Root Wins Leon Gonyo Memorial in Devil’s Bowl King of Dirt Thriller

Wild final lap ends with first KOD win for former DIRTcar Series champion


WEST HAVEN, Vt. – Kevin Root was all but guaranteed the win in the 2020 season opener for the King of Dirt Racing (KOD) Crate Modified Series at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Sunday, August 9 – at least until the final lap. The Geneva, N.Y., veteran dominated the “Leon Gonyo Memorial 40” by leading laps 2-38, but lapped traffic and a hard-charging Demetrios Drellos changed everything coming down to the wire.

The KOD race was the support show for the second annual “Battle at the Bowl” Big Block/Small Block Challenge event, which was held before an electrified, pandemic-weary crowd. With 65 combined Modified entries and 49 KOD Crate Modifieds in the pits, the Vermont track was abuzz, and the action lived up to hype.

The KOD’s Leon Gonyo Memorial once again stole the show, and while Anthony Perrego, Jessey Mueller, and Mat Williamson scored wins in the Big Block and Small Block races, it was Root winning the hearts of the crowd. In his first-ever trip to Devil’s Bowl and just his third race ever with KOD, the defending DIRTcar Sportsman champion made the long haul across the New York Thruway to capture the victory.

Root set the pace before catching lapped traffic in the final circuits, allowing Queensbury, N.Y., racer Drellos to catch him in the last two trips around the fast half-mile. Drellos, the Sunday-night point leader in the track’s weekly Pepsi Sportsman Modified division, used a three-wide move to take the lead to complete lap 39, running on the outside with Root on the bottom lane and the lapped car of Joey Scarborough in the middle.

Drellos got ahead in Turn 1 on the final lap, but Root stepped on the gas and reclaimed the top spot coming to the finish line, taking the win by just 0.187-seconds. Drellos’ runner-up finish came in his first KOD start.

Root was ecstatic in victory lane and celebrated on the roof of his F.X. Caprara Honda No. 34 car with his son, Nick, and then made a memorable speech during his interview that had the crowd both laughing and cheering.

Kenny Tremont Jr. fought heavy traffic to take third place, and Justin Comes was strong as the top Vermonter in fourth. Jack Speshock drove from 26th starting position to beat Adam Pierson for fifth place. Defending KOD champion Bobby Hackel finished seventh, ahead of rookie Justin Stone, polesitter Scott Duell, and Brian Calabrese.

Four qualifying heats were held, with wins going to Tremont, Stone, Vince Quenneville, and Pierson. Tanner Siemons won the consolation race, and Frank Hoard III was the lone qualifier from the last-chance B-Feature.

Seating was limited to a sold-out 750 masked-and-socially-distanced grandstand spectators and about 400 infield drive-in fans – many of whom were attending their first race of the season amid COVID-19 restrictions – and the appreciative gathering made enough noise to substitute for 5,000.

Due to pandemic-related changes at many tracks in the area, several adjustments are coming to the balance of the King of Dirt Racing season schedule; announcements will be made soon. King of Dirt Racing is online at and can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.  For more information, call (802) 265-3112 or email


OFFICIAL RESULTS – “Leon Gonyo Memorial”

Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.

Sunday, August 9, 2020


King of Dirt Racing Crate Modified Series Feature (40 laps)

Pos.-(Start)-Car No.-Driver-Hometown

# – eligible for KOD Newcomer of the Year award

* – ineligible for KOD points

  1. (3) 34 Kevin Root, Geneva, N.Y.
  2. (13) * 111 Demetrios Drellos, Queensbury, N.Y.
  3. (11) * 115 Kenny Tremont Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
  4. (6) 51 Justin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
  5. (26) 08 Jack Speshock, Malta, N.Y.
  6. (8) * 15 Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
  7. (15) * 97 Bobby Hackel, Rensselaer, N.Y.
  8. (10) # 1X Justin Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
  9. (1) 14X Scott Duell, Bennington, Vt.
  10. (7) 21C Brian Calabrese, Johnstown, N.Y.
  11. (16) # 11X Josh Masterson, Bristol, Vt.
  12. (12) 38 Jake Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
  13. (21) 73C Kevin Chaffee, Bradford, Vt.
  14. (17) 997 Robert Bublak Jr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.
  15. (22) 60 Jimmy Ryan, Whiting, Vt.
  16. (2) 21 Marty Kelly III, North Bennington, Vt.
  17. (28) # 7 Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt.
  18. (27) 54 Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
  19. (20) 23 Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
  20. (14) * 26 Derrick McGrew Jr., Ballston Spa, N.Y.
  21. (23) 22 Dylan Rabtoy, Swanton, Vt.
  22. (29) # 18L Matt Lashua, Canaan, N.H.
  23. (24) 50X Joey Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
  24. (5) # 33R Travis Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y.
  25. (19) 11VT Joey Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
  26. (25) 5 Tanner Siemons, Orford, N.H.
  27. (4) 42 Daryl Nutting, Ballston Spa, N.Y.
  28. (18) # 66W Derek Webb, Brownville, N.Y.
  29. (9) 78 Vince Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
  30. (30) 13 Frank Hoard III, Manchester Center, Vt.

Lap Leaders: Scott Duell (1), Kevin Root (2-38), Demetrios Drellos (39), Root (40) – 3 lead changes among 3 drivers.

Cautions (3): Laps 1, 11, 22.

Heat Winners: Kenny Tremont Jr., Justin Stone, Vince Quenneville, Adam Pierson

Consi Winner: Tanner Siemons

B-Feature Winner: Frank Hoard III


Did Not Qualify: # 1VT Marty Hutchins, 2 Brent Warren, # M2 Shawn McPhee, 5J Nathan Johnson, # 17 Bruce Loomis, # 19 Jamy Begor, 20 Bucko Branham, 24J John St. Germain Jr., * 24R Elmo Reckner, 25 Billy Lussier, 36 Brian Whittemore, # 37 Todd Randlett, # 53 Gary English, # 66 Adam Piper, 77M Mike Fisher, 88 Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald, # 115M Montgomery Tremont, # 410 Mike Fowler, # 514 James Hanson


Point Standings: 1. Kevin Root – 54; 2. Justin Comes – 52; 3. Justin Stone – 51; 4. Jack Speshock – 47; 5. (tied) Scott Duell, Brian Calabrese – 45; 7. Josh Masterson – 41; 8. Jake Scarborough – 40; 9. Kevin Chaffee – 36; 10. Robert Bublak Jr. – 35.