WENTWORTH, N..H – Kevin Chaffee broke through for his first sprint-car victory Sunday night, winning the Sprint Cars of New England feature at Legion Speedway.
Chaffee’s triumph makes him the eighth different SCoNE winner this season and the fourth driver to score a career-first sprint-car win.
After finishing second in his heat, Chaffee started 10th in the feature wheeling a Heritage chassis owned by Bruce Clattenburg.
Threading his way through a parcel of early race wrecks, he became the third and final leader when he went by Chris Downs on lap 20. Downs had wrestled the top spot from polesitter Shawn Berry on lap 17.
Once in the lead, Chaffee did whatever he could to make his car as wide as possible to thwart Chris Donnelly, who had raced from 14th to Chaffee’s back bumper.
“I think I only could have pushed him up about another four inches before I put him in the concrete,” a jubilant Chaffee laughed in victory lane. “It’s a lot of fun racing Chris. In my first year racing sprint cars, he robbed his first win from me coming off turn four on the last lap and I did everything I could do to prevent that tonight. I tried using the top, the bottom, any place that I thought he might go to pass me. This time it worked out, but I think if he had a couple of more laps he might have got by me. Thank God he didn’t.”
Ever the diplomat, Donnelly played true to type in his post-race interview.
“It was a lot of fun racing with Kevin, he’s been having a tough time in these things and it’s really great to see him get his first win,” Donnelly said. “He was throwing everything he had to try to slow me up and I was trying to second guess him but I just didn’t do it quick enough so congratulations to him.”
Making only his eighth start in a sprint-car, former mini sprinter Chris Downs was elated with his third place finish. A pair of Shawns, Berry and Lawler, each a feature winner earlier this season, finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Hurry and enter! Winners will be announced Saturday at the Knoxville Nationals finale! Chance to win a $2,500 VIP prize package to the 2013 Knoxville Nationals and be on Donny Schatz’s pit crew!