PHOTO: Chris Donnelly won Friday’s Sprint Cars of New England event at Canaan Dirt Speedway. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)

(From series press release)

CANAAN, N.H. — Defending Sprint Cars of New England champion Chris Donnelly survived a close call on lap 23 to claim his first win of the year in the 25-lap SCoNE feature at Canaan Dirt Speedway on Friday. After building up a long lead, Donnelly’s winning drive nearly ended in a wreck when he had to take evasive action to avoid a lapped car that spun just a few feet ahead of him.

‘It was close,’ an obviously relieved Donnelly recalled. ‘I had to check up and drive around, but he kept the car moving and got it off the track.’

After winning the championship last year in a car owned by Si Allen, Donnelly set off on his own this season. ‘I couldn’t be happier,’ Donnelly said. ‘It was great running Si’s car last year, but this is my baby, I did the motor and I built the shocks. Racing a Sprint Car is like riding a mechanical bull — you get scared every corner, but that’s what makes it fun.’

Dan Douville finished second, ending his winning streak at four. Douville, who started tenth, used a last-lap, last-turn pass to rocket from fourth to second, getting by Clay Dow and Tunk Barry with a bold, sweeping, outside move.

‘The top was drying up, but I blew her in there and she stuck,’ Douville said.

Berry finished third. He appeared to have second place sewn up, but began running out of fuel late in the race. Kevin Chaffee ran out of fuel with two laps to go while running fourth.

The first 14 laps ran caution-free until a single car spin in turn four brought out the first yellow flag. The 18 SCoNE Sprint Cars on hand included three New Hampshire drivers who were making their first Sprint Car start: Matt Robie, 25, of Hill; Brandon Valley, 29, of Osippee, and 30 year-old Tyler Rich of Lyme.

Next up for the winged 360 c.i. SCoNE Sprint Cars is a date this Saturday night June 11 at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vermont. For more information, visit www.nesprintcars.com.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Sprint Cars of New England
Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H.
Friday, June 3, 2011

Pos.-Driver-Hometown

1. Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
2. Dan Douville, Bridgewater, N.H.
3. Tunk Berry, Center Ossipee, N.H.
4. Clay Dow, Campton, N.H.
5. Shawn Berry, Center Ossipee, N.H.
6. Lacey Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
7. Tyler Rich, Lyme, N.H.
8. Si Allen, Windsor, Vt.
9. Mark Cole, Lebanon, N.H.
10. Dalton Varney, Effingham, N.H.
11. Bruce Kimball, Lebanon, N.H.
12. Will Hull, East Montpelier, Vt.
13. Jim Lowrey, Tilton, N.H.
14. Randy Wimert, Falmouth, Me.
15. Kevin Chaffee, Fairlee, Vt.
16. Bob Giuliani, Middleton, N.H.
17. Brandon Valley, Ossipee, N.H.
18. Matt Robie, Hill, N.H.