July 3, 2007

Ronnie Johnson wins first 100-lapper at the Bowl

WEST HAVEN, VT -  Ronnie Johnson returned to his old stomping grounds Tuesday night and put on a whale of a show for the packed house celebrating the 4th of July holiday at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.

Johnson, who won the sportsman division championship at the Champlain Valley Racing Association’s Vermont track in 1997, parlayed a good starting position into an impressive victory, walking off with the win in the 100-lap Let Freedom Ring feature.

The win was R.J.’s first career 358 modified victory at the Bowl, and marked the first time he’s been back to victory lane at the Vermont track since Aug. 3, 1997, which was his rookie season in the sportsman division on the CVRA. It was also his first victory in a 100-lap event.

Todd Stone started on the pole and set the pace for the first 32 laps, with Johnson, who started in the second row in the potent JRP-sponsored small block, hanging right with him. Johnson used a caution on lap 32 to get the lead, but two laps later, Stone was back in front. But that lead was short-lived, as Johnson moved back out on the point on lap 39.

While Ronnie Johnson was setting the pace, there was some incredible action going on behind him, involving his father, Jack, who was also making a rare appearance at the Bowl, and defending track champion Ken Tremont Jr. Jack Johnson had borrowed a ride for the night in one of the Don Ackner team cars, and had been forced to start 26th in the huge 31-car field after a poor heat race finish, using the qualifying run to get a handle on the different ride.

Tremont had started 16th, but midway through the feature, both were making a charge.

Tremont moved into second on lap 42, with Jumpin’ Jack not far behind. Jack Johnson then took the No. 2 spot away from Tremont on lap 62, creating a son vs. father duel for the lead.

Vince Quenneville also put on a good show for the fans, coming back from an early flat tire to charge back through the field. Tremont started to fade in the final 20 laps, possibly with handling problems, while another Albany-Saratoga regular, Matt DeLorenzo, began to make a late charge. DeLorenzo, who started 15th, began to put some pressure on Jumpin’ Jack in the closing laps, and moved into second with five to go. But he was just a little too far back to make a run at R.J., allowing Ronnie Johnson to hit the finish line with a 0.888-second margin of victory.

DeLorenzo, who recorded his first career win at the Bowl in last year’s July 4th 100-lapper, hit the finish line second, with Jack Johnson third. Stone held off Vince Quenneville Jr. for the fourth spot.

Completing the top 10 were Gene Munger, Tim Laduc, Don Scarborough, Ray Hoard and Ron Proctor.

Lori Cary returned to her winning ways in the pro-street stock division, coming away with her fourth win of the season. Cary, who began the season with three straight wins, started seventh on Tuesday, but only needed three laps to get to the front and held off Fred Little to record the victory. They were followed by Chuck Towslee, Cale Kneer and Ed Thompson.

The limiteds ran a pair of features because of a carryover from July 1. Joey Trudeau notched his third win of the year in the first feature and D.J. Brundige held off Trudeau to get his first win of the year in the second feature.

There was also a first-time winner in the mini-stock division, as Richard Edwards outran Tim Anagnos to get the victory in the 15-lap feature.

LET FREEDOM RING 100: RONNIE JOHNSON, Matt DeLorenzo, Jack Johnson, Todd Stone, Vince Quenneville Jr., Gene Munger, Tim Laduc, Don Scarborough, Ray Hoard, Ron Proctor, Dustin Delaney, Gardner Stone, Frank Hoard Sr., Robert King, Ken Tremont Jr., Stan Lemiesz, Cass Bannett, Jim Ryan, Don Ackner, Brent Lacoste, Keith Flach, Rich Salisbury, Tyler Curtis, John Proctor, Neal Stratton, John Sowle, Matt Depew, Tony Kawalchuk, Brian Whittemore, Rob Langevin, Kris Vernold.

PRO-STREET STOCKS: LORI CARY, Fred Little, Chuck Towslee, Cale Kneer, Ed Thompson, Justin Perry, Dan Eastman, Walt Brownell, Mike Bussino, Jon Bates, Richard Glode, William Hull, Jeremie Younger, John Turco, Jeff Washburn, Jesse Edwards, Carl Vladyka.

LIMITEDS (HELD OVER FROM JULY 1): JOEY TRUDEAU, Kevin Elliott, Merv Blackwell, Francis Clark Jr., D.J. Brundige, Bill Vradenburg, Randy Alger, Jeremy Jones, Tim Brunelle, Justin Parker, Nicholas Byrne, Bill Duprey, Mike Labell.

LIMITEDS: D.J. BRUNDIGE, Joey Trudeau, Randy Alger, Adam Forbes, Dave Billings, Mark Wallet, Tim Brunelle, Justin Parker, Bill Decker, C.J. Vitagliano, Shannon Donnelly, Mike Duclos, Bill Vradenburg, Kevin Elliot, Jeremy Jones, Francis Clark Jr.

MINI/DUKE STOCKS: RICHARD EDWARDS, Tim Anagnos, Ron Zagata, Cliff White, Chris Murrey, Shane Marks, Justin Rheome, Bill Parker, Russ Farr, Naomi Gould, Chris Atwood, Justin Parker.