May 25, 2008

Kawalchuk lands in victory lane for first time at Devil’s Bowl

WEST HAVEN, VT -  Tony Kawalchuk will always remember the 2008 season opener at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.

After all, it’s hard to forget your first victory.

Kawalchuk started on the pole and sliced through lapped traffic in the late stages of the race like a hot knife through butter as he recorded the first victory of his 358-modified career Sunday night in the 30-lap feature at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.

A packed house was on hand for the 42nd season opener at the Vermont track, and was treated to outstanding racing.

Defending track champion Ken Tremont, who started fifth, moved into the number two spot on lap nine of the modified feature, and he and Kawalchuk kept the crowd buzzing with excitement. But Tremont’s night ended prematurely on lap 13, when he broke an axle and was done for the night

Tremont’s misfortune moved Marc Johnson into the runner-up position, but he quickly fell victim to mechanical problems, as well, allowing Todd Stone to move up to challenge Kawalchuk.

With the rest of the feature running caution-free, Kawalchuk got into some heavy traffic, but handled it like a veteran and hit the finish line with a comfortable lead over Stone. Jim Laduc crossed the finish line third, followed by Vince Quenneville Jr. and Robert King.

Carl Vladyka and Lori Langevin started on the front row in the pro-street stock feature, and that was the way they finished, with Vladyka outrunning the defending track champion. Mike Paquin finished third.

Paul Dunham Jr. held off Don Miller to win the 20-lap budget sportsman feature. Dunham started third in the field, but used a lap-one restart to move to the front. Frank Hoard III, who had started on the outside of the front row, moved into second on lap nine and kept constant pressure on Dunham, but a restart with two laps to go allowed Miller to join the battle, and he passed Hoard on the final lap for second.

The top five consisted on Dunham, Miller, Hoard, Alex Bell and Jared McMahon.

Kevin Elliot took the checkered flag in the limited division feature, which was plagued by a rash of early cautions. Once the field got straightened out, Elliot put the hammer down and dominated the race, finishing with a whopping 9.746-second margin of victory over Amanda Clemens.

Devil’s Bowl will return to action on Sunday, May 31, with the double-point Spring Championships. Racing will begin at 6:45 p.m.

COMPLETE FINISHES TO COME… sorry we’re still ironing out season opener “wrinkles” … thanks for your patience.