Bonnett Takes First Career Sportsman Series Victory
CANAAN, NH - A smooth driving style coupled with a lack of caution periods helped St Albans, VT stock car driver, Jason Bonnett to his first career victory in the ACT Sportsman Series Saturday night at New Hampshire's Canaan Fair Speedway in the Blacktop Inc 100. Bonnett, the 2003 Sportsman Champion at Airborne Raceway (Plattsburgh, NY), started ninth in the 27-car field.

With the drop of the green flag he began his march toward the front. Before five laps were in the records books Bonnett had moved into third. He next set his sights on multi-time former Late Model and Sportsman titleholder, Chuck Beede who was running second. It took the youngster some 40 laps and assistance from a lap 45 caution for a minor spin to dispose of Beede. On the ensuing restart, Bonnet powered into the runner-up spot. Race leader Chris Curtis, who had led from the initial green flag, was in his cross hairs.
A spirited five-lap battle brought the fans to their feet as Rutland, MA newcomer, Curtis tried to fend off established ACT racer, Bonnet. On the 50th circuit was able to complete the pass of Curtis but the former leader wasn't going to go easily. He valiantly fought back but with a clear track ahead of him, Bonnett was virtually untouchable. His 15-car length advantage was erased on the 82nd circuit when rookie Nick Sweet spun off then second turn bringing out the third and final caution of the event. Curtis made one final attempt at regaining the advantage when racing resumed but a hard charging Shawn Fleury from Montpelier, VT turned his attention from an attack to a defense mode. Curtis maintained his runner-up position with Fleury a close third. Rounding out the top five were Plattsburgh, NY driver, Robin Wood, winner of the Sportsman Series' season opener and Beede from Williamstown, VT.
"After taking most of last year off from racing I'm a bit surprised to find that we're this competitive on a track we don't really know. Last week (in the Series opener at Airborne) I was pretty comfortable in the car since I've raced there for quite a few years. But this third mile is a horse of a different color - fortunately most of the others aren't too familiar with it either," Bonnett commented.
Finishing sixth in the Blacktop Inc 100 was Ray Stearns from E Corinth, VT and Reno Gervais, from Island Pond, VT, was seventh. Completing the top ten finishers were a trio of Vermont drivers, Chip Grenier (Northfield) in eighth, Chris Gendreau (Waterbury Center,) and Brendan Moodie (Wolcott).
The third of eight ACT Sportsman Series events, the WDEV Radio 100, is scheduled for Thunder Road Speedbowl, Barre, VT on Thursday, June 23. Post time will be at 6:00 pm.
Bonnet's win, coupled with this third place finish at Airborne, moves him into the ACT Sportsman Series point lead over Wood (188-184). Craig Bushey, winner of the Series' championship in 2002-2003 sits third with 168 points. Rounding out the top five are Chris Curtis (164) and Chuck Beede (154).
CONTACT: Marjorie Mulligan Fay (802) 244-6963
E-mail: OR (802) 238-1200