‘Fireball’ Roberts Tames Devil’s Bowl
WEST HAVEN, Vt. – Joey “Fireball” Roberts held off a strong challenge in Bond Auto Parts Modified stock-car action to win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season opener at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Sunday.
The victory came on Whelen Engineering/Mobil 1 Opening Day, an event postponed two days by wet weather.
Roberts easily won his qualifying heat race, but had his hands full with Jessey Mueller during the 35-lap main event. Mueller made several attempts at taking the lead from Roberts, but was forced to settle for the runner-up spot.
Roberts’ victory was the third of his career.
Defending track champion Todd Stone finished third. Two-time champion Ron Proctor was fourth, with young Jamie LaFountain a career-best fifth. Leon Gonyo, Jason Durgan, Vince Quenneville Jr., Codie Aubin and Cody Sargen completed the unofficial top 10 finishers.
Josh Masterson kicked off the Late Model division’s season with an exciting victory in a 30-lap feature. A three-time winner in his rookie season a year ago, “Kid Rocket” Masterson fought the entire distance with former Thunder Road track champion Jamie Fisher. Masterson finally took the lead on a late restart and drove to the win.
Devil’s Bowl champion Chris Bergeron finished third, and 17 year-old Emily Packard earned her best Devil’s Bowl finish in fourth place. Multi-time NASCAR Vermont State Champion Norm Andrews was fifth.
Chuck Bradford won the 20-lap opener for the Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock division after a hard-fought battle through traffic. The 2013 Rookie of the Year in the division, Bradford held off Bobby LaVair in the closing laps. Defending track champion Jake Noble finished third, just in front of teammate Lacey Hanson and John McCarron. Mike Whalen Jr. led much of the race before bouncing off the frontstretch wall.
Veteran driver Bruce Jaycox won the debut race for the new SK Light open-wheel Modified division, fending off Scott MacMichael and Norm Forest for the victory. The SK Light division will compete in a limited schedule during the season.