Durgan earns tiebreaker nod in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship 

–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
VMM Editor

WEST HAVEN – Vince Quenneville Jr. scored a dominating win at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Sunday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to overcome DurgaMania for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship.

The fan favorite from Brandon quickly took the lead from an eighth place starting spot in the 50-lap Leon Gonyo Memorial race for the Bond Auto Parts Sportsman Modifieds and raced out to over a straightway lead during a lengthy green flag run.

Quenneville was then forced to hold off champion Jason Durgan for the race win on a restart with just four laps to go. Durgan finished second, which was enough to earn the tiebreaking championship win over Quenneville.

“It was a great year,” Quenneville said. “We struggled a little bit after the second week and gave up some points. Yesterday, at a restart at the end, (Durgan) was able to get by one car and created a separation between us.

“That was the difference.”

Vince Quenneville Jr. celebrates his Leon Gonyo Memorial race wins on Sunday afternoon at Devil's Bowl Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)For Quenneville, it was his fourth win of the season and the 15th of his Asphalt Modified career at Devils Bowl, which ties him with Todd Stone on the all-time wins list.

“It was a great race today. I had a lot of fun racing everybody,” Quenneville said. “Like I say, I’d rather be lucky than good, sometimes.”

The win for Quenneville was a special one as it came during the Leon Gonyo Memorial event. Gonyo died after winning the event last year and then passing away due to a medical event while carrying the checkered flag.

“I knew Leon (for a long time),” Quenneville said. “He was an amazing person. No matter what the deal was, he wasn’t mad, he wasn’t frustrated. He was just Leon all the time. He was really good to race with.

For Durgan, it was the Morrisonville, N.Y. driver’s first championship.

“(My day) is going a lot better now,” Durgan said in victory lane to track announcer Justin St. Louis. “We had a junk race car but I knew I had to stick with it.

“The caution came out at the right time. Vince (Quenneville) was good. He got out early and he nearly did it.

“I just can’t believe this.”

Durgan saw his championship begin to slip away early in the race when Quenneville jumped out into the lead and Durgan stuck in fifth. Durgan moved up to the fourth spot with just ten laps to go, but third place Proctor remained distant until his car shut down one lap later and drew a caution flag.

Durgan was then able to get by second place Billy Lussier on the restart to move into second and secure the championship.

“I knew I had to drive (the car) into (turn) one as hard as I could,” Durgan said of the lap 41 restart. “I didn’t wreck anyone, but I knew I had to use (Lussier) up down into (turn) one and I knew I had to get clear of him off of (turn) two and follow Vince.”

Durgan’s five wins this season bested Quenneville’s four wins, which gave him the championship.

“How about that, tied for a championship and it comes down to wins,” Durgan said.

Lussier, of Fair Haven, finished third with Jackie Brown Jr. of Hurley, N.Y. fourth. Jamy Begor of Mooers, N.Y. completed the top-five finishers.

Joey Roberts, Travis Bruno, Codie Aubin, Chad White, and rookie Chuck Bradford finishes sixth through tenth, respectively.

Devil’s Bowl’s asphalt season is complete, but the track’s dirt track continues its season on Sunday, September 18.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Leon Gonyo Memorial 50
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Devil’s Bowl Speedway, West Haven, Vt.
Sunday, September 11, 2016

(# — denotes rookie)

1. (8) Vince Quenneville Jr., Brandon
2. (7) Jason Durgan, Morrisonville, N.Y.
3. (6) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven
4. (5) Jackie Brown Jr., Hurley, N.Y.
5. (16) Jamy Begor, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
6. (2) Joey Roberts, Fletcher
7. (4) Travis Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y.
8. (15) Codie Aubin, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
9. (1) Chad White, Fort Ann, N.Y.
10. (11) # Chuck Bradford, Addison
11. (9) Ron Proctor, Charlton, N.Y.
12. (12) Bobby Hackel, Rennselaer, N.Y.
13. (3) Jimmy Ryan, Whiting
14. (14) Ryan McLean, AuSable Forks, N.Y.
15. (10) Matt Bilodeau, Pittsford
16. (13) Jason Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y.

1 – Jason Durgan celebrates his NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship on Sunday afternoon at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)
2 – Vince Quenneville Jr. celebrates his Leon Gonyo Memorial race wins on Sunday afternoon at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)