May 31, 2009

Ackner ends long drought at Devil’s Bowl

WEST HAVEN, VT –  Don Ackner didn’t need a Delorean and a flux capacitor to travel back in time at Devil’s Bowl Speedway Sunday night. He just needed Ken Tremont Jr. to have some bad luck.

When Tremont had to pull into the pits on lap 13, while leading the 30-lap 358-modified feature, Ackner inherited the lead and went on to end a long winless drought at Vermont’s “Fastest Half Mile.”

The win was the first for Ackner at the Bowl since Aug. 17, 1997, but a lot has changed for Ackner since then. Once one of the dominant drivers in the Champlain Valley Racing Association, Ackner, who won the modified track championship at Devil’s Bowl in 1994, has been in and out of retirement, and is now racing strictly for fun.

And it’s always fun when you’re sitting in victory lane. The victory was Ackner’s 33rd career win at the Bowl, and only Tremont, with 58 victories, has more wins during the modern era at the Bowl.

Tremont wasn’t the only one who had problems in the feature Sunday night. Jimmy Ryan, who started on the pole, led the first two laps, but then only ran three more before bringing out the first caution of the night.

Tremont had started second, got around Ryan on lap three and looked like he was in for an easy night when his luck ran out on lap 13, handing the lead to Ackner. With the rest of the feature going green, Ackner was able to get into traffic and pull away from defending track champion Todd Stone for the victory. Tim Laduc, who won on opening night, Rob Langevin and Vince Quenneville Jr. completed the top five in the Spring Championships, which offered double points.

Rookie Tim Hartman Jr. completed a heck of a weekend by recording his first career win at the Bowl in the 25-lap budget sportsman feature. Hartman had also picked up his first career win at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday night.

Paul Dunham came off the pole and set the pace for the first 14 laps, before giving up the lead to Jack Swinton. Hartman had been running second to Dunham, but was also victimized by Swinton’s charge, dropping to third on lap 13.

When the leaders got into traffic, Hartman moved back up to second, and then worked his way around Swinton with five laps to go to get the lead for good.

Swinton hit the finish line second, with rookie Marc Hughes third, Derrick McGrew fourth and Dunham fifth.

Jeff Washburn held off Cale Kneer to come away with his first win of the season in the 20-lap pro-street stock  feature. Kneer had the lead late in the race, but Washburn made his move to the front with two to go and beat Kneer to the checkered flag by 0.216 seconds.

George Foster won the Duke stock main, Nathan Woodworth hit the stripe first in the four-cylinder mini/stock class and Kayla Bryant got the win in the six-cylinder division.

Devil’s Bowl will be back in action on Sunday, June 7 with all divisions competing in the Full Moon Challenge. Racing will begin at 6:45 p.m.

MODIFIEDS: DON ACKNER, Todd Stone, Tim Laduc, Rob Langevin, Vince Quenneville Jr., Frank Hoard Sr., Gardner Stone, Ray Hoard, Kris Vernold, Alex Bell, Brian Whittemore, Don Mattison, Ken Tremont Jr., Jim Ryan, Ron Proctor.

BUDGET SPORTSMAN: TIM HARTMAN JR., Jack Swinton, Marc Hughes, Derrick McGrew, Paul Dunham, Jack Gentile, Chuck Dickinson, Anthony Marro, D.J. Brundige, Cullen Howe, Frank Hoard III, Dennis Pennock, Pete Carlotto, Jon Bates, Hunter Bates, Fred Proctor, Frank Hoard Jr., Seth Howe, Chris Thorpe, Kevin Elliot, Ron Wanamaker, Ron Casey, Josh Joseph, Cody Sargen.

BUDGET SPORTSMAN B MAIN: FRANK HOARD III, Ron Casey, Josh Joseph, Kevin Elliot, Ron Wanamaker, Cody Sargen, Kenny Towne, Shannon Donnelly, Jason Vadnais, Willy Knight, Ralph Denison, Justin Combes, Jared McMahon.

PRO-STREET STOCKS: JEFF WASHBURN, Cale Kneer, Fred Little, Bobby Schmidt, Carl Vladyka, Chuck Towslee, Ed Thompson, Justin Perry, Lori Langevin, Chris Fifield, Mike Bussino, Mike Laduc.

LIMITEDS: (REVISED from earlier posting) JASON WOOD, Don Williams, Mike Clark, Paul Braymer, Lou Gancarz, Joe Ladd, Frank Monroe, Rob Ketchum, Ben Ladd, Mitch Sequin, Jeremy Jones, Bill Burlingame, Bill Duprey, Dennis Sullinger, Guy Swears, Erwin Smith, Chris Madison.