Bell Tolls At Devil’s Bowl
WEST HAVEN, Vt. — Alex Bell topped the winners’ list during a night of exciting stock car racing action and close finishes at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Friday.
Bell earned the sixth Bond Auto Parts Modified victory of his career during Whelen Engineering Night presented by Mobil 1 for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Bell, 21, of Cambridge, NY, led every step of the 35-lap feature race, but never had more than a two car-length advantage. After taking the lead from polesitter Jamie Proctor in the first corner, Bell ran a consistent line but was unable to shake perennial Modified championship contenders Vince Quenneville, Jr. and Ron Proctor. Quenneville dogged Bell the entire distance and drew even in a side-by-side fight as the laps clicked away.
Two-time defending champion Proctor ran equally close to Quenneville’s rear bumper throughout the race, and the trio even ran three-abreast momentarily just before the final lap began.
Bell was able to pull ahead to win by just a car length over Quenneville, with Proctor a tight third. Leon Gonyo outlasted a race-long battle with Jessey Mueller for fourth place.
Double-duty driver Bates saved his best for last in the Late Model division. The 17-year-old began the day by attending his final class at Middlebury Union High School, then led only the final 100 yards of the 30-lap Late Model feature to earn a popular career-first victory in the division; Bates won the Late Model championship at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in 2011 despite never winning a main event.
The race was dominated by Chris Bergeron, who was making his first start at Devil’s Bowl, but a restart with just three laps remaining allowed Bates to complete his drive to the front and steal the victory by a fender on the outside lane – officially .045-second at the finish line.
Chris Curtis finished third driving a new car that he acquired less than eight hours
earlier. Kevin Elliott was fourth, followed by Jamie Fisher.
Defending champion Robert Gordon posted his first win of the season in the Renegade division’s 15-lap feature, edging Richie Turner. Fifteen year-old Rich Lowrey III posted an impressive third-place showing in the first stock car race of his career. Rookies Brad Bushey and Ray Germain, Jr. completed the top five.
Bobby LaVair of Gabriels, NY turned an otherwise sour night for his three-car family team around by winning the 15-lap Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock feature.
Brett “Woody” Wood won the 75-lap Enduro Series event.