PHOTO: Alex Bell celebrates his Rutland Herald Mid-season Championship win, which earned him double the points and tightened the point gap to the leaders. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson

WEST HAVEN — The eighth starting position may be Alex Bell’s lucky starting position.

The Cambridge, N.Y., racer won earlier in the season from the eighth starting position, and Bell was able to repeat that performance at Devil’s Bowl Speedway for the Rutland Herald Mid-season Championship

Bell restarted on the outside of polesitter and racer leader Jamie Proctor on lap 10, and worked his way to the lead on the restart. Bell was able to manage a short gap back to Jamie Proctor until a lap 29 caution flag for debris.

Bell chose the outside on the restart and retained his lead, and claimed the most important point counting win of the season.

“The biggest thing that excites me is we have struggled for the last three weeks after we won three weeks ago,” Bell said. “It’s been a struggle ever since and my crew has worked ungodly hard. They have put in more hours than they ever have and I really have to thank them. I’m more happy for them than I am myself. They deserved it.”

Proctor, of Schuylerville, N.Y., claimed his best finish of the season with a second place finish. Middlebury’s Todd Stone made his return to Devil’s Bowl and didn’t disappoint, as he claimed a third place finish. Joe Williams of Scotia, N.Y, finished fourth, while Brandon’s Vince Quenneville, Jr., finished fifth.

Leon Gonyo finished sixth. Point leader Ron Proctor had a struggle some battle after being involved in a heat race wreck. The defending champion’s team had to repair many structural pieces to the rear of the car, but never gave up and was rewarded with a seventh place finish. Rookies Jeff Haskins and Joey Roberts finished eighth and ninth, while Jessey Mueller faded late and finished tenth.

Unofficially, Proctor was able to retain his point lead, but that lead now sits at three points over Quenneville.

Jamie Fisher celebrates his first career Devil's Bowl Speedway victory. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)Jamie Fisher made a surprise appearance and claimed his first career Devil’s Bowl win feature.

Fisher was able to claim the lead in the 30-lap J&S Steel Late Model feature after a pair of leaders spun out, and two other drivers were penalized for being involved. Matt White took the lead on lap 15 and was chased by another invader, Mark Lamberton. Lamberton bumped White out of turn four on lap 19 and caused the No. 42 of White to spin. Lamberton was penalized to the rear, and handed the lead to Devil’s Bowl point leader Craig Bushey.

But, that’s all Bushey led. On the restart, Norm Andrews was able to get a slight advantage to lead out of turn two, but Bushey and Andrews made contact and caused Andrews’ car to spin. Bushey was penalized to the rear, and the lead was handed to Bryan Town. Fisher was able to take the lead on the restart, and claimed the win.

“That was quite the scene in front of me,” Fisher said. “I watched it all out of the windshield. I just tried to leave plenty of room, but you can’t hang back too much. These guys are good, fast racers down here. The battle with (Bryan Town) was clean. We hit a little bit, but you have to do what you have to do to win a race.”

Fisher, who races regularly at Barre’s Thunder Road, was able to claim his first feature win since 2009.

“This is big,” the 2003 Thunder Road champion Fisher said. “We’ve been doing well at Thunder Road, and it’s good momentum for the week.”

Lamberton, of Mooers Forks, N.Y., was able to rebound from his penalty to finish second. 15-year-old Joey Laquerre, of East Montpelier, was able to beat out Charlestown, N.H.’s Town for the third position at the line. White, of Northfield, rebounded from his spin to finish fifth. Dan Petronis, II, Doug Hoar, Norm Andrews, Kevin Elliott, and Chad White completed the top ten.

Bushey suffered front end damage during his incident and finished outside the top ten.

Robert Gordon claimed the victory in a unique 20-lap Renegade feature. At lap 10, the field was inverted, placing then-leader Ryan Keith at the rear of the field. Milton’s Gordon restarted third and was able to quickly make his way back to the front, and claimed the victory. Keith and Jeremy Jones had an intense battle for the second position, which saw Pittsford’s Keith claim the second position. Jones, of Leicester, was third.

Josh Masterson of Bristol returned to the winners circle as the most opportune time on Mid-season double point night. Masterson claimed the race on lap four in the 20-lap event and never relinquished it, albeit being chased by Bobby LaVair for the final portion of the race. LaVair, of Gabriels, N.Y., came home in the second position, with Garrett Given, of Cornwall, third. Tyson Drown and Ray Germain, Jr., completed the top five.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway is back in action Friday night for the C.J. Richards Memorial 67-lap Modified feature.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Rutland Herald Mid-season Championships
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series — Devil’s Bowl Speedway, West Haven, Vt.
Friday, July 13, 2012

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

Bond Auto Modifieds (35 laps)
1. Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
2. Jamie Proctor, Schuylerville, N.Y.
3. Todd Stone, Middlebury
4. Joe Williams, Scotia, N.Y.
5. Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon
6. Leon Gonyo, Chazy, N.Y.
7. Ron Proctor, Charlton, N.Y.
8. # Jeff Haskins, Wells
9. # Joey Roberts, Georgia
10. Jessey Mueller, Olmstedville, N.Y.

J&S Steel Late Models (30 laps)
1. Jamie Fisher, Shelburne
2. Mark Lamberton, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
3. Joey M. Laquerre, East Montpelier
4. Bryan Town, Charlestown, N.H.
5. Matt White, Northfield
6. Dan Petronis, II, Mechanicville, N.Y.
7. Doug Hoar, Colchester
8. Norm Andrews, Northfield
9. Kevin Elliott, Rutland
10. Chad White, Fort Ann, N.Y.

Renegades (20 laps)
1. Robert Gordon, Milton
2. Ryan Keith, Pittsford
3. Jeremy Jones, Leicester

Bombers (20 laps)
1. Josh Masterson, Bristol
2. Bobby LaVair, Gabriels, N.Y.
3. Garrett Given, Cornwall
4. Tyson Drown, Morrisonville, N.Y.
5. Ray Germain, Jr., Bristol