PHOTO: Five-time feature winner and championship runner-up Bobby LaVair (#5) of Gabriels, NY is the top returning Mini Stock racer at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in 2013. (Leif Tillotson photo)
Five-time winner LaVair leads wide-open championship chase
WEST HAVEN, VT – The grassroots have been replanted at Devil’s Bowl Speedway for the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series stock car racing season. The entry-level four-cylinder Mini Stock division has undergone a facelift during the winter and is expecting a wide-open championship chase.
Known in previous seasons as the “Bomber” division, the Mini Stock class is the starting point for many local racecar drivers. Cars that compete include Chevrolet Cavaliers, Honda Civics, Dodge Neons, and other American-made and import compact sedans. Modifications allow only for safety advancements and minor, inexpensive handling and mechanical improvements. Racing in the Mini Stock class is often intense with three-wide and even four-wide action sprinkled with metal-crunching crashes and rollovers.
Josh Masterson, 21, came to the division as a rookie in 2012 and departs for the top-tier Late Models as the champion. In his first season in a stock car, the Bristol, VT racer posted an astonishing seven wins en route to sweeping the track championship and Rookie of the Year title. Third-place finisher Ray Germain, Jr., also of Bristol, VT, will move up to the intermediate Renegade class, leaving 2012 runner-up Bobby LaVair of Gabriels, NY as the leading candidate to sit on the Mini Stock throne. Five victories in his No. 5 Denecker Chevrolet-sponsored Mazda Protégé left LaVair second overall; his father Harold and brother Chris were also feature winners during the season.
“I want to expand my schedule to do some more racing around New England this year, but my main goal is to win the Mini Stock championship at Devil’s Bowl,” Bobby LaVair said. “I know there will be some new cars, so you never really know what to expect, but I know I’m ready.”
Drivers looking to keep LaVair in check include Gerald LaFlam of Hinesburg, VT; Jake Noble of Benson, VT; Rensselaer, NY racers Dan Collins and John McCarron; Colchester, VT’s Matt Monaghan; and Kyle Watrous of Bomoseen, VT. Rulebooks and registration forms have also been mailed to first-time racers from across Vermont and New York.
Like its Modified, Late Model, and Renegade counterparts at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, the Mini Stock division is part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series that encompasses more than 50 weekly tracks in North America. Masterson finished 41st in the national Division IV standings of the NASCAR Finalist program, with LaVair 54th and Germain 83rd; the national top three Finalists are honored each year at a black-tie NASCAR gala in Charlotte, NC.
Masterson will officially accept his championship awards at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway Banquet of Champions at the Holiday Inn Rutland-Killington in Rutland, VT on Saturday, February 2. Ron Proctor will collect his second Bond Auto Parts Modified title, Craig Bushey will be crowned the J&S Steel Late Model champion, and Robert Gordon will take Renegade honors.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s 16-event 2013 race schedule kicks off on Sunday, May 5 with the 39th annual “Spring Green 113” for the American-Canadian Tour Late Models, along with Devil’s Bowl’s weekly NASCAR divisions. The full schedule and order forms for general admission season passes are available online at www.devilsbowlspeedwayvt.com or by calling (802) 265-3112. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is also on Facebook at facebook.com/DevilsBowlSpeedway and on Twitter at @DevilsBowlSpeed.
PHOTO: This wild Mini Stock action on the frontstretch at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in 2012 is just a sample of the fun that the cost-effective, entry-level racing division produces. (Leif Tillotson photo)