Teenager’s three-win season tops open-wheel series
RUTLAND, VT – Young stock car driver Jessey Mueller has officially been named the champion of the Northern Modified Challenge Series (NMCS). The 19 year-old from Olmstedville, NY put together an impressive run of victories and podium finishes during the season to become the second champion in series history. The NMCS is a unique tour that pits open-wheel Modified stock cars against each other on both asphalt and dirt surfaces.
Mueller started off the 2014 schedule the same way he did in the series’ inaugural season, with a victory at the legendary Thunder Road International Speedbowl 1/4-mile in Barre, VT on Memorial Day weekend. Mueller did well in twin 30-lap features on the 4/10-mile at Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY in July, with a runner-up in the opener and an eighth-place run in the nightcap – his only finish outside the top-three.
The champion’s defining moment came on August 1 at the Carrara Masonry & Concrete C.J. Richards Memorial 67 at the half-mile asphalt track at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, VT. Mueller’s engine blew in a dramatic cloud of smoke during the qualifying round, but his family team was able to swap in a new power plant and rebound for the victory later in the evening.
A third-place finish at Airborne in September was followed by another third and a victory in twin 50-lap races at Devil’s Bowl’s Mekkelsen RV Vermont 200 Weekend. Mueller opted to sit out the final event, the Autosaver Ford/Springfield Buick-GMC 100 on the new 1/3-mile dirt track at Devil’s Bowl in November, but had already mathematically clinched the championship.
Veteran drivers Leon Gonyo and Vince Quenneville, Jr. fought for the runner-up position in the NMCS championship the entire season. Both drivers split victories in the twin 30s at Airborne in July, but Gonyo was a tick better down the stretch with a pair of second-place finishes to take overall position. Quenneville settled for third place ahead of Airborne track champion Nick Heywood. Jason Durgan took fifth overall. The season’s eight races were won by Mueller, Gonyo, Quenneville, Bobby Therrien (Airborne), Ron Proctor (Devil’s Bowl), and Adam Pierson (Devil’s Bowl dirt).
The Northern Modified Challenge Series is sanctioned by Devil’s Bowl Speedway management. For more information, visit www.DevilsBowlSpeedwayVT.com, call (802) 265-3112, or follow on Twitter at @NorthernModCS or with the #NMCS hashtag.
FINAL 2014 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Northern Modified Challenge Series
1. (19) Jessey Mueller, Olmstedville, NY – 334
2. (4) Leon Gonyo, Chazy, NY – 323
3. (78) Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon, VT – 303
4. (29) Nick Heywood, Plattsburgh, NY – 253
5. (17) Jason Durgan, Morrisonville, NY – 245
6. (27) Ron Proctor, Charlton, NY – 219
7. (20X) Jamie LaFountain, Keeseville, NY – 208
8. (1X) Todd Stone, Middlebury, VT – 185
9. (80) Andy Heywood, Morrisonville, NY – 162
10. (30) Jayson Criss, Plattsburgh, NY – 157
Feature Event Winners:
5/25 – Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl – 1/4-mile asphalt – Jessey Mueller
7/26 – Airborne Park Speedway – 4/10-mile asphalt – Leon Gonyo
7/26 – Airborne Park Speedway – 4/10-mile asphalt – Vince Quenneville, Jr.
8/01 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway – 1/2-mile asphalt – Jessey Mueller
9/06 – Airborne Park Speedway – 4/10-mile asphalt – Bobby Therrien
9/14 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway – 1/2-mile asphalt – Ron Proctor
9/14 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway – 1/2-mile asphalt – Jessey Mueller
11/01 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway – 1/3-mile dirt – Adam Pierson
PHOTO: Jessey Mueller won three races on his way to the Northern Modified Challenge Series championship in 2014. (MemorEvents photo)