WEST HAVEN, Vt. – Devil’s Bowl Speedway went out in style for the 2019 dirt track racing season, with a year-end finale that became an instant classic. The Stove Depot Championship Finale had several unpredictable plot twists, and five drivers were officially crowned champions at an event that will be talked about all winter.
The father-and-son team of “Fireball” Joey Roberts and “Iceman” Evan Roberts topped the evening by collecting two feature wins, a pair of Rookie of the Year titles, and a track championship for 13-year-old Evan. Other drivers who came away with race wins included Marty Hutchins, Mark Norris, Jake Barrows, and Cory Gray, while championships went to Kenny Tremont Jr., Johnny Bruno, Scott FitzGerald, and Craig Kirby.
Joey Roberts took his victory in the 50-lap feature race for the headline Pepsi Sportsman Modified division. Roberts started on the pole position and fended off a challenge from Mike Fisher before breaking away after the first restart on lap 4. A long 38-lap run under the green flag allowed Roberts to build a big lead, but Justin Comes and Marty Kelly III reeled Roberts in. The final eight laps turned into a sensational battle with Adam Pierson joining the fight, and Roberts edged Comes by inches in the closest finish of the year – officially 0.001 seconds on the electronic scoring loop. The win was Roberts’ first in the top Sportsman class and sealed up his Rookie of the Year run.
Comes settled for second place with Pierson third and Kelly fourth. Jack Speshock ran well and finished fifth, and Joey Scarborough came from 17th to sixth. Tremont was seventh ahead of Brent Warren, John St. Germain, and Vince Quenneville.
West Sand Lake, N.Y.,’s Tremont officially wrapped up his third consecutive and record 10th overall track championship at Devil’s Bowl Speedway with 801 points. Pierson finished second (695), followed by Frank Hoard III (658), Tanner Siemons (640), and Jimmy Ryan (639). Roberts beat Brent Warren for the rookie title, 582-521.
Third-generation driver Johnny Bruno, 16, of Castleton, Vt., shocked the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division by winning the championship in his first year in a Modified. James Hanson had held the point lead since June 30 with a perfect record of top-10 finishes during the year, but two spins in the final 30-lap feature erased Hanson’s 15-point lead and left Bruno in the catbird seat.
Poultney, Vt.’s Marty Hutchins ran a patient pace in the first half behind leader Austin Chaves, but he pounced at the halfway mark to take over the top spot and ran off with his second win of the year. Bruno held off Adam Piper for second with Anthony Warren – who was also a title contender – in fourth place. Anthony Ryan took fifth ahead of Chaves, Dave Snow, Austin Comes, Hanson, and first-time racer Tyler Ducharme.
Bruno took the title by just two points over Hanson, 749-747, with Warren a tight third at 742. Piper (714) and Matt Bilodeau (658) rounded out the top five in the point standings.
Benson, Vt.’s Mark Norris was ahead of the carnage in the Super Stock feature to take his third win of the season and secure the division’s Rookie of the Year title. The race was cut short from its scheduled 20-lap distance after a slew of multi-car wrecks dragged the event to more than 40 minutes in run time with just seven laps on the scoreboard. The race was called after a caution with 10 laps complete and Norris was named the winner. Chris Murray finished second, followed by Andrew FitzGerald, Garrett Given, and Bill Duprey.
West Rutland, Vt.’s Scott FitzGerald celebrated his first championship after a five-win season; FitzGerald locked the title up two weeks early and beat Murray by 68 points, 761-693. Andrew FitzGerald, the champion’s son, was third overall at 669, followed by Norris (643) and Cam Gadue (615); Norris beat Gadue for the rookie crown.
Craig Kirby survived three major “uh-oh” moments in the 15-lap Mini Stock feature but recovered from each one to take his first championship. Kirby had a flat tire in one of the incidents and was forced to pit during the yellow flag, but had to rely on volunteer help to change the tire – Kirby and his grandfather are the only two members of his team – and he was able to get back on track with the assistance of a few crew members of other teams.
Middlebury, Vt.’s Jake Barrows ended up with his fourth win after post-race inspection; Barrows crossed the finish line third behind P.J. Bleau and Josh LaPorte, but Bleau’s car had an engine infraction and LaPorte had a tire violation and both were disqualified. T.J. Knight was moved up to a career-best second-place finish with Willie Rice third. Kirby was fourth and Jake Fountain was fifth in his first Devil’s Bowl start. Kirby edged Barrows for the title by 14 points, 801-787. David Sartwell-Cornell came out on top of a nine-car freshman class for Rookie of the Year.
Representing the fourth generation of his family to race – and win – Fletcher, Vt., youngster Evan Roberts dominated the 15-lap Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint race for his ninth win of the season, locking up both the championship and rookie honors. Roberts took the lead on the second lap and drove to a winning margin of nearly half a track. Kamden Duffy grabbed his third runner-up finish of the season with Kevin Smith third. Samantha Mulready was fourth and Shawn McPhee was fifth.
Roberts and McPhee entered the night just four points apart, but Roberts stretched out to a 13-point margin for the championship. Roberts is now the youngest champion in Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s 53-season history at 13 years, five months, and six days.
The Enduro Series brought the season to a close with a fun 50-lap race to end the event. The race stopped just once for a red flag when leader Kenny Torrey barrel-rolled his car with eight laps complete; he was uninjured. After the restart, Cory Gray, Brent Wilbur, Dakota Desabrais, and Chris Sumner battled hard for the lead, trading the top spot several times.
Gray and Wilbur broke away as others dropped out, and they crossed the finish line three-wide in lapped traffic with Gray squeaking out the win. Chris Lussier finished third as the last driver on the lead lap. Brian Blake and Scott Richner completed the top five, each one lap down.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway will honor its champions, top drivers, and special award winners at the annual Banquet of Champions on Saturday, January 25 at the Holiday Inn Rutland-Killington in Rutland, Vermont. More information will be announced soon.
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 – The Stove Depot Championship Finale
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Pepsi Sportsman Modified Feature – (50 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (1) # Joey Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
2. (8) Justin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
3. (14) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
4. (3) Marty Kelly III, North Bennington, Vt.
5. (6) Jack Speshock, Malta, N.Y.
6. (17) Joey Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
7. (16) Kenny Tremont Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
8. (5) # Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.
9. (11) John St. Germain, West Sand Lake, N.Y.
10. (12) Vince Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
11. (10) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
12. (7) Jimmy Ryan, Shoreham, Vt.
13. (18) Josh Sunn, White River Junction, Vt.
14. (2) Mike Fisher, Castleton, Vt.
15. (4) Tanner Siemons, Orford, N.H.
16. (21) Mike Palmer, Salisbury, Vt.
17. (15) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
18. (9) Frank Hoard III, Manchester Center, Vt.
19. (23) Bruce Loomis, Queensbury, N.Y.
20. (25) Ron Proctor, Charlton, N.Y.
21. (20) Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
22. (24) Dylan Rabtoy, Swanton, Vt.
23. (19) Dick Bisson, Pownal, Vt.
24. (22) Jeff Washburn, Benson, Vt.
25. (13) Wayne Stearns, Bradford, Vt.
Heat Winners: Tim LaDuc, Mike Fisher, Marty Kelly III
Shiley Fabrication Hard Charger Award: Adam Pierson (+11 positions)
Shiley Fabrication Hard Luck Award: Frank Hoard III
AMSOIL Award: Joey Roberts
TRACK CHAMPION: Kenny Tremont, Jr.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Joey Roberts
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (20 laps)
1. (3) Marty Hutchins, Poultney, Vt.
2. (11) Johnny Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
3. (4) Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.
4. (10) Anthony Warren, Shoreham, Vt.
5. (6) Anthony Ryan, Benson, Vt.
6. (1) Austin Chaves, Chester, Vt.
7. (12) Dave Snow, Brandon, Vt.
8. (5) Austin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
9. (8) James Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
10. (15) Tyler Ducharme, Castleton, Vt.
11. (14) Shawn Phelps, Richmond, Vt.
12. (13) Larry Gallipo, West Rutland, Vt.
13. (9) Bobby Schmidt, Gansevoort, N.Y.
14. (2) Mike McGinn, Elizabethtown, N.Y.
15. (7) Matt Bilodeau, Brandon, Vt.
16. (16) Kris Clark, Au Sable Forks, N.Y.
Heat Winners: Anthony Ryan, Adam Piper
Shiley Fabrication Hard Charger Award: Johnny Bruno (+9 positions)
Shiley Fabrication Hard Luck Award: James Hanson
TRACK CHAMPION: Johnny Bruno
Super Stock Feature (20 laps – shortened to 10 laps by time constraints)
# – denotes rookie
1. (3) # Mark Norris, Benson, Vt.
2. (12) Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt.
3. (4) Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
4. (5) Garrett Given, Orwell, Vt.
5. (8) Bill Duprey, Hydeville, Vt.
6. (14) Tylor Terry, Mooers, N.Y.
7. (15) Michael Wright, Alburgh, Vt.
8. (9) Trevor Hurlburt, Bomoseen, Vt.
9. (21) Tyler Irwin, Peru, N.Y.
10. (11) # Cam Gadue, Highgate, Vt.
11. (19) Joe Warren, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
12. (13) Curtis Condon, Queensbury, N.Y.
13. (2) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt.
14. (10) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
15. (7) # Kaleb Shepard, Vergennes, Vt.
16. (18) Shawn Duquette, Morrisonville, N.Y.
17. (17) Travis Stokes, West Chazy, N.Y.
18. (16) Zack Daniels, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
19. (1) # Roo Forrest, West Rutland, Vt.
20. (20) Gary English, Salisbury, Vt.
Did Not Start: Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, N.Y.
Heat Winners: Mark Norris, Chris Murray
TRACK CHAMPION: Scott FitzGerald
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: MARK NORRIS
Mini Stock Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (9) Jake Barrows, Middlebury, Vt.
2. (5) # T.J. Knight, Fair Haven, Vt.
3. (6) Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
4. (8) Craig Kirby, Winooski, Vt.
5. (17) Jake Fountain, Dannemora, N.Y.
6. (18) # Cody Groesbeck, Fair Haven, Vt.
7. (16) Ken Darrah, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
8. (2) # Katrina Bean, Benson, Vt.
9. (14) Austin McKirryher, Proctor, Vt.
10. (11) Ron Stewart, Benson, Vt.
11. (1) # Mary Gardner, Granville, N.Y.
12. (15) Matthew Sartwell-Cornell, Highgate Springs, Vt.
13. (3) # Kendra Walden, Poultney, Vt.
14. (7) Tim Simonds, Clarendon, Vt.
15. (4) Griff Mahoney, Brandon, Vt.
16. (10) Shawn Moquin, Milton, Vt.
Disqualified: (12) P.J. Bleau, Latham, N.Y. (Engine)
Disqualified: (13) Josh LaPorte, Peru, N.Y. (tires)
Did Not Start: # Scott Cowdrey; Jarrod Colburn
Heat Winners: Katrina Bean, P.J. Bleau
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (4) # Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
2. (3) # Kamden Duffy, Richmond, N.H.
3. (1) Kevin Smith, Brandon, Vt.
4. (5) Samantha Mulready, Cambridge, N.Y.
5. (9) Shawn McPhee, Rutland, Vt.
6. (8) Cody O’Brien, Springfield, Vt.
7. (7) John McPhee Jr., Rutland, Vt.
8. (6) Dakota Green, Cambridge, N.Y.
9. (2) # Jack Koponen, Mount Holly, Vt.
10. (13) Kaidin White, Monkton, Vt.
11. (14) Troy Audet, Bridport, Vt.
12. (10) # Eric Wade, Rutland, Vt.
13. (12) # Alyza McKeighan, Brandon, Vt.
14. (11) # Mia Koponen, Ludlow, Vt.
Heat Winners: Evan Roberts, Kamden Duffy
Enduro Series Feature (50 laps)
Pos.-(Car No.)-Driver-Hometown-Laps Completed
1. (17) Cory Gray, Clarendon, Vt. – 50 Laps
2. (23) Brent Wilbur, Whiting, Vt. – 50 Laps
3. (42) Chris Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt. – 50 Laps
4. (27) Brian Blake, Cornwall, Vt. – 49 Laps
5. (21) Scott Richner, Rouses Point, N.Y. – 49 Laps
6. (510) Matt Wade, Fair Haven, Vt. – 49 Laps
7. (43) Jim Bleau, Albany, N.Y. – 48 Laps
8. (150) Chad Woodard, Belmont, Vt. – 48 Laps
9. (17X) Tim Devino, Brandon, Vt. – 48 Laps
10. (57X) Carl Whittemore, Brandon, Vt. – 47 Laps
11. (36) Kaleb Lyman, Whitehall, N.Y. – 45 Laps
12. (7X) Kyle Gray, Essex, Vt. – 44 Laps
13. (19) Chris Sumner, Ripton, Vt. – 44 Laps
14. (6A) Adam Stewart, Benson, Vt. – 43 Laps
15. (143) Zack Bleau, Albany, N.Y. – 29 Laps
16. (3D) Dakota Desabrais, Hampton, N.Y. – 28 Laps
17. (069) Jason Vezina, North Hero, Vt. – 16 Laps
18. (188) Kenny Torrey, Orwell, Vt. – 8 Laps
19. (6) Larry Bristol, Rutland, Vt. – 8 Laps
20. (57) Ryan Patch, Rutland, Vt. – 8 Laps
21. (3X) Gary Cheeseman, Hinesburg, Vt. – 8 Laps
22. (77X) Brian Gray, Old Bridge, N.J. – 7 Laps
23. (802) Jeff Smith, Rutland, Vt. – 4 Laps
24. (19X) Jason Reed Sr., Poultney, Vt. – 4 Laps
25. (94) Carrie LaRose, Middlebury, Vt. – No Score
26. (717) Freddy Burch, Middle Granville, N.Y. – No Score