Story By: JUSTIN ST. LOUIS / DEVIL’S BOWL SPEEDWAY – WEST HAVEN, VT – Tim LaDuc being in Victory Lane at Devil’s Bowl Speedway is usually no surprise. The surprise came in the circumstances: Mired in the toughest season of his career, the Orwell, Vt., driver was eligible to compete in the Casella Waste Systems “Ron Casey Memorial” Shootout for non-winners, dominating the 20-lap race to open the Interstate All Battery Center Vermont 200 Weekend. The race was part of a full five-division card of action on Saturday, August 31, that also saw Johnny Bruno, Scott FitzGerald, Shawn Moquin, and Evan Roberts win.
The Ron Casey Memorial had another longtime Pepsi Sportsman Modified campaigner – Vince Quenneville – on the pole position, but a mechanical failure on the pace lap put Quenneville in the pits and moved visiting racer Jon Miller to the top spot. Miller led the first four laps, but LaDuc got by him and sailed off to the 53rd feature win of his Devil’s Bowl career. After destroying his primary car three weeks ago, LaDuc dedicated his win to a group of friends and volunteers who helped him piece together a new (used) chassis.
Marty Kelly III matched his career-best finish in second place, and rookie Joey Roberts had an impressive drive from 12th to third. Ron Proctor and Brian Whittemore rounded out the top five finishers.
Sixteen-year-old Johnny Bruno of Castleton, Vt., won an exciting 25-lap “Win & You’re In!” feature for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division, fending off a committed outside-lane drive by Matt Bilodeau. Austin Chaves had his best effort of the season by leading the first 10 laps, but a restart bunched the field up and allowed Bruno to charge past into the lead.
Bilodeau chased Bruno down and the duo waged a see-saw battle in the final eight laps. Bruno beat Bilodeau by a car length to win and earn a guaranteed starting spot in Sunday’s Vermont 200, but deferred the opportunity to Bilodeau, who will race. Chaves held on for third place with Anthony Ryan fourth and Marty Hutchins fifth.
Super Stock point leader Scott FitzGerald won his fifth race of the season in a 30-lap special feature and unofficially clinched the championship with two races remaining. FitzGerald and Chris Murray battled for the lead before Murray took over with 10 laps left, but Murray had a flat tire on lap 25 and had to pit. After the restart, FitzGerald scooted away with the lead and sealed the win.
Curtis Condon had his best run of the year in the runner-up position and Murray – who was driving a car borrowed from Josh Bussino after problems with his own ride in hot laps – recovered for third place. Bill Duprey and Garrett Given completed the top five.
Milton, Vt.’s Shawn Moquin continued the trend of borrowed cars performing well by winning the 20-lap Mini Stock feature in a car loaned to him by Chris Conroy; Moquin’s car was badly damaged in a crash last week. Rookie David Sartwell-Cornell scored his fifth consecutive top-two finish in second place. P.J. Bleau was third ahead of Jake Barrows and Craig Kirby.
Evan Roberts continued his impressive rookie season with his eighth Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint victory. The Fletcher, Vt., 13-year-old won both 12-lap halves of the scored two-segment race for a perfect low total score of two points. Twin brothers Shawn McPhee and John McPhee Jr. finished second and third overall, respectively; Shawn McPhee placed third and second in the segments for five points, and John McPhee Jr. was seventh and third for 10 points. Kamden Duffy and Cody O’Brien, each with 10 points, rounded out the overall top five.
Qualifying for the Interstate All Battery Center Vermont 200 begins at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 1. More than 50 cars are expected to attempt to make the field, with the winner earning up to $12,000 plus lap leader bonuses. The Sprint Cars of New England touring series will also be on hand for a 305/360 Sprint Car Challenge to crown the four-race Devil’s Bowl track champion. General admission for Sunday’s event is $25 for adults 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, 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 Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Interstate All Battery Center Vermont 200 Weekend
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Saturday, August 31, 2019
Pepsi Sportsman Modified Feature – Ron Casey Memorial – (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (4) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
2. (7) Marty Kelly III, North Bennington, Vt.
3. (12) # Joey Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
4. (4) Ron Proctor, Charlton, N.Y.
5. (6) Brian Whittemore, Pittsford, Vt.
6. (3) Jon Miller, Malta, N.Y.
7. (10) # Travis Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
8. (9) Bruce Loomis, Queensbury, N.Y.
9. (13) Butch Wilcox, Gansevoort, N.Y.
10. (11) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
11. (2) Mike Fisher, Castleton, Vt.
12. (5) Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
13. (1) Vince Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
Did Not Start: Dick Bisson, Pownal, Vt.
Heat Winners: Tim LaDuc, Jon Miller
Shiley Fabrication Hard Charger Award: Joey Roberts (+9 positions)
Shiley Fabrication Hard Luck Award: Vince Quenneville
AMSOIL Award: Tim LaDuc
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (25 laps)
1. (6) Johnny Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
2. (10) Matt Bilodeau, Brandon, Vt.
3. (1) Austin Chaves, Chester, Vt.
4. (5) Anthony Ryan, Benson, Vt.
5. (8) Marty Hutchins, Poultney, Vt.
6. (7) James Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
7. (9) Anthony Warren, Shoreham, Vt.
8. (4) Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.
9. (11) Shawn Phelps, Richmond, Vt.
10. (2) Mike McGinn, Elizabethtown, N.Y.
11. (13) Jeff Haskins, Wells, Vt.
12. (3) Dave Snow, Brandon, Vt.
13. (12) Eddie Bruno Jr., Fair Haven, Vt.
Heat Winners: Dave Snow, Johnny Bruno
Shiley Fabrication Hard Charger Award: Matt Bilodeau (+8 positions)
Shiley Fabrication Hard Luck Award: Eddie Bruno Jr.
Super Stock Feature (30 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (10) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
2. (14) Curtis Condon, Queensbury, N.Y.
3. (13) Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt.
4. (9) Bill Duprey, Hydeville, Vt.
5. (8) Garrett Given, Orwell, Vt.
6. (12) Richie Turner, Highgate, Vt. (substitute for Cam Gadue)
7. (11) Trevor Hurlburt, Bomoseen, Vt.
8. (2) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt.
9. (7) Matt Mosher, Queensbury, N.Y.
10. (1) Russ Farr, Middle Granville, N.Y.
11. (5) # Kaleb Shepard, Vergennes, Vt.
12. (4) Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
13. (3) # Mark Norris, Benson, Vt.
14. (6) # Roo Forrest, West Rutland, Vt.
Heat Winners: Mark Norris, Scott FitzGerald
Mini Stock Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (1) Shawn Moquin, Milton, Vt.
2. (6) # David Sartwell-Cornell, Highgate Springs, Vt.
3. (9) P.J. Bleau, Latham, N.Y.
4. (7) Jake Barrows, Middlebury, Vt.
5. (5) Craig Kirby, St. Albans, Vt.
6. (4) Tim Simonds, Clarendon, Vt.
7. (3) Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
8. (10) # Scott Cowdrey, Leicester, Vt.
9. (8) Griff Mahoney, Brandon, Vt.
10. (12) Ron Stewart, Benson, Vt.
11. (11) # Mary Gardner, Granville, N.Y.
12. (2) # Katrina Bean, Benson, Vt.
Heat Winner: Shawn Moquin
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (12 laps x 2)
Pos.-(Start)-Driver-Hometown (Segment Results/Points)
# – denotes rookie
1. (2) # Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt. (1, 1 – 2 pts.)
2. (5) Shawn McPhee, Rutland, Vt. (3, 2 – 5 pts.)
3. (9) John McPhee Jr., Rutland, Vt. (7, 3 – 10 pts.)
4. (1) # Kamden Duffy, Richmond, N.H. (5, 5 – 10 pts.)
5. (6) Cody O’Brien, Springfield, Vt. (4, 6 – 10 pts.)
6. (7) Kevin Smith, Brandon, Vt. (6, 8 – 14 pts.)
7. (3) Dakota Green, Cambridge, N.Y. (2, 13 – 15 pts.)
8. (10) Samantha Mulready, Cambridge, N.Y. (13, 4 – 17 pts.)
9. (8) # Jack Koponen, Mount Holly, Vt. (10, 7 – 17 pts.)
10. (13) Kaidin White, Monkton, Vt. (8, 9 – 17 pts.)
11. (14) # Alyza McKeighan, Brandon, Vt. (9, 10 – 19 pts.)
12. (11) # Mia Koponen, Ludlow, Vt. (11, 12 – 23 pts.)
13. (12) # Eric Wade, Rutland, Vt. (14, 11 – 25 pts.)
14. (4) Joel Belanger, Washington, N.H. (12, 14 – 26 pts.)
Segment Winners: Evan Roberts (2)