Brightman bounces back for #2. Bruneau inherits Street Stock win. Vanasse makes it 9 in the LM, while Gannon gets one for the thumb in the Sport Trucks.
Mighty Mike Brightman came back from two consecutive weeks of crash-related disappointments to post a big Pro Stock win on the evening of his daughter’s birthday. Brightman posted the best lap of the event enroute to a seat-squirming victory over points leader Fred Astle.
Dave Darling chased the duo across the stripe to complete a top-three sweep of the event by the top points leaders. Astle yielded only a pair of points to Brightman, who stands third after leading most of the season and gained a pair on Darling, who trails him in second. The son and father duo of Tom Scully Jr. and Tom Scully, Sr. swept across behind Darling to round out the top 5.
The race began on a somber note as a moment of silence was held after this week’s loss of Mrs. Marilyn Martin, mother of multi-champion Rick Martin and wife of veteran Seekonk Racer, Joe Martin. She was a stalwart race fan, seldom missing a Saturday evening at the Speedway. Following the moment of silence, Radical Rick was given the honor of starting the first engine on the grid in his mother’s honor.
Dave Hutchins and Kyle Casper led off from the front with Bobby Tripp and Brightman behind them. Hutch held Casper off for the first lap, but he was into the lead on the second circuit. Casper then saw brother Kevin pull in behind on lap 3, bringing Brightman along behind. The trio ran 1-2-3 through caution-filled laps until Brightman took the measure of Kevin, moving him back to third on lap 15. Two more laps of bitter duel and Brightman was into the lead. But Astle, who had started ninth, edged Scully, Jr. for third behind Kyle. Kevin held fourth and Darling, the twelfth starter, moved into fifth with Scully, Jr. on his tail. Scully, Sr. and Rick Martin followed.
Brightman began to build a lead, which would stretch as much as a straightaway later in the race. Astle worked around Kyle, and was in second a lap later on the 18th circuit. As Fast Fred pursued, Darling went to work on Kyle for third and finally succeeded on lap 23. Scully, Jr. followed him a lap later and Tom, Sr. began to work on Kevin from his sixth place position.
Astle was unable to close the gap on Brightman until late in the race, when lapped traffic arose. Brightman was able to get past Paul Reichert quickly, but the group of Jason Ferreira, Bob Hussey and Phil Meany, though they gave way, were running close together and Brightman could not move as quickly. Astle closed to his tail with four to go and worked over the rear bumper, trying both high and low. Brightman held him off for four laps, but on the final lap, Astle worked under into turn four and pushed hard up alongside down the final straight. Brightman hung tough and was able to hold him off with a .086 second margin, or about a half car length.
A very fast Ed Gannon jumped from a fifth place starting slot to first in five circuits, relieving Lenny Guy of the lead, then went the rest of the 25-lap distance in front, save for a one lap incursion when John Paiva, the sixth place finisher, got under and into the front on lap 13. But Gannon was right back in the lead on the following revolution. Gannon also posted top speed on the race at 81.099 mph. Points leader Mike Cavallaro saw his lead over second place Gannon shrink as he was involved in a collision at the outset, lost laps while in the pits tearing off most of the nose of the truck before pulling back out into competition. He finished 12th, eight laps down, and Gannon picked up 22 of the 47 points that separates them. Dan Leach took second, just ahead of Lenny Guy. Ted Berube and Mike Ronhock rounded out the top 5.
The wreck which cost Cavallaro the eight laps, ended the evening for Billy Clarke, Rob Andreozzi and Paul Vanasse, former driver at the speedway who was making a return bid in the Trucks. Jim Hawkins and Greg Boone were able to drive away from the scene and continue.
Guy took the lead at the outset as Berube jumped under Paiva for second. But Paiva got up past him on lap 5. Another wreck and caution sent Berube back to seventh and Guy to ninth. Gannon and Paiva were at the front for the restart and Gannon pulled away. Paiva heatedly disputed, including the brief lead on lap 13, but Dan Leach came up behind early in the feature and went after second
Leach took second on lap 19, and Guy jumped from fourth to third, relegating Paiva to fourth. Paiva’s slide continued over the final five laps, as first Berube and then Ronhock eased past into fourth and fifth, leaving Paiva to sixth place overall. Ronny Cornell, Anna Gregoire, Lance Cambra and Greg Boone rounded out the top 10.
The question is: what can stop Ryan Vanasse – he collected his ninth win on the season in the Late Model division. He has been very stingy with his competitors, only allowing five wins to them; only Tyler Thompson and Bobby Pelland have multiples, with two. And Saturday night, he was back after a one-week hiatus when Pelland nabbed his second, up to his old tricks.
And yet, he still trails division leader, like himself a multi-champ in Late Models, Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. DeGasparre saw his slim lead double – from 6 points to 12 – last week as he finished three places ahead of Vanasse. This week he chased him across the line in second, yielding two. So, it’s ten and counting as we head for September’s finish to the season.
Vanasse started seventh, with Ron Barboza, Jr. and Jeramee Lillie at the front. DeGasparre was on Vanasse’s shoulder in eighth. While Lillie went to the front for the first 11 laps, Vanasse and DeGasparre began to pick their way forward. Crashes and cautions kept them near their starting positions in the early going, as Barboza and Bill Bernard dueled with Lillie. However, Vanasse went on a run starting with the sixth circuit. He gained a position each time he went around, getting by DeGasparre, Dylan Estella, Thompson; Pelland had worked his way to second, but fell to seventh while the same event took Bernard from second to eighth. Vanasse leapt from fifth to third. Lillie, running in front, saw Vanasse take the lead before he was involved in caution which ended his evening. DeGasparre had been shadowing his antagonist toward the front, and the loss of Lillie put him in second behind Vanasse and just ahead of Dennis Stampfl. Stampfl, in his second race on the oval this season – he returned last week after an absence – was moved from second to third. Thompson jumped to fourth, to be edged back by Estrella on lap 19.
Vanasse and DeGasparre battled the distance to the finish, with Stampfl insistent on the latter’s rear bumper. DeGasparre could not close a car-and-a-half gap to Vanasse and yet had to worry about Stampfl. As Vanasse crossed the line, Stampfl made an underneath dash, missing stealing second by .104 seconds.
Estrella and Pelland followed, with Bernard, Barboza, Lillie, Dave Hutchins, Jr. and Thompson rounding out the top 10.
Jim “Pepe” Silvia led every possible lap from green to checkers in Street Stocks, taking down a hard-fought win. But Scott Bruneau had battled him from second place ever since lap 3, even taking the lead in laps 11 and 12. Bruneau’s second place was good for the trophy, however, when Pepe’s exhaust system fell afoul of tech inspectors in post-race scrutiny. The duo had exchanged heavy salvos for the entire 25 laps, although hottest lap on the night went to fifth place finisher Mike Mitchell, last week’s winner. Mitchell posted a 15.096 second circuit, good for 79.412 mph. Coming close was Chris DeMoura, looking for four wins on the season, but had to watch Silvia and Bruneau cross ahead of him. George Rego had worked persistently up from his 16th place start to follow DeMoura.
Mitchell, Rey Lovelace, Division leader Ryan Lineham, Joe Kohler, Ed Gannon, and Chris Beaulieu rounded out the top ten. Silvia’s DQ elevated current champ, Steve Axon into the tenth position.
As it flew, Bruneau had jumped from fourth to second by lap two. The remainder of the feature was a battle between him and Silvia, which Silvia was able to handle with the exception of laps 11 and 12. DeMoura started sixth, fell back to ninth, then returned to third by lap 19.
Rego started 16th, edged forward four spots by lap 9, then saw his greatest production in the middle of the race; he passed Sparky Arsenault on lap 10, Kohler on 11, by lap 12 Kohler and Crystal Serydynski had moved back. Pat Delaney fell back on 13. He held steady for five laps, then gained four more for his fourth place finish.
Lineham had one of the evenings a division leader dreads: stuck and unable to move forward. Despite several of his crowd-pleasing three-wide moves, he was short of the top ten for the first two-thirds of the race, moving into ninth from eleventh on lap 19. He got into eighth on lap 20 and claimed seventh on a last lap pass of the tough Kohler. However, Lineham’s position at the front remained comfortable, as his closest pursuers finished behind him, except for Mitchell, currently more than 60 points back.