“Professor” Chris Donnelly earned his first Devil’s Bowl win in five years on Sunday after a wild final two laps.
Donnelly, a six-time Sprint Cars of New England (SCoNE) tour champion, dominated the 25-lap race but was caught late in lapped traffic by Cory Sparks and Clay Dow.
Sparks threw a slide job on Donnelly to take the lead briefly on lap 24, but Donnelly crossed him back over to retake the lead. Dow entered the picture in the final lap, passing Sparks for the runner-up finish.
Sparks settled for third ahead of Jeff Trombley and Plainfield’s Will Hull.
In the 50-lap Sportsman Modified race, Demetrios Drellos came from 18th starting position to stalk leader Tim LaDuc for five laps after the halfway mark. He then ran side-by-side with him for another five laps, and finally completed the pass at lap 34 to drive away for his fifth win of the season.
Orwell’s LaDuc settled for second place, with East Corinth’s Adam Pierson, Middlebury’s Todd Stone and Brandon’s Vince Quenneville rounding out the top five.
In the 25-lap O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman race, young drivers A.J. Munger, 20, and Beau Reeves, 15, squared off with veteran racer Bob Kilburn, 65, to put on an entertaining show.
Reeves pulled ahead at lap 15 to score a popular first win, while Fair Haven’s Kilburn’s runner-up effort was appreciated just as much by the huge crowd. Munger faded to sixth, still the best result of his first season.
Castleton’s Justin Lilly took third, ahead of East Corinth’s Melvin Pierson and Bolton Landing, New York driver Craig Wholey.
In the 20-lap Super Stock race, Paul Braymer dominated before being pushed out of the lead on lap 17 and then spun from behind. Chuck Bradford and Chris Murray faced off from there, but Bradford spun his car coming to the finish, allowing Murray to take his fifth win of the year.
Fair Haven’s Murray was followed by townmate Josh Bussino in second. Granville, New York’s Braymer was third ahead of West Rutland’s Andrew FitzGerald and Mount Holly’s Mike Bussino.
There were a pair of 12-lap Summit Up Construction Mini Stock features.
In the first race, Chris Sumner, who entered the event as the co-point leader with Daryl Gebo, raced to his fourth win of the season, ahead of Wells driver T.J. Knight. Third-place Nate Smart was in his first start of the year at Devil’s Bowl.
Newport, New Hampshire’s Chris Conroy and Fair Haven’s Chase Allen were fourth and fifth respectively.
Greg Zindler Jr. was a dominant first-time winner in the second Mini Stock feature, starting ninth and needing just five laps to take the lead and pull away from the field.
Pittsford’s Scott Chandler was second, ahead of Clemmy Bell, Derrick Counter and Craig Kirby.
In the 15-lap Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint, 11-year-old Kaidin White led the first nine laps and was holding off point leader Ray Hanson, but White was held up in lapped traffic and allowed Hanson to take over.
Hanson’s win was his seventh in the first 10 races of the year, and while in victory lane he made a classy Independence Day salute to the attending members of the Armed Forces.
Monkton’s White finished second, ahead of Richmond, New Hampshire’s Kamden Duffy, Brandon’s Kevin Smith and Fair Haven’s Vern Woodard.
In the 50-lap Enduro Series race, Matt Wade recovered from a mid-race spin to chase Eric Leno down in the last lap.
Wade spun Leno from behind and crossed the finish first as Leno crossed second backwards, but Wade was disqualified for rough riding and Leno was awarded the win — his second of the year.
Trevor Jaques, Scott Richner, Artie Forrest and Colton Leno rounded out the top five.
Double the points are on the line on Saturday with the Mid-Season Championships at Devil’s Bowl.