THOMPSON OUTLASTS MARTINEZ FOR LEGENDS WIN
TJ Thompson and Brandon “Batman” Martinez put on a display of hard pursuit enroute to Thompson’s first win on the Legends season. But this was not before a hard crash to the wall eliminated Jesse Jakubajtys at the outset.
Jakubajtys came of his third place start and was dicing among the leaders down the backstretch and into turn three. Midway through the turn, where competing forces are the greatest, light contact occurred with Thompson. Already running on the edge of his tires, Jakubajtys began a slow rotation that saw him bounce into the air and land pointed toward the turn four wall at speed. A grinding crash ensued as the legends car shed its front fenders then came to rest with its right side against the wall, bringing out the red flag. All emergency personnel scrambled to the scene, but Jakubajtys began to push the door open on his own. It was badly jammed and required assistance to give enough space for the driver to exit. Anthony Pagliarulo, in trying to avoid, climbed Thompson’s fender and was stuck there until removed, but was able to continue.
Nick Lascuola had stopped nearby and it appears his car picked up a problem as a result of the wreck, as on the restart, he was suddenly unable to achieve speed and the winner of nine successive features this year had to be black-flagged from the race.
The full restart saw outside polesitter Nick Wisialko jump to the lead, away from Jessica O’Leary, while Brandon Packard went from outside the second row and around Wisialko into the lead on lap one. Martinez came up to his rear bumper followed by Jesse Melberg and Colin Haley. Thompson then edged Haley back and began to pursue Melberg for third. Martinez passed and was moving away from Packard, but Thompson went around Melberg and was now bumper-hugging in third. George Whitney had been moving up from his eleventh place start, and now was sixth, behind Haley. Whitney was followed by Cassandra Cole, a newcomer from the Waterford Speedbowl.
Thompson navigated past Wisialko and onto Martinez’ bumper. The field was ten cars back. He began looking underneath but was denied as they began to approach lapped traffic on the fourteenth circuit. Thompson elected to drop beneath a slower car being lapped leaving Martinez no choice but to go to the outside. He was able to come out of the situation still in the lead, and they continued to duel, bumper-to-bumper into lap 19.
Thompson continued to pursue Martinez and Melberg worked his way by Packard to secure third on lap 17. This solidified the field behind him in its finishing positions. One position change—at the front—remained.
Thompson gave Martinez a bump and tried underneath. Martinez held on, but got loose coming out of turn four, allowing Thompson to surge to the front on lap 19. Thompson quickly went out to a substantial lead lead as Martinez was caught up in lapped traffic again and ridden high. He began to close down the 15-car gap he found himself, but the laps were counting down.
At the finish, Thompson crossed a half-second in front of Martinez, followed by Melberg, Packard and Whitney. Rounding out the top ten were Haley in sixth, Cole, John O’Sulivan, Pagliarulo and Travis Snow.
DEBBIS DOES IT AGAIN – VICTORIOUS IN SYRA 600’S
Derek Debbis started still further back in the pack by virtue of his divisional lead and his skein of four wins on the season. But starting tenth meant he would gobble up positions at the rate of two per lap: he was at the front on lap four, once again running the show. The final fifteen laps were not an easy journey, however, as Tim Ouellette surged to second one lap later and made life miserable for the leader with constant challenges all the way to the finish, coming in just 0.172 of a second off the pace. Anthony Marvin was third, followed by Eric LeBrun and Scott Serydynski, Jr.
Luke LeBrun leapt away from the pole and Cassie Meservey dropped in behind as Oellette passed Michael Toner and Marvin to nab sixth behind Serydynski. Debbis was by Eric LeBrun and Marvin into eighth as Serydynsky spun in turn two.
Luke and Meservey lined up again with Marissa Morgan and Ouellette behind them; Debbis was outside Collin McMullen in the third row. Luke and Meserve came out of the box banging sides. Marvin pushed up the middle making it three wide before Meserve pushed ahead. LeBrun powered up and took it back. Marvin held third into lap three but Alexandria Lillie spun coming out of turn four.
Debbis was now behind LeBrun and Meserve in the grid with Ouellette on his shoulder for the lap four restart. Morgan and McMullenn followed. LeBrun and Meserve were door-to-door down the front straight, but LeBrun was able to take the lead out of turn two and Debbis ran hard under Meserve to nab second. But LeBrun was loose ot of turn four and spun at the stripe, setting up a lap five restart.
Now Debbis and Ouellette were the front row with Meservey and Brittany Nichols behind them. Debbis was away and Oullette was givng chase. Meserve held third as Nichols faded to seventh, to be replaced in the chase by McMullen, Marvin and Morgan. Morgan was high on the curve above McMullen and Marvin took advantage, popping through the gap into fifth. Oullette was pursing Debbis hard, two cars back. He came up to the bumper on the backstretch of lap ten, just before Luke spun again in turn three.
Debbis nosed out of the box and Ouellette dropped onto his bumper. Meserve was third, five cars back, while Marvin eased McMullen out of fourth and Toner took over fifth. But Meserve got loose and sun out of turn four on lap 13.
Serydynski and Eric LeBrun had been moving up and began moving forward as Debbis and Ouellette again dueled at the front. Serydynski was past Toner and Marvin into fourth and Eric was by Toner into fifth on the following lap.
McMullen spun at the stripe, but struggled back into the oval, avoiding a caution on lap 15. As the leaders battled, Debbis was loose out of turn four but Ouellette could not take advantage. Marvin had been solidly in third since lap 13, but Serydynski and Eric had been dueling over fourth. LeBrun was able to finally forge past going into the white flag lap and held Serydynski off to the checkers.
Debbis had his fifth win on the season and second in as many weeks.
Rounding out the top ten came: Toner, Morgan, Luke LeBrun, Nichols, Mullen and Meservey.
WESTGATE: FIRST WIN OF SEASON IN SPORT FOURS
David Westgate shook off a host of frustrating almost with a dominant win in Sport Four competition, grabbing the lead on lap five and refusing to relinquish his grip through the checkers. Westagate has been close all season, holding third in the standings behind the two drivers who worked hardest to dislodge him from the win: Devin Miranda and Tyler Boudreau. But Westgate would hear none of their protests and powered under the checkers in the lead. Boudreau followed in second, with Miranda taking third. Henry Lavallee and Raymond Herman, Sr. completed the top five.
Tylar Nailor and Kim Bickford kicked off from the front row: Nailor went to the front as Bickford got high on the track, allowing a big opening and Henry Lavallee took it from his spot low on the second row. Meanwhile, last week’s winner, Gil Bradstreet was also high, but coming around from deep in the pack and moving fast. At thje same time, Westgate came from seventh, past Herman and into third. Miranda went from sixteenth fo fifth.
Into lap four, Nailor continued at the front, fending of Lavallee as Westgate still hung himself out on the wide side, moved up alongside Lavallee. Miranda was rocketing forward, now, getting by Mike LeFort, then on the next lap Ray Herman into fourth behind Lavallee, who had been stripped of fourth by Westgate on the same circuit. Boudreau came up while Miranda was battling Lavallee and marched past into third behind Westgate.
Nailor was continuing to defend the front but Westgate came alongside on lap seven and the two began to duel for position. Also dueling were Boudreau and Miranda behind them. Westgate secured the front from Nailor on lap 9 after heavy battling for two laps. Nailor fell to second ahead of Boudreau.
Suddenly, Lenny Sousa’s hood flew up and caution lights came on around the track. Westgate and Nailor lined up and Nailor took the lead out of the box. Boudreau nosed in under Westgate but Westgate powered up alongside Nailor. He nipped Nailor for the lead at the stripe on lap 10. Miranda was on the outside and got door-to-door with Nailor. Boudreau tagged along on their bumpers, looking for an option.
Lap 13 saw Bradstreet, who had overtaken by a position per lap, come up suddenly behind Miranda, who had given way to Boudreau. Mike LeFort came into the debate, sending Miranda down into the infield grass. LeFort bounced off Bradstreet, who lost power and retreated to the pits.
Westgate had built a 15-car lead by lap 15 while Boudreau had another 12 on Miranda. Nailor was another 20 cars back with Lavallee on his bumper.
Lap 18 saw Garrett Kuhn into Bob Henry’s bumper, knocking Henry loose and making him lose ground. Then Chuck McDonald saw an opening and he leapt for it. But the opening closed as he reached it, and his right side wheels ran up on the side of Nailor’s car. McDonald was suddenly sliding down the front stretch on his driver’s side with his still on Nailor. The car to his left pulled away and McDonald rolled onto his roof, sliding down the stretch into the turn one wall, bouncing off and sliding back out to mid-track in the turn, still on his roof.
The red flew immediately and emergency vehicles headed for McDonald’s wreck and the track went silent until movement in the driver’s side window revealed that McDonald was opening his safety net to let people know he was safe. The race director called the race a red checker with one lap remaining, awarding the win to Westgate.
David Gargaro earned sixth with Nailor seventh. McDonald was eighth with Sousa ninth, followed by Bickford, LeFort and Henry.
DONOVAN TAKES 750’S AFTER BATTLE WITH BOWSER
Shelby Donovan was all about protecting her 6 point lead over Taylor Bowser and to do it she had to win, as Bowser pursued her all the way to the checkers in second place. Joey Lembo, eight points back in third, made it tighter as he finished in third and the tightest points battle on the speedway intensifies with no letup as all three drivers have been dominating action at the front. Brandon Lillie and Shea Kulpa completed the top five.
Shea Kulpa pulled away from the outside pole, getting the lead over Kendra Levesque. Brandon Lillie got into Levesque’s back, sending her around, but Kendra straigtened it out and kept going. Lap one saw TJ Moreshead around on the backstretch, but he also continued. Kulpa pushed ahead then dropped in front of Lillie for the lead.
As Donovan worked her way in behind Lillie for third, Bowser was powering forward on the outside, occasionally running through 3-wide situations as she came.
But Lillie and Kulpa were both loose out of turn three. Lillie spun out in turn four. Kulpa worked at holding on, but went around as she entered the backstretch.
Now, Donovan was on the pole for the restart with David White on her shoulder. She had Bowser at her back and Lembo outside. Matt Barboza and Levesque made up row three. Donovan and White were wheel-to-wheel across the stripe, then Donovan went to the front. Bowser leapt underneath into second, leaving White in third, followed by Barboza and Lembo.
By lap six, Donovan had a 3-car lead, which continued until a lap ten spin involving Barboza and White getting together while battling for position. This put Donovan and Bowser together on the front for the restart.
They came away door-to-door with White and Barboza behind them. Donovan had the lead out of turn two and by lap 13 had forged a four car lead on Bowser. Lembo had come by White and Bowser into third. Lillie was fourth ahead of Kulpa. Barboza, Moreshead, Levesque and White completed the field in that order.
The finishing order had been established and the field, strung out, paraded to the finish line. But Bowser had begun to close, and the only question over the last laps was whether she could close up enough to have that final shot for the win. She slowly closed but by the checkers, Donovan claimed the win by a carlength.
MURPHY TAKES FIRST WIN IN PURE STOCKS
Mark Murphy complained that he was happy to be leading the divisional points (by 26 points over Bill Chouinard) but wouldn’t be happy until he could secure that first feature win. He’s been close on several occasions, but hadn’t been to victory lane. Until tonight, that is, or was.
Murphy summoned it all up, powered his way into the lead by lap 4, dropping Andrew Kun from the top spot, then hung on, firing back of his shoulder to keep the posse of trophy hunters off his back.
Kun led off from the pole, outrunning Ed Gould to the front with a quick leap out of the box. Mike Henriques jumped into second from low in the second row. Murphy went from fifth to third through a three-wide which had him on the bottom, David Desrosiers in the middle and Gould outside.
Kun, Henriques, Murphy and Scott Cestodio wound across the stripe after lap one before Gould spun in turn two. Randy Moretti retired to the pits during caution and was unable to return. That brought Kun and Henriques to the grid at the front with Murphy and Cestodio behind them.
Kun led them into lap three with Murphy on his bumper. But Murphy got under Kun in lap four and had the lead coming out of turn four. Cestodio then looked under Kun and the spun but kept going. But Cestodio then had problems which sent him to the pits for the evening.
By lap six, Murphy had an eight car lead over Desrosiers and Henriques. Chouinard had jumped to fourth on the restart and Daniel Johnson hauled in behind him. They continued through lap 10 with John Robidoux following Johnson. But lap 11 saw Melissa Charette spin out of turn four.
Murphy and Desrosiers lined up with Henriques and now Chouinard behind them. Murphy grabbed the lead once again and Desrosiers settled in as Henriques and Chouinard went wheel-to-wheel behind them. Choinard claimed third on lap 12. But one lap more and Colby Lambert came down the backstretch with flames flaring under his engine compartment. He pulled up in turn four with the fire still broiling. He clambered out as the flames died down, shrugged and walked to the pits as the fire brigade and ambulance corps arrived. Keri-Lyn Manfredo also retired to the pits.
Once the track was cleared of car and debris, Murphy and Desrosiers set up for the restart with Chouinard and Henriques behind them Dan Johnson and Robidoux were row three, while Amy Arsenault and Nick Johnson followed. Murphy was away out of the box. Desrosiers and Chouinard debated while Dan was under Henriques. Dan went to fourth while Nick took over fifth.
Murphy was up by six on lap sixteen as Gould spun out of turn four bringing caution.
Murphy again escaped Desrosiers as Chouinard got underneath, with the Johnsons and Robidoux in pursuit. As the competition between Desrosiers and Chouinard broiled side-by-side for lap after lap, Murphy used the opportunity to lengthen his lead.
But by lap 21, Desrosiers pressed ahead, high and outside, finally securing second on lap 22. Chouinard fell to third with the Johnsons, Robidoux and Amy Arsenault in pursuit.
On the final lap, Murphy held Desrosiers off by a carlenght, but Dan Johnson engaged Chouinard in a duel which saw them cross the line just .005 seconds apart and third going over to Johnson. Choinard claimed fourth, Nick Johnson was fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Robidoux, Arsenault, Henriques, Kun and Charette.