P.A.S.S. Points leader Johnny Clark breaks the Seekonk stranglehold in the PASS 150. Pelland, Mitchell and Cavallaro also pick up wins.
Johnny Clark of Hallowell, Maine, worked his way through the pack to challenge leader Joey Polewarczyk and take over the lead into lap 141, then charge home for the win.
Clark had started 14th on the field. Worcester’s Derek Ramstrom, who had been the car ahead of Clark at the green flag, pried his way past Pole with two laps to go for second. Pole, Lonnie Sommerville and Ben Rowe rounded out the top 5.
Seekonk Regular Dave Darling powered past Pole on lap 43, but could not shake the tenacious Hudson, NH driver. Pole tailed Darling until lap 71, when Bobby Pelland spun in turn 4. Pole lined up outside of Darling. Alexandre Gingras and Clark were behind them. Pole nosed ahead on the start, then drove hard and wide of three laps, edging ahead bit by bit before he had the lead to himself in lap 73. Darling challenged from second until Clark got by in lap 91. By lap 100, Pole had a half straightaway lead on Clark and the field with Darling third, Sommerville, Ramstrom, Gingras, Rowe and Tom Scully, Jr. in pursuit.
By lap 107, Pole was into lapped traffic, and Clark began to close on the leader. In ten more laps, Clark had closed to within 5 cars; Darling was 6 cars further back. By lap 118, Clark was on Pole’s bumper. Ramstrom was closing on Darling. With 25 of the 150 laps remaining, Pole still led with Clark, Darling, Ramstrom, Sommerville and Gingras behind. Rowe, Ryan Vanasse and Scully followed. Vanasse had mechanical failure in his right front, bringing him to a stop and caution in lap 138. He retired. On the restart, Pole went ahead, but Clark came wide and hard as Ramstrom stormed past Darling for third. The leaders went door-to-door through lap 140. Two more laps and Clark was edging past. There was light contact in turn four and Clark gained the lead. Ramstrom then fastened onto Pole’s bumper.
With two to go, Clark led and Ramstrom worked under Pole, who tried to hold him off, but on the final circuit Ramstrom edged by to take second by .171 second.
Top finisher from Seekonk’s regulars was Darling, who followed Rowe in sixth. Gingras sat between him and the second local driver, Scully, and Gary Smith bridged to local Ray Parent in tenth.
Former division champ Mike Mitchell dueled division leader Ryan Lineham hard for the final five laps of Street Stock action, and burst out of turn four of the white flag lap underneath Lineham, trading paint and wresting a feather-thin (.064 seconds) victory for his first on the season. Both drivers were desperate to slake their thirst for a win on the 2011 season. Mitchell had started eighth on the field, outside the fourth row and directly behind Lineham. Mitchell followed Lineham through the first nine laps, into third and fourth; they exchanged places for three laps, then Lineham mumped to second. Mitchell pulled in behind four laps later (lap 16). Lineham went to the lead on lap 20 and Mitchell followed into second on 21. Caution brought out a restart back to lap 20 with the duo at the front of the grid. Lineham beat Mitchell off the line and Mike ground on his rear bumper for the rest of the distance, trying to put his nose underneath. Lineham kept shutting the door. Scott Serydynski, filling in for George Rego in the 64, tried to rush around Mitchell on the last lap. Then, Lineham’s back end came loose out of turn 4. Mitchell bullied his way underneath with a lot of paint trading as Lineham refused to move up and Mitchell was able to push forward enough to get half a fender into the lead at the stripe. Serydynski charged in, just .222 seconds off the winning pace. Scott Cestodio roared in just .751 off, followed by Joe Kohler, Craig Pianka, Gerard Berthelette, Chris Beaulieu, Steve Axon and Sparky Arsenault.
The wild action at the finish overshadowed a fine effort by Ed Gannon, in his third week of driving double duty in Streets and Sport Trucks. Gannon pulled out of pole position, escaping Cestodio on the outside of the front row. Scott Bruneau leapt from fourth to second as Cestodio became the bottom slice of bread in a three-wide with Justin Travis in the middle and Craig Pianka. Travis got skidded back, slowing the field and Axon and Arsenault got together, bringing out caution.
Gannon moved away on the restart and another subsequent restart on the same lap after a crash and caution in the pack. He held the lead through several restarts, all the way to lap 20. Lineham got by Bruneau into second on lap 14 and the two leaders worked through several laps and restarts testing each other’s mettle. Lap 17 saw single file restarts, with Gannon preceding Lineham and Mitchell and Cestodio following. Lineham had been tapping Gannon’s rear bumper through several curves and finally underneath. Gannon spun in turn 1. The restart had Gannon and Mitchell alongside with 10 to go, and they battled to the final gun.
Bob Pelland III toiled into his second season before winning his first Late Model feature in July, then came up with his second in less than a month. After working through 84 laps of the PASS 150, he came back to battle Jeramee Lillie for the lead and then hold off Tyler Thompson for the final 18 laps to cement the victory. Thompson held on for second, followed by rookie Dylan Estrella, Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. and Kyle Casper, returning to late models this week as the Pro Stocks had a vacation week due to the PASS 150.
Meanwhile, the tight points race between leader DeGasparre and second place Ryan Vanasse saw DeGasparre’s lead open up by six points after shrinking incrementally since the end of June. Vanasse, expending his energies for 149 laps in the 150, came back to again challenge his antagonist, but suffered mishaps which saw him finish seventh, three places and 6 points behind DeGasparre. (Both won their heats, holding the points even for those events.)
Lillie and Estrella led the field with the returning Randy Burr and Thompson in row two. Pelland and DeGasparre followed. Lillie leapt to the front as Burr came up under Estrella. There was contact between the two, and Estrella went into a slide, but made an incredible save. Burr held second, and Estella claimed third ahead of Thompson and DeGasparre. Pelland came up under Estrella on lap 3 and had third on the following circuit.
In the field, Vanasse came alongside DeGasparre, but Gerry got under Dennis Stampfl. Vanasse was running with Kyle Casper on lap 8, when they made contact down the front stretch and Vanasse ground to a stop in turn 2. Frank Duquette and Stampfl ran to the pits. Vanasse restarted and followed them.
On the restart, Pelland went under Burr to second but Ron Barboza, Jr. looped out of turn three, bringing a second restart on the lap. Pelland again navigated underneath to second but Jariah Roderick spun, bringing a third attempt.
Same results prevailed. Vanasse nosed up into DeGasparre and the latter spun, with his left rear tire going down. Vanasse got the call on the assist and the top two antagonists started again at the rear.
Single laps with cautions between them followed. Pelland gained the lead, but Lillie fought from the outside each time. The restarts became combative with the pair bullying each other until they were warned, nearly sent to the rear and finally a good start. (Neither had operative radios and could not hear the Race Director’s admonitions, so a final warning was given on track by the starter.)
Pelland went to the lead and Thompson passed Lillie to second. Lillie held third until Estella and DeGasparre got past on lap 22. With Pelland leading, Thompson on his bumper and DeGasparre all over the back of Estella, none could change positions and the race wound down to its final laps.
Mike Cavallaro survived a lap on collision with Anna Gregoire to go on to his seventh Sport Trucks feature win on the 2011 season. Gregoire performed a brilliant save to prevent a spinout, but caution reigned. On the restart, Greg Boone ran from the pole with John Paiva on his shoulder. They went wheel-to-wheel before Boone claimed the front and Ted Berube got under Paiva for second. On lap 3, Berube had the lead.
But by lap 5, Cavallaro had come to third. But Cavallaro slid up the track, and Ed Gannon slid under while Cavallaro fell back. Gannon then got under Paiva for second, and Cavallaro followed into third. Lap 9 saw Boone around off turn two and Berube at the front with Gannon outside for the restart.
Berube went to the lead as Cavallaro got under Gannon. Gannon powered up alongside Berube but fell back and Cavallaro continued to work underneath. They rubbed and Eddie fell back to third, with Barry Shaw, Leach, Rob Andreozzi and Mike Ronhock following. Cavallaro went high to pass Berube and Gannon spotted a move underneath. A three-wide saw Berube the meat in the sandwich. The outside duo broke for the front as Berube looped on the front stretch with 10 laps remaining.
Cavallaro took off sudden and fast on the restart, leaving Gannon with Andreozzi, Shaw and Ronhock behind him. Gannon moved up but Andreozzi got underneath and as the two battled, Cavallaro pulled away. Gannon Broke by and went up to Cavallaro’s bumper on lap 20. The duo battled bitterly to the finish, but Cavallaro held Gannon off to claim his sixth win and continue in the division lead. Gannon nabbed second followed by Andreozzi, Leach, Shaw, Berube, Paiva, Ronny Cornell, Gregoire and Jim Hawkins.