Veteran is first Late Model driver to seek back-to-back championships
WEST HAVEN, VT – Stock car racer Chris Bergeron isn’t backing off any time soon. In his first season at Devil’s Bowl Speedway last summer, the veteran driver posted four victories and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division championship. He wants even more success this year, and he’s willing to get it the hard way.
“I’m going for it,” Bergeron said. “If there’s an opening on the outside lane – even if I only have a ten-percent chance of passing the car in front of me – I’m going to try.”
A sizzling summer-long battle with rookie Josh Masterson came down to final lap of the season, and Bergeron won by just four points. The Claremont, NH runner says he won the championship – the fifth of his career – with a mix of hard-charging runs, respect for his competitors, and a touch of perspective.
“Most people don’t see racing the way that my team and I do,” Bergeron said. “We go to the track to have fun and to focus on the race that night,” Bergeron said. “If you run up front the championships will come, but that means you have to go after every spot rather than just settle for a decent finish.”
Bergeron found himself having fun running with some young racers last year. “Robert Bryant, Brandon Atkins, Josh Masterson, and a few others, I’ve tried to help them learn a few things,” Bergeron said. “Some of them took a few weeks to settle in to the Late Model cars and figure out how to race at this level, but by the end of the year they were great to race with. I have a ton of respect for them.”
Bergeron also gives credit to his team. “My son, Cory, and guys like Gary LaClair, Tony Frasier, Tim Bergeron, Phil Chastenay, and Tom Munuka are what makes this car fast, and especially Larry Stevens, who’s in the garage with me almost every night,” Bergeron said. The team returns with sponsors Gary’s Claremont Tire, Phil’s Signs & Stripes, Revered Painting, Ray Morin, and Vermont Life Safety, and together they’ll try to become the first repeat Late Model champions in Devil’s Bowl’s asphalt era.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway opens on Sunday, May 4 at 1:30pm with the Spring Green event for the American-Canadian Tour Late Models and the Bond Auto Parts Modified, Renegade, and Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock divisions of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The Late Model division’s regular season championship opens on Friday, May 16.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, VT, four miles north of Exit 2 on U.S. Route 4. For more information or to order discount season passes, call (802) 265-3112 or visit www.devilsbowlspeedwayvt.com. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at Facebook.com/DevilsBowlSpeedway and on Twitter and Instagram at @DevilsBowlSpeed.
TOP PHOTO: Chris Bergeron (#27) of Claremont, NH will try to become the first-ever repeat Late Model champion at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in 2014. (MemorEvents photo)
PHOTO: Devil’s Bowl Speedway Late Model champion Chris Bergeron (left), shown in victory lane with legendary broadcaster Ken Squier, will try to become the first-ever repeat champion in his division in 2014. (MemorEvents photo)