could have won it, but I know we could have had a [better] run. The shock tower broke, then my right-rear brake bleeder broke off, so I had no rear brakes. Everything was going wrong, I was just like, 'God, let's get this over with.' Luckily, they had a lot of cautions. A lot people were having bad nights, [otherwise] we wouldn't have made it back out. The crew worked really hard, if it wasn't for them we wouldn't have been out at all. They did a good job."

All told, Tremont stretched his lead -- barely -- to 17 points, unofficially, over LaDuc and Stone, tied at 614 points to Tremont's 631. The final point-counting event, a 50-lap feature, is next week.

"Kenny's still quite a ways out, he's got to really have a bad night next Sunday night," Stone lamented about his chances for the title. "I don't think it's over, but Kenny's been at this a long time. He's good, he's smart, he knows what he needs to do. He's not going to over-run his car to maybe try to win the race, and if it comes to him, fine. But he's smart, you know, he knows what he's doing. They said that we were pretty fast, but sometimes I wonder if he's not showing it all."

Frank Hoard, III of Manchester was the winner of an outstanding 25-lap Budget Sportsman feature early in the evening. Middlebury youngsters Hunter Bates and Justin Comes were involved in the battle for the lead throughout the race, first with polesitter Anthony Marro, then late with Hoard. Unofficially, the lead changed hands six times at the start/finish line among the four drivers, although the were many more changes in the corners and on the backstretch. Hoard only led the final few inches of the race, powering out of Turn 4 as the checkered flag waved to beat Bates by two ten-thousandths (.0002) of a second, according to official timing and scoring. Point leader Derrick McGrew of Ballston Spa, N.Y. dominated the second 25-lap Budget Sportsman feature after passing teammate Marc Hughes for the lead on lap 11. Tim Hartman, Jr. and Jack Swinton got past Hughes late in the race to finish second and third, respectively.

Cale Kneer of Troy, N.Y. swept both Pro Street Stock features, beating Jeff Washburn of Benson in the first 20-lap race and Fred Little of Salisbury in the second event. Bill Duprey of Hydeville matched Kneer's feat in the Limited division, winning both 20-lap features. Between the two Limited features, Joe Ladd, Randy Alger, and Chris Murray each got upside down. Travis Tromans of Clifton Park, N.Y. won the Mini Stock feature, while Andrew Smith of South Glens Falls, N.Y. was the Duke Stock winner. Don Harvey dominated the 20-lap Empire Lightning Sprint feature over Ralph Utter, Jr., Mike Kiser, Doug Norrie, and Justin Phillips.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS -- Weekly Championship Series
Devil's Bowl Speedway, West Haven, Vt.
Sunday, August 30, 2009


358 Modified Feature #1 (30 laps)
1. Ray Hoard, Granville, N.Y.
2. Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon
3. Kenny Tremont, Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
4. Marc Johnson, Guilderland, N.Y.
5. Tim LaDuc, Orwell

358 Modified Feature #2 (30 laps)
1. Todd Stone, Middlebury
2. Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon
3. Kenny Tremont, Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
4. Tim LaDuc, Orwell
5. Ray Hoard, Granville, N.Y.

Budget Sportsman Feature #1 (25 laps)
1. Frank Hoard, III, Manchester
2. Hunter Bates, Middlebury
3. Justin Comes, Middlebury
4. Anthony Marro, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
5. Frank Hoard, Jr., Whitehall, N.Y.

Budget Sportsman Feature #2 (25 laps)
1. Derrick McGrew, Ballston Spa, N.Y.
2. Tim Hartman, Jr., Schenectady, N.Y.
3. Jack Swinton, Hudson Falls, N.Y.
4. Marc Hughes, Ballston Spa, N.Y.
5. Frank Hoard, III, Manchester

Pro Street Stock Feature #1 (20 laps)
1. Cale Kneer, Troy, N.Y.
2. Jeff Washburn, Benson
3. Fred Little, Salisbury

Pro Street Stock Feature #2 (20 laps)
1. Cale Kneer, Troy, N.Y.
2. Fred Little, Salisbury
3. Jeff Washburn, Benson

Limited Feature #1 (20 laps)
1. Bill Duprey, Hydeville
2. Randy Alger
3. Mike Clark, Benson

Limited Feature #2 (20 laps)
1. Bill Duprey, Hydeville
2. Mike Clark, Benson
3. Garrett Given

Mini Stock Winner
Travis Tromans, Clifton Park, N.Y.

Duke Stock Winner
Andrew Smith, South Glens Falls, N.Y.

Empire Lightning Sprints (20 laps)
1. Don Harvey
2. Ralph Utter, Jr.
3. Mike Kiser
4. Doug Norrie
5. Justin Phillips

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