WEST HAVEN, Vt. – Ron Proctor waited nearly two years to carry a checkered flag at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, but the wait became worth it as the veteran driver won the double-points Rutland Herald Mid-Season Championship in dominant fashion on Friday.
Proctor headlined a list of winners that also included Bucko Branham, Jamy Begor, and Chris LaVair.
The outcome of the 25-lap main event for the Bond Auto Parts Modified division was never in question, as Proctor’s No. 27 Charlton Oil/Timco Transportation Teo Pro car jumped from its outside-pole starting position to lead the opening lap, and was never challenged. It was his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victory since August 2012.
Runner-up Jason Durgan ran lap times nearly identical to Proctor’s throughout the well-driven, caution-free race, but was never able to mount a serious charge. Joey Roberts and Todd Stone waged a long battle for third place with Stone making several outside-lane attempts in the final laps, but Roberts held on for the spot. Stone was fourth with Johnny Scarborough fifth.
“This was a long time coming,” two-time track champion Proctor said of the win. “You have to really enjoy these victories, because you never know when the next one is coming.” Proctor became the eighth different driver to win in 11 Modified races in 2014. Stone stretched his championship lead only slightly, and now paces Roberts by 37 points.
Bucko Branham used a much-improved car and a dash of luck to win the 30-lap Late Model feature. Branham led the opening laps before Joey M. Laquerre took over, but an ill-fated three-wide attempt at the lead by Emily Packard left her car in a dramatic crash with Jamie Fisher and Josh Masterson. Packard, Fisher, and Masterson entered the race separated by just nine points for the championship lead.
Laquerre survived heavy contact in the incident to retain the lead at the restart, but Branham overpowered him three laps later and sped to the win, the first of his career at Devil’s Bowl. Fisher made a brilliant run through the field after restart in the back following the lap 15 crash to nip Jamie Aube at the finish line for second place by less than a foot. Robert Bryant, Jr., finished fourth, just ahead of Masterson.
Packard took sixth, while Laquerre suffered a flat tire late in the race and did not finish. Fisher took over the point lead, topping Masterson by three points and Packard by 10.
Long-time Airborne Park standout Jamy Begor made his first start of the season in the Renegade division, and ended up in victory lane. Begor stalked leader Jim McKiernan for the first 15 circuits of the 20-lap race before making his move, bringing Robert Gordon along with him. Gordon made a bid on the inside on the final lap, but a spin by a backmarker forced the caution flag to wave, freezing the field. Begor was scored as the winner with Gordon second and McKiernan third. Richard Lowrey, III and Dylan Rabtoy rounded out the top five.
Chris LaVair used a car borrowed from fellow competitor Dan Collins to take his second win of the season in the Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock division. LaVair diced with brother Bobby LaVair in the early stages, but pulled away over the 20-lap distance. Point leader Chuck Bradford slipped by for the runner-up finish, followed by Bobby LaVair, Jake Noble, and John McCarron.
Ron Proctor; Jason Durgan; Joey Roberts; Todd Stone; Johnny Scarborough; Jason Reome; Leon Gonyo; Vince Quenneville, Jr.; Cody Sargen; Jamie LaFountain; Billy Lussier