PHOTO: Nick Sweet celebrates his People’s United Bank 100 victory at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Sunday. (MemorEvents photo)
Mueller in Modified photo finish; Whalen redeemed in Mini Stocks
WEST HAVEN, VT – Nick Sweet completed a memorable back-to-front drive to win the People’s United Bank 100 stock car race at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Sunday, June 30. The event, which was previously postponed twice by rain, was the second round of the four-race Vermont State Late Model Championship Series and also included NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races won by Jessey Mueller and Mike Whalen, Jr.
Sweet, of Barre, VT, started on the pole position in the 28-car field and engaged in a see-saw battle for the lead with Chip Grenier of Graniteville, VT for the first half of the race. Sweet lined up second next to Grenier before a lap-52 restart, but was forced to duck into the pit area to replace a flat right-front tire, rejoining the field in 22nd place just seconds before falling a lap behind.
Hunter Bates of Middlebury, VT picked up where Sweet left off, trading the lead – and a few jabs – with Grenier for the next 30 laps while Sweet weaved his way back through traffic during the caution-filled event. Closely behind the Grenier-Bates fight, rookies Josh Masterson of Bristol, VT, Brandon Atkins of AuSable Forks, NY, and Travis Stearns of Auburn, ME showed muscle by running in or near the top-five much of the day.
Sweet reentered the picture during a long green-flag run, passing cars in both the inside and outside lanes. He moved in on Bates and Grenier with 15 laps remaining, taking the lead from Bates at lap 89. A final lap-98 restart was no challenge for Sweet, and he cruised to his first Late Model victory outside his home track at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, VT.
“This is one that I’m going to cherish for a while,” Sweet said in victory lane. “This is a tough track to have come from the back at, and Chip and the rest of those guys made me work for it.”
Grenier finished second for the second time in as many Vermont State Late Model Championship Series events at Devil’s Bowl, dating back to the Vermont 200 Weekend in September 2012. Masterson, in only his fourth start in a Late Model, finished third. Bates and Stearns were scored fourth and fifth, respectively, after Stearns was given a one-position penalty for rough riding on the final lap. Atkins finished sixth, followed by Emily Packard, Trampas Demers, Eric Chase, and Dan Petronis.
Mueller, of Olmstedville, NY, produced the most impressive drive of his young career in the 35-lap Bond Auto Parts Modified feature. The 18 year-old started in 15th place on the 20-car grid and drove through the field toward the front as Joe Williams of Scotia, NY held a huge lead.
As Williams navigated heavy lapped traffic in the closing laps, his car’s left-rear tire began losing air, allowing a five-car group that included Mueller to close in. Mueller took to the outside lane as Leon Gonyo, Vince Quenneville, Jr., Ron Proctor, and Todd Stone all fought for position, and flew into second place with two laps remaining. Mueller made a last-corner commitment to the inside lane and was able to beat Williams in a drag race to the finish line, taking the win by 26-thousandths (.026) of a second.
Quenneville, of Brandon, VT, finished third behind Williams, with Chazy, NY driver Gonyo fourth. Stone, of Middlebury, VT, nipped Charlton, NY driver Proctor at the line for fifth place. Jeff Haskins, rookie Jamie LaFountain, Cody Sargen, and pole sitter Jim Introne, Jr. completed the top ten finishers.
Mike Whalen, Jr. bounced back from a four-time rollover last week to notch the first victory of his career in the 15-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock feature. The Plattsburgh, NY driver dominated the race and outdistanced rookie Chuck Bradford of Addison, VT and Jake Noble of Benson, VT for the win. Garry Bashaw of Lincoln, VT and rookie Jason Sabourin of Vergennes, VT were next in line.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is back in action on Friday, July 5 with the “Coca-Cola Firecracker” Independence Day spectacular at an early 6:00pm start time. The Bond Auto Parts Modified and Late Model divisions will each run special 44-lap features, along with regular championship races for the Renegades and Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stocks. Also on the blockbuster card are a 75-lap Enduro Series event and the largest and loudest holiday fireworks show in Vermont. Special general admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and free for children 12 and under.
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, visit www.devilsbowlspeedwayvt.com or call (802) 265-3112. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at facebook.com/DevilsBowlSpeedway and on Twitter at @DevilsBowlSpeed.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – People’s United Bank 100
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Devil’s Bowl Speedway, West Haven, VT
Sunday, June 30, 2013
(# – denotes rookie)
Vermont State Late Model Championship Series Feature (100 laps)
1. (1) Nick Sweet, Barre, VT
2. (3) Chip Grenier, Graniteville, VT
3. (17) # Josh Masterson, Bristol, VT
4. (15) Hunter Bates, Middlebury, VT
5. (5) # Travis Stearns, Auburn, ME
6. (8) # Brandon Atkins, Plattsburgh, NY
7. (9) Emily Packard, East Montpelier, VT
8. (18) Trampas Demers, South Burlington, VT
9. (11) Eric Chase, Milton, VT
10. (14) Dan Petronis, Mechanicville, NY
11. (19) Chris Curtis, Rutland, MA
12. (16) # Johnny Scarborough, Bomoseen, VT
13. (23) # Seth Bridge, Mendon, VT
14. (28) # Chris Lacey, Burlington, VT
15. (13) Kevin Elliott, Rutland, VT
16. (4) Phil Scott, Berlin, VT
17. (6) Matt White, Northfield, VT
18. (25) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT
19. (12) Boomer Morris, Barre, VT
20. (22) Jesse Carris, Rutland, VT
21. (27) # Tommy Eriksen, Jr., Ferrisburgh, VT
22. (2) Lance Allen, Barre, VT
23. (10) Chad White, Fort Ann, NY
24. (24) # Carol Parker, Fair Haven, VT
25. (7) Chris Bergeron, Claremont, NH
26. (20) Brett Wheeler, Waterbury Center, VT
27. (26) Robert Bryant, Jr., Brooklyn, CT
28. (21) Bryan Town, Charlestown, NH
Heat Winners: Matt White, Nick Sweet, Phil Scott
Bond Auto Parts Modified Feature (35 laps)
1. (15) Jessey Mueller, Olmstedville, NY
2. (5) Joe Williams, Scotia, NY
3. (8) Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon, VT
4. (7) Leon Gonyo, Chazy, NY
5. (12) Todd Stone, Middlebury, VT
6. (10) Ron Proctor, Charlton, NY
7. (6) Jeff Haskins, Wells, VT
8. (2) # Jamie LaFountain, Plattsburgh, NY
9. (14) Cody Sargen, Greenfield Center, NY
10. (1) Jim Introne, Jr., Hartford, NY
11. (20) Jamie Proctor, Schuylerville, NY
12. (4) Andy Smith, South Glens Falls, NY
13. (13) Mike Bush, South Glens Falls, NY
14. (3) Dave Snow, Brandon, VT
15. (17) Kenny Tremont, Jr., West Sand Lake, NY
16. (18) Roger Labreche, Jr., St-Remis, QC
17. (16) # Emily Quinn, Schaghticoke, NY
18. (9) Alex Bell, Cambridge, NY
19. (11) Hunter Bates, Middlebury, VT
20. (19) James Introne, Sr., Hartford, NY
Heat Winners: Dave Snow, Joe Williams, Leon Gonyo
Sunoco Race Fuels Semi-Feature Winner: Todd Stone
Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock Feature (15 laps)
1. (2) Mike Whalen, Jr., Morrisonville, NY
2. (8) # Chuck Bradford, Addison, VT
3. (5) Jake Noble, Benson, VT
4. (4) Garry Bashaw, Lincoln, VT
5. (10) # Jason Sabourin, Vergennes, VT
6. (6) Matt Monaghan, Colchester, VT
7. (11) Shane Doran, Benson, VT
8. (3) Kyle Watrous, Bomoseen, VT
9. (1) # Lance Masterson, Lincoln, VT
10. (12) Chris LaVair, Gabriels, NY
11. (13) Harold LaVair, Jr., Gabriels, NY
12. (7) John McCarron, Rensselaer, NY
13. (14) Dan Collins, Rensselaer, NY
14. (9) Bobby LaVair, Gabriels, NY
Heat Winners: Jake Noble, Jason Sabourin
PHOTO: Bond Auto Parts Modified victory lane (L-R): Vince Quenneville, Jr. (3rd), Jessey Mueller (1st), Joe Williams (2nd). (MemorEvents photo)
PHOTO: Mike Whalen, Jr. (left) notched his first Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock victory, just one week after a four-time rollover. (MemorEvents photo)