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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Ron Proctor raced twice as much this year than last. The competition is closing the gap. He still stands at the top of his career in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Proctor, 58, of Charlton, N.Y., won his second straight NASCAR track and Vermont state championships at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vt., this year.
Good weather allowed Proctor to make 18 starts at the half-mile paved oval, doubling the nine starts he made in 2011. His overall 2012 racing record includes three wins, 12 top fives and 18 top 10s. Over the past two seasons, Proctor finished every lap of every Devil’s Bowl feature and finished no lower than seventh place.
“We attack our racing program the same way every year,” Proctor said. “Preparation in the shop lets the driver compete for wins at the track.”
Proctor is a 36-year racing veteran. The 2012 season marked his 30th year in Modifieds. The 2011-12 titles are the first of his illustrious career. An equalization factor put Devil’s Bowl teams on a level playing field.
“Our track rules went to a GM crate motor,” Proctor said. “Open motors kept us at a disadvantage because we’re not a highly financed team. We had to work more with driving and set-up, and that’s knowledge you can’t buy. It has to be developed. Our cars are only a half-second off open motor lap times now.”
The biggest changes in recent years at Devil’s Bowl were to the racing surface and sanctioning body. The longtime dirt track was paved starting with the 2010 season, and it became part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 2011. The dirt Modified race cars remained as the track’s top division, creating a lot of fan interest.
“We have plenty of competition. The car counts are rising. We battled all year (with Vince Quenneville Jr.), and the championship still wasn’t decided until the last race night.”
Quenneville had five feature wins compared to Proctor’s three. But Proctor had more top five and top 10 finishes in winning the track and state titles by small margins. Quenneville was the state NASCAR rookie-of-the-year and placed second in national rookie standings.
Proctor is familiar with the prestige that accompanies NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state championships.
He was congratulated by a trio of Vermont leaders for his 2011 NASCAR state championship. Gov. Peter Shumlin, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and State Sen. Richard Mazza congratulated Proctor and his wife Marcy in the state capital of Montpelier. Track operators Mike and Alayne Bruno and publicist Justin St. Louis also attended.
“They’re really, really a good bunch of people,” Proctor said of his state leaders. “I would have never dreamed anything like that… not in my wildest dreams. It was an honor to meet everyone. This wasn’t a deal where you get pushed in and out. Gov. Shumlin spent time with us and then Lt. Gov. Scott took us on a tour of the State House.” Scott competes in regional touring pavement Late Models and races at Devil’s Bowl several times a year.
Proctor and team plan to run the full schedule at Devil’s Bowl again in 2013.
“We’re sticking to racing one night a week at Devil’s Bowl next year,” Proctor said. “Last year was the first year we ever raced one night a week. Years ago I’d race anything anytime. Now I want to know if it’s competitive before I get in it.”
Proctor’s wife, Marcy, is also his crew chief. The race car is based on a Teo Pro Car chassis owned by Deborah Eddy and Ron White. Sponsors include Timco Transportation and Towing and Charlton Oil.
Proctor was honored for his track and state championships at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event on Dec. 7 at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
A driver’s best 18 results through Sept. 16 counted toward their states and national point totals, and the champions are decided on overall point total. Once a driver reached 18 starts, their total would increase incrementally as they replace some poorer runs with better results.
Under the point structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner receives two points for every car in the event up to 20 cars. Second place receives two fewer points and so on through the field. Race winners receive an additional five points. For example, if 20 cars are in the field, the winner receives 45 points, second place 38 and third 36. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 35 points, second 28 and third, 26.