Can pave track challenger Jessey Mueller overcome his one point deficit behind Vince Quenneville to take the Northern Modified Championship at Canaan?
The inaugural Northern Modified Challenge Series stock car champion will emerge from a crowded group of star open-wheel short track drivers at Canaan Dirt Speedway on Saturday, October 19. The first-year series heads to its season finale with five drivers separated by only 11 points.
The Northern Modified Challenge Series, sanctioned by Devil’s Bowl Speedway, is unlike any other championship tour, utilizing center-seat, dirt-style Modified cars on both asphalt and dirt tracks. Three feature events have been contested on the series’ home track in West Haven, VT, an asphalt half-mile, with additional asphalt races at Thunder Road in Barre, VT in May and Canaan Fair Speedway in August. The finale will be run at Canaan Dirt Speedway – a flat, quarter-mile clay oval adjacent to the asphalt track.
Vince Quenneville, Jr., of Brandon, VT carries a microscopic one-point championship advantage entering the 100-lap Charlie Elliott Memorial Canaan Cup during the “OctoberFast” event on October 19. Quenneville has been preparing for the Challenge finale by racing on dirt at Canaan and Bear Ridge Speedways in recent weeks, earning podium finishes at both tracks. Quenneville has finished eighth or better in all five NMCS races, registering a runner-up showing on the Canaan asphalt.
With Challenge victories at Thunder Road and Devil’s Bowl, 18 year-old Jessey Mueller of Olmstedville, NY trails Quenneville by only one point. An asphalt specialist, Mueller has run dirt races at Legion and Albany-Saratoga speedways to prepare for the Canaan finale. Joe Williams of Scotia, NY ranks third only three points out of the lead, aided by podium finishes in both halves of the NMCS Twin 50 event at Devil’s Bowl on September 15.
Hunter Bates of Middlebury, VT is fourth in points, only seven markers behind Quenneville, and began his Modified career on dirt; he recently raced at Utica-Rome and Albany-Saratoga in advance of the Canaan race. Two-time Devil’s Bowl champion Ron Proctor of Charlton, NY – who raced successfully on dirt for 30 years – sits fifth overall, just 11 points out of the lead. Veteran driver Leon Gonyo, two-time NMCS winner Todd Stone, and Canaan asphalt winner Kenny Tremont, Jr., are all in contention as well.
The OctoberFast event will operate under the Canaan Dirt Speedway rulebook, and will award Northern Modified Challenge Series points to the series’ current Top 20 drivers who attempt to qualify. The event is scheduled to be the final race ever held at the historic two-track Canaan Fairgrounds complex. Racing begins at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 19.