6-21-14 Saturday Night, Summer Solstice
FAST FRED RUNS THE FRONT – THE WHOLE 65 LAPS
Fred Astle Jr. jealously guarded the lead, which he grabbed right off the pole, for the entire Pro Stock division race. Assuaging the bad luck that fate had sent him on previous evenings, he ran away from the field on each of the three cautions, including a green-white-checker on the sixty-third lap of the Brad Scott Memorial to haul down the double points on the laps-added feature. This was also the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown race. Fred was hooked up and driving straight and it seemed nothing could touch him, though Craig Weinstein and then Mike Brightman worked mightily from second place to reel him in. Astle would have none of it and continuously added to his lead.
On the final restart with two laps remaining, he was equal to the task and pulled rapidly away from Brightman, who was on his outside. Mike chose to drop into second, just ahead of Kevin Casper, who had edged Weinstein out of third five laps earlier. Rick Martin also got by Weinstein on the restart for fourth, while Ryan Vanasse drove past Bob Hussey and Weinstein , grabbing the fifth spot at the finish.
Most of the passing had been accomplished by lap ten. Dick Houlihan, who had started 20th made the most of the moment, moving up to eleventh, behind Martin, who was recovering from a bad start which saw him slide from eighth to thirteenth before he was able to gather the car in.
But Kevin Folan got crossed up in the pack and the accordion effect got Jake Vanada and Tommy Ellis together.
On the restart, Hussey was outside Astle. Fred pulled away and Weinstein came underneath and they dueled for position. Brightman came up from fifth and Vanasse from seventh. Weinstein settled into second and Brightman and Vanasse passed Hussey for third and fourth. Tom Scully, Jr. was moving quickly up from ninth and edged Vanasse out of fourth to chase Brightman. Hussey slipped back to sixth as Astle continued to move away from the pack. He had a 15-car lead by lap eight. Weinstein, Brightman, Scully and Vanasse pursued. Hussey had stabilized in sixth and Ryan Lineham got by Bobby Pelland III for seventh. He then moved Hussey back to seventh.
By lap ten, the field had settled in for the chase, and by lap twelve it was strung around the track, single-file. By lap 22, Astle was lapping his first opponent as Dayl Stampfl fell a lap down. Behind him, a bitter duel was taking place between Weinstein, Brightman and Scully, running nose-to-tail. As their debate continued, Mike Scorzelli limped, smoking, to the pits. And on lap 26, Brightman looked under Weinstein. They fenced over the position with Scully on Brightman’s bumper.
Over the following two laps, Brightman worked his way ahead. Scully followed under and Weinstein avoided the freight train by dropping in front of Lineham. At this point, Vanasse was an additional 10 cars in arrears. Lineham went to work on Weinstein’s bumper as Brightman and Scully concentrated on navigating lapped cars. Hussey, challenged for eighth by Pelland, was able to pull ahead for some breathing room.
As Astle moved toward Pelland to lap, Bobby lost the handle and spun on the backstretch, bringing caution. The lap 35 restart saw Astle pull away from Brightman and Scully dropped under for second. Pelland spun in turn one, bringing the restart back. He went to the pits for tires and returned.
This time, Scully was outside the leader and Brightman got underneath, repaying the favor of the previous restart, and moving back into second. Weinstein came under to third, followed by Martin for fifth. Scully attempted to drop in and there was contact with Lineham’s nose. Dave Darling was caught in the accordion and his right front was pushed in against the wheel. Trailing a wildfire’s worth of tire smoke, he was black-flagged and went to the pits. He returned five laps down. Scully began to have handling problems and struggled through several laps. After being lapped by Astle on lap 44, he slowed near the backstretch wall, then exited to the pits on lap 52.
The field continued to circulate single file until the lap 63 caution.
Completing the top ten were: Hussey, Houlihan and Weinstein, the last cars on the same lap. Lineham and Jack Vanada finished one lap down in ninth and tenth, respectively.
POTTER GOES GREEN-TO-CHECKERS FOR FIRST CAREER WIN
Steve Potter, as he has been threatening to do all season, took off and led all 25 laps to Victory Lane, ended a 15-year drought with the feature win. He ran past polesitter Tony Oliviera from the outside. They traded paint, nose-to-tail before Potter could settle in for the lead. Scott Bruneau charged past Oliveira into second. Bruneau, Ray Negley and then Ray Lovelace all pursued the speeding Potter to no avail. Only a single (lap six) caution marred the race, and Potter was able to deal with Bruneau on the outside as Ray Negley followed through on his bumper to take over second.
Potter took a 12-car lead under the checkers for a convincing win. Lovelace held off Negley for second and Bruneau and Ed Gannon rounded out the top five.
Two laps in, Potter had an 8-car lead with Bruneau, Negley and Bobby Bettencourt, Jr. putting on a chase. Ray Lovelace and then Cory Fanning ducked under Oliviera. With both Gerard Berthelette and Paul Lallier looking to get by Oliviera, he loosened up and got sideways Berthelette and Lallier braked hard then got together. Berthelette immediately went to the pits. Lallier took heavy body damage to his right side, but continued. Berthelette returned for the restat.
Potter and Bruneau were door-to-door out of the box, but Potter, with Negley on his bumper, edged out. Potter began to run hard down the backstretch and Bruneau got on the freight train as Negley, Bettencourt and Lovelace paraded under him. Lovelace then negotiated Bettencourt’s position and began to work on Negley. Fanning passed Bettencourt for fourth and Bruneau took fifth.
Ed Gannon III pulled in behind Bruneau as Austin Blais and Paul Lallier began to duel behind them.
Lovelace went in under Negley on lap 14 and came out of lap four in second. Potter was nursing a 15-car lead with Lovelace, Negley, Fanning, Bruneau and Gannon stretched out behind him.
Bruneau managed to get past Fanning as Blais escaped Lallier. Blais followed up by passing Bettencourt and Fanning on successive laps, then settled in to work on his uncle, Ed Gannon, for fifth. Lovelace had shaved Potter’s lead down to 12 cars by lap 21. Blais tried a look under Gannon but Gannon shut the door.
Potter surged on and cleared the final four laps to the checkers. The field paraded behind him over the distance. Blais, Fanning, Betencourt, Paul Lallier and Thomas Adams completed the top ten.
NEW CAR, NEW COLORS: THE HAMMER RUNS THE FRONT FROM GREEN TO CHECKERS
Jeramee Lillie leapt off the outside pole into the lead, then never looked back as Late Models ran caution-free the entire 30 laps. Lillie, in the new car he’d bought from fellow competitor Bill Bernard, made the most of the change-of-seats. He held off polesitter Vinny Arrenegado for nineteen laps, then held off an insistent Dylan Estrella for the final eleven circuits enroute to a half-second win over the latter. Bernard was another 0.3 seconds back. Nick Lascuola and Bobby Pelland III filled in the remaining slots in the top five.
While Lillie was leading Arrenegado, Branden Dion, Nick Lascuola and Charlie Rose, Estrella was working underneath Bernard for position and Gerry DeGasparre, jr. was below Pelland. Rose went under Lascuola four fourth as Estrella broke away from Bernard.
Lap eight saw Estrella past Lascuola into fifth on Rose’s bumper, but Charlie went by Dion. Estrella went by and back onto Rose’s bumper as Bernard passed Lascuola and then Dion. Lascuola then went by Dion and back into fifth.
As Lillie moved away at the front, Estrella went to work on Arrenegado. Lascuola moved Rose back to sixth. Estrella then went to Arrenegado’s outside and charged around him as Bernard pulled in behind. Estrella had the lead at the stripe into lap 20 and took a long look ahead at Lillie. He set off in pursuit and Bernard began to work on Arrenegado. Estrella was at Lillie’s bumper on lap 23, as Bernard was relieving Arrenegado of third. Bernard began to close on the two leaders.
Lascuola now was all over Arrenegado’s bumper with Pelland waiting behind them. Pelland bean nosing under Lascuola as he went to the outside to pass Arrenegado. Lascuola had the position with three laps remaining and Pelland moved by Arrenegado with two to go.
At the front, Lillie couldn’t shake Estrella from his bumper and now Bernard had closed to make it a three-car nose-to-tail run to the checkers. Lillie held on as the trio crossed under the checkers in unison, while further back, DeGasparre picked Vinny’s pocket one more time to move him back to seventh.
Sixth through tenth went to DeGasparre, Arrenegado, Rose, Eddie LeClerc and Dion.
MURPHY FIRES UP FOR TRUCKS WIN
Division leader Rob Murphy climbed seven spots into the lead over the first seven laps including three caution restarts. Murphy started off, diving under the third row of starters, Chris Lima and Mike Cavallaro into fifth. He pursued Lenny Guy for three laps before relieving him of second.
But caution was out as Mike Duarte lost it in front of Cavallaro, who had no way to avoid piling in. They collected a crowd, including Nick Uhrig, Russ Borges, Chase Belcher, Darryl Dutch and Taylor Therrien. Borges and Uhrig retired for the night. Cavallaro returned from the pits minus his right front fender. Borges and Belcheer also ducked in and returned.
Wakefield grabbed the lead from Guy down the backstretch, then Murphy went under Guy into second. Murph then ducked under Wakefield for the lead. Wakefield tried a cross under move to get his lead back, but was denied. Therrien then spun on the backstretch.
Murphy was away at the green and Guy attempted to get under Wakefield. Wakefield spun in front of Guy and both went to the rear for another restart. This time Murphy was away from Lima out of the box with Billy Clarke, Belcher and David Lougee giving chase as Belcher and Lougee dueled for position.
Guy spun on lap eight, but fired up and kept going as the field stretched out single file. Murphy was up by five cars on Lima by lap eleven. Belcher was three cars back, followed by Clarke. Cavallaro then ducked under Clarke for position and they came together in turn four. Wakefield spun to avoid and Lougee retired to the pits.
The lap 13 restart had Murphy and Lima at the front again, followed by Belcher and Borges. Murphy was away and Lima dropped in front of Belcher. Dutch and Borges followed.
Cavallaro and Borges then dueled with Cavallaro taking over fifth and then taking Dutch out of fourth. Guy then dropped under Borges for sixth.
Wakefield returned to the track, seven laps down on lap 20, and the field ran stretched out for the remainder of the 25 laps, bringing Murphy home in the lead. Lima held on to second, followed by Beolcher, Cavallaro and Duarte. Completing the top ten were Guy, Dutch, Clark, Therrien and Wakefield.