McKiernan, FitzGerald battle for Renegade crown; Masterson, Messier comfortably lead Late Models, Mini Stocks

WEST HAVEN – A whole season of work has come down to two races for Vince Quenneville Jr. and Jason Durgan.

The two drivers sit tied at the top of the Devil’s Bowl Speedway Bond Auto Parts Sportsman Modified standings entering this weekend’s Vermont 200 championship finale.

The defending track champion Quenneville has come on strong since the Mid-Season championship event and has closed a 29-point deficit to Durgan. The Brandon driver has not finished outside the top-five since that event and has finished inside the top-ten for every race this season.

For Durgan, the newcomer to the track, he has posted a division-leading five wins (to Quenneville’s three) and a better average (3.3 to Quenneville’s 3.8). However, two finishes outside the top-five – including a 13th place finish after a wreck that saw a comfortable 28-point gap get cut to just three a month ago – has allowed Quenneville to draw even.

Durgan, of Morrisonville, N.Y., nearly swept the month of July at Devil’s Bowl by posting three straight wins before the second leg of a July 30 doubleheader saw him finish third. Up until his 13th place finish on August 20, Durgan’s worst finish was a fourth.

The challenge for the championship begins Saturday for the Heritage Federal Credit Union Vermont 200 qualifying and first 50-lap feature event.  Sunday’s Leon Gonyo Memorial 50 will decide the champion.

Former champion Ron Proctor sits in the third spot in the championship standings, 42 points shy of the top two. Billy Lussier sits in the fourth spot, 20 points back of Proctor, while Jackie Brown Jr. is fifth, 15 points shy of Lussier.

New York driver Travis Bruno is sixth, 15 points back of Brown, with Joey Roberts seventh, 13 markers shy of Bruno. Jimmy Ryan, recently retired Bob Kilburn, and rookie pilot Chuck Bradford complete the top-ten in the standings.

Josh Masterson holds a comfortable 20-point advantage over Robert Bryant Jr. and a 36-point gap over Steve Miller in the Central Vermont Motorcycles Late Model standings.

Masterson, of Bristol, has posted five wins this season to Bryant’s three. Miller has also visited victory lane once this season.

The Late Models will compete in a 100-lap feature event on Sunday that could boast a winner’s purse of $2,000 should a minimum car threshold be met.

Jim McKiernan holds a small two-point advantage over Scott FitzGerald entering the 50-lap finale for the Rosen & Berger Auto Recyclers Renegades on Sunday. Matt Monaghan sits a distant third, 33 points back of McKiernan.

Rookie driver Eric Messier holds a sizable advantage entering the 25-lap season finale for the Portland Glass Mini Stocks on Sunday. The Hinesburg driver sits 31 points ahead of Brad Bertrand.

Qualifying for the Sportsman Modifieds, Renegades, and Mini Stocks will take place on Saturday, September 10 along with the first 50-lap Sportsman Modified feature. Saturday will also feature 10-lap non-winners shootouts for all four divisions, as well as Power Puff and Mechanics races.

Sunday will see the 50-lap season finale for the Sportsman Modifieds, qualifying an a 100-lap feature for the Late Models, a 50-lap finale for the Renegades, and a 25-lap closer for the Mini Stocks.

Following Sunday’s asphalt track season finale, the dirt will take over approximately an hour and a half later at 6:30pm for a regular racing card with a 38-lap Vince Quenneville Sr. Memorial event for the Sportsman Modifieds.

PHOTO: Vince Quenneville Jr. (78) and Jason Durgan (17) sit tied at the top of the Devil’s Bowl Speedway Sportsman Modified standings entering the Vermont 200 weekend event. (VMM file photo)