By Justin St. Louis
(WEST HAVEN, VT) – Chris Donnelly electrified a massive holiday dirt track racing crowd on Independence Day, Sunday, July 4, at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, winning the inaugural “Sprint Car Spectacular” event in dramatic fashion. Donnelly’s win highlighted a jam-packed card that also included a remarkable fireworks show and victories for Demetrios Drellos, Beau Reeves, Chris Murray, Chris Sumner, Greg Zindler Jr., Ray Hanson, and Eric Leno.
The Sprint Car Spectacular event – which was postponed by rain on Saturday – drew entries from both the CRSA Sprint Cars and Sprint Cars of New England (SCoNE) tours, which combined for the first time ever in an interesting matchup between CRSA’s 305-cubic-inch engines and SCoNE’s 360-cubic-inch engines.
Piermont, N.H., racer Donnelly – known as “The Professor” – served notice that class would be in session with a convincing win in his qualifying heat. The six-time SCoNE tour champion started on the front row of the 25-lap main event and built up a big lead in the first 16 laps before the race’s lone caution period bunched the field.
Donnelly again scooted away from the field, but his progress was slowed by lapped traffic, allowing Cory Sparks and Clay Dow to enter the picture. Sparks flexed his muscles coming to the white flag with a breathtaking slide job that gave him the lead momentarily. Donnelly crossed him back over, though, and retook command as the final lap began. Just then, Dow threw down a huge move on Sparks in Turn 1 to steal the runner-up position and he then set to work on Donnelly in the final corner, but the checkered flag waved before he could make a run.
Despite his experience and longevity, Donnelly’s win was his first ever on a larger half-mile track, and it was his first win at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway facility since 2016, when the dirt surface was still the former 3/10-mile infield short track. Behind Dow and Sparks, three-time CRSA champion Jeff Trombley recovered from a trip off Turn 2 under green flag conditions to finish fourth, with Will Hull fifth. Jake Williams was next in line, followed by Travis Billington, Matt Hoyt, Chase Moran, and Josh Flint.
Hull, Sparks, and Donnelly won the qualifying heats, and CRSA driver Dana Wagner took a $100 bonus for winning the Dash race, sponsored by Bruno’s Towing and Mike Emhof Motorsports. The SCoNE tour wraps up its three-race Devil’s Bowl Speedway schedule at the Vermont 200 event on Labor Day Weekend, September 4-5; Hull holds a five-point lead in the track championship standings over Dow, 99-94, with Hoyt, Donnelly, and Williams each within 15 points of the lead.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, Vt., four miles north of U.S. Route 4, Exit 2, and just 20 minutes from Rutland, Vt. For more information, visit www.DevilsBowlSpeedwayVT.com or call (802) 265-3112. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at facebook.com/DevilsBowlSpeedway, and on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Independence Day Spectacular
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Sunday, July 4, 2021
CRSA Sprint Cars/Sprint Cars of New England Feature (25 laps)
1. (2) Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
2. (7) Clay Dow, Barnstead, N.H.
3. (1) Cory Sparks, Edinburg, N.Y.
4. (4) Jeff Trombley, Altamont, N.Y.
5. (3) Will Hull, Plainfield, Vt.
6. (5) Jake Williams, Center Tuftonboro, N.H.
7. (6) Travis Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
8. (19) Matt Hoyt, Campton, N.H.
9. (15) Chase Moran, Fultonville, N.Y.
10. (17) Josh Flint, Cherry Valley, N.Y.
11. (10) Dana Wagner, Trout Creek, N.Y.
12. (8) Kyle Pierce, Spencer, N.Y.
13. (9) Jordan Hutton, Hannibal, N.Y.
14. (14) Peter Dance, Warren, Conn.
15. (12) Caleb Lamson, Moretown, Vt.
16. (20) Trevor Years, Honeoye, N.Y.
17. (16) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
18. (13) Jerry Sehn Jr., Deansboro, N.Y.
19. (18) Ronnie Greek, Oneonta, N.Y.
20. (11) Floyd Billington, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
21. (21) Rick Stone, Cornwall, Conn.
22. Lap Leaders: Cory Sparks, pole; Chris Donnelly, 1-25. (1 lead change among 2 drivers)
23. Cautions (1): Lap 16.
Heat Winners: Will Hull, Cory Sparks, Chris Donnelly
Dash Winner: Dana Wagner