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O’Connell Finishes 17th in First Milk Bowl Appearance

Barre, VT  – Devin O’Connell, a rookie driver in the American Canadian Tour, had a respectable 17th place finish at his first Milk Bowl at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, VT, on Sunday, October 2nd.   O’Connell made his presence known on Saturday at the 54th annual Milk Bowl by laying down some fast lap times in practice.  His Chatham Highlander, TruEnergy Toyota was consistently in the top five on the speed charts.  O’Connell was the first car to hit the track for time trials on Saturday after the drizzle stopped and the track was dry. He set a quick time of 13.283 that could only be bettered by 4 other drivers.  The top two fastest times earned the front row starting positions for the race on Sunday. O’Connell concluded the time trial segment 5th of 38 cars.

Following the time trails, the drivers were separated into two heat races.  The top 8 from each race would automatically transfer into the feature race on Sunday, completing the top 18 starting positions.   O’Connell’s time trail earned him a 3rd place start in the first heat race where he was running 4th on lap 24 before his car has hit in the left rear causing him to spin. With no damage to the car, he rebounded with a 12th place finish. O’Connell did not earn a transfer into the feature through the heat races, but positions 19-27 were set by refering back to the time trail efforts. Since Devin had the fastest time trail, he would start 19th in Sunday’s Milk Bowl.

The feature race on Sunday is a bit unconventional to say the least. The Milk Bowl consists of three 50-lap segment races. The combined effort of all three segments determines the overall winner of the event. O’Connell started 19th of 30 for the first segment. He worked his way up to 15th on lap 39 before dropping back to 19th for the finish of the first segment.

For the second segment, the top 24 cars were inverted putting O’Connell in the 6th starting spot. Devin stated that “The car was handling great and I could put it anywhere on the track.”

This proved to be true as Devin worked his way up to 3rd. On lap 25, however, while making a pass on the outside for 2nd place, he brushed the famed “Window Maker” front stretch wall. The combination of lost momentum and getting hung up on the outside caused him to fall back and settle for a 7th place finish in segment 2.

For the final and third segment of the day, the top 24 cars where inverted once again putting O’Connell in the 18th starting position. He worked his way up to 14th, but on lap 30, while making the pass for 13th, he made contact with Joey Pole who returned the favor by hitting O’Connell in the right rear sending him for a spin on the backstretch. Starting in the rear of the 30-car field, O’Connell fought back over the last 20 laps to finish segment three in 19th place.

O’Connell’s combined efforts in all three segments, placed him in 17th overall for the 2016 Milk Bowl. O’Connell stated “ It was not the top 10 finish we were hoping for, but it was a great weekend of racing and I gained a lot more experience. Thanks to my family, The Chatham Highlander Motel, TruEnergy, Hallstrom Motorsports, and my crew.”

O’Connell Finishes 8th at White Mountain and Earns Three Star Award

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Devin O’Connell and Hallstrom Motorsports earned their first top ten in the American Canadian Tour at White  Mountain Motorsports Park on July 24th.  O’Connell also regained the lead in the rookie points standings and earned one of the American Racer Three Star Awards.  The rookie qualified 20th among 31 contenders.  Shortly after the start of the race, on about lap 19, O’Connell was hit in the left rear and spun in turn two to bring out the caution.  O’Connell restarted in 28th position and managed to avoid trouble for the remaining 150 laps and found himself in 7th with just a few laps to go.  O’Connell fell back to ninth but regained one spot to finish eighth.

 Article from ACT Tour Website:

Wednesday, July 27 2016 @ 09:31 AM EDT
Contributed by: ACT Staff
Views: 799

White Mountain Motorsports Park (WMMP) AMERICAN RACER THREE STARS

The American Racer Three Star program will continue in 2016. The program is designed to recognize three teams in no particular order of performance that had outstanding races at ACT US Tour events. There are no specific criteria for deciding who might receive the award of a free American Racer Tire (value $125.00), but a special effort by a team, exceptional race, just plain old hard luck, or other accepted reason to give the award is used to decide the recipients.

The three stars are chosen by officials and winners will receive certificates for the use of a free American Racer tire at a future Tour race of their choosing during 2016.

The awarding of the stars does not allow for anybody in the top three to receive the recognition.

COMMENTARY:

After the Saturday postponement, the perfect race day Sunday also brought fans one of the most competitive ACT races on the 2016 Tour. Fans got treated to three +5’s and three +4’s during qualifying heat races. Throughout the field the ¼ mile was working in both lanes during what was arguably the best and most competitive heat qualifying racing of the year! The ACT teams, in an hour, put on a terrific feature event, again one of the best of the season. The finish with Dillon Moltz and Eddie MacDonald was a treat for all in attendance, and the top fifteen teams had many race-long battles. With 9 races down, and just four to go as we head to the finale at Thompson in October, the battles for top ten positions is intense. It looks like many shuffles may still occur before the season ends. Just a great effort by all in attendance. Beech Ridge has become one of the favorite stops over recent years and is next up on August 6.

WMMP THREE STARS

MIKE ZITER, Barre, VT— 54VT   — The second half of the sophomore year of touring seems to have brought the 54VT team to another level. Mike Ziter and his team have consistently raced in the top 10 from midway of the 2016 campaign. Starting 23rd on the ¼ mile at White Mountain, Mike once again raced into the top ten and ended up with an impressive 7th place finish. Mike came up through the weekly wars at Thunder Road and elected to take his Late Model program touring, instead of cutting his teeth in Late Models at the familiar high banks of Thunder Road. That decision over half way through the second year of tour racing is now paying off for a team that seems to have as much fun as anybody at the race track. A well-deserved American Racer Star of the Race was well earned by the Mike Ziter team at White Mountain.

DEVIN O’CONNELL, Madison, CT –1VT—This former young world class Allison Legacy and Legends driver decided to join the Hallstrom Development team and run the 2016 ACT campaign. Most first-time drivers who have experience driving stock cars, don’t start with a rules package as restrictive as the competitive ACT stock car. They find out that the “momentum” cars are, at best, different, and at least, take a good amount of time to figure out how they are different from horsepower cars. Devin immediately showed lots of promise. He tested well. His first race efforts, although not consistent at times, showed lots of raw talent. He faced average fields of over 30 cars at each event. He visited 9 different race tracks of various configurations from the ¼ miles at T-Road, Speedway 51, Seekonk and White Mountain to 1/3rd miles at Waterford, Lee and Oxford. His effort at White Mountain, with a field of 31 cars and starting 20th, earned an 8th place finish at the end of the 150 laps. This race consistency and results can provide a major turning point for this young team. For Devin’s continued improvement and outstanding race at WMMP, the O’Connell team is worthy of receiving a Star of the Race Award for what was a great effort for this young team at White Mountain Motorsports Park.

JONATHAN BOUVRETTE, Blainville QC –41QC – This Star is awarded because the Jonathan Bouvrette team simply demonstrated what short track used to be like, and more importantly, the pure love of the sport. The 41QC team raced late into the evening at Montmagny, Quebec on Saturday night in a SERIE ACT rain make-up race. He finished second. Because they heard that the White Mountain US ACT race was postponed until Sunday, this team drove through the night to be at the opening of the WMMP pits on Sunday morning. They knew there was a good car count at the event and no guarantees they would even get into the feature. They had little experience at WMMP’s ¼ mile, but the effort they put in was a reminder of what short track tour racing used to be like. (In the 80’s and early 90’s the Tour used to race as many as 33 races in a season, often with double header weekends!!) This throw-back effort by the Bouvrette team is based on their dedication to Tour racing, their positive attitude, and the big effort made to support the US ACT event. It is also because they ended up with a solid 12th place finish in a very good field of competitive race cars. They are well deserving of an American Racer Star of the Race Award. Tip of the hat to the 41QC and Merci Beaucoup!

 

O’Connell Speaks at Danica Patrick’s Nature’s Bakery Display at Dover on Behalf of Autism

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Stewart – Haas, Danica Patrick Race Advance for Dover AAA400 (Link)

Speedway Digest Article (Link)

Nature’s Bakery Fantern Website (Link)

Photos from DanicaPatrick.com (Scroll down to AAA 400)

O’Connell Recognized by ACT Tour Three Star Program Following Spring Green 116

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Reprinted from Act Tour Website:  http://www.acttour.com/article.php/20160517085158544

Tuesday, May 17 2016 @ 08:51 AM EDT
Contributed by: ACT Staff
Views: 212

AIRBORNE AMERICAN RACER THREE STARS AWARDED

SPRING GREEN 116

The American Racer Three Star program will continue in 2016. The program is designed to recognize three teams in no particular order of performance that had outstanding races at ACT US Tour events. There are no specific criteria for deciding who might receive the award of a free American Racer Tire (value $125.00), but a special effort by a team, exceptional race, just plain old hard luck, or other accepted reason to give the award is used to decide the recipients.

The three stars are chosen by officials and winners will receive certificates for the use of a free American Racer tire at a future Tour race of their choosing during 2016.

The awarding of the stars does not allow for anybody in the top three to receive the recognition.

RECAP: There were lots of highlights on what has become one of the raciest tracks for Late Model racing in the Northeast. A 29-car field took green under predictions of rain anytime. Over 30 minutes were lost by a couple of rain delays, but the racing was some of the best we have seen at Airborne. The best of the SERIE ACT and the best of the US ACT battled for the 42nd Spring Green 116. The racing was some of the most competitive and exciting of the current season. A major shuffle in points has occurred again with the outcome. It has been an exciting first third of the season, with four different winners on four different length tracks.

AIRBORNE

42ND SPRING GREEN 116

WAYNE HELLIWELL, JR., Dover, NH— 27NH   — The “Champ” continues to have some lousy luck getting his season in usual form. Over the last few years Airborne has been good for this veteran racer and defending ACT Champion, but not this Spring Green 116. While positioning the 27NH in his usual conservative position, in anticipation of the final 30 +/- laps, Wayne was placed to the rear for contact with a checked-up car. With only a few of the 29 starters having retired past the half-way mark, and the constant threat of a shortened rain delay, the 27NH made an impressive charge to the front in the final 40 laps to salvage a top 10 at the finish. Combined with a last practice session flat on a race tire, the bad luck seemed to plague the 27NH all day. For their persistence and effort, and in spite of the disappointment, the 27NH team is awarded an American Racer Star award for the Spring Green 116.

BOBBY THERRIEN, HINESBURG, VT – 5VT, — The second American Racer Star of the Race award goes to the team that lead the Tour points into the Spring Green at Airborne. A solid favorite to win the event, especially given his recent success at Airborne, Bobby T was positioning himself in the first 30 laps to have another great day. A steady ride among the top teams seemed like the place to be as everyone was aware of the weather and looking to position for the “what if” this gets shortened. In the early caution the 5VT took heavy damage in the “sandwich” wreck from a car behind him and another in front. He had to retire at lap 50. The racing was intense ad doubled up and there really was just bad luck for the Therrien team. The leader going into the weekend, Bobby ended up finishing in the last position at the Spring Green. The good news is that things are so close this season, the 5VT is still less than 50 points away from first, only 45 points sitting in 5th heading to Waterford, CT. For the bad luck, the choice for a Star Award easily favored the Fast One-Subway team for what was the worst luck of the season.

DEVIN O’CONNELL, Madison, CT – 1VT— 2016 Rookie of the Year candidate Devin O’Connell visited the fast ½ mile at Airborne for the very first time. The field included even more talent than usual,with several of the best of the SERIE ACT teams traveling to Airborne from Quebec to join with the ACT US teams, all with lots of laps at Airborne. The Hallstrom-led team of O’Connell have a first half season game plan, and it played out perfectly at Airborne. First, get into races – then, get lots of laps for experience – and finally, not worry about position finishes for the first half of the year. This was played to a very positive result for the 1VT team. Starting 26th in what was perhaps the highest-rated competitive feature field of the ACT season so far, the skilled rookie moved throughout the race, and finished in the lead lap with 116 laps. His respectable 14th place finish puts him in the lead for the Rookie of the Year title by 1 point, and the next race is taking place a whole lot closer to his home in Connecticut than Plattsburgh, NY! (New London-Waterford Speedbowl this Saturday night). The American Racer Star of the Race Award is given to Devin O’Connell for a lead lap finish at a very fast and competitive race, under what was not the most ideal conditions with rain delays and a full field with additional talent added to the field.

For additional information contact the ACT office at 802.244.6963, or visit media@acttour.com or acttour.com.

Devin O’Connell Honored with Bilstein Madonna Award

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Concord, NC – The 2015 U.S. Legend Cars awards banquet, held Saturday, January 2nd, at the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was an extraordinary and memorable night for 18-year-old Madison, CT resident, Devin O’Connell.  Along with receiving honors for winning world, national, state, and touring championships in the Legend Cars Semi Pro division, he was presented with the prestigious Bilstein Madonna Award, by Bilstein’s Product Segment Manager, Keith Robertson. O’Connell was also recognized as the first US Legend Cars competitor to win the World Road Championship, Asphalt National Championship, World Road Course Finals, and Asphalt Nationals in a single season.

The tradition of the Bilstein Madonna Award in the United States began in 1984 with the NASCAR Winston Cup Championships, and has evolved to recognize the accomplishments of individuals in many areas of motorsports. The award is given to an individual who wins a championship in a major American racing series, displays sportsmanship and positive character traits on and off the track, and possesses an intense desire to win while overcoming adversities. Notable recipients include Terry Labonte, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Ivan Stewart, and Brett Hearn.

“I was shocked when I realized Mr. Robertson was talking about me.” Devin stated. “I was listening to the introduction of the Bilstein Madonna award and was thinking that what he was saying matched what I had done. When I heard my name, I still could not believe it. My father had to nudge me to walk up to the stage. This is by far the greatest award in motorsports I have every received. It feels good to be recognized for all the hard work we put into this season. Thanks to Bilstein Shocks, U.S. Legend Cars, 860 Motorsports and everyone who supported me throughout this season. It’s an unbelievable feeling and I can’t wait for 2016 moving forward into late models.”

Devin began racing go-karts at the age of nine at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT). During the 2015 season, he returned to Stafford to race Legend Cars at his home track. In addition to his numerous titles this past year, Devin won the Legend Cars track championship at Stafford, winning 8 races. Devin completed the 2015 season with 42 wins and 63 top 3 finishes in 92 races.

The 2016 season began in a big way for O’Connell on January 15th, testing an ARCA car with Lira Motorsports at Daytona International Speedway. He completed 48 laps with a best time of 48.389 seconds and an average speed of 185.993 mph. O’Connell hopes to make an ARCA Racing Series start in 2016, and is working on developing the necessary marketing partnerships to fulfill that goal. In addition, Devin will be joining Vermont based Hallstrom Motorsports, racing in the American Canadian Tour (ACT) and select Pro All Star Series (PASS) races.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway Press Release Link