PHOTO: Shawn Berry went wire-to-wire for his first career Sprint Cars of New England victory. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson

WENTWORTH, N.H. — Shawn Berry has been racing with the Sprint Cars of New England for a few seasons, but had yet to visit victory lane. That all changed on Sunday at Legion Speedway, when the Center Osspiee, N.H., racer led all 25 laps en route to his first career series win.

“There are so many people I have to thank,” Berry said in victory lane. “We changed a lot (after the heat race). The car was better and this shows it.”

Berry faced a stiff challenge from second-year runner Jim Lowery, Jr. Lowery, of Tilton, had worked inside Berry after the two crossed the midway point in the race and taken the lead, but was negated when a caution flag flew for an incident involving Brandon Valley and veteran Mark Cole.

Berry’s restart rewarded him with a generous lead, but Lowery was able to close the gap, and challenge Berry as the duo crossed under the checkered flag.

“I was close enough to him to give him a fit,” the runner-up Lowery said. “My only chance at getting him was in lap traffic. He drove a great race.”

Defending champion Dan Douville of Bridgewater, N.H., unofficially claimed the series point lead with a third place finish. Douville drove from his 14th starting position on the tight quarter-mile speedway. Shawn Lawler, of Mason, N.H., and Tunk Berry, of Center Osspiee, N.H., finish fourth and fifth, respectively.

Chris Donnelly, who entered the day as the SCoNE point leader, finished sixth and, unofficially, sits two points back after five races. Clay Dow, Tyler Rich, Bruce Kimball, and Will Hull completed the top ten finishers.

Karl Fredrickson, publisher of Speedway Illustrated, was the first driver in the SCoNE Guest Driver Series. Fredrickson qualified through the B-Main after a third place finish, and finished 14th in the main event.

The Sprint Cars of New England will be featured in a midweek show on the Canaan Dirt on Tuesday, July 3rd, as part of the Independence Day Spectacular. Veteran asphalt racer Donnie Lashua will be on hand as the SCoNE Guest Driver.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Eastman Automotive & Vision Signs 25
Sprint Cars of New England — Legion Speedway, Wentworth, N.H.
Sunday, July 24, 2012

(# – denotes rookie)

1. (1) Shawn Berry, Center Osspiee, N.H.
2. (4) Jim Lowery, Jr., Tilton, N.H.
3. (14) Dan Douville, Bridgewater, N.H.
4. (7) Shawn Lawler, Mason, N.H.
5. (6) Tunk Berry, Center Osspiee, N.H.
6. (12) Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
7. (11) Clay Dow, Barnstead, N.H.
8. (8) Tyler Rich, Lyme, N.H.
9. (2) Bruce Kimball, Lebanon, N.H.
10. (16) Will Hull, East Montpelier, Vt.
11. (3) Bob Giuliani, Middleton, N.H.
12. (13) Robby Bodwell, Sanford, Maine
13. (18) # Chris Downs, Meredith, N.H.
14. (17) Karl Fredrickson, Fremont, N.H.
15. (5) Matt Robie, Hill, N.H.
16. (10) Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H.
17. (15) Brandon Valley, Center Ossipee, N.H.
18. (9) Mark Cole, Lebanon, N.H.
Did Not Qualify: Jake Williams, Center Tuftonboro, N.H.; Lacey Hanson, Orwell, Vt.; # Butch Valley, Jr., Hollis, N.H.