NASCAR Whelen All-American Series stock car driver Todd Stone got one for the thumb on Friday, July 12, dominating the Bond Auto Parts Modified feature at the double-points Rutland Herald Mid-Season Championships at Devil's Bowl Speedway. The Middlebury, VT driver was seemingly in his own league during the 35-lap race, taking his fifth victory in nine starts on the year.
Stone needed just six laps to shoot from his 10th starting position into the lead and easily distanced himself from the field. He withstood three restarts alongside Hunter Bates, also of Middlebury, VT, en route to the win. Bates was second at the finish. Leon Gonyo of Chazy, NY won a heated battle for third place, besting Jessey Mueller of Olmstedville, NY and Vince Quenneville, Jr., of Brandon, VT.
With point values doubled for all preliminary and feature races on the night, Stone earned 100 points for his feature victory but stretched his overall championship lead by only six points. Bates made a major gain by winning the Sunoco Race Fuels Semi-Feature – a race which Stone failed to qualify for – taking 20 bonus points for that victory. Bates now trails Stone by only 35 points (591-556), cutting his previous deficit by nearly half.
Joey Roberts finished sixth in the feature race, followed by Jeff Haskins, Jim Introne, Jr., Dave Snow, and Ron Proctor. Two-time defending track champion Proctor, of Charlton, NY, recovered from two crashes to finish 10th – his worst finish in three seasons – and dropped from second to fifth in the standings. Proctor had previously not finished worse than seventh since the start of the 2011 season.
Rookie sensation Josh Masterson of Bristol, VT scored a memorable career-first Late Model victory in that division's 30-lap main event. Masterson raced door-to-door with fellow freshman Brandon Atkins of AuSable Forks, NY in second place for several laps, then took the lead from Robert Bryant, Jr. of Brooklyn, CT near the halfway point. Chris Bergeron of Claremont, NH chased Masterson down in the final laps but settled for second.
Two-division star Hunter Bates completed a strong night in third place, followed by Bryant and Chris Curtis of Rutland, MA. Atkins, Jamie Aube, Ricky Bly, Dan Petronis, and Russ Hersey rounded out the top ten finishers in order. Masterson, who held the point lead entering the Rutland Herald Mid-Season Championships event, now leads Bergeron by 12 points (288-276) for the championship.
Robert Gordon of Milton, VT posted his third win of the season in the Renegade division after an entertaining two-segment main event. Gordon, the defending division champion, won the first 12-lap leg, then came from last place after a full-field inversion to finish fourth in the second segment, earning a low total score of five segment points.
Rookie Brad Bushey of Cambridge, VT won a tie-breaker over Ryan Boutin of Fairfax, VT for the runner-up position, by virtue of his second-segment win; each driver scored six segment points. Boutin was third overall, followed by rookies Richard Lowrey, III and Stephen Donahue. Boutin was racing as a substitute driver for previous point leader Richie Turner; Gordon now leads Turner by five points (299-294).
Chris LaVair of Gabriels, NY turned his frustrating season around with a victory in the 15-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock division. After three weeks of bad luck, LaVair took the lead early and drove uncontested to his second win of the year. Rookie Chuck Bradford of Addison, VT was second followed by point leader Jake Noble of Benson, VT. Noble's lead on Bradford is nine points (382-373).
Ron Stewart, Jr., of Benson, VT won the four-lap Daredevil "community" race event for spectators. General admission ticket holders entered in a free drawing for a chance to compete in a real race running track-owned racecars. Stewart beat Ed Barrett of Middletown Springs, VT by three feet to win. Tammy Germain of Bristol, VT finished third, followed by Jason Hall of Warrensburg, NY.
Devil's Bowl Speedway is closed on Friday, July 19 for a mid-summer break, but returns on Sunday, July 28 at 1:30pm with the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 150 presented by 105.3 Cat Country for the American-Canadian Tour Late Models, along with NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events for the Bond Auto Parts Modifieds, Renegades, and Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stocks.
Courtesy: Devil's Bowl Speedway
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