Bilodeau Opens Vermont 200 Weekend in a Big Way at Devil’s Bowl
Bublak wins Ron Casey Memorial race; Coonradt wins Pro Stock championship
WEST HAVEN, Vt. – Matt Bilodeau played a game of patience on Saturday, September 5, to earn his first win of the season at Devil’s Bowl Speedway and race his way into Sunday’s extravaganza. The Brandon, Vt., driver won a messy 40-lap race to take the “Win & You’re In!” guaranteed starting position in the Interstate All Battery Center Vermont 200. Bilodeau’s popular win highlighted a night that also saw Robert Bublak Jr., Josh Coonradt, Andrew FitzGerald, and Katrina Bean take feature wins.
Bilodeau survived a marathon feature race for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division, which started off with a caution period before the first lap was completed. A seemingly endless barrage of 13 yellow flags slowed the race, drawing out the runtime to one hour and 14 minutes for 40 laps. Jeff White and Scott FitzGerald took turns leading the early laps before Austin Comes arrived.
Comes settled in front of the field for 15 laps, but Bilodeau was hot on his trail and made a nice move on the outside lane for the lead with six laps left. Bilodeau ran uncontested for the final circuits, and then – completely exhausted – celebrated in victory lane on the roof of his car. Bilodeau’s guaranteed starting spot for the Vermont 200 on Sunday will give him his second career start in the race.
Championship leader Johnny Bruno rebounded from two crashes to finish a tight second behind Bilodeau, while Comes slipped back to third. Larry Gallipo and Montgomery Tremont completed the top five ahead of Gary English, Mark Fewster, Mike McGinn, Alissa Cody, and Anthony Ryan. Bruno, White, and Lacey Hanson won qualifying heats with a field of 29 cars in action.
Robert Bublak Jr. won a well-driven, non-points special event for the Pepsi Sportsman Modified division, taking the 25-lap “Ron Casey Memorial” Non-Winners Shootout. The Ballston Spa, N.Y., veteran stalked early leader Derrick McGrew Jr. for the first dozen laps, then pounced at the second of three restarts to take the lead.
Bublak drove off into the sunset and scored his first win at Devil’s Bowl since July 19, 2009. Teenager Payton Talbot drove around the outside lane from his 10th starting position to finish as the runner-up in his first Devil’s Bowl appearance. Marty Kelly III was a strong third ahead of Tim LaDuc and McGrew. Jimmy Ryan was sixth, followed by Kevin Chaffee, Billy Lussier, Vince Quenneville, and Mike Fisher.
Heats were won by Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald, Walter Hammond, and Talbot, and Rob Maxon won the consolation race; the event drew 31 cars as a preliminary to Sunday’s 200-lap main event.
Josh Coonradt sealed up his first championship at Devil’s Bowl in the 25-lap Pro Stock/Super Stock feature. The West Milton, N.Y., racer drew the pole position for the start of the race and cruised to his third win in the four-race Pro Stock series. Coonradt led every circuit but was under pressure from Kim Duell the whole way; Duell finished second in both the race and the Pro Stock point standings, and Jay Fitzgerald was third in the race.
Andrew FitzGerald – no relation to Jay – crossed the finish line fourth overall and took the Super Stock win for his seventh of the year. Gary Silkey, in a Pro Stock, finished fifth overall. Josh LeClaire was sixth overall in a Super Stock, followed by fellow Super Stock drivers Matt Mosher, Josh Terry, Zach Sorrentino, and Ronnie Alger. Heats were won by Coonradt, Jim McKiernan, and Bill Duprey.
Katrina Bean was a popular first-time winner in the Mini Stock division, taking a 20-lap race with a field of 31 cars. Point leader Chris Conroy encountered mechanical problems while leading the race early, handing the top spot to rookie Griff Mahoney, who led through lap 13. Bean, of nearby Benson, Vt., drove hard on the outside lane to inch her way past Mahoney and lead the final seven circuits.
Jake Barrows made a late charge to finish just six feet short in the runner-up spot. Mahoney was third, followed by Brian Blake and Craig Kirby. The unofficial top 10 was completed in order by Josh LaPorte, Arty Heino, Jarrod Colburn, Chris Sumner, and Dick Stone. Sumner and Conroy won heats.
The Friend Construction 500cc Mini Spring division opened its two-day, two-segment feature with a 12-lap first leg. Rookie Troy Audet of Bridport, Vt., scored one segment point toward the overall tally with the win. Eleven-year-old Kaidin White finished second, followed by Austin Chaves, Samantha Mulready, and Kamden Duffy. The entire 12-car field will be inverted for the second segment on Sunday, and Audet will have to come from the back of the field in hopes of scoring the lowest combined total.
Qualifying for the Interstate All Battery Center Vermont 200 starts at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. The 200-lap main event is the biggest Sportsman Modified race in North America, paying $7,500 to the winner more than $5,500 in lap leader bonuses. The Sprint Cars of New England will also be in action along with the second segment for the 500cc Mini Sprints. Tickets are available online at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway website.
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 – Interstate All Battery Center Vermont 200 Weekend
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Saturday, September 5, 2020
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (40 laps)
1. (7) Matt Bilodeau, Brandon, Vt.
2. (11) Johnny Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
3. (9) Austin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
4. (8) Larry Gallipo, West Rutland, Vt.
5. (19) Montgomery Tremont, West Sand Lake, N.Y.
6. (5) Gary English, Salisbury, Vt.
7. (24) Mark Fewster, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
8. (1) Mike McGinn, Elizabethtown, N.Y.
9. (29) Alissa Cody, Berne, N.Y.
10. (10) Anthony Ryan, Benson, Vt.
11. (13) Joe Kemp, Clarendon, Vt.
12. (23) Jeff Lutes, Berne, N.Y.
13. (12) Lacey Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
14. (28) Josh Paige, Orwell, Vt.
15. (20) Bryon Linendoll, West Pawlet, Vt.
16. (3) Kevin Groff, Wynantskill, N.Y.
17. (2) Jeff White, Rutland, Vt.
18. (16) Shawn McPhee, Rutland, Vt.
19. (18) Paul DeRuyter, Inlet, N.Y.
20. (22) John Gosselin, Shoreham, Vt.
21. (21) Dakota Green, Cambridge, N.Y.
22. (25) Chris Bisson, Pownal, Vt.
23. (14) Anthony Warren, Shoreham, Vt.
24. (4) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
25. (17) Carter Gibbons, Scotia, N.Y.
26. (6) Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
27. (26) Jon Coon, Buskirk, N.Y.
28. (15) Josh Bussino, Mount Holly, Vt.
29. (27) Brandon Jacobsen, Pownal, Vt.
Heat Winners: Johnny Bruno, Jeff White, Lacey Hanson
Pepsi Sportsman Modified Feature – Ron Casey Memorial (25 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (2) Robert Bublak Jr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.
2. (10) Payton Talbot, South New Berlin, N.Y.
3. (5) Marty Kelly III, North Bennington, Vt.
4. (14) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
5. (1) Derrick McGrew Jr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.
6. (8) Jimmy Ryan, Whiting, Vt.
7. (3) Kevin Chaffee, Bradford, Vt.
8. (7) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
9. (13) Vince Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
10. (20) Mike Fisher, Castleton, Vt.
11. (16) # James Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
12. (12) Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald, Gansevoort, N.Y.
13. (4) # Justin Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
14. (22) Travis Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
15. (23) Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
16. (19) Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt.
17. (25) Jason McClatchie, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
18. (18) Rob Maxon, Pownal, Vt.
19. (26) Bruce Loomis, Queensbury, N.Y.
20. (15) Johnny Guarino, Nanuet, N.Y.
21. (17) Fred Proctor, Clifton Park, N.Y.
22. (29) Joey Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
23. (21) Aaron Jacobs, Frankfort, N.Y.
24. (11) Walter J. Hammond, Orange, N.H.
25. (24) # Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.
26. (4) Kale Groff, Averill Park, N.Y.
27. (28) Mike Palmer, Salisbury, Vt.
28. (9) Ray Hall Jr., Monterey, Mass.
29. (27) Jamy Begor, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
Did Not Start: Ryan Stortini, Hyde Park, N.Y.; Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.
Heat Winners: Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald, Walter J. Hammond, Payton Talbot
Consi Winner: Rob Maxon
Pro Stock/Super Stock Feature (25 laps)
1. (1) Josh Coonradt, West Milton, N.Y. (PS)
2. (2) Kim Duell, Porter Corners, N.Y. (PS)
3. (3) Jay Fitzgerald, Ballston Spa, N.Y. (PS)
4. (12) Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt. (SS)
5. (7) Gary Silkey, Otis, Mass. (PS)
6. (11) Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y. (SS)
7. (10) Matt Mosher, Queensbury, N.Y. (SS)
8. (19) Josh Terry, Essex, N.Y. (SS)
9. (20) Zach Sorrentino, Lee, Mass. (SS)
10. (9) Cam Gadue, Highgate, Vt. (SS)
11. (8) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt. (SS)
12. (22) Dave Striebel, Hinsdale, Mass. (SS)
13. (13) Bill Duprey, Hydeville, Vt. (SS)
14. (15) Tylor Terry, Mooers, N.Y. (SS)
15. (6) Tom O’Connor, Palmer, Mass. (PS)
16. (16) Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, N.Y. (SS)
17. (4) Scott Towslee, Manchester, Vt. (PS)
18. (5) Eddie Thompson, Castleton, Vt. (PS)
19. (14) Tony Salerno, Mineville, N.Y. (SS)
20. (17) Dylan Surette, Rutland, Vt. (SS)
Did Not Start: Jason Casey, Pittsfield, Mass.; Rocco Procopio, Pittsfield, Mass.
Heat Winners: Josh Coonradt, Jim McKiernan, Tylor Terry
Mini Stock Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (8) Katrina Bean, Benson, Vt.
2. (10) Jake Barrows, Middlebury, Vt.
3. (3) # Griff Mahoney, Brandon, Vt.
4. (6) Brian Blake, Cornwall, Vt.
5. (9) Craig Kirby, St. Albans, Vt.
6. (16) Josh LaPorte, Peru, N.Y.
7. (24) Arthur Heino, Newport, N.H.
8. (12) Jarrod Colburn, Rutland, Vt.
9. (17) # Chris Sumner, Ripton, Vt.
10. (13) Dick Stone, Rutland, Vt.
11. (23) Jake Fountain, Dannemora, N.Y.
12. (4) # Adam Stewart, Benson, Vt.
13. (5) Tom Severance, Fair Haven, Vt.
14. (7) Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
15. (19) Greg Zindler, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
16. (14) Michael Daniels, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
17. (18) Adam Mahoney, Rutland, Vt.
18. (25) Ron Stewart, Benson, Vt.
19. (2) Chris Conroy, Newport, N.H.
20. (11) Tim Simonds, Clarendon, Vt.
21. (27) Tyler Baker, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
22. (1) Mary Gardner, Middle Granville, N.Y.
23. (20) Derrick Counter, Leicester, Vt.
24. (21) Kevin Withington, West Rutland, Vt.
25. (22) Steve Burbank, North Adams, Mass.
26. (15) Kyle Davis Jr., Cornish, N.H.
27. (26) Devyn Heino, Newport, N.H.
Did Not Start: Jake Mallory, Granville, N.Y., Jonathan Baker, Franklin, N.H.; T.J. Knight, Wells, Vt.; Althea Roy, Hinsdale, Mass.
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature – Segment 1 (12 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (3) # Troy Audet, Bridport, Vt.
2. (2) # Kaidin White, Monkton, Vt.
3. (8) Austin Chaves, Chester, Vt.
4. (4) Samantha Mulready, Cambridge, N.Y.
5. (5) Kamden Duffy, Richmond, N.H.
6. (6) Cody O’Brien, Springfield, Vt.
7. (1) John Smith, Poultney, Vt.
8. (11) Scott Bachand, St. Albans, Vt.
9. (9) Eric Wade, Rutland, Vt.
10. (10) Lynn Sumner, Fair Haven, Vt.
11. (7) # Arnie Kasuba, Castleton, Vt.
12. (12) John McPhee Jr., Rutland, Vt.
Heat Winner: Kaidin White