MURPHY MAKES IT THREE STRAIGHT IN TRUCKS
Rob Murphy climbed through the field, then had to spoil teammate Chase Belcher’s bid for a feature win enroute to his third consecutive victory. Belcher’s runnerup finish made it a big 1-2 for the Tom Barboza team on the evening. Mike Cavallaro pursued but could not pass the duo, settling for a third. John Paiva and Darryl Church filled out the top five.
Murphy, after two wins, started tenth on the field of fifteen trucks; Belcher came from seventh and made it to the front first, displacing Lenny Guy who had held the lead for twelve laps since the start. Murphy arrived a bit later and took over at the the front on lap 20.
The win assures that Murphy will remain perched atop the Sport Truck standings.
Guy was away from the box quickly from the pole, with Wakefield riding along on his bumper, Nick Uhrig following and Belcher contesting with Rob Rainville for fourth. Rainville fell back and Paiva went under him into fifth, then switched sides to work on Uhrig’s outside after Belcher had taken third. As Paiva around Uhrig, Nick came loose, banging Paiva, loosening him up and allowing Belcher to escape into third place.
By lap five, Guy had Wakefield on his bumper and Belcher closing. Church and Murphy were moving up and as Uhrig entered the frontstretch he erupted in smoke or vapor, leaving a trail of fluid along the frontstretch from the exit to turn four to turn one. Incredibly the field was able to avoid the spinning truck and the fluid. Uhrig was pushed to the pits but was able to return before the restart after a long cleanup of the fluid trail by the track crew.
Guy leapt to the front again as Belcher was under Wakefield into second. Murphy came away fourth with Cavallaro, Chris Lima and Paiva in tow. Belcher was wearing at Guy’s bumper on lap ten as Murphy and Wakefield were door-to-door over third. Belcher got under Guy for the lead and Lenny was stuck outside as Murphy and then Cavallaro freight trained underneath. Paiva went through into fourth on lap 14. Lenny’s ride wasn’t over as Wakefield went to fifth and Church got underneath on lap 15. The field then strung into a straight line.
Murphy pursued his teammate, then went to the outside. Paiva looked under Cavallaro for third as the two leaders went wheel-to-wheel. Murphy and Belcher were still locked in door-to-door on lap 20, but Belcher got crossed up and Murphy shot ahead. Belcher held on but Murphy dropped in on lap 22 and sealed the front. Paiva settled in behind Cavallaro and was all over his back bumper with Church and Wakefield in pursuit. Guy held on in seventh with Lima on his tail.
The field battled through the finish without changing positions bringing the triple win into Murphy’s corner. Rounding out the top ten were Rainville and Mike Duarte.
VANASSE IS TWO-FOR-TWO ON PHIL’S TRIPLE-CROWN FOR LATE MODELS
Ryan Vanasse was back for the first time since winning the initial Phil’s Propane Triple Crown race for Late Models and like the first time, he took home the winnings. He had to deprive teammate Bobby Pelland III of the win, which he did with a third of the laps remaining, but not without a long, wheel-to-wheel conftontation between the two. Nick Lascuola came online and showed the power and style that has set him up for five straight wins this year in Fast Fridays Legends racing, to arrive third under the checkers. Dylan Estrella, by virtue of last week’s win, had a long plug from his tenth place start, but kept pace with points leader Pelland with a fourth. Bill Bernard surged to the front early, but after contesting the lead for several laps with Vinny Arrenegado, was forced to settle for fifth.
Arrenegado came off the pole to grab the lead and Bernard took the first lap to slice through under Roland Wheeler and Lascuola from fifth to third. He went past Branden Dion for second. Pelland, meanwhile was beginning a position-per-lap march from his seventh place start toward the front. And was holding fourth when Dion spun out of turn one, collecting Jariah Roderick. Mike Marfeo di ved into the infield to avoid the collision as the caution flew.
Bernard was on Arrenegado’s sholder for the lap five restart, with Pelland and Wheeler in the second row. The shape of the race was beginning to show itself as Vanasse lined up outside Lascuola in row 3.
Arrenegado escaped and Pelland drove in under Bernard. Vanasse got by Wheeler into sixth, behind Charlie Rose. Pelland moved Bernard back to third then went after Arrenegado. Two laps later, he was past into the lead as Lascuola went by Bernard and Arrenegado. Pelland quickly went out to a six-car lead by lap 12. Bernard was third behind Lascuola with Vanasse coming up on his bumper. Estrella had been moving up fast and was closing on Vanasse. Arrenegado got loose in traffic, but saved it and the race continued.
Most of the juxtapositioning in the race was complete as the field strung itself out around the track by lap 15, about 1/3 of the way through the fifty laps. Ron Barboza spun but was able to gather it in and continue without caution.
Lap 18 saw Vanasse on Bernard’s bumper followed by Estrella. Two laps later, Pelland had eight cars on Lascuola as Bernard closed on second with Vanasse still on his bumper. Vanasse nosed under into turn three and had third after a brief wheel-to-wheel.
Vanasse worked on Lascuola over the following seven laps, as Estrella began to make life miserable for Bernard. Lillie was able to get past Arrenegado into tenth on lap 22 and Roderick did the same three laps later. Pelland was no encountering lapped traffic, encountering Barboza, still struggling after the spin. Vanasse was working Lascuola’s bumper and Estrella was lavishing the same on Bernard.
Lap 29 saw Vanasse by Lascuola into second, 8 cars behind Pelland. But Arrenegado tried to exit to the pits and lost power at the pit exit, bringing a caution on lap 37. This pulled the field back together in a whole new race.
Pelland and Vanasse were the front row, backed up by Lascuola and Bernard. Estrella and Rose shared the third line, ahead of Wheeler and Eddie LeClerc. The leaders began a seesaw duel at the front with Lascuola third. Estrella got under Bernard for a door-to-door as Vanasse began edging slowly ahead. By lap 39, however, they were still alongside.
Vanasse finally secured the front on lap 43, with Pelland, Lascuola, Estrella, Bernard, Rose and Wheeler following. As Vanasse continued to move away, Lascuola closed on Pelland’s bumper, then looked underneath with two laps remaining.
The went into the white flag lap door-to-door and they brawled through the final circuit. Pelland was able to hold him off and crossed just .026 seconds in the lead.
Rounding out the top ten were Rose, Wheeler, Lillie, LeClerc and Dion.
BRUNEAU BATTLES FOR FIRST WIN IN STREETS
Scott Bruneau eased his angst with a big effort over Steve Axon for his first win of the season in Sims Metals Recovery Street Stocks, but not before he had to duel Ray Negley through the early stages of the feature. Negley staunchly hung on to follow Axon over the stripe in third, just ahead of Ray Lovelace and Dan Solomon. Bruneau leapt from second on the starting grid into the lead and jealously guarded the front from attack through all 25 laps, including 4 caution restarts. His first attacker was polesitter Tony Oliviera, who was deposed on the initial rush from the box. Craig Pianka followed for three circuits and then Negley set up to give him headaches. The last ten laps of assault came at the hands of Steve Axon, who ended up in second. Negley claimed third, just ahead of points leader Ray Lovelace, who worked his way from a back-of-the- pack start. Fifth went to Pianka.
Bruneau and Oliviera were wheel-to-wheel at the start but Oliviera faded to be replaced by Pianka as Negley and Paul Lallier battled over third. But Tyler Lallier died at the end of the front stretch, bringing out a lap one restart.
Bruneau had the pole and Oliviera the outside with the same results and Pianka pulled in under Oliviera before he could drop in. Corey Fanning found himself sliding sideways through the turns for about 100 feet, but fought the car back to the straight and narrow and continued. Eddie Gannon climbed up onto Lallier’s bumper for fifth as Fanning and Axon battled behind him. Fanning escaped and ran under Gannon just as Oliviera spun on the backstretch, collecting Vinny Pangelinan.
Bruneau was away again on the lap five restart and Negley got under Pianka for second. Gannon then got beneath in a try for third. Negley closed and tagged Bruneau’s bumper but Bruneau pulled away.
Caution flew on lap ten for sand kicked onto turn one. Bruneau and Negley were away again with Gannon and Pianka behind them Gannon nabbed third but Axon jumped in underneath. Axon got loose in turn three and Lovelace drove into fourth as Austin Blais was looking to take fifth from Gannon.
Lap 15 saw Solomon try an underneath move on Fanning, resulting in a turn four spin.
The lap fourteen restart had Bruneau and Negley lined up in front of Axon and Lovelace with Gannon and Blais behind them. Bruneau was away quickly as Axon nosed under Negley, followed by Lovelace. Negley hung onto third, ahead of Lovelace. Paul Lallier dropped under Blais for position and Bobby Bettencourt followed. Bettencourt then looked under Lallier to find the door slammed on him.
The front tightened up as Bruneau led a four-car express train which included Axon, Negley and Lovelace with Pianka and Chris Demoura in pursuit. As the final laps wore down, Lovelace fell back a step but Bruneau, Axon and Negley wound around the oval nose-to-tail. The trio crossed under the checkers just .3 seconds apart.
Rounding out the top ten on the division were: Gannon, Betencourt, Fanning, Demoura and Oliviera.
FAST FRED CLAIMS ANOTHER WIN IN PRO STOCKS
Craig Weinsten and Kenny Spencer spent the first half of the 40-lap pro stock race in combat at the front, match-racing to the crowd’s enjoyment. But after a lap 19 caution, the scrambling toward the front within the pack set a pair of icons up for their usual speedbourne intrigues: Fred Astle, Jr. and Dave Darling. Freddy spent the early laps picking his way to the front from his starting point outside the fourth row. And Dave, thanks to last week’s win, had to grope his way up from twelfth.
They came off a lap-22 restart, side-by-side on the front row and gave the crowd even more of what it had been enjoying with Spencer and Weinstein: lap after hard-fought lap to the finish with Darling in pursuit of Astle for all the marbles. And it ground down to the final lap, the final turn and the final rush down the stretch to the checkers. Astle added another brick to the wall he’s been building since he began to shake off early-season disappointments. Darling, sharp as ever, working every angle, every trick, every skill and finishing just a quarter-second off the winner’s pace. And newcomer Ryan Lineham, just one Late Model season away from Street Stocks come in just .35 seconds further back. Fourth to Kyle Casper also within the same second as the leader. Rounding out the top five was Bobby Pelland III, just off a Late Model duel to the line with Ryan Lineham in the 50-lap Phil’s Triple Crown series.
Weinstein was fast off the start and Spencer followed from row two, getting under outside polesitter Kevin Folan. Folan tried to settle, but ended up driving over Joe Kohler’s nose in the process. The field kept going, however, and Weinstein managed a four-car lead. Lineham slipped to the outside, then dropped in behind Astle. Angelo Belsito, caught outside in the freight train, was able to settle in behind Lineham just before Kevin Casper spun to the infield grass out of turn two after a battle with Ryan Vanasse.
Weinstein and Spencer lined up with Folan and Smokin’ Joe behind them. Tom Scully, Jr. and Freddy followed. Weinstein was a way and Spencer settled in behind. Folan and Scully followed as Lineham came in under Kohler and Vanasse got in below Astle. But Fred saw an opening and fired the booster rockets to catapult between Kohler and Belsito and on past. Darling and Lineahm dueled but Lineahm got sideways and slowed, allowing Darling to escape.
As Weinstein had earned a five-car lead over Spencer, Folan and Vanasse got together off turn four. Vanasse was able to continue, but Folan ran to the pits. On the restart, Weinstein and Spencer were trading paint as Scully worked under Vanasse and came out into third. Vanasse dropped under Scully and Spencer was around between turns one and two. Belsito was collected and Scully went to the pits, ending his evening.
The lap 19 restart saw Astle in the second row behind Weinstein. Lineham followed Vanasse on the outside and Darling sat fifth with Pelland at his shoulder. Weinstein took a half-car lead on Vanasse, who dug in. Astle went to Weinstein’s bumper and Vanasse continued to battle. As they battled, they tangled and spun in turn two. Weinstein’s back end broke loose and he went sideways, collecting Vanasse and putting Astle hard on his brakes. Unbelievably, no cars were collected in the incident.
Now, Astle and Darling faced off. Lineham, Kyle, Pelland, Houlihan and Brightman followed. The finishing order was nearly established at the front, with 18 laps remaining. The restart saw Astle and darling at each other’s throats as the field settled in, but Kevin spun on the backstretch in lap 25, Folan getting the call for the assist. Another restart had Folan spin on the front stretch and the field was called back for a re-restart.
Freddy pulled ahead and Lineham grabbed his bumper. Darling couldn’t settle so he fired up and worked the outside. Houlihan took a bump from Brightman on the backstretch and got sideways, drifting his car though turns three and four.
Bob Hussey spun on the backstretch to bring up a lap 30 restart. This time, Lineham’s attempt to attach himself to Astle’s bumper did not succeed and Darling settled in for the ten-lap chase. Behind them, Lineham, Kyle, Pelland and Houlihan pursued.
It was a tight-jawed dash to the finish with Darling taking his preferred outside line to pass and they countged down the laps. On the final circuit, Astle appreciated Darling’s skill as he dropped in dead aft. Correspondingly, Astle eased his speed in turn four to prevent the inside move and they roared down the frontstretch together for the finish and a win for Astle.
Sicth wnet to Houlihan, with Rick Martin seventh. Vanasse, Spencer and Brightman completed the top ten.