Duprey takes fourth Devil’s Bowl championship
WEST HAVEN, Vt. – This is the seventh installment of the “Devil’s Bowl Speedway 50th Season in Review” series. This series takes a retrospective look at an action-packed year of stock car racing in 2016 on the half-mile Asphalt Track and the 3/10-mile Dirt Track at Devils Bowl Speedway, division by division.
Renegades – Dirt Track – NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “Division III”
Division Sponsor: Rosen & Berger Auto Recyclers
Champion: Bill Duprey – Hydeville, Vt.
Rookie of the Year: Josh Bussino – Mount Holly, Vt.
Bill Duprey added a few more notches in his belt at the Dirt Track at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in 2016 and further cemented his place in the history books at his home track. Driving his familiar green No. 44D Chevrolet Monte Carlo, the Hydeville, Vt., veteran won seven times in the Rosen & Berger Auto Recyclers Renegade division and earned his fourth championship. Duprey went undefeated from opening night through Labor Day weekend, winning the first six feature races that he was able to take the green flag for.
Duprey was in the right place at the right time on Brown’s Quarried Slate/Brown’s Orchard & Farm Stand Night when the season opened on June 12, running in third place as the leaders bounced off each other and slipped out of the way to allow Duprey to take the win. Curtis Condon finished second with rookie Josh Bussino third in his first Renegade start at Devil’s Bowl.
A mechanical failure knocked Duprey out during qualifying on Central Vermont Motorcycles Night on June 19, giving Matt Mosher of Queensbury, N.Y., a chance to score the win over Paul Braymer and Aaron Fachini. Duprey came back with a vengenace, though, winning the next four races. He dominated the WhistlePig Whiskey Firecracker on July 3, beating Condon and rookie Brian Bishop Jr. At the next event on August 7, Duprey swept both races on a twin-feature night. Three nights later, Duprey won a double-points squeaker on Wednesday, August 10, stealing the Whelen Engineering Mid-Season Championship win by inches from Condon.
Duprey held a 33-point lead over Condon entering Liberty Street Discount Beverage & Deli Night on August 14, but skipped the event to let Sportsman Modified regular Chris Murray take the wheel. The race was an odd one, to say the least. Josh Coonradt, who dominated Albany-Saratoga and Fonda Speedways in 2016 beat brothers Josh and Tylor Terry; each of three was in his first Devil’s Bowl start of the season, and the Terry brothers drove cars set up for the asphalt at Airborne Park Speedway. Even more bizarre, they were the only three cars left running at the finish and Tylor Terry was two laps down. Murray and Larry Bristol completed the top five, though both were in the pits when the checkered flag waved. Condon was scored eighth and took over the point lead.
Mosher was back in the winner’s circle on August 28 after a long battle with Condon, and Lou Gancarz was a season-best third. Duprey crashed in his heat race and missed the feature, falling to third in the standings, 23 points behind Condon and eight markers behind Bussino. Duprey rebounded on September 4 for his sixth win in six starts, and made an emotional tribute to longtime Devil’s Bowl fan favorite Carl Vladyka, who had passed away earlier in the day. Bussino took second after Joey Trudeau spun with two laps left, and Condon was third.
Mosher and Condon became the first drivers to beat Duprey heads-up at the Interstate All Battery Center event on September 11, as they finished 1-2 with Duprey third. Devil’s Bowl Asphalt Track regular R.J. Germain finished fourth in his first-ever race on dirt. Duprey scored his seventh win of the year on Fabian Earthmoving Night on September 25, holding off a strong challenge from Asphalt Track regular Scott FitzGerald.
Entering the final race – The Stove Depot “King of the Clay” event on October 1 – Condon held the championship lead with 12 points on Duprey and 22 on Bussino, but a work commitment overseas kept him out of the car. Bussino made Duprey sweat early in the night but eventually dropped out of the running. FitzGerald dominated for the win with Coonradt second, and Duprey held on to finish third and lock up the title.
Duprey is one of only two drivers – joining Modified legend Kenny Tremont Jr. – to win championships at Devil’s Bowl on the former half-mile dirt oval, the present-day asphalt half-mile, and the new 3/10-mile dirt track. His 44 career wins place him third on Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s all-time documented victory list.
Bussino finished second in the point standings to wrap up the Rookie of the Year title after a good battle in the first half of the season with Bishop. Condon ended up third overall ahead of Gancarz and Mosher.
The “Devil’s Bowl Speedway 50th Season in Review” series will continue soon with Part 8, looking at the Portland Glass Mini Stock division on the Asphalt Track.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, Vt., four miles north of Exit 2 off of U.S. Route 4 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 and Instagram at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.
FINAL 2016 POINT STANDINGS
Rosen & Berger Auto Recyclers Renegades
Devil’s Bowl Speedway Dirt Track
1. Bill Duprey, Hydeville, Vt. – 595
2. Josh Bussino, Mount Holly, Vt. – 574
3. Curtis Condon, Queensbury, N.Y. – 557
4. Lou Gancarz, North Adams, Mass. – 530
5. Matt Mosher, Queensbury, N.Y. – 456
6. Aaron Fachini, North Adams, Mass. – 387
7. Larry Bristol, Rutland, Vt. – 274
8. Brian Bishop Jr., Bridport, Vt. – 211
9. Jason Gagnon, Castleton, Vt. – 178
10. Paul Braymer, Granville, N.Y. – 170
Feature Winners: Bill Duprey (7), Matt Mosher (3), Josh Coonradt (1), Scott FitzGerald (1).
Qualifying Heat Winners: Bill Duprey (4), Chase Aussicker (1), Curtis Condon (1), Aaron Fachini (1), Matt Mosher (1).
Photos by Alan Ward; Heather Aube/Devil’s Bowl Speedway; Andrew Cassidy/Devil’s Bowl Speedway