June 12, 2005

Ray Hoard returns to victory lane

WEST HAVEN, VT -  Anyone who thought Ray Hoard was going to give up his track championship at Devil’s Bowl Speedway without a fight was sadly mistaken.

Hoard, who struggled on opening night, showed the dominance that he displayed in 2004 as he won Sunday night’s 30-lap 358 modified feature to highlight the annual Judith L. Richards Memorial festivities at the Bowl.

A packed house was again treated to great racing on the benefit night for the Rutland Area Visiting Nurses Association/Hospice.

The night’s activities included a fireworks display, but it was Hoard who provided the fireworks on the track, as he recorded his fifth career victory at Devil’s Bowl.

Lance Harting started on the pole and set the early pace, with C.V. Elms providing the competition. Hoard, meanwhile, was carefully picking his way through the pack after starting ninth, and when Gene Munger brought out the first caution on lap seven, Hoard was sitting fourth.

Hoard moved past Ron Proctor for third on lap 11, just about the same time that Frank Hoard Sr. was snatching the lead away from Harting. But Ray Hoard then made the move of the night, rocketing around first Harting, then Frank Hoard, and when the 12th lap was complete, Ray Hoard had the lead.

The field closed up again for a caution on lap 16 for an incident involving Randy Howe and Jimmy Ryan. That restart allowed Proctor to move up to second, but Proctor had his hands full trying to hold off Frank Hoard Sr., who was determined to get the No. 2 spot back.

The final caution came out on lap 25, but all that really did was set up another skirmish between Proctor and Frank Hoard, as Ray Hoard pulled away when the green flag came back out and hit the finish line over three seconds ahead of the field.

The man who benefited the most from the final caution was Tim Laduc, who had joined the lead pack after starting 14th. Laduc managed to get around Frank Hoard with two laps to go, which gave Proctor some breathing room at the finish, and his second runner-up performance in two weeks.

Laduc was third, with Frank Hoard Sr. fourth and Mike Perrotte fifth.

Completing the top 10 were Elms, Ken Tremont Jr., Bob Savoie, Todd Stone and Munger. Tremont did a good job of getting into the top six, as he only completed six laps of his eight-lap heat race, and started 20th in the 24-car modified field.

Scott Duell recorded his second win in as many weeks in the 20-lap pro-street stock feature. The Lazzaro Motorsports Team is still undefeated this season, as Duell has two wins and his teammate, Hollywood Joe Santoro, has one.

Had it not been for a restart with one to go, Duell never would have been in position to win, as he was running sixth with two laps to go. But an incident involving Lori Cary, Cale Kneer and Jeff Washburn, who were all running ahead of Duell, put Duell third on the restart, and in a move the fans will be talking about for a long time, he went from third to first in one lap, beating his teammate to the finish line by 0.690 seconds.

Santoro nosed out Robert Langevin for second while Ed Thompson, who had started on the pole and led the first 19 laps, was the real victim of the final charge and finished fourth. Mike Haines grabbed the fifth position.

Jamie Buzzell also made a last-lap pass to pick up his first win of the season in the 15-lap Rentway Limited feature. This one looked like it belonged to Joey Trudeau, who came out of the No. 4 hole to get the lead on lap two and put his car on cruise control.

But Buzzell, who had started fifth, was never too far from the leaders, running third behind Trudeau and Pat Cram. A caution flag again proved to be the great equalizer, as the field regrouped on lap 12 after Adam Piper brought out the yellow.

Once Buzzell got his momentum built up again, he swooped past both Cram and Trudeau on the last lap to come away with the victory. Jared McMahon was fourth, with Mark Burch fifth.

John Baldwin breezed to victory in the Pro-Built mini-stock feature.

Devil’s Bowl will be back in action Sunday night, with special activities on Father’s Day. Racing will begin at 7 p.m.

MODIFIEDS: RAY HOARD, Ron Proctor, Tim Laduc, Frank Hoard Sr., Mike Perrotte, C.V. Elms, Ken Tremont Jr., Bob Savoie, Todd Stone, Gene Munger, Vince Quenneville Jr., Jim Ryan, Mike Bruno, Denny Young, Brian Whittemore, Stan Lemiesz, Matt Depew, Gardner Stone, Chris Vernold, Merv Blackwell, Lance Harting, Randy Howe, Don Mattison, Rick Dennis.

PRO-STREET STOCKS: SCOTT DUELL, Joe Santoro, Robert Langevin, Ed Thompson, Mike Haines, Mike Bussino, Jeff Martin, Brian Ashline, Scott Fowler, Jeff Washburn, Cale Kneer, Lori Cary, Don Williams, Jon Bates, Walt Brownell Jr.,

RENTWAY LIMITEDS: JAMIE BUZZELL, Joey Trudeau, Pat Cram, Jared McMahon, Mark Burch, William Duprey, Richard Holmes, Shannon Donnelly, Kevin Elliott, Joe Ladd, Billy Lussier, Tim Whitney, Tony Condon, Bob Smith, Adam Piper, Jamie Farr, Tim Brunelle, Benny Ladd, Curtis Condon.

PRO-BUILT MINI-STOCKS: JOHN BALDWIN, Randy Manhey, Jamie Gearwar, Jason Bishop, Carl Whittemore, Mike Clark.