PHOTO: Brian Hoar (red car) narrowly avoids a spinning Eric Williams at Devil’s Bowl Speedway en route to his 30th career ACT win on Sunday. (Leif Tillotson photo)

Williston champ takes 30th ACT win

WEST HAVEN — It took nearly two hours, but Brian Hoar crossed the finish line at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Sunday with two new milestones in his hip pocket: A record-tying third victory in the prestigious Spring Green event, and the 30th win of his American-Canadian Tour career.

The Williston driver, who has won the last two ACT Late Model Tour championships and seven overall, survived an exhausting 14 caution periods and an intense clash for the lead with Craig Bushey to record the historic win. Hoar started 11th on the 32-car field and, after three caution periods in the first nine laps, began making his way toward the front.

Water seepage from a week’s worth of heavy rains affected the racing surface and was blamed for several of the accidents.

Bushey, of Fairfax, front row starters Brad Babb and Jamie Fisher, and Ricky Rolfe each took turns leading during the first 19 circuits before Bushey and Fisher broke away. Hoar made his way past Luke Hinkley, Glen Luce, and eventually Fisher to enter second place, then chased Bushey down.

Hoar nosed under Bushey’s No. 05 Miller Auto Group/Robinson’s Fuels Chevrolet at lap 52 to begin a duel that lasted until lap 90. The pair first made contact in turn four on lap 52, and Hoar led by inches at the line on lap 54. Bushey led laps 55-58, Hoar led laps 59-65, and then Bushey body-slammed Hoar’s No. 37 Goss Dodge-Chrysler/RPM Racing Engines Ford to take the lead on lap 66.

Hoar retaliated by giving Bushey a shot in turns three and four, but Bushey held on to the lead. Finally, Hoar pulled to the outside lane and drove around Bushey to take control for the final time on lap 75.

“It was fun,” Hoar said with a smile. “Craig is a tremendously talented race car driver. Sometimes he’s a bit of a meathead on the race track, but he’s a great guy in the pit area. I say that only in kudos to him. It’s kind of like Dale Earnhardt; I’m sure I could have come up with all kinds of names for him had I ever had a chance to race against the man, and [Craig] reminds me of that style of racer. That’s just the way he races. You get up there and that son of a [gun] is just tough, he just is.”

As Bushey’s handling fell off during the final 21 laps, Graniteville’s John Donahue quietly made his way into second place at the finish, his third podium run in three ACT Late Model Tour events.

Twin State Speedway regulars Hinkley and Todd Davis, both of Claremont, N.H., had impressive showings in their first ACT appearances outside their home track. Hinkley ran inside the top five for much of the 111-lap event before retiring with mechanical problems on lap 79. Davis, his teammate, picked cars off late in the going to finish in third place.

After spinning off the backstretch on lap 64, Turner, Me., veteran Luce drove through the field to finish fourth. Rookie Ben Ashline of Pittston, Me., came from 27th starting position to finish a career-best fifth, with Babb sixth. Fisher recovered from an ugly incident on lap 83 with Chip Grenier to take seventh place. Bushey, Randy Potter, and Quinny Welch completed the unofficial top ten.

The Spring Green 111 victory was the 30th of Hoar’s ACT Late Model Tour career, extending his own record for all-time wins on the series, and the half-mile Devil’s Bowl Speedway became the 13th track Hoar has won on in ACT championship competition. Hoar’s win was also his first with a Ford engine.

Sunday’s event was the first-ever ACT race at Devil’s Bowl. Forty drivers attempted to qualify for 32 starting positions. Hoar, Rolfe, Joey Becker, and Donahue were qualifying heat winners. Jean-Paul Cyr and Babb won the consolation rounds, and Scott MacMichael won the last-chance qualifier.

Wayne Helliwell, Jr., Mike Bruno, and rookie Hunter Bates walked away uninjured from a spectacular crash during qualifying heats. Helliwell and team made repairs to their car in time to qualify for the main event, where they finished 22nd.

Bill Duprey of Hydeville won the 20-lap Renegade feature over defending track champion Frank Monroe of Granville, New York. Russ Downing of Hartland was the winner of the 15-lap Bomber Warrior event.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway is back in action on Sunday, May 29 with the People’s United Bank Memorial Day 50 for the new NASCAR Modified division. The ACT Late Model Tour’s next event is at Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine on Saturday, June 4; the Big Jab 150 was postponed by rain on May 15.

American-Canadian Tour — Devil’s Bowl Speedway, West Haven, Vt.
Sunday, May 22, 2011

(# – denotes rookie)

1. (11) Brian Hoar, Williston, Vt., Racing Engines Ford – 111
2. (13) John Donahue, Graniteville, Vt., National Guard Ford – 111
3. (9) Todd Davis, Claremont, N.H., R.E. Hinkley/Townline Equipment Dodge – 111
4. (7) Glen Luce, Turner, Me., Stevens Pump & Electric Ford – 111
5. (27) # Ben Ashline, Pittston, Me., D.S. Norton Construction/Berube’s Auto Care Chevrolet – 111
6. (1) Brad Babb, Windham, Me., McGoldrick Bros. Blasting/Robert Babb Logging Chevrolet – 111
7. (2) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, Vt., S.D. Ireland Brothers/Interstate Batteries Chevrolet – 111
8. (6) Craig Bushey, Fairfax, Vt., Miller Auto Group/Robinson’s Fuels Chevrolet – 111
9. (13) Randy Potter, Groveton, N.H., Speedway Sports Park Chevrolet – 111
10. (20) Quinny Welch, Lancaster, N.H., Local Lineman 104/M.A. Bean Associates Chevrolet – 111
11. (5) Brent Dragon, Milton, Vt., Beverage Mart/R.R. Charlebois Freightliner Chevrolet – 111
12. (12) Joey Becker, Jeffersonville, Vt., Richard Green Trucking/Green’s ACE Hardware Chevrolet – 111
13. (16) Mark Lamberton, Mooers Forks, N.Y., Richard Green Trucking/Green’s ACE Hardware Chevrolet – 111
14. (21) # Pete Yetman, Peru, Mass., Hinsdale Trading Company/BFR Chassis Chevrolet – 111
15. (3) Ricky Rolfe, Albany Twp., Me., Brackett Mechanical, Inc./RB Performance Chevrolet – 111
16. (28) # Dave Farrington, Jr., Jay, Me., Atlantic Contracting & Specialties/DMD Racing Ford – 111
17. (31) Rick Thompson, Jr., Derby, Vt., Jay Peak Chevrolet – 110
18. (24) Tom Carey, Jr., New Salem, Mass., Summit Ice Ford – 110
19. (23) Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., Hudson, N.H., Pole’s Automotive Ford – 107
20. (32) # Rowland Robinson, Jr., Birch Harbor, Me., Rowland’s Wrecker/D.C. Air Dodge – 106
21. (30) Jeff Labrecque, Jr., Rochester, N.H., JJL Automotive & Fabrication/Skip’s Bug Barn Chevrolet – 94
22. (29) Wayne Helliwell, Jr., Dover, N.H., Ford Ford – 93
23. (14) Ray Parent, Tiverton, R.I., Amtrol/Dan Davis Sales Ford – 89
24. (8) Chip Grenier, Graniteville, Vt., Last Call Racing Toyota – 86
25. (4) # Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, Me., Varney Insurance/DDL Daigle Oil Ford – 83
26. (18) Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, Vt., Harrison Redi-Mix/Vermont Tech Chevrolet – 83
27. (17) Luke Hinkley, Claremont, N.H., R.E. Hinkley Dodge – 79
28. (10) Joey Laquerre, East Montpelier, Vt., Laquerre’s Marine & Sports Center Ford – 52
29. (22) Eric Williams, Hyde Park, Vt., Williams Racing Chevrolet – 9
30. (26) Dennis Spencer, Jr., Oxford, Me., R.C. & Sons Paving/Snow Buffalo Chevrolet – 9
31. (25) Scott MacMichael, Newbury, N.H., OLY Machine Chevrolet – 9
32. (19) Jacob McGrath, North Clarendon, Vt., Mountain Green Resort Dodge – 9

Renegade (20 laps)
1. Bill Duprey, Hydeville
2. Frank Monroe, Granville, N.Y.
3. Rowdy Burch, Fort Edward, N.Y.
4. Jeremy Jones, Leicester
5. Jeremy Hayes, Queensbury, N.Y.

Bomber Warrior (15 laps)
1. Russ Downing, Hartland
2. Ray Germain
3. Eddie Bruno, Fair Haven
4. Matt Monaghan, Colchester
5. Mike Tomczak, Essex Junction