WEST HAVEN — Memorial Day Weekend is often labeled the “Unofficial Start to Summer” and since 2021 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, the summer kickoff weekend has included a 100-lap, $5,000 to win contest for the Sunoco Crate Modifieds.
Beginning in 2008 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, the Northeast Crate Nationals enters its 14th year running in 2023 (the race was not held in 2009 or 2012). Past Winners of the prestigious event include now Big-Block heavyweights Rocky Warner, Demetrios Drellos and Tim Sears, Jr. Niskayuna, New York driver Tim Hartman, Jr. has more triumphs than anyone with three, including once in 2019 when the race was moved to Fonda Speedway.
Since being held at Devil’s Bowl, the race has been owned by experience as tough veterans Vince Quenneville, Jr. and Tim LaDuc won the event in 2021 and 2022 and will look to cash the $5,000 check once more in 2023, but active drivers with podium finishes in those races Justin Comes, Troy Audet and Kevin Chaffee promise to be in position to score a marquee win. The race pays full points for the Sunoco Modifieds and its extra distance provides an opportunity for major early-season points shakeups throughout the field.
The field will be set by time trials and heat races all on Sunday with a 5 p.m. start time. Saturday night’s racing program includes time trials for the headline sportsman division as well, with $250 and a guaranteed starting spot for Sunday being awarded to the fastest qualifier. A 30-minute practice is scheduled for the end of Saturday’s program as well. Saturday time trials are not mandatory for any driver attempting Sunday’s race.
Outside invaders expected for the huge payday include Bear Ridge Speedway studs Jason Gray and Max Dolliver, budding Big-Block star Brian Calabrese, Can-Am Speedway’s Tyler Stevenson, 2022 Malta Massive Weekend Sportsman Winner Cedric Gauvreau and Merrittville Speedway dominator Cody Mcpherson, the defending Super Dirt Week Sportsman Champion.
The Sprint Cars of New England return this weekend to New England’s fastest dirt track. Matt Tanner from Stephentown, New York bested the field in SCoNE’s first Devil’s Bowl appearance of the season back on May 13th. Canadian Jordan Poirier and Chase Moran completed the podium with Chris Donnelly and Travis Billington rounding out the top five.
Crown Vic racing returns to Devil’s Bowl this week with the second race for the brand-new division expected to have the same four cars as the opening night as area teams continue working on their mounts. Bomoseen driver Rob Steele took home the first ever Crown Vic feature win at Devil’s Bowl on May 6th and will look to repeat this weekend when the 9th State Crown Vic feature is run on Saturday.
Hoosier Daddy Racing Novice Sportsman and Friend Construction 500-cc Mini-Sprint racing will also be held on Saturday, features and all. The O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks will qualify on Saturday and Feature on Sunday.
The popular Mechanics’ Races are back this Saturday for some divisions. Novice Sportsman, Crown Vic and Mini Stock crew members are invited to participate with full safety gear, raceceivers and track approval (no racecar drivers past or present permitted). Mechanics’ Races for other divisions are slated for later this season.
Racing is set to begin at 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, preceded by a 3:30 p.m. drivers’ meeting and hot laps both days.
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