PHOTO: Chris Donnelly (#91) won Saturday’s Bond Auto Parts DIRTcar Sportsman Modified feature on Wells River Savings Bank Night at Bear Ridge Speedway after starting last on the 21-car field, passing Adam Pierson (#15) and Kevin Chaffee (#73) along the way. (Alan Ward photo)

Harrington grabs Coupe checkers

(From track press release)

BRADFORD — Chris Donnelly returned to victory lane in a big way at Bear Ridge Speedway on Wells River Savings Bank Night on Saturday, driving from last place on the 21-car starting grid to win the 35-lap Bond Auto Parts DIRTcar Sportsman Modified feature. The Piermont, NH veteran put on a show, passing cars in both low and high grooves for his first 99ROCK Weekly Racing Series win of the year.

Donnelly piloted the No. 91 Tuck’s Repair-sponsored Bicknell chassis owned by Tim Tucker to the win after avoiding a six-car wreck on the opening lap, then slicing through the pack as the laps clicked away.

“It doesn’t get any better than that, 21st to the win,” Donnelly said after catching his breath in victory lane. “It’s been a long time since I had a car that good. Thanks to Tim Tucker for letting me drive it tonight.”

Donnelly passed Fairlee, VT racer Adam Pierson for second on the inside lane on lap 14 then chased down early leader Derek Graham, taking the lead from Graham on the outside at lap 22. Graham spun moments later, spoiling his night. Pierson finished second after an entertaining fight with Gary Siemons and Kevin Chaffee; Siemons came from 19th starting position, and Chaffee rebounded after being involved in the opening-lap crash. Siemons, of Orford, NH, finished third, followed by Chaffee and Bryan King.

Josh Harrington of Topsham, VT grabbed his third 30-lap Wells River Chevrolet Sportsman Coupe win of the year after a hard-fought battle with sophomore driver Tim Hodge of Vershire, VT. Hodge matched his career-best effort as the runner-up, and Terry Williams of Wells River, VT made a final-corner pass of Gene Pierson, Jr., for third place. Jason Horniak was fifth behind Pierson.

Fifteen year-old Jordan Fornwalt strolled to his fourth win of the year in the 20-lap A Notch Above Automotive Limited Late Model feature. The hometown star outdistanced West Topsham, VT’s Brian Chaffee for the win, with point leader Mike Greene of North Haverhill, NH third. Matt Ellsworth and rookie Travis King rounded out the top five.

Defending champion Kevin Harran of St. Johnsbury, VT posted his second 20-lap Weglarz Property Service Fast Four win of the season, beating out Chuck Simmons of Bradford, VT and Tim Martin of White River Junction, VT. Danny Doyle and Steve Bell were next in line.

Eric Lang of Groton, VT took another step toward his second KDD NAPA Auto Parts Hornet title with his fourth win of the year. Rookie Brandon Gray of East Thetford, VT was the runner-up for the fourth time in 2012, with Don Reynolds, Charlie Lakin, and Mike Stender in tow.

Michael Phelps of Woodsville, NH won the first Hornet Stinger youth division race of the season over Leah McGinley of East Barre, VT and Meagan Blake of Waterbury, VT.

Jake Williams of Center Tuftonboro, NH won the 600cc feature for the Granite State Mini Sprints, followed by Rich Crooker and Troy Boissoneau. Lacey Hanson of Orwell, VT won the 500cc feature ahead of Josh Boissoneau and Dylan Rock.

Justin St. Louis of West Addison, VT won the season’s first 50-lap Enduro ahead of Tracy Phelps and Evan Baghalan.

Bear Ridge Speedway’s 45th season of stock car racing continues with Bond Auto Parts Night on Saturday, June 30. The annual Modified “Madness” event highlights the card along with the USAC Dirt Midget Association and the 99ROCK Weekly Racing Series Coupes, Late Models, Fast Fours, Hornets, and Hornet Queens. General admission is $10 for adults (age 18-61), $8 for teens (12-17) and seniors (62+), and $2 for children; Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Racing begins at the famous “6:00-ish” start time.

Bear Ridge Speedway is located on Kidder Road in Bradford, VT, just off Exit 16 on Interstate 91. For more information, call (802) 222-4052 or visit

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Wells River Savings Bank Night
Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford, Vt.
Saturday, June 30, 2012

(# – denotes rookie)

Bond Auto DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Feature (35 laps)
1. Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
2. Adam Pierson, Fairlee
3. Gary Siemons, Orford, N.H.
4. Kevin Chaffee, Fairlee
5. Bryan King, Corinth
6. Dan Eastman, Thetford Center
7. Jason Gray, East Thetford
8. Robert Tucker, East Topsham
9. Evan Kingsbury, Bradford
10. Josh Sunn, White River Junction

Wells River Chevrolet Sportsman Coupe Feature (30 laps)
1. Josh Harrington, Topsham
2. Tim Hodge, Vershire
3. Terry Williams, Wells River
4. Gene Pierson, Jr., East Corinth
5. Jason Horniak, Bradford
6. Jeremy Beckley, Woodsville, N.H.
7. Jason Colbeth, Newbury
8. Mike McGinley, East Barre
9. # Jesse Smith, Topsham
10. Steve Ellsworth, Corinth

A Notch Above Automotive Limited Late Model Feature (20 laps)
1. Jordan Fornwalt, Bradford
2. Brian Chaffee, West Topsham
3. Mike Greene, Jr., Pike, N.H.
4. Matt Ellsworth, Corinth
5. # Travis King, Corinth

Weglarz Property Service Fast Four Feature (20 laps)
1. Danny Doyle, Rochester
2. Kevin Harran, St. Johnsbury
3. Rob Gioia, East Thetford
4. Bobby Bell, St. Johnsbury
5. Tim Martin, White River Junction

KDD NAPA Auto Parts Hornet Feature (20 laps)
1. Eric Lang, Groton
2. Brent Warren, Salisbury
3. Don Reynolds, Springfield
4. Mike Stender, South Strafford
5. # Brandon Gray, East Thetford

Hornet Stinger Feature (8 laps)
1. Michael Phelps, Woodsville, N.H.
2. Leah McGinley, East Barre
3. Meagan Blake, Waterbury

Granite State Mini Sprint 600cc Feature (20 laps)
1. Jake Williams, Center Tuftonboro, N.H.
2. Rich Crooker, Nashua, N.H.
3. Troy Boissoneau, Bedford, N.H.
4. Dave Morgan, Woburn, Mass.
5. Spencer Allen, Plainfield, N.H.

Granite State Mini Sprint 500cc Feature (20 laps)
1. Lacey Hanson, Orwell
2. Josh Boissoneau, Bedford, N.H.
3. # Dylan Rock, Enfield, N.H.
4. # Derrick Barker, Thetford
5. Patrick Smith, East Andover, N.H.

4&6-Cylinder Enduro (50 laps)
1. Justin St. Louis, West Addison