Monster Crowd Watches Masterson Edge Packard at Coca-Cola Firecracker

Gonyo wins Modified main; Lowrey is Renegade first-timer at Devil’s Bowl Speedway

WEST HAVEN, VT – Devil’s Bowl Speedway provided the fireworks, but it was young Late Model stock car racing stars Josh Masterson and Emily Packard in charge of the show on Friday, July 4. Masterson and Packard waged an exciting battle for the Coca-Cola Firecracker 100 victory that brought the largest grandstand crowd in the track’s asphalt era to their feet. The enthusiastic fans also cheered winners Leon Gonyo, Richard Lowrey, III, Bobby LaVair, and Richie Turner during NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action.

Seventeen year-old Packard, of East Montpelier, VT, led much of the well-driven race, taking the lead from veteran Bucko Branham at lap 18. She held the point as Masterson made his way through traffic and ran some entertaining laps with Branham, Jamie Fisher, Jamie Aube, and Brandon Atkins. Bristol, VT racer Masterson, 22, was making big gains on Packard’s lead when the caution flag flew on lap 81, setting up a duel between them for the final 20 circuits.

Masterson got the break on the restart and took over the lead, but was never more than a car length ahead. Packard made two bids at the lead on the inside lane in the final six laps as Masterson preferred the top groove. She nosed ahead to lead the 99th lap by inches and pulled ahead further on the backstretch, but Masterson made a daring drive into the final corner and carried his momentum to the victory. The finish – and the show of respect between the drivers in victory lane after a hard-fought but clean battle – drew huge cheers from the crowd.

Three-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Aube of North Ferrisburgh, VT had his best drive in several years as he ran among the leaders throughout the race and finished third. Atkins finished fourth with Fisher fifth. Chris Bergeron, Robert Bryant, Jr., rookies Scott Coburn and Dan St. Hilare, and early leader Branham completed the top 10 finishers.

If the Late Model race highlighted the region’s youth movement, the 30-lap Bond Auto Parts Modified feature was one for the veterans. Leon Gonyo, 61, of Chazy, NY, benefitted from contact between leaders Vince Quenneville, Jr., and Jessey Mueller to take the lead at lap 22, then held off defending champion Todd Stone to earn his first win in more than two years.

Quenneville appeared to be headed to the winner’s circle to end a similar two-year drought, but contact from Mueller sent him off the track and put both drivers at the rear of the field. Gonyo held the lead and fended off attempts from Stone in both lanes over the final laps. Stone settled for the runner-up spot with Joey Roberts, Johnny Scarborough, and Ron Proctor next in line.

Teenagers Richard Lowrey, III, and Stephen Donahue turned in an entertaining race in the 20-lap Renegade feature. Lowrey, 15, missed last week’s event while he attended football camp at Boston College, but returned to earn the first victory of his career. Donahue raced with Lowrey for the lead early, then spun to the infield. Rookie Scott FitzGerald of West Rutland, VT drove up to second place and finished there for a career-best effort, and a quick recovery by Donahue left him as the final podium finisher. Randy Howard and rookie Eric Messier – in his first start – completed the top five. Point leader Robert Gordon suffered a mechanical issue and failed to finish the race.

Bobby LaVair of Saranac Lake, NY became the seventh different winner in eight races for the Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock division, taking a 20-lap feature event. Point leader Chuck Bradford came through traffic to finish second, while the winner’s brother, Chris LaVair, used a car borrowed from Dan Collins to finish third. Roger LaBounty finished fourth in his first start with John McCarron fifth. The win was the ninth of Bobby LaVair’s career at Devil’s Bowl and moves him into a first-place tie with Chad Brown at the top of the Mini Stock division’s all-time list.

Former Renegade champion Richie Turner of Fairfax, VT won a 75-lap event for the Enduro Series for his first win in the division. Turner threaded his way through a spate of early crashes that eliminated many competitors, then won a race of mechanical attrition down the stretch. Shawn “Mr. Bojangles” Fountain took the runner-up spot, with Brett “Woody” Wood third.

Jerry Jokinen of Castleton, VT won the annual Coca-Cola employee’s race in the first event of the season for the Daredevil “community” racing division. Jokinen, a manager at Coca-Cola in Rutland, VT, drew cheers from the fans but jeers from his co-workers as he drove to the win. Kelly Bullock finished second with Laura Zsido third. Drew Allen had a wild final lap as he spun out of second place, but managed to recover for fourth place ahead of Jamie Zsido.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway returns to action on Friday, July 11 at 7:00 p.m. with the first-ever “Twitter Twin 25s” event for the Modified division. A buy-one-get-one-free admission coupon will be released on the official Devil’s Bowl Speedway Twitter page at (@DevilsBowlSpeed) on Monday, July 7. The Modified division will race two 25-lap feature events, with the Late Model and Mini Stock divisions also in action. Street-legal spectator racing also returns for the event. General admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (age 62+), and free for children age 12 and under. The “Fans First” program will give free general admission to residents of Middlebury, VT and Brandon, VT who present proper identification.

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, call (802) 265-3112 or visit Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at and on Twitter and Instagram at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Coca-Cola Firecracker
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Devil’s Bowl Speedway, West Haven, VT
Friday, July 4, 2014

Late Model Feature (100 laps)
(# – denotes rookie)
1. (9) Josh Masterson, Bristol, VT
2. (5) Emily Packard, East Montpelier, VT
3. (6) Jamie Aube, North Ferrisburgh, VT
4. (7) Brandon Atkins, AuSable Forks, NY
5. (14) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT
6. (3) Chris Bergeron, Claremont, NH
7. (8) Robert Bryant, Jr., Brooklyn, CT
8. (4) # Scott Coburn, South Barre, VT
9. (1) # Dan St. Hilare, Shelburne, VT
10. (2) Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, NY
11. (12) Norm Andrews, Northfield, VT
12. (11) Rich Lowrey, Charlotte, VT
13. (10) Chris Curtis, Rutland, MA
14. (13) Seth Bridge, Mendon, VT
15. (15) # Kyle Baker, Unionville, CT
Heat Winners: Josh Masterson, Jamie Fisher

Bond Auto Parts Modified Feature (30 laps)
(# – denotes rookie)
1. (3) Leon Gonyo, Chazy, NY
2. (11) Todd Stone, Middlebury, VT
3. (6) Joey Roberts, Fletcher, VT
4. (5) Johnny Scarborough, Bomoseen, VT
5. (2) Ron Proctor, Charlton, NY
6. (8) Jamie LaFountain, Plattsburgh, NY
7. (10) Joe Williams, Scotia, NY
8. (7) Jason Durgan, Morrisonville, NY
9. (9) # Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, VT
10. (1) Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon, VT
11. (4) Jessey Mueller, Olmstedville, NY
Heat Winners: Vince Quenneville, Jr., Ron Proctor
Semi-Feature Winner: Johnny Scarborough

Renegade Feature (20 laps)
(# – denotes rookie)
1. (3) Richard Lowrey, III, Charlotte, VT
2. (1) # Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, VT
3. (6) Stephen Donahue, Graniteville, VT
4. (5) Randy Howard, Georgia, VT
5. (7) # Eric Messier, Hinesburg, VT
6. (4) Tony Putzier, Jericho, VT
7. (2) Ray Benoit, Milton, VT
8. (8) Robert Gordon, Milton, VT
9. (9) Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, NY
Heat Winner: Ray Benoit

Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock Feature (20 laps)
(# – denotes rookie)
1. (3) Bobby LaVair, Saranac Lake, NY
2. (8) Chuck Bradford, Addison, VT
3. (6) Chris LaVair, Gabriels, NY
4. (5) Roger LaBounty, Plattsburgh, NY
5. (10) John McCarron, Rensselaer, NY
6. (7) Mike Whalen, Jr., Plattsburgh, NY
7. (4) # Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, VT
8. (2) Harold LaVair, Jr., Gabriels, NY
9. (15) Kyle Watrous, Bomoseen, VT
10. (1) Lance Masterson, Lincoln, VT
11. (13) Kyle Sorensen, Ballston Spa, NY
12. (11) Rob Sines, Jr., Dannemora, NY
13. (12) # Shaylynn Senecal, West Rutland, VT
14. (9) Jake Noble, Benson, VT
15. (14) Matt Monaghan, Colchester, VT
Heat Winners: Chuck Bradford, Chris LaVair

Enduro Series (75 laps)
Pos.-(Car No.)-Driver-Hometown-Laps Completed
1. (17X) Richie Turner, Fairfax, VT – 75 laps
2. (7) Shawn Fountain, Plattsburgh, NY – 75 laps
3. (802) Brett Wood, Georgia, VT – 74 laps
4. (666) Andy Botala, Grand Isle, VT – 73 laps
5. (17) Joe Dresser, Schuyler Falls, NY – 72 laps
6. (20) Zach Wood, Georgia, VT – 72 laps
7. (14) Chris Mattos, Milton, VT – 71 laps
8. (50) Ed Shackett, Sr., Middlebury, VT – 71 laps
9. (069) Jason Vezina, North Hero, VT – 64 laps
10. (30) Tom Kudlacik, Milton, VT – 61 laps
11. (68) Kevin Sorel, Plattsburgh, NY – 61 laps
12. (57) Darren Grenier, Poultney, VT – 61 laps
13. (88X) Eric Messier, Hinesburg, VT – 61 laps
14. (51X) Brad Bushey, Cambridge, VT – 60 laps
15. (21) Aaron Desabrais, Addison, VT – 58 laps
16. (05) Eddie Shackett, Jr., Middlebury, VT – 57 laps
17. (35) Jeff Murray, Georgia, VT – 50 laps
18. (77) Bill Fountain, Altona, NY – 40 laps
19. (87) John Gero, Bristol, VT – 38 laps
20. (86) Michael Desjardins, Rutland, VT – 38 laps
21. (98) Aaron Connolly, Georgia, VT – 36 laps
22. (33X) Andrew Lopes, Colchester, VT – 36 laps
23. (91) Hunter Murray, Cambridge, VT – 36 laps
24. (76) Shawn Moquin, Milton, VT – 36 laps
25. (22) Ethan White, Hinesburg, VT – 35 laps
26. (8) Curtis Denton, St. Albans, VT – 31 laps
27. (02) Ross Lalancette, Fairfax, VT – 19 laps
28. (1X) Nate Bertrand, Brandon, VT – 15 laps
29. (28VT) Todd Maguire, Cavendish, VT – 7 laps
30. (28) Trevor Sampson, Addison, VT – 7 laps
31. (09) Kaleb Shepard, Bristol, VT – 2 laps
32. (1) Shane Wood, Whiting, VT – 2 laps
No Score: (10) Brad Disorda, Leicester, VT

Coca-Cola Daredevil Race (4 laps)
1. Jerry Jokinen
2. Kelly Bullock
3. Laura Zsido
4. Drew Allen
5. Jamie Zsido

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