Video recap of US Legend Cars Semi Pro World Finals at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (click to view).
(Loudon, NH)— Devin O’Connell, a senior at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, CT, won the US Legend Cars Semi Pro World Finals road race held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, October 18. Heading into the World Finals weekend, O’Connell maintained a 15-point lead, accumulated during the regular season, over Jordan O’Brien from Yarmouth, Maine, and Juha Jokiaho of Finland, who were tied for second in the semi pro class. O’Connell’s victory on the New Hampshire road course Sunday cemented his title as the World Champion in the Legend Cars semi pro division.
The World Finals features the top Legend Car drivers in the world battling it out among four different Legends Cars race classes based on age groups and skill levels including Young Lions (12-16), Semi-Pro (16-40), Masters (40 and over) and Pro (open to any age; elite skill level). Drivers from seven countries including South Africa, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Russia, United Kingdom and United States, competed over the three-day weekend of racing, beginning with practice on Friday, qualifying and heat races on Saturday and culminating with 12-lap feature races on Sunday.
O’Connell qualified on the pole Saturday for the semi pro divisional race by posting the fastest lap time during qualifying on the 1.6 mile road course. He then backed that up by finishing first in his heat race.
After qualifying, Devin was asked how he would feel to win the national championship on his home track. Devin stated, “It would mean everything. We have guys from all over the world that are very talented drivers. Winning here at my home track against these extremely talented drivers would mean the world to me.”
During the championship race on Sunday, O’Connell jumped out to an early lead only to have the lead taken from him on the second lap. O’Connell continued to drop back to 3rd place just before the completion of lap two. Not about to give up, O’Connell fought back to regain the lead on lap four. The remainder of the race saw a few more lead changes between O’Connell and O’Brien and plenty of exciting side-by-side racing between the two. In the end it was O’Connell who crossed the New Hampshire Granite Stripe 0.14 seconds ahead of O’Brien.
“That was an awesome race and a really exciting race. Wow, I still can’t believe it,” said O’Connell. “Jordan and I just had a heck of a battle out there. It was so much fun to be a part of and one of my favorite races this season. I wish we could go out and do it again.”
Rounding out the top five semi pro finishing positions included a third place finish by Tommi Nyrall of Finland who was able to make a last lap pass on Noah Korner of Bloomfield, CT (4th), while Victor Vorobyev from St. Petersburg, Russia finished fifth.
Devin has had enormous personal and professional success this year. On April 2, 2015, World Autism Day, Devin bravely announced to the racing community and to the world that he has Asperger Syndrome and conducted a charity event for Autism Services & Resources of CT, raising over $1,000 for the charity. It is important to Devin that he show what people with challenges can accomplish. He understands that he is fortunate to be mildly autistic and wants to be an inspiration and a voice for those who struggle across the Autism spectrum.