PHOTO: Danny Douville (#7x) and Tunk Berry (#11) race in Sprint Cars of New England qualifying at Canaan Dirt Speedway on Friday. Douville later picked up the feature race victory. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)

Shinn steals Modified checkers in final corner

CANAAN, N.H. — Danny Douville never missed a beat. The Bridgewater, N.H., veteran swept the final three Sprint Cars of New England races of the 2010 season, and made it four in a row on Friday night at Canaan Dirt Speedway in the 2011 opener.

Outside polesitter Clay Dow of Campton, N.H., set a torrid pace in the early laps, but Douville, from fifth starting position, quickly made his way around the outside lane to reach Dow by the sixth lap. As the two began encountering lapped traffic two laps later, Douville nosed ahead to take the lead, just as Tunk Berry spun in turn two to bring out the first caution flag.

From there, Douville survived four more restarts — including one on lap 10 after Lacey Hanson walked away uninjured from a hard flip on the frontstretch — and cruised to the win.

“It’s nice when you’ve got the same car and you know what to expect from the year before,” said Douville, who won seven times as a SCoNE rookie last year. “This is just a blast.”

Dow, who had terrible engine luck in 2010, held on for second place. Sophomore driver Dalton Varney of Effingham, N.H., fought off the challenges of defending SCoNE champion Chris Donnelly for a career-best third-place finish. Piermont, N.H., driver Donnelly was fourth with Kevin Chaffee of Orange, Vt., fifth.

Nick Berry finished sixth, while Mark Cole recovered to finish seventh after spinning out of the top five at lap 12. Jim Lowrey, Shawn Berry, and Matt Shuart completed the unofficial top ten.

Travis Shinn of Groton, N.H., saw nineteen and three-quarters laps worth of hard work pay off in the final corner of the Modified feature as he earned his first victory of the season. Shinn picked off cars on the outside lane, then worked leader Allan Hammond for most of the final half of the race on the top side of the track.

Shinn dropped his car in behind Hammond’s on the final lap and was prepared to finish in second place, but Hammond bobbled in turn four as the checkered flag waved; Shinn darted to the inside lane and stole the win by four feet.

“I thought I’d do it on the outside and it wasn’t working, so I figured on the last lap I’d tuck in behind him and see what happened,” Shinn said in victory lane. “I was working awful hard.”

Tyler Rich, who spun while challenging Hammond for the lead in the early laps, finished in third place. Jeff Elliott and rookie Jason Giguere completed the unofficial top five.

Robbie Williams of Plainfield, N.H., came through traffic and held off Troy Comeau for his first career Super Street victory. Derek O’Hearn was third with Ryan Christian fourth and Todd Buckwold fifth. Armand Boucher won the Bandit feature.

Sprint Cars of New England — Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H.
Friday, May 13, 2011

(# – denotes rookie)

Sprint Cars of New England (20 laps)
1. Danny Douville, Bridgewater, N.H.
2. Clay Dow, Campton, N.H.
3. Dalton Varney, Effingham, N.H.
4. Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
5. Kevin Chaffee, Orange, Vt.
6. Nick Berry, Center Tufftonboro, N.H.
7. Mark Cole, Lebanon, N.H.
8. # Jim Lowrey, Tilton, N.H.
9. Shawn Berry, Center Ossipee, N.H.
10. Matt Shuart, Walkill, N.Y.
11. # Will Hull, East Montpelier, Vt.
12. # Dylan Campbell, Southboro, Mass.
13. Randy Wimert, Falmouth, Me.
14. Rob Shuart, Walkill, N.Y.
15. Bob Giuliani, Middleton, N.H.
16. Robby Bodwell, Sanford, Me.
17. Lacey Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
18. Tunk Berry, Center Ossipee, N.H.
19. # Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H.

Papa Z’s Modified (20 laps)
1. Travis Shinn, Groton, N.H.
2. Allan Hammond, Canaan, N.H.
3. Tyler Rich, Lyme, N.H.
4. Jeff Elliott, Benton, N.H.
5. # Jason Giguere, Lebanon, N.H.
6. Mark Williams, Milton, N.H.
7. Tim Tucker, Northfield, Vt.
8. Tom Forward, Jr., West Lebanon, N.H.
9. # Matt Morrill, Center Harbor, N.H.
10. Bob Richardson, Claremont, N.H.

Beard Sewer & Drain Super Street (20 laps)
1. Robbie Williams, Plainfield, N.H.
2. Troy Comeau, Rumney, N.H.
3. Derek O’Hearn, Campton, N.H.
4. Ryan Christian, Canaan, N.H.
5. Todd Buckwold, Orange, N.H.

Bond Auto Bandits (15 laps)
1. Armand Boucher, Grafton, N.H.
2. Matt Boucher, Grafton, N.H.
3. Chris Cole, Lebanon, N.H.
4. Dallas Hammond, Lebanon, N.H.
5. Leon Dugan, Grafton, N.H.