DARLING TAKES PRO WIN, BRIGHTMAN HAULS DOWN TRIPLE CROWN
Dave Darling shook off the past weeks of bad luck that has plagued him and once again was at his best and hauled down a win on the Pro Stock Phil’s Triple Crown 65-lap feature. Mike Brightman, on a last-minute pass of points leader Kenny Spencer, grabbed fourth place, which (added to a second and a third in other Triple Crown races) granted him the honors of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown for the 2014 season. Darling’s win, pointswise, pushed him past Fred Astle, who went out just after the midpoint thanks to a collision which yielded a nose-crushing meeting with the frontstretch wall. Spencer’s fifth kept him comfortably ahead of Darling’s second in the points column.
Tom Scully, Sr. jumped away from the pole and went door-to-door with Bob Hussey, but gained the lead down the backstretch as Kevin Folan got up under Hussey and Bob Pelland III contested fourth place, door-to-door with Jake Vanada. By lap 3, Scully had a five-car lead. Folan, Hussey and Vanada were bumper-to-bumper, followed by Pelland, Kevin Casper and Dick Houlihan. The remainder of the field was two-wide behind them.
Scully continued to move away and had built a straightaway lead on Folan. Hussey was another eight cars back, with Vanada hugging his bumper. Pelland had faded an additional cars. Houlihan then moved underneath Pelland into fifth and Darling followed. But Scully was running well enough to be almost a half lap in the lead.
Darling took fifth from Houli and Craig Weinstein did the same on lap later. By Lap 22, Spencer was in pursuit of Weinstein.
First caution came out on lap 25: Scully was enjoying his long lead when Pelland spun off turn four. Scully and Folan lined up with Darling and Weinstein behind them. Ryan Vanasse and Spencer followed.
Scully and Folan came away wheel-to-wheel and they battled through the lap. Darling made one of his daring moves underneath when they left room, but Bryan Bigelow’s spin in turn 2 ended the threat. Smokin’ Joe Kohler, John Berchem and Bigelow ran for the pits as the field realigned.
Scully, Sr. was away again and Darling went under Folan into third. Vanasse was under Weinstein onto Folan’s bumper. Angelo Belsito barged past Weinstein; both Vanasse and Belsito move Folan back on lap 29.
Fred Astle, Jr. and Ryan Lineham had been disagreeing over position at mid-pack when Spencer got loose off turn two, suffering the same in turns three and four. It created an accordion effect as cars slowed and changed position sending Astle and Lineham into each other and to the frontstretch wall. Astle took the worst of it, going nosefirst, just past the starter’s stand, shortening his nose extensively. Lineham and Kevin Casper headed for the pits as Fred began the slow walk to the pits.
Scully and Darling came out of the box wheel-to-wheel and battled for two laps before Darling could take command down the front stretch. Vanasse had Belsito chasing him, but went under into second and Belsito followed to third. Scully, Weinstein, Spencer, Kyle Casper and Folan followed.
Darling worked out a four-car margin over Vanasse who trailed Belsito on his bumper as Kyle Casper headed into the pits, but was caught up in the entrance, bringing caution. Kevin had simultaneously suffered a right front tire loss and slid into Folan at that moment. Both made great saves and they went to the pits along with Vanada and Houlihan. Kevin was unable to return.
Darling and Vanasse were briefly door-to-door on the restart, but Darling took the front. Weinstein nabbed third while Belsito and Tom Scully Jr. contested fourth. By lap 38, Vanasse was on Darling’s bumper and Belsito was past Scully, Jr. for fourth. Spencer, Brightman and Dean Pettey pursued.
As Hussey and Lineham battled in the pack, Hussey’s back snapped out and he collected Lineham. Lineham pitted. On the restart, Darling retook the lead. Weinstein rushed up but Vanasse dropped in. Belsito went outside Spencer but Brightman rushed the latter’s bumper and Belsito went to seventh.
By lap 47, Weinstein and Scully were hacksawing alongside over third and Weinstein won the battle in turn two. Darling was nursing an 8-car lead, while Weinstein was 18 cars behind Vanasse. Scully, Jr was fourth, leading Spencer, Brightman, Belsito, Pettey and Pelland. Weinstein began to close on Vanasse as Spencer was all over Scully, Jr.’s bumper. A nose-to-tail line developed as Brightman, Belsito and Pettey moved in. Weinstein was three cars behind Vanasse and closing.
He was two cars back with five laps remaining. Kyle Casper went under Pelland, who dropped and gave him a push, but Casper recovered. Weinstein went for second on lap 62 but Scully, Sr. turned up into him as Weinstein lapped him and Weinstein went around. Petty spun to avoid. Scully, Sr. retired to the pits and Weinstein followed suit. The caution provided a three-lap shootout.
Darling . . . Vanasse . . . Scully, Jr. . . . Spencer . . . Brightman . . . Belsito . . . Pettey. But Folan and Daryl Stampfl were together in turn one. They lined up again. Darling was away; Scully got under Vanasse and they dueled with Scully nosing ahead but Vanasse retaking the distance. Brightman dodged under Spencer for fourth and took position. The field finished with Darling, Vanasse, Scully, Spencer and Brightman. Sixth went to Pettey, followed by Belsitgo, Kyle Casper, Lineham, Pelland and Rick Martin.
ESTRELLA CLAIMS LATE MODEL VICTORY
Dylan Estrella wound up in Victory Lane with his fifth win on the season, a win which brings him even with Bob Pelland, Jr. in the points standings, as Pelland finished in the top five on the evening. Only two drivers essentially led the event, with Vinny Arrenegado leaping off the pole to run the front for the first fifteen laps. Two laps saw cars exchanging places on a restart and then Estrella ran past Vinny and Eddie LeClerc into the lead, which he stubbornly refused to relinquish for the remainder of the thirty laps. Estrella started eighth and progressed quickly toward the front. A lap 15 caution had him on the low side of the second row and Eddie LeClerc challenging Arrenegado from the outside pole. When LeClerc tried to throw it in hard into turn four, he went around, setting up Vinny and Dylan for the restart.
Dylan was away out of the box, and edged to the front, settling in out of turn three. From there, he continued at the front through the checkers, relatively unchallenged except during restarts on lap 20 and 23. Nick Lascuola came on late to nab his second consecutive runnerup and Jeramee Lillie made a last-lap pass, edging Charlie Rose back to fourth. Pelland completed the top five.
Arrenegado leaped to the front at the outset, showing his ability on the restarts. But Dave Hutchins bogged on the outside, setting up an accordion motion that jammed up the field. Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. drove over Lillie’s hood in the scramble as some cars brushed the wall. Nathan Tracy took the worst of the damage and retired. Joey Wakefield, just up from Sport Trucks was also collected and the duo retired for the evening.
Arrenegado again leapt to the front as LeClerc looked under Hutch, who fell back. Lascuola went under Hutch as Charlie Rose, Estrella and Roland Wheeler gave chase. Lap five saw Tyler Thompson, who had been nursing an ailing car, head into the pits. Estrella went below Rose for fifth down the backstretch on lap 7.
The field was single file on lap 8 as DeGasparre nosed under Wheeler. By lap 9, Arrenegado was leading LeClerc, Lascuola, Estrella, Rose and Pelland, who was passing Hutchins on the low side. Estrella then looked under Lascuola and they fought it out as DeGasparre and Lillie went under Hutchins for position.
Arrenegado led by four cars on lap 13, followed by LeClerc who had Estrella glued to his bumper, and Lascuola. But Mike Marfeo spun solo out of turn two on lap 15.
Arrenegado had LeClerc on his door and Estrella on his bumper, with Lascuola outside. Vinny grabbed an edge and they went door-to-door. LeClerc threw it into turn three, hard and deep, going past Vinny, but his back end snapped out from under him in turn four, making a slow pirouette and leaving him facing traffic, which scattered to avoid with no damage.
Estrella lined up outside the front row and was able to edge out on the start, settling in out of turn three. Pelland and Marfeo dueled for position for four laps before Pelland spun on lap 20, with Marfeo getting the call for an assist. Both went to the rear.
Estrella pulled away from Arrenegado, who was engaged by Rose immediately. They were door to door as Estrella built a five-car lead over the next lap. DeGasparre began leaking fluid and was black-flagged. Leo Oliveira and Wheeler got together, bringing out caution. After the flag, Arrenegado, and then Rose did slow spins on the backstretch, but kept their places as the flag had already been thrown.
The restart was a carbon copy of the previous. This time, Arrenegado began to fall back and Rose took over second while Lascuola took over third.
With 5 laps remaining, Estrella gained an eight car lead as Lascuola looked under Rose for second. Pelland was battling below Lillie. Lascuola secured second and Lillie went to fourth behind Rose and Pelland ran fifth.
Wheeler spun on the backstretch with three laps to go, but collected his car and continued as Estrella ran for the finish. Entering the last lap, Arrenegado, running sixth, had smoke erupt from his right front wheelwell as if a caliper had seized up and frozen his wheel. He continued as the black flag waved and completed the circuit. But Marfeo came up fast in turn four and got into his bumper, sending him around as Estrella crossed under the checkers.
Completing the top ten were: Bill Bernard, sixth, LeClerc, Hutchins (completing his last race before heading off to college) Oliviera, Arrenegado and Marfeo.
BLAIS TAKES THIRD WIN IN TOUGH STREET STOCK FEATURE
Austin Blais wove a long run from sixteenth into a last minute pass of Steve Axon to forge his third Sims Street Stocks win on the season and propel him out of a third place tie for points with Chris DeMoura, who finished fifth.
Axon had been leading since lap 10 and seemed destined to win his first feature this season, except for Blais’ last minute show. They came away from a lap 22 restart with Axon leading from the pole and Blais on the outside of the second. Blais dived onto his bumper. On the final circuit, Blais gave Axon a shove then went around the outside. They went banging down the frontstretch brawling to the line, where Blais grabbed the victory by .134 seconds. Ed Gannon, who had been in a firefight with Axon most of the distance, was third, just two tenths behind Axon. Cory Fanning was fourth and Demoura fifth, just .709 behind the leader: all of the top five finishing on the same second.
AJ Soloman took the lead from Tony Oliveira on lap one as Paul Lallier moved up from third and onto his bumper, then into the lead on lap 6. Gannon moved into second and began to work over Lallier’s bumper. Axon got in under Gannon and was by on lap eight.
Blais was twelfth as caution came out in lap10 as Scott Bruneau spun in turn four. Lallier and Gannon took the front as Axon moved into the low side of the second row, under Soloman. Axon pushed alongside Lallier as Gannon grabbed his bumper. Eddie move under to make it three wide as Blais moved up to seventh. Potter jumped in to set up a brief 4-wide as Vinny Pangelina nd Dane Saritelli tangled to bring out a caution.
Axon and Lallier took the front, with Gannon and Potter behind them. Cory Fanning and Blais were row three. Axon ran to the front and Gannon went under Lallier, who dropped into third behind him just before Bruneau spun in turn two.
Axon and Gannon battled through restarts on laps 13, 15 and sixteen as Blais moved up to sixth. Lallier had been battling with Fanning and Potter into lap 21, as Bobby Bettencourt entered the picture. He dived below Lallier and they traded paint. Coming out, he drifted up onto Lallier’s nose and slid clockwise in front of him. Lallier had Potter on his outside, and the three gathered up into a knot, sliding rapidly up the backstretch into turn three. Bettencourt’s driver’s side went hard into the wall just past the pit entrance and Lallier and Potter piled in, with Potter coming to rest between Bettencourt’s nose, Lallier’s side and the wall.
The field froze as red came on around the track and the track’s safety crews highballed toward the wreckage. Lallier and Potter were out of their cars, but Bettencourt was still inside and the car was against the wall. Crews worked feverishly to extract him and he was put on the stretcher and taken to the ambulance for a ride to Rhode Island Hospital. Although momentarily unconscious, he was alert and conversational enroute.
Blais was now fifth as the field restarted. Axon and Gannon brawled out of the box, but it was called back as Oliveira and Ray Negley tangled. Now Blais was starting on the outside, behind Gannon with Fanning below him. Axon edged out as Blais and Fanning went wheel-to-wheel. Soloman was around in turn one with Mike Teague collected.
This time, Blais dropped onto Axon’s bumper leaving Gannon outside, setting up for the run to the checkers. Ray Lovelace was sixth behind DeMoura, protecting his points lead. Bruneau followed chased by Chris Beaulieu, John Hanafin, Vinny Pangelinan and Negley.
MURPHY SWEEPS TRUCKS AND PHIL’S PROPANE TRIPLE CROWN
Rapid Rob Murphy took an easy win, getting to the front early and staying there to the win, by a comfortrable four seconds. The feature win also gave him the Triple Crown championship and maintained his points lead in the division.
Mike Cavallaro came out of the crowd early, but Murphy’s speed was insurmountable on the evening, forcing him to settle for second. He was followed by Nick Uhrig, David Lougee and Chase Belcher.
Darryl Church and David Lougee battled from the start, with Lougee going to the front after Church slid wide in the turn. He went quickly out to a four-car lead with church in second, three lengths up on Chase Belcher. Murphy wass working under Mike Duarte, passing him and Nick Uhrig into fourth. Lougee was enjoying a ten-car lead on Belcher, who had gotten to second when Church received the black flag for fluid draining from his vehicle.
Evan Taylor was limping toward the pits as Lougee came around to find him in turn three in the second groove. Lougee executed avoidance maneuvers, going high around him, but spun up near the wall bringing an immediate yellow flag.
Lougee escaped Belcher on the restart, but Murphy, restarting third with John Paiva on his shoulcer, dived under Belcher onto Lougee’s bumper. He dodged under on lap 7 and into the lead as Lougee followed and Belcher led Cavallaro, Paiva and Chris Lima. By lap 10, Murphy had an eight car lead. Cavallaro edged out away from Paiva and onto Belcher’s bumper. It took five laps, but he was finally able to solve the problems Belcher presented and move past into third on lap 15.
Cavallaro pursued Lougee as Paiva followed, chased by Nick Uhrig. Belcher settled in behind Uhrig.
Cavallaro was under Lougee on lap 20 and into the lead on lap 21. Lougee tried to take it back by dropping underneath, but could not find the space. Uhrig looked under Paiva but was denied and locked onto his bumper. They came up to Lougee and the three made a tight single-file.
Uhrig made a run under Paiva. There was contact and Paiva drifted but kept going. Uhrig took the position, but Lougee escaped during the battle.
Murphy had a straightway lead on Cavallaro by lap 30, and Mike was 15 cars up on Lougee. There were long gaps all along the single file line into the final five laps. With three to go, Uhrig looked under Lougee and managed to clear into third on the next circuit.
Murphy continued to pour on the speed to the checkers for the win.
Lima followed Belcher in for sixth, followed by Paiva, Duarte, Taylor Therrien and Lenny Guy.