Young stock car driver Hunter Bates used a combination of good equipment and good timing to win the Bond Auto Parts Modified portion of the Coca-Cola Firecracker Twin 44s at Devil's Bowl Speedway on Wednesday, July 4. The Middlebury, VT racer started fourth on the 17-car grid and had a dominant car, leading by nearly half a lap at one point, but heavy rains began to fall at lap 25.
With the race official at the halfway mark three laps earlier, Bates pulled his No. 69 Windy Hollow Homes/Donnelly Construction-sponsored Bicknell car into victory lane under a soggy checkered flag, securing his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victory of the year one day after his 17th birthday.
Another 17 year-old, Jessey Mueller of Olmstedville, NY, drove from eighth place and sliced through heavy traffic to take the runner-up spot. Rookie Joey Roberts of Georgia, VT finished third for the second straight event. Veterans Ron Proctor and Vince Quenneville, Jr., finished fourth and fifth in tight formation on Roberts' back bumper. Rookie Jeff Haskins finished a career-best sixth, followed teammates Joe Williams and Cody Sargen, multi-time champion Kenny Tremont, Jr., and Jason Bruno.
J&S Steel Late Model point leader Craig Bushey grabbed win number six in the full-fender half of the Coca-Cola Firecracker 44 twin bill, but not without a race-long fight from up-and-coming youngster Dan Petronis. Bushey, of Fairfax, VT ran on the inside lane, trading the lead with high-flying Petronis several times. Bushey was able to clear Mechanicville, NY driver Petronis with five laps remaining and ran to the win, with his young rival a season-best second. Bryan Town of Charlestown, NH recovered from an opening-lap spin to post his third consecutive third-place finish. Matt White and rookie Robert Bryant, Jr., completed the top five.
Pittsford, VT's Ryan Keith capitalized on the misfortunes of Jeremy Jones to take the 20-lap Renegade feature for his third win of the year. Jones appeared to be headed for his first career victory until a drivetrain failure knocked him out of the race with seven laps remaining. Keith held off top dogs Robert Gordon of Milton, VT and Bill Duprey of Hydeville, VT through the balance of the event. Morrisonville, NY brothers Tylor and Josh Terry were fourth and fifth, respectively, in their first appearances at Devil's Bowl.
Bobby LaVair of Gabriels, NY made it two in a row in the 20-lap Bomber feature. LaVair beat Tyson Drown on Morrisonville, NY, who made his first stock car start in nearly ten years, and Orwell, VT's Mitchell Dundon, who was in just the third race of his young career. Ray Germain, Jr., and rookie Gerald LaFlam rounded out the top five.
Paul Allen of Coca-Cola won the first-ever Daredevil race in five-lap shootout over Ray Piasecki and Jerry Jokinen. The Daredevil class is a track-run program that offers "every day" people a chance to drive real race cars on the Devil's Bowl half-mile.
Devil's Bowl Speedway will be closed on Friday, July 6 for an early summer break, but returns to action on Friday, July 13 as the Rutland Herald presents the Mid-Season Championships at 7:30pm. Double points will be on the line for all four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified, Late Model, Renegade, and Bomber divisions.
--- Courtesy Devil's Bowl Media
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