PHOTO: Hunter Bates piloted a car purchased for him by Devil’s Bowl Speedway founder C.J. Richards in the C.J. Richards Memorial 67-lap Modified feature Friday night at Devil’s Bowl. (Alan Ward file photo)

Teen drives car purchased by late speedway founder for biggest win of career

(From track press release)

WEST HAVEN — Seventeen year-old NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bond Auto Parts Modified stock car driver Hunter Bates authored a Hollywood-style script at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Friday night, earning the biggest victory of his young career in the C.J. Richards Memorial 67 presented by Carrara Masonry & Concrete. The Middlebury, VT racer piloted a car purchased for him by Devil’s Bowl Speedway founder Richards shortly before Richards’ passing in February, winning in dominant fashion.

Bates started seventh on the 16-car field and quickly rocketed to the front, taking the lead from Jamie Proctor after a restart on lap 8. Bates led the balance of the race, stretching out to as much as a half-lap advantage at times. Another 17 year-old, Jessey Mueller of Olmstedville, NY, finished second after an exciting late-race duel with former track champion Todd Stone of Middlebury, VT.

“I owe it all to C.J.,” Bates said. “He did so much for me and my family, and it’s been an honor to drive this car. It’s an honor to win this race, and it’ll be an honor to be in this car next week, too.” Bates was presented the Carrara Masonry & Concrete trophy in victory lane by Joanne Richards, C.J. Richards’ widow. Bates’ Windy Hollow Homes/Donnelly Construction-sponsored Modified bears the number 69 – the number Richards used during his own driving career – and a decal honoring Richards.

Joe Williams of Scotia, NY finished fourth, and Leon Gonyo drove from 13th to complete the unofficial top five. Ron Proctor, Vince Quenneville, Jr., Alex Bell, Joey Roberts, and Jamie Proctor were next in line.

Matt Monaghan of Colchester, VT overcame mechanical demons that have plagued him throughout 2012 to win the 20-lap Bomber division feature. Monaghan led every lap en route to his second career win. Bobby LaVair of Gabriels, NY and Josh Masterson of Bristol, VT were second and third, respectively, after an entertaining see-saw battle. Garrett Given and Ray Germain, Jr., rounded out the top five.

Don Miller of Wells, VT was the unofficial winner of the 15-lap Renegade race, pending technical inspection. The former Modified champion was in his first-ever start in a full-fender car, driving for Frank Monroe, who is sidelined with medical issues. Miller fended off a constant challenge from Pittsford, VT’s Ryan Keith and Bill Duprey of Hydeville, VT, who finished second and third, respectively.

Ray Hoard of Granville, NY won C.J. Richards Memorial “All-Star Challenge” in the Daredevil division. Hoard, the 2004 Devil’s Bowl Speedway Modified champion, was one of ten veteran drivers who came back to race in a special showdown in the track-owned race cars. Hoard beat out former Pro Stock champion Fred Little of Salisbury, VT and Late Model veteran Charlie Brown of Castleton, VT in a close three-car battle. Modified veteran Don Mattison of Wells, VT walked away from a spectacular crash in the second qualifying race after contact with Hoard sent him flying off the track.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway continues the C.J. Richards Memorial Weekend with the Vintage Festival presented by 101.5 “The Fox” on Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22. A car show for classic race cars, street cars, and hot rods will be held on Saturday from 12:00 noon until 6:00pm, followed by car show awards and vintage racing on Sunday at 11:00am. Two-day admission is $10 for adults, or $20 for exhibitors; space is still available.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, VT, four miles north of Exit 2 on US Route 4. For more information, call (802) 265-3112 or click www.devilsbowlspeedwayvt.com. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at facebook.com/devilsbowlspeedway and Twitter at @DevilsBowlSpeed.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Carrara Masonry & Concrete C.J. Richards Memorial
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series — Devil’s Bowl Speedway, West Haven, Vt.
Friday, July 20, 2012

Pos.-(Start)-Driver-Hometown
(# – denotes rookie)

Bond Auto Parts Modifieds (67 laps)
1. Hunter Bates, Middlebury
2. Jessey Mueller, Olmstedville, N.Y.
3. Todd Stone, Middlebury
4. Joe Williams, Scotia, N.Y.
5. Leon Gonyo, Chazy, N.Y.
6. Ron Proctor, Charlton, N.Y.
7. Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon
8. Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
9. # Joey Roberts, Georgia
10. Jamie Proctor, Schuylerville, N.Y.

Renegades (15 laps)
1. Don Miller, Wells
2. Ryan Keith, Pittsford
3. Bill Duprey, Hydeville
4. Robert Gordon, Milton
5. Jeremy Jones, Leicester

Bombers (20 laps)
1. Matt Monaghan, Colchester
2. Bobby LaVair, Gabriels, N.Y.
3. # Josh Masterson, Bristol
4. Garrett Given, Cornwall
5. Ray Germain, Jr., Bristol
6. Harold LaVair, Gabriels, N.Y.
7. # Gerald LaFlam, Hinesburg
8. Mitchell Dundon, Orwell
9. Tyson Drown, Morrisonville, N.Y.
10. Eddie Bruno, Jr., Fair Haven

Daredevil “All-Star Showdown” (6 laps)
1. Ray Hoard, Granville, N.Y.
2. Fred Little, Salisbury
3. Charlie Brown, Castleton
4. Lee Nutting, West Rutland