HANAFIN NAILS FIRST WIN OF SEASON IN STREET STOCKS
John Hanafin made a long-awaited return to Seekonk’s victory lane with a hard-fought victory over tenacious, reigning Street Stock champ, Paul Lallier. Hanafin could hear a sound at his back bumper from lap three onward: Lallier looking for any way possible past. Lap three was when he pulled underneath Ray Negley into pursuit of Chris DeMoura, who was leading the 25-lap feature Polesitter DeMoura had escaped Negley on the first lap and Hanafin had worked under into second with Negley, Lallier and Gerard Berthelette following. By lap for, a crowd was rocking around the speedway, bumper-to-bumper as Craig Pianka closed on Berthelette’s tail.
The bumper barrage continued through green-flag racing as the line held, until DeMoura, Hanafin and Lallier broke away from the peloton on their own. By lap twelve they were disputing each others’ supremacy 12 cars ahead of Negley, Pianka and Berthelette.
Lallier forced the issue, getting under Hanafin and forcing him to challenge DeMoura on the outside. They went door-to-door at the front until Joe Melberg spun at the stripe. Hanafin gained the pole for the restart by virtue of a .028 –second lead the last time the pair had passed the flagstand. Lallier and Negley were followed by Pianka and Berthelette for the lap 14 restart. Crystal Serydynski had been working hard and was now outside Austin Blaise in the next step on the grid.
They came out of the box wheel-to-wheel, but Hanfin gained the front out of turn two and Lallier dodged under DeMoura to claim second Pianka followed DeMoura and Berthelette went under Negley, pulling Crystal with him. She navigated past Pianka on lap 20 and had closed to DeMoura’s rear by lap 23.
The final two laps were a shootout between Hanafin and Lallier with the latter emptying his bag of tricks, but unable to steal the win: Hanafin flashed under the checkers with a .266-second margin. DeMoura nailed down the third, holding off Crystal and Pianka gathered in the fifth spot.
Crystal’s fast lap of 15.157 bested Lallier’s 15.197 for top speed on the race.
Rounding out the top ten were: Berthelette, Blaise, Scott Serydynski, Rey Lovelace and Bobby Bettencourt.