WEST HAVEN - Change is in the air at Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven. Well known in racing circles for its natural clay surface, Devil's Bowl will be transformed into an asphalt track for the 2010 racing season.
A decision by the Richards family to make the switch was facilitated by many factors, among them track prep time and weather considerations. The family also owns and operates Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., which made the changeover to asphalt in the fall of this year.
Devil's Bowl will still be running 358 modifieds, pro-street stocks, limiteds and mini stocks next season. Any rule changes will be minor adjustments to better accommodate the switch to pavement racing.
Due to the expansion of the businesses, some changes are taking place in the operational structure of both facilities, with Bruce Richards in charge of operations at the New York site, and Jerry Richards taking the helm at Devil's Bowl in Vermont. Their sister Sharon Richards will remain in her role as chief financial officer for both businesses. "Our entire family has been involved in local short track racing for decades, and we will continue to work together," said Jerry Richards. "Being a seasonal business which is totally dependent on the weather, with an asphalt surface we can have some rain during the day and still be able to dry the track in time for evening racing. That isn't the case with a dirt surface. We also plan to hold some events with an earlier start time."
Some new and different types of racing will also be on the card for Devil's Bowl next year, starting with the 2010 season opener, scheduled for Sunday, May 23.
Richards went on to say, "I'm proud to announce that we have just inked a deal with the American Canadian Tour to have a 100 lap ACT Late Model sanctioned race as the centerpiece of our first event on pavement. This event will include the Thunder Road Late Model Division teams from the famous Barre, VT track and any ACT U.S. or Castrol touring teams who wish to enter."
Recent updates to the facility include all aluminum bleacher seating, drainage upgrades throughout the property, a remodeled VIP tower, and a new Victory Lane, which was added prior to the 2009 season. Track preparation work has been ongoing this fall, with a complete layer of shale in place, topped by a layer of gravel. The track will rest for the winter and next spring the actual paving will take place.
Built by founder C.J. Richards in the late 1960s on farm land in the lower Champlain Valley, Devil's Bowl has been known for decades as "the fastest half mile in Vermont," and, according to Jerry Richards, "with the addition of an asphalt surface, we expect the track to be even faster and more exciting."
The 2010 schedule will be released during the month of December. Updates and information can be found on the website at www.cvra.com.