From Mark McKeon
BRADFORD, VT – When he won in both a Sprint Car and a Modified last week, defending Sprint Cars of New England Champion Chris Donnelly made history by becoming the first driver in the 44 years of Bear Ridge Speedway to win features in two divisions on the same night. This week he did it again.
(l-r) SCoNE Rookie Jim Lowery JR 3rd, Winner and Current SCoNE points leader Chris Donnelly, Dan Douville 3rd
The Piermont, NH resident started eleventh in the 25 lap SCoNE feature and methodically worked his way through traffic until lap 10 when he passed pole sitter Bob Giuliani for the lead. A 24 lap green flag run provided Donnelly with the opportunity to lap all but the first seven cars. The win was Donnelly’s third in four SCoNE starts so far this season.
“Never in my wildest dreams,” Donnelly said in victory lane, “it’s been phenomenal. I was able to just take my time, let them get sorted out and then pick them off at the bottom. I had a feeling that the top might be good, but everybody was running the bottom or the middle. When I got through the traffic I did try the top and apparently that was the fast way around. Lapped traffic got a little dicey, but the car is still super good and we’re not changing anything. I enjoyed myself because SCoNE is a great bunch to race with.”
It was a night when track conditions favored passing and the SCoNE chauffeurs wasted no opportunities.
Second place finisher Dan Douville brought out the only yellow flag of the event on lap two when he touched wheels with another competitor and spun off the banking in turn one, getting the car on two wheels and nearly flipping. Restarting from the tail end, Douville used the high groove to work his way through traffic. He had the leader in sight when the checkers flew, but never got close enough to mount a serious challenge.
“The track was really fast and I was getting into turn three real well, but I was pushing the limits of my- let’s just say courage. There was a great cushion tonight, it was pretty high in turn two, but the cushion was working real nice. What I really needed was a caution flag. I think if I had a caution flag I might have had something for Chris, but it was a good run and I’m happy.”
SCoNE rookie and former Star Speedway Big Block Supermodified Champion Jim Lowrey, Jr. drove a thinking man’s race to third place. Making the feature by winning the Last Chance Qualifier, Lowery started seventh and looked comfortable wherever he needed to go enroute to his best finish so far this season.
“I can drive it OK,” Lowrey understated, “but really need to work on the car’s set-up. If I could get the same forward bite as the two guys who were in front of me, I think we’d have something for them. That’s the key to it, getting the drive off the corner and I’m giving up a little bit right there and I need to figure this out. It’s totally different from setting up an asphalt car. Here we have to run the right rear heavy and on asphalt we run the left rear heavy, it’s just two totally different animals”
“The Craftsman” Kevin Chaffee turned in a typically smooth performance while racing from ninth to finish fourth. Former SCoNE Champion Shawn Lawler more than earned his keep by starting 15th and coming home fifth.