PHOTO: Shawn Lawler (center) celebrates his first Sprint Cars of New England win in nearly two years with second place finisher Dan Douville (right) and third place finisher Chris Donnelly (left). (Don MacIntosh photo)

(From series press release)

CANAAN, N.H. — Former Sprint Cars of New England Champion Shawn Lawler ended a 23 month drought with a win in the 25 lap SCoNE feature at Canaan Dirt Speedway Friday. Victory Lane celebrations were cut short when a deluge- including thunder, lightning and hail- sent fans and competitors scurrying for safety in the covered fairgrounds-style grandstand.

Lawler, whose business and family obligations have forced him to run a limited schedule in recent years, started fifth and took command after early leader Randy Wimert fell victim to a miscommunication on the one-way radio and slowed in anticipation of a caution flag that was never displayed.

The win wasn’t bittersweet for Lawler, a 45 year old third generation race driver who started racing as a teenager, but it might be described as semi-sweet. His parents, Darrell and Donna, who have supported his racing efforts since he started and who still attend nearly every race, were in South Carolina for a family function and didn’t see their son win.

“It’s been a while and we’ve had a rough start to the season this year, but I want to thank Casela Waste Management for sponsoring the night and Si Allen for helping me out as much as he does. This is going to be a tough one for my parents to swallow, they never miss a race, but they’re both away this weekend. The stars just aligned tonight and I never felt that I had to work too hard to get around anybody… and here comes the rain,” Lawler said in Victory Lane as the first few drops fell.

The Double D Duo of Dan Douville and Chris Donnelly put on their usual weekly display of driving from the back of the field to the front. Douville started 12th and finished second while Donnelly came from 15th to finish third.

“We got pretty lucky on the last caution flag, Chris had me on the front stretch, but luckily they go back a lap, so it worked out for us. Congratulations to Shawn, he ran a great race. I wanted to try the top to get by Shawn, but that green car (Donnelly) was too good on the bottom and I knew if I didn’t get Shawn, Chris would get me, so I decided to stay where I was.

“We had our hands full in the pits tonight. We changed the magneto and refired the car ten times trying to get it to run right. We got it close, but I used the car up terribly to get to the front and I had nothing for them at the end. Shawn and Dan ran really good. I got around Dan once, but the caution came out and that’s a shame, but we picked up 12 spots, so that’s a pretty good night,” Donnelly said of his third consecutive podium finish.

Clay Dow also had a strong run, starting 13th and finishing fourth. After starting eighth, Jim Lowrey challenged for the lead in the early stages, but had to settle for fifth at the finish.

The Sprint Cars of New England return to Bear Ridge Speedway this Saturday, June 16, along with the USAC DMA Midgets, making it a must-see event for fans of open cockpit racing. On Sunday June 24, SCoNE makes its first appearance of the season at the Legion Speedway in Rumney, NH. SCoNE’s only midweek show of the season takes place on Tuesday July 3 at the Canaan Dirt Speedway, along with a $1,000 to win Twin Twenties feature for the Modifieds, the Bombers, a Chain Race and a Fireworks Spectacular, handcrafted by Italian artisans.

Notes: The event was the third in SCoNE’s 16 race season and there have been three different feature winners so far… The car count was strong once again- at least 20 cars have signed in for every event this season… After racing for several years in a family owned car, Lawler is now wheeling a car from the fleet owned by motorsports magnate and swashbuckling capitalist Si Allen… The race marked the return of three time champion Mark Cole, who missed the last SCoNE event to race with the World of Outlaws in Charlotte, along with SCoNE member Robby Bodwell. Cole’s return was eventful; he started 9th and was working his way through traffic in a run that appeared to have the potential to earn at least a podium finish. Things came undone, however, when he hooked the rear bumper of another car with the right side nerf bar of his machine and lost several spots… Lacy Hanson missed the show because her hauler broke down on the way to the track… The scariest moment of the night came on the opening lap of the first heat. Former Champ Tunk Berry had a throttle stick and he ran over the bank and off the track in turn one, damaging the front end of Andy Seuss’ car on the way. “A lot of things go through your mind really quickly when something like that happens,” Berry said quietly before the start of the feature, “I’m just glad that Andy’s OK.” The incident didn’t appear to cause Berry to lose his nerve in the feature: he started 17th and finished 9th… Eldon Townes made his second start in a Sprint Car; it was a special night because his grandfather Eldon was in the house. The elder Eldon raced Mini Sprints but may be best known for his exploits behind the throttle of the multi-engine Sassy Massy pulling tractor.

Sprint Cars of New England — Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H.
Friday, June 8, 2012

(# – denotes rookie)

1. Shawn Lawler, Mason, N.H.
2. Dan Douville, Bridgewater, N.H.
3. Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
4. Clay Dow, Barnstead, N.H.
5. Jim Lowery, Tilton, N.H.
6. Kevin Chaffee, Fairlee, Vt.
7. # Chris Downs, Meredith, N.H.
8. Matt Robie, Hill, N.H.
9. Tunk Berry, Ossipee, N.H.
10. Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H.
11. Mark Cole, Lebanon, N.H.
12. Bruce Kimball, Lebanon, N.H.
13. Shawn Berry,Center Osspiee, N.H.
14. Brandon Valley, Center Ossipee, N.H.
15. Randy Wimert, Falmouth, Maine
16. Jake Williams, Center Tuftonboro, N.H.
17. # Eldon Townes, II, Weare, N.H.
18. Tyler Rice, Mohawk, N.Y.
19. # Butch Valley, Jr., Hollis, N.H.
Did Not Start — Will Hull, East Montpelier, Vt.