WEST HAVEN, Vt. – Justin Stone dominated the season’s final feature race in the headline Sportsman Modified division, leading every lap of the caution-free race Saturday night at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.
The drama of the championship battle played out in front of a big grandstand crowd and left everyone in shock, as previous point leader Justin Comes struggled in both qualifying and the feature race. Tim LaDuc, who trailed Comes by 18 points entering the event, did exactly what he needed to do by gaining one point in the qualifying heats and then placing sixth in the feature, nine positions ahead of Comes, for another gain of 18.
LaDuc overtook Comes in the point tally and clinched the championship by a single point, 967-966. The title was the first for LaDuc since 2000, having won the 358-Modified division championship as a rookie 21 years ago.
Austin Comes drove from 14th place to get to second behind leader Katrina Bean, and then Comes used a late restart to grab the lead in the final two laps and drive off for his fifth win of the season in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division. Bean led 23 of the 25 laps before taking the runner-up finish. Troy Audet started 17th and finished seventh to wrap up the division championship in his first season in a full-size Modified.
Second-generation driver A.J. Munger followed in his father Gene’s footsteps by scoring his first victory in the Limited Sportsman Non-Winners Shootout. Munger led early before surrendering the lead to Mike McGinn, but got back past McGinn and held him off in the final two restarts for the win. McGinn’s runner-up showing was a career-best result.
Rookie Adam Mahoney had a dominant car and led all but the first two laps to score his third win of the season in the Mini Stock A Feature. Runner-up Mike Clark started 23rd in the race. Chris Sumner finished 12th to clinch his first championship over rookie Daryl Gebo.
Rookie Damian Olden earned his first win in the Mini Stock B Feature after holding off a good race-long challenge from both Clemmy Bell and Griff Mahoney; Mahoney slipped past Bell late in the race for second place.
Rookie Gage Provencher led every lap of the open competition race for the 500cc Mini Sprint division to score a popular first win. The race ran caution-free.
Brian Denis caught teammate Eric Leno by surprise with two laps left in a wild Enduro 100, and the pair traded the lead three times in the final circuits. Denis made the winning pass in the final 200 feet of the race to earn a $2,000 payday. The race had 13 red flag stoppages including two for rollovers; no drivers were injured. Only 16 of the 73 starters were running at the finish, with just four cars completing the full 100 laps.