WEST HAVEN, Vt. — The biggest dirt-track race in New England has a new date — Labor Day weekend.
The second annual $10,000-to-win Interstate All Battery Center Vermont 200 weekend at Devil’s Bowl Speedway has been moved to the late-summer holiday on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 in order to better accommodate traveling fans and race teams — and to allow for an even bigger party atmosphere.
Though the event was a success in 2018, the format for the weekend has been retooled to allow for a shorter, two-division program on Sunday.
The GM “602” crate engine Sportsman Modified division will once again be the Sunday headliner with all qualifying and the 200-lap main event held that day. The Sprint Cars of New England tour will also be in action on Sunday with its first Vermont 200 weekend appearance.
The Saturday card features Devil’s Bowl’s Super Stock, Mini Stock, and 500cc Mini Sprint classes, along with a new “Win-And-You’re-In” event for the Limited Sportsman division that guarantees the winner a starting spot in Sunday’s 200-lap race.
Sportsman drivers also have the option for extra track time on Saturday by competing in the Ron Casey Memorial Non-Winners Shootout. Racing on Saturday is followed by Devil’s Bowl’s famous annual pig roast, bonfire party, and fireworks, which draws hundreds of guests and weekend campers.
Like every event at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, any driver is eligible to compete in the Vermont 200 regardless of past racing experience; in 2019, however, a $2,000 bonus has been posted for the winner if he or she is a regular weekly Sportsman competitor at their local track.
A diverse mix of Sportsman drivers and outside invaders kept fans thrilling over the action up front all race long before Brett Hearn of Sussex, N.J., took the win, earning more than $13,000 in purse money and bonuses.
“The Vermont 200 was great in its first year, but we took notes all weekend and started planning changes immediately,” Devil’s Bowl Speedway promoter Mike Bruno said. “We have taken steps to cut the Sunday show back to four or five hours at most, and moving the race to Labor Day weekend should make it easier for people to travel or camp overnight with the holiday on Monday. We’re always learning and listening to our fans and racers, and we will make the Vermont 200 even bigger and better for them.”