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Devil's Bowl Speedway News

REAR VIEW MIRROR: The Next Joey Laquerre

- Justin St. Louis on 10 Jul 2011

Fourteen year-old Joey Laquerre finished third in his Late Model debut at Devil's Bowl Speedway last Sunday. (Justin St. Louis photo)PHOTO: Fourteen year-old Joey Laquerre finished third in his Late Model debut at Devil's Bowl Speedway last Sunday. (Justin St. Louis photo)

(Editor's Note: This article was reprinted from Wednesday's "Rear View Mirror" column with permission from the
Barre-Montpelier (Vt.) Times Argus.)

--by Justin St. Louis

Joey Laquerre finished third at Devil’s Bowl Speedway last week. Big deal, right? Another top-five finish from Joey Laquerre. How many is that now, a thousand probably?

Try one. The first one.

The Joey Laquerre racing last Sunday at the West Haven track wasn’t the seven-time Thunder Road champion, the veteran who won the 1969 Milk Bowl as a car owner to Johnny Gammell, the man who dominated Mini Stock and Flying Tiger racing in the 1970s and ‘80s, the guy who has -- according to legend -- raced at every paved track in the northeast since the early 1960s, and is still going strong in his sixth decade behind the wheel.

No, this the next Joey Laquerre. The fourteen year-old. Five feet tall on a good day. That other guy is his grandfather.

This Joey is the son of East Montpelier’s Jeff Laquerre, who is without argument one of the most successful crew chiefs in Vermont pavement racing in the last quarter-century. Joey made his short track debut last year in a four-cylinder Dodge Neon, racing in youth divisions with other kids around his age at tracks in New Hampshire -- he won six races.

The Laquerre family sat down over the off-season and decided that if Joey wanted to he could try a Late Model once he turned fourteen this summer. It’s not just any Late Model, either: Jean-Paul Cyr drove the car to the Thunder Road championship in the track’s historic 50th season two years ago.

Devil’s Bowl’s 20-lap Pro Late Model feature was Joey’s first try in a “real” race car. So far, the kid is proving he deserves the ride.

“We were just gonna go out and run in the back and have some seat time,” Joey said after his podium run at Devil’s Bowl, “but we decided to kick it up a gear and actually try to come in the top three. We did it.”

The race wasn’t without its rough patches, as Joey stove in the nose of his car a little after contact with another racer, then rubbed fenders with David Emigh during his pass for third place.

Mistakes you might expect, perhaps, from someone who can’t even take a Driver’s Ed class for another year.

“I think he did a great job,” said a proud Jeff Laquerre, who insists that his son only earned his ride after showing that he was willing to give up some summer vacation time with friends to work on his race car. A tough trade for any teenager.

“Most of this I let him figure out on his own,” Jeff says. “I actually wanted him to start in the back, but he chose to start where he did because he felt comfortable with where he was.”

Jeff Laquerre said that on the way to the track his son was a ball of nerves. He knew that went away, though, when after the first few practice laps Joey said that the half-mile Devil’s Bowl track -- on which winner Mike Bruno was averaging more than 101 mph each lap -- “isn’t that big.” In fact, the younger Laquerre was running lap times on par with those run by American-Canadian Tour Spring Green winner Brian Hoar in May.

The youngster’s drive forward -- contact and all -- was reminiscent of his grandfather’s exciting style.

“He sometimes gives me too much advice and goes over his head a little bit,” the kid laughs.

“He’ll definitely love that fender for sure,” Jeff giggles as he looks at a black mark left from Emigh’s tire.

Even if Papa Joey tries a bit too hard every now and then, his grandson appreciates every bit of help he gets.

“I want to thank my crew and R&J Auto Service for all the things that they do,” says Joey the rookie, already practicing the sponsor name drops, “and my dad. He’s a really special guy. I’m glad I’m in this racing family, they’re all really good racers.”

Devil's Bowl Speedway is in action tonight at 6:00pm with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and spectator racing. Fans will be admitted at $20 per carload.

Devils Bowl
Sun., July 17 (6:00pm)
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series/Red Knights Motorcycle Ride/RRMC benefit

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results, 7/10

NASCAR Modified
1. Bobby Hackel, East Greenbush, NY
2. Ron Proctor, Charlton, NY
3. Jessey Mueller, Olmstedville, NY

Pro Late Model
1. Mike Bruno, Castleton
2. Chris Wilk, Mendon
3. Hunter Bates, Pittsford

1. Josh Coonradt, Milton, NY
2. Frank Monroe, Granville, NY
3. Matt Livingston, Ganford, NY

Bomber Warrior
1. Eddie Bruno, Fair Haven
2. Ray Germain, Bristol
3. Mark Lindblade, Hadley, NY

Goss Dodge-ChryslerBurlingtonNightOut.comBruno's TowingBFR ChassisSubway of Barre, Montpelier, Northfield, Waterbury, West LebanonFast One Motorsports C&S ScreenprintingMansfield HeliflightRPM Racing Engines

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