Bryant tops Late Models; McKiernan, LaVair grab first wins; Wood runs away with Enduro

(From track press release)

WEST HAVEN – Vince Quenneville Jr. turned an ugly start into a big win on the half-mile Asphalt Track at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Saturday, August 6.  Quenneville converted his subpar night into late-race dominance to earn his first win in the annual Carrara Masonry & Concrete “C.J. Richards Memorial 67” for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bond Auto Parts Sportsman Modified division.  Other winners at the event included Robert Bryant Jr., rookie Austin McKiernan, C.J. LaVair, and Zach Wood.

The fifth-annual event honored late Devil’s Bowl Speedway founder Chuck “C.J.” Richards, with the 67-lap total distance serving as a nod to the track’s opening in 1967.  Brandon, Vt., veteran Quenneville – the defending track champion – had an uncharacteristically poor showing in his qualifying heat, and improved only marginally in the first 22-lap leg of the three-segment main event.

Jackie Brown Jr. of Hurley, N.Y., ran away with the first segment to earn a single scoring point in the three-round total tally, while Jason Durgan finished second ahead of Travis Bruno, Ron Proctor, and Dave Snow.  Quenneville mustered only a seventh-place finish, putting himself in a hole to start the race.

With full-field inversions between segments, however – and enough time to make significant setup changes on his No. 78 Black Diamond Builders/Champlain Construction-sponsored Troyer – Quenneville made major gains to dominate the 22-lap middle leg.  Durgan and Brown got physical in a late battle for second place, with Durgan prevailing.  Billy Lussier finished fourth with Proctor fifth.

Entering the final 23-lap segment, Brown and Durgan were tied in the lead at four segment points apiece, three points better than Quenneville and five points ahead of Proctor.  Quenneville did his part and came from deep in the field in the final round to win.  Proctor finished second ahead of Alex Bell, Bruno, and Brown, who fought through heavy traffic and survived a late scrape that knocked Durgan out of contention.

The final tally showed both Quenneville and Brown at nine points (Quenneville – 7, 1, 1; Brown – 1, 3, 5), but Quenneville was given the tiebreaker and the overall victory based on his better final-segment finish.  The win was Quenneville’s second of the season and his first in the five-year history of the C.J. Richards Memorial event.  Brown’s runner-up showing will keep things close as he and Quenneville battle back-and-forth for the NASCAR Vermont State Championship title.  Proctor (4, 5, 2) scored 11 points to be placed third in the overall finish.  Durgan (2, 2, 8) was fourth overall at 12 points, and Bruno (3, 7, 4) took fifth at 14 points, unofficially.

Robert Bryant Jr. of Brooklyn, Conn., nursed an ailing engine to win the 30-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Late Model feature, his second win of the season.  Jamie Aube held the lead for the first eight laps before a three-car accident bunched the field for a restart.  Bryant pounced and took the lead away, but was never comfortably out front as Aube hung tough in second place.  Josh Masterson came back from the early crash to steal third place by inches at the finish line from Todd Stone; Seth Bridge rounded out the top five.

Leading rookie Austin McKiernan of Moriah Center, N.Y., ran to his first career victory in the 15-lap Rosen & Berger Auto Recyclers Renegade division feature.  McKiernan was hooked and up and never seriously challenged for the lead.  Matt Monaghan took second for eighth podium finish in nine starts; R.J. Germain, Tony Salerno, and Jim McKiernan – the winner’s father – completed the top five.

Defending Portland Glass Mini Stock division champion C.J. LaVair finally threw the monkey off his back with his first win of the season.  The Saranac Lake, N.Y., veteran led the whole 15-lap race, beating rookies Eric Messier and Brett Wood for the win.  Brad Bertrand finished fourth with Zach Wood fifth.

Zach Wood was not done, though, and won the 50-lap Enduro Series race to close the evening.  The Georgia, Vt., racer drove an extremely loose racecar, getting it sideways every corner.  He was one of four drivers to complete all 50 laps; Cory Gray finished second, while Shawn McIntyre’s third-place run was his best to date.  Brett Wood, Zach’s father, finished fourth.  Craig Kirby finished fifth, one lap off the pace.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s busy August stretch continues on Sunday, August 7 on the 3/10-mile Dirt Track with double feature races for the Sportsman Modifieds, Renegades, and Mini Stocks.  Regular general admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (62+), $5 for teens (13-17), and free for kids 12 and under.  Gates open at 4:00 p.m., with racing at 6:00 p.m.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, Vt., four miles north of Exit 2 off of U.S. Route 4 and just 20 minutes from Rutland, Vt.  For more information, visit www.DevilsBowlSpeedwayVT.com or call.  Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at facebook.com/DevilsBowlSpeedway and on Twitter and Instagram at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Carrara Masonry & Concrete C.J. Richards Memorial
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Devil’s Bowl Speedway, West Haven, Vt.
Saturday, August 6, 2016

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

Bond Auto Parts Sportsman Modifieds (3 segments, 67 laps)
1. Vince Quenneville Jr., Brandon – 9 pts
2. Jackie Brown Jr., Hurley, N.Y. – 9 pts
3. Ron Proctor, Charlton, N.Y. – 11 pts
4. Jason Durgan, Morrisonville, N.Y. – 12 pts
5. Travis Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y. – 14 pts
6. Billy Lussier, Fair Haven – 18 pts
7. Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y. – 23 pts
8. Jimmy Ryan, Whiting – 24 pts
9. Bob Kilburn, Fair Haven – 25 pts
10. Dave Snow, Brandon – 25 pts

Central Vermont Motorcycles Late Models (30 laps)
1. Robert Bryant Jr., Brooklyn, Conn.
2. Jamie Aube, North Ferrisburgh
3. Josh Masterson, Bristol
4. Todd Stone, Middlebury
5. Seth Bridge, Mendon

Rosen & Berger Auto Recyclers Renegades (15 laps)
1. # Austin McKiernan, Moriah Center, N.Y.
2. Matt Monaghan, Colchester
3. R.J. Germain, Bristol
4. Tony Salerno, Mineville, N.Y.
5. Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, N.Y.

Portland Glass Mini Stocks (15 laps)
1. C.J. LaVair, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
2. # Eric Messier, Hinesburg
3. # Brett Wood, Georgia
4. Brad Bertrand, Ferrisburgh
5. # Zach Wood, Georgia

Enduro Series (50 laps)
1. Zach Wood, Georgia
2. Cory Gray, Rutland
3. Shawn McIntyre, St. Albans
4. Brett Wood, Georgia
5. Craig Kirby, Winooski

PHOTO: C.J. Richards Memorial winner Vince Quenneville Jr. celebrates in victory lane at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.   (Andrew Cassidy/Devil’s Bowl Speedway photo)