PHOTO: Jimmy Hebert (#58) leads Eddie MacDonald (#17) and the rest of the American-Canadian Tour field en route to his win in the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 at Lee USA Speedway on Sunday. (Leif Tillotson photo)
Hebert and Bessette take series wins; Devil’s Bowl drivers get early start
(NOTE: The Devil’s Bowl Speedway Regional Report is a new regular feature that will showcase drivers and series affiliated with the West Haven, VT track racing in other parts of the Northeast.)
The New England stock car racing season is officially in full swing, and a handful of drivers from Devil’s Bowl Speedway have taken off to an early start. Touring series drivers Jimmy Hebert and George Bessette highlighted the list of winners at Lee USA Speedway and Thompson International Speedway, while other Devil’s Bowl racers turned in strong performances.
American-Canadian Tour – Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH
New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 – Sunday, April 14
• Jimmy Hebert, 21, of Williamstown, VT broke into the winner’s circle for the first time to open the ACT Late Model Tour championship season on Sunday. Hebert started 15th and led the final 25 laps going away. Travis Fadden, Eddie MacDonald, Rowland Robinson, Jr., and Ray Parent completed the top five finishers.
• Hebert, the 2012 ACT Rookie of the Year made, two starts at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in his freshman season, finishing 22nd in the 101.5 “The Fox” Spring Green with the ACT Late Model Tour in his first-ever trip to the West Haven, VT half-mile in May. He returned in June for the “I Am Vermont Strong 100” for the Vermont State Late Model Championship Series and was running inside the top 10 before crashing hard off the backstretch and finishing 16th.
• Brian Hoar, Wayne Helliwell, Jr., and Brent Dragon – all previous winners at Devil’s Bowl Speedway – each had a tough start to their season at Lee USA. Hoar, of Williston, VT, spun in his qualifying heat and eventually finished ninth in the 150-lap main event. Dover, NH driver Helliwell, the defending 101.5 “The Fox” Spring Green winner and ACT champion, spun late in the Lee USA event and finished 14th. Dragon, of Milton, VT, was pinched into the wall in qualifying by another driver; he qualified for the Governor’s Cup race, but was never a factor for the win, finishing 13th. The trio of drivers has combined for two Spring Green victories and five overall wins at Devil’s Bowl since 2011.
• Sixteen year-old Joey M. Laquerre, a fourth-generation driver from East Montpelier, VT, just missed the cut in qualifying for the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 in his first ride for car owner Kendall Roberts. Laquerre ranked 10th in championship points in the Devil’s Bowl Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division in 2012 with two third-place finishes.
• The ACT Late Model Tour visits Devil’s Bowl Speedway twice in 2013 – The 101.5 “The Fox” Spring Green 113 opens the season on Sunday, May 5 at 1:30pm, followed on Sunday, July 28 by a 150-lap mid-summer showdown.
PHOTO: George “Mad Dog” Bessette celebrates his Granite State Pro Stock Series victory at Thompson Int’l Speedway’s “Icebreaker” on Sunday. (Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com photo)
Granite State Pro Stock Series – Thompson International Speedway, Thompson, CT
Icebreaker 50 – Sunday, April 14
• Veteran driver George “Mad Dog” Bessette of Danbury, CT scored his first win on the Granite State Pro Stock Series during the famed Icebreaker weekend event at Thompson International Speedway on Sunday. Bessette, a multi-time Thompson winner and champion, inherited the lead when Louie Mechalides suffered mechanical trouble with nine laps left and retired from the race. Bessette then outdueled fellow Thompson standout Mike O’Sullivan for the win. Glenn Tyler, Jake Vanada, and Jim Banfield completed the top five finishers.
• Vernon’s Josh King, the lone Vermonter in the field, finished in 10th place to open the Granite State Pro Stock Series season. Part-time NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Matt Frahm of North Salem, NH, finished 12th, and former Oxford 250 winner Larry Gelinas of Buxton, ME was 16th.
• The Granite State Pro Stock Series visits Vermont for the first-time ever at the inaugural Carmody Ford “Slate Valley 100” at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Friday, June 14 at 7:00pm.
• Three NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers who compete at Devil’s Bowl Speedway were also in action on the fast 5/8-mile at Thompson during the Icebreaker. Joe Williams of Scotia, NY made his debut in the Sunoco/SK-type Modified division, driving from 17th starting position to a 10th-place finish in his debut in the division. Guy Caron of Lempster, NH and Pete Yetman of Peru, MA were major players in the Late Model event; Yetman finished fourth and Caron led a majority of the 25-lap race before finishing seventh. Williams, a feature winner in 2012, will compete in the Bond Auto Parts Modified division at Devil’s Bowl on a limited basis for the Sargen Racing team in 2013 while Caron and Yetman join the wide-open championship fight in the Late Model class.
The 39th annual 101.5 “The Fox” Spring Green begins at 1:30pm on Sunday, May 5. General admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (62+), and free for children 12 and under. The 2nd annual Devil’s Bowl Downtown Fan Festival will kick the weekend off on Saturday, May 4, 9:00am to 12:00 noon in Downtown Rutland, VT.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, VT four miles north of Exit 2 on U.S. Route 4. For more information, call (802) 265-3112 or visit www.devilsbowlspeedwayvt.com. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at facebook.com/DevilsBowlSpeedway and on Twitter at @DevilsBowlSpeed.