Hackel Stays Hot in Firecracker 50 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway
Pierson dominates SCoNE opener
WEST HAVEN, Vt. – Bobby Hackel put on a holiday clinic at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Thursday, July 2, with a dominant back-to-front performance in the Independence Day “Firecracker 50” that brought him his second win of the season. Likewise, Adam Pierson put on a convincing display of power, as did Johnny Bruno, Jim McKiernan, Michael Daniels, and Austin Chaves. Fans were also treated to a massive holiday fireworks show.
Hackel’s victory came in the 50-lap Pepsi Sportsman Modified feature. After starting 16th on the 24-car grid, the former track champion took to the outside lane with a vengeance and marched toward the front. While Hackel began his ascent, rookie Marty Hutchins chased what would have been an upset of historic proportions; Hutchins had failed to qualify for the first three races of his freshman season, but led the first 18 laps by a wide margin from the pole position in his first career Sportsman-level start.
Just as veteran Brian Whittemore was closing in on Hutchins’ lead, the first caution flag flew for Adam Pierson, who had a flat tire. Whittemore pounced at the restart to take the lead, but Tim LaDuc got by him to take over on lap 24. LaDuc led six laps and survived two restarts, but Hackel threaded his way through traffic to track LaDuc down and make the pass at the very outside edge of the track on lap 31.
From there, the Rensselaer, N.Y., driver cruised off into the distance to collect the win and pad his early lead in the championship point standings. Demetrios Drellos, like Hackel, used the outside lane to run rom 13th to his second consecutive runner-up finish. LaDuc took third for his best finish of the young season, and John St. Germain was impressive in driving forward to fourth. Jack Speshock rounded the top five, followed by Joey Scarborough and Whittemore. Pierson rebounded for eighth, Hutchins scored ninth, and Billy Lussier was tenth.
Lussier, Justin Comes, and Brent Warren won the qualifying heats, and Pierson won the last-chance consolation race. Of significant note, 10-time and defending Devil’s Bowl champion Kenny Tremont Jr. was one of five drivers who failed to qualify; a faulty fuel pump forced Tremont to sit out his qualifying heat, and then – while driving his son Montgomery’s Limited Sportsman car – he was beaten to the finish line for the final consi transfer position by about six inches by Marty Kelly III.
Double-duty driver Pierson was utterly dominant in the 25-lap Sprint Cars of New England race, which opened the 2020 season for the traveling tour. The veteran East Corinth, Vt., driver needed just one lap to move from fourth place into the lead, and he was long gone after that. Only one caution flag slowed the race, but it did nothing to slow Pierson. Chris Donnelly had some wild moves in traffic to post the runner-up position ahead of Matt Tanner and Jake Williams.
Will Hull stole fifth place from Matt Hoyt on the final lap, and the balance of the top 10 was rounded out by Floyd Billington, Lacey Hanson, Travis Billington, and Mike Bosco. The father-son Billington team swept the qualifying heat race wins.
Defending champ Johnny Bruno of Castleton, Vt., struck again in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division, winning the 20-lap feature for the second time in four tries. Larry Gallipo and first-year Limited racer Evan Roberts put on a show up front and looked like they would decide the win among themselves, but a caution with three laps remaining gave Bruno – who started the race in 11th place – the opportunity to slingshot past both leaders on the restart. Bruno had the race seemingly in hand when Roberts spun out of a podium spot with a quarter-lap left, necessitating a caution period.
Under the 2020 Devil’s Bowl Speedway rulebook, the race was halted and restarted with a green-white-checkered finish. Bruno held on for the final go, and Austin Comes came from behind to grab the runner-up finish. Gallipo was third, followed by Kevin Groff and Gary English, but English’s car came up light on the scales in post-race technical inspection and was disqualified, giving Anthony Warren the fifth position.
Former Devil’s Bowl asphalt champion Jim McKiernan picked up his first Super Stock win of the season in a 20-lap drive; the Moriah Center, N.Y., veteran led all but the opening lap. Chris Murray crossed the finish line second, but he was disqualified in the tech line for a rear trailing arm violation. Bill Duprey was challenging for the top spot when he spun at the midway point, but eventually recovered and inherited the runner-up finish. Andrew FitzGerald, Matt Mosher, and Ronnie Alger completed the top five.
Plattsburgh, N.Y.’s Michael “Gilligan” Daniels chalked up a hard-earned first career Devil’s Bowl win in the 20-lap Mini Stock race. Daniels dropped out of the two previous races while leading each time, but he was able to put a complete race together and get the victory; his victory lane celebration was a crowd-pleaser as he whooped it up after the race. Point leader Chris Conroy finished second ahead of Jarrod Colburn, Griff Mahoney, and Craig Kirby. Justin Allen walked away from a nasty flip without injury.
Austin Chaves left little doubt in the Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint division, as the Chester, Vt., runner led every one of the 20 circuits and ran away for his second win. Cody O’Brien finished a distant second, while rookie Troy Audet took third. Kamden Duffy and Samantha Mulready rounded out the top five.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway returns to action on Sunday, July 5, with limited grandstand seating and drive-in spectator parking. Tickets are $16.50 per person for grandstand seating or $21.60 per person for drive-in parking; tickets must be purchased online by 5:15 p.m. on Sunday at https://buytickets.at/devilsbowlspeedway. All five of Devil’s Bowl’s weekly divisions are on the card; spectator gates open at 5:30 p.m., with racing at 7:00 p.m.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, Vt., four miles north of U.S. Route 4, Exit 2, and just 20 minutes from Rutland, Vt. For more information, visit www.DevilsBowlSpeedwayVT.com or call (802) 265-3112. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at facebook.com/DevilsBowlSpeedway, and on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Independence Day Firecracker Spectacular
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Pepsi Sportsman Modified Feature (30 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (16) Bobby Hackel, Rensselaer, N.Y.
2. (13) Demetrios Drellos, Queensbury, N.Y.
3. (12) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
4. (8) John St. Germain Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
5. (10) Jack Speshock, Malta, N.Y.
6. (15) Joey Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
7. (4) Brian Whittemore, Pittsford, Vt.
8. (19) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
9. (1) # Marty Hutchins, Poultney, Vt.
10. (7) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
11. (9) Tanner Siemons, Orford, N.H.
12. (3) Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.
13. (11) Jimmy Ryan, Shoreham, Vt.
14. (20) Derrick McGrew Jr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.
15. (14) Frank Hoard III, Manchester Center, Vt.
16. (17) Jordan Fornwalt, Bradford, Vt.
17. (24) Marty Kelly III, North Bennington, Vt.
18. (18) Justin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
19. (5) Mike Palmer, Salisbury, Vt.
20. (23) Nathan Johnson, Fitzwilliam, N.H.
21. (2) Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
22. (6) Jake Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
23. (21) Vince Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
24. (22) # Josh Masterson, Bristol, Vt.
Did Not Qualify: Kenny Tremont Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.; # Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.; # James Hanson, Orwell, Vt.; Bruce Loomis, Queensbury, N.Y.; # Justin Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
Heat Winners: Billy Lussier, Justin Comes, Brent Warren
Consi Winner: Adam Pierson
Sprint Cars of New England Feature (25 laps)
1. (4) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
2. (3) Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
3. (7) Matt Tanner, Stephentown, N.Y.
4. (1) Jake Williams, Center Tuftonboro, N.H.
5. (8) Will Hull, Plainfield, Vt.
6. (2) Matt Hoyt, Campton, N.H.
7. (5) Floyd Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
8. (11) Lacey Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
9. (6) Travis Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
10. (10) Mike Bosco, Harwinton, Conn.
11. (9) Jim Lowrey Jr., Tilton, N.H.
12. (14) Caleb Lamson, Moretown, Vt.
13. (13) Mike Horsch, Moultonborough, N.H.
14. (12) Rick Stone, Cornwall, Conn.
Heat Winners: Floyd Billington, Travis Billington
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (20 laps – extended to 21 laps by green-white-checkered)
1. (11) Johnny Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
2. (12) Austin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
3. (2) Larry Gallipo, West Rutland, Vt.
4. (8) Kevin Groff, Wynantskill, N.Y.
5. (15) Anthony Warren, Shoreham, Vt.
6. (3) Jeff White, Rutland, Vt.
7. (17) Matt Bilodeau, Brandon, Vt.
8. (6) Garrett Given, Orwell, Vt.
9. (1) Mike McGinn, Elizabethtown, N.Y.
10. (9) Anthony Ryan, Benson, Vt.
11. (7) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
12. (10) Lacey Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
13. (7) Shawn McPhee, Rutland, Vt.
14. (5) Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
15. (14) Josh Bussino, Mount Holly, Vt.
16. (18) Montgomery Tremont, West Sand Lake, N.Y.
17. (16) Josh Paige, Orwell, Vt.
Disqualified: (4) Gary English, Salisbury, Vt. (weight)
Heat Winners: Evan Roberts, Lacey Hanson
Super Stock Feature (20 laps)
1. (3) Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, N.Y.
2. (6) Bill Duprey, Hydeville, Vt.
3. (5) Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
4. (7) Matt Mosher, Queensbury, N.Y.
5. (1) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt.
6. (2) Russ Farr, Middle Granville, N.Y.
Disqualified: (4) Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt. (rear trailing arm)
Mini Stock Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (2) Michael Daniels, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. (11) Chris Conroy, Newport, N.H.
3. (9) Jarrod Colburn, Rutland, Vt.
4. (1) # Griff Mahoney, Brandon, Vt.
5. (12) Craig Kirby, St. Albans, Vt.
6. (6) Derrick Counter, Leicester, Vt.
7. (17) Jake Barrows, Middlebury, Vt.
8. (8) Katrina Bean, Benson, Vt.
9. (15) Dakota Desabrais, Hampton, N.Y.
10. (4) Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
11. (16) # Tom Severance, Fair Haven, Vt.
12. (13) # Freddy Burch, Middle Granville, N.Y.
13. (3) T.J. Knight, Fair Haven, Vt.
14. (7) # Chris Sumner, Ripton, Vt.
15. (14) Shawn Moquin, Milton, Vt.
16. (5) # Adam Stewart, Benson, Vt.
17. (18) Brian Blake, Cornwall, Vt.
18. (10) Justin Allen, Forest Dale, Vt.
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (5) Austin Chaves, Chester, Vt.
2. (9) Cody O’Brien, Springfield, Vt.
3. (4) # Troy Audet, Bridport, Vt.
4. (3) Kamden Duffy, Richmond, N.H.
5. (7) Samantha Mulready, Cambridge, N.Y.
6. (8) Dakota Green, Cambridge, N.Y.
7. (11) Joe Kemp, Salisbury, Vt.
8. (6) # Roger LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
9. (2) # Kaidin White, Monkton, Vt.
10. (10) # Arnie Kasuba, Castleton, Vt.
11. (1) John McPhee Jr., Rutland, Vt.
Did Not Start: Hunter Given, Orwell, Vt.