Reigning Pro Stock king Fred Astle, Jr. of Westport broke into the win column on the new season with a convincing win in the laps-added run celebrating Seekonk Speedway’s 66th anniversary. The track had opened in May of 1946. In addition to the added laps, was some added prize money, brought about by the Pro Stock feature’s rainout two weeks earlier.
Astle began the feature in the seventh slot, and worked his way slowly and carefully to the front, not arriving into the lead until the halfway point, lap 33. But from the moment he surged into the lead, the afterburners came on and Flyin’ Freddie Astle was in his element. Late in the race he had better than a half-lap lead over his nearest competitor. It wasn’t until a lap 64 spin brought out the caution that a following car was anywhere near the rocketing number 30. Over the final 2 laps, Tom Scully, Jr. of Saunderstown, RI, pursued the streaking Astle to no avail. He crossed the line .627 seconds behind the winner. Rounding out the top 5 were Somerset driver Kyle Casper, Rehoboth’s Dave Darling, the current points leader, and Dick Houlihan of Bridgewater.
Bobby Tripp of Westport, winner of his previous three qualifiers, led off at the pole with Jake Vanada of Berkley on the outside. Kyle Casper and Houlihan made up the second row with Tom Scully, Sr. and Tom Scully, Jr. in the row behind. Astle and Taunton driver Ken Spencer followed.
Tripp went to the front as the green fell, with Kyle Casper getting under Vanada and Scully, Sr. moving in beneath Houlihan. Astle jockeyed with Scully, Jr., while Mike Brightman of Acushnet dueled Spencer. By lap six, Tripp led Kyle, Vanada, Scully, Sr., Astle, Brightman, Darling and Spencer.
Gardner, MA driver Phil Meany spun in turn four of lap 8, bringing out a caution. Brightman and Cape Codder Bob Hussey headed for the pits. Scully, Sr. was motionless on the frontstretch. Unable to get a restart, he was pushed to the pits and, with Jason Ferreira, retired for the evening. Houlihan also elected to visit the pits.
Tripp and Kyle lined up on the front with Vanada and Astle behind them. Brightman and Darling were the third row. Spencer and Scully followed. Tripp pulled out to the lead as Vanada tinkered with getting under Kyle, but Kyle held him off; Astle went outside Vanada on the following lap. He settled in behind Kyle, who was unable to overtake Tripp.
Brightman briefly tried to pass below Astle on lap 13, but couldn’t get by. Kyle began edging up on Tripp, and the two were side-by-side into lap 17. But Kyle got loose in turn 4. Vanada then tried to get his nose under Tripp, who got loose against the latter’s nose and slid up the track and began edging toward the rear. Vanada, Brightman and Astle came out as the leaders as Tripp and Kyle edged backwards on the outside.
Lap 20 saw Spencer spinning out in turn two. The restart had Brightman on the outside of Vanada at the front. Astle and Scott Dion held the second row. Tripp and Kyle made up the third row, with Darling and Kevin Casper at their backs. Before the field could be crossed up for the restart, officials spotted a fire under Kyle’s hood, and the seven went to the pits. He returned moments later for the restart.
Brightman was a bit quick on the trigger, bringing the restart back for another staging. This time, Vanada went to the front, leaving Brightman in a duel with Astle; Astle went under Brightman for second. Dion, Tripp, Darling and Kevin Casper gave chase with Scully just off the pace.
Vanada led a fast parade around the speedway and was coming up to lap Paul Reichert. Darling had been having difficulties with his handling and looped on the front stretch in lap 21. His rear end snapped out coming off turn four and he spun deep into the grass in turn one. He retired to the pits, returned then went back to the pits. Reichert had left the track and returned, followed by Darling again. Hussey had to be pushed to the pits and did not return.
Vanada and Astle faced off again with Vanada leading out of the box. Brightman claimed third. Astle powered up in lap 32, taking the lead. Brightman then got underneath Vanada and made the pass into second. Vanada crossed down to get under Brightman, making contact and both cars spun, with Brightman coming out of the spin and continuing. The caution flew and Vanada retired to the pits. Officials allowed Brightman to continue as the second place car, since he did not lose his momentum and continued the race, and so was returned to the position of the last lap completed. With Vanada out of the race, this placed him in second.
Astle pulled away from Brightman on the restart – the latter’s suspension had moved in the contact and the rear end slid out on the second turn, dropping him to second with Tripp in third, followed by Dion and Scully. Astle ran out to a 10 car lead by lap 39. Tripp remained about 5 cars behind Brightman, who was struggling with the car.
Astle was setting a killing pace, gaining distance between himself and the field with each lap. On lap 44, Scully passed Tripp for third place.
Dion then spun coming out of turn 4 ON THE 46TH circuit, but was able to keep going, preventing a caution. Scully was now on Brightman’s bumper. He tried underneath, bumping, but Brightman was able to hold on to the lead. Scully traded tactics and on lap 50 started working Brightman on the high side. They were door-to-door through the next two laps, but Scully prevailed in lap 54, taking over second place.
However, Astle had blasted out to a better than half lap lead over Scully, Brightman, Kyle, Tripp and a resurgent Darling.
Lap 57 saw Spencer heading into the pits as Kyle passed under Brightman for third. One lap later, Darling got under, taking over fourth. Houlihan and Kevin trailed Brightman with Colbey Fournier at the rear.
As Fournier tried under Kevin, there was contact, sending Kevin around, and bringing out the yellow caution flag.
Scully lined up outside Astle for the green-white-checker restart – two laps left in the race. Kevin and Darling made up the second pair, with Brightman and Houlihan, Fournier and Tripp behind.
Astle pulled away at the green and Scully settled behind. Kevin held third with Darling at his bumper. Astle pulled away through the two remaining laps, taking the victory.
Six through ten went to Brightman, Fournier, Tripp, Dion and Meany.
Somerset driver Tyler Thompson celebrated a first win of his career with a wild Kulwicki lap around Seekonk speedway with many stops to spin tires and celebrate with fans at many locations around the track. Back at the start/finish line he sat on the window ledge and waved the checkers so vigorously he broke the pole. First wins after long, hard races have extreme effects.
Thompson had survived a long siege at the top of the field after relieving polesitter Bob Pelland III of Cranston of the lead, then had to hold off Acushnet’s Matt Breault, division leader Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. of Pawtucket and Middleboro hot shoe Randy Burr in a lap 27, three laps to the finish, restart. DeGasparre finished just .325 seconds back, and the hungry Breault was just .489 off the pace.
Reigning champ Ryan Vanasse of Warwick nabbed fourth, just .761 to the rear and Holliston’s Bill Bernard also finished on the same second, nabbing a fifth place .923 behind the winner. It was crowded at the stripe in that closing instant under the checkers.
Thompson earned a start outside on the second row, while Pelland was outside on the front, with Jeramee Lillie on the pole. Kevin Folan of Attleboro was low on the second row. Breault and Bernard were row three.
The West Warwick native, Lillie, and Pelland dueled side-by-side through lap one, but Lillie got loose out of lap 4. He kept it straight, but lost some momentum. Pelland was edging ahead into turn three. The two debated earnestly, with Pelland holding an edge on the outside. When Kyle DeSouza got into Vanasse in lap 4 and spun out, Pelland and Lillie changed slots on the front row for the restart, with Thompson and Bernard at their backs, followed by Breault and Folan.
They came off the line even, but Lillie lost it out of turn 2, in a spin which created a huge mass of spinning cars behind. In the confusion, DeGasparre moved up several slots just by skillfully avoiding becoming an accident car. After tower personnel sorted out cars for the restart, Pelland had Thompson on his shoulder, Bernard and Breault trailing them, Burr and Fall Riverite John Paiva and DeGasparre with DeSouza.
Pelland skillfully powered to the front and Thompson settled behind him, trailing Bernard, Breault, Bur, DeGasparre and Vanasse. By lap 7, Bernard got scuttled to the outside and began drifting back. Burr moved up to third and Breault grabbed fourth, ahead of DeGasparre. Bernard settled in between the latter and Vanasse.
DeSouza and Fall River’s Ron Barboza, Jr. got together on lap eight, sending Barboza spinning in turn four. This set up a repeat of the Pelland-Thompson restart; Burr-Breault, Bernard-DeGasparre and Vanasse-Lillie were arranged behind them. A dead even start had Pelland and Thompson door-to-door with Thompson hack sawing ahead and Pelland taking it back. The debate raged until the following lap when first Lillie and then DeSouza got up into the wall right under the starter’s platform, collecting Folan. Lillie’s right side was rearranged, DeSouza’s right front was knocked down and Folan suffered rear end damage. As the trio was cleared from the field, Vanasse elected to pit; he had been running seventh, just ahead of Lillie at the last restart.
However, the scanners had picked up Thompson ahead of Pelland by nine thousandths of a second on their last crossing of the strip, awarding him the pole for the restart. Thompson made good on the award, nabbing a car length lead down the front stretch on the restart. Pelland challenged back with Breault pushing hard at Thompson’s rear, holding him to the outside. Pelland began giving ground on the outside, an inch at a time. DeGasparre took advantage, pulling up to Breault’s rear to block Pelland from dropping down to the groove. Pelland held on with grit for five laps, staying alongside Breault, until he got a bit sideways through turn two on lap 15. The loss of momentum shuttled him all the way back to seventh on the field.
Breault set out after Thompson with DeGasparre and then Burr, Bernard and Vanasse following, ahead of Pelland. Vanasse began to work on Bernard. Thompson worked to a 3-car lead by lap 20 as Vanasse moved past Bernard for fifth, about 4 cars behind Burr. DeGasparre made an outside bid on Breault in lap 24 and Burr Closed up underneath, with five cars back to the steadily-advancing Vanasse. After two laps of debate, Breault pulled away from DeGasparre with Burr underneath Gerry. Two laps later, Pelland spun in turn two, bringing out the final caution and a three-lap sprint to the checkers.
Thompson took pole with Breault outside. DeGasparre was low on the second row with Burr outside. Vanasse and Bernard followed. Barboza, Jariah Roderick and Pelland filled out the shrunken field.
Thompson nabbed the lead on the green with Breault holding on alongside. DeGasparre came up behind Thompson as Burr went suddenly backwards and Vanasse leapt into the fourth spot, Bernard followed and Pelland vaulted in behind him from the rear.
Thompson was able to shed Breault coming down to the checkers as DeGasparre blasted under Breault to steal second. Vanasse followed Breault over the stripe in fourth with Bernard and Pelland behind him. Barboza, Roderick and Burr filled the field behind. Tenth went to Lillie, 21 laps down in the pits.
Defending Street Stock champ Steve Axon of Attleboro wound his way to a win in a strong divisional challenge. He chased North Dighton’s Chris DeMoura for 14 laps in the middle of the feature, before finally getting by with just 5 of the 25 laps remaining. DeMoura had led the first 20 laps of the race after taking over from the outside pole from polesitter Patrick Delaney from Fall River. Delaney held the second spot until passed by Axon on lap 6. DeMoura held on for second, with Attleboro driver Paul Lallier taking third. Fourth went to Crystal Serydynski of Johnston and fifth was Ryan Lineham, driving out of Coventry.
Delaney edged DeMoura on the start, but the latter came edging back into turn one and had the lead in hand coming through turn four. Craig Pianka of Smithfield claimed third. Axon and Cumberland driver Mike Mitchell followed with Swansea’s Scott Cestodio and Tiverton’s Scott Bruneau behind them.
Sparky Arsenault had started seventh but was forced to retire in lap three. Also having a difficult time was Mitchell, who began going backwards during lap 4. One lap later, DeMoura led Delaney, Pianka, Axon and Bruneau. But Serydynski went to the infield grass coming out of turn two, bringing caution to the field. She was able to get it restarted and stayed in the race at the rear.
On the lap five restart, DeMoura pulled away from Delaney on the backstretch while Axon slipped underneath Delaney to steal second. By lap 9, Axon was abusing DeMoura’s rear bumper and Delaney, Pianka and Bruneau were giving chase with Beaulieu, Justin Travis, Lallier and Chris Rioux of Rehoboth.
Three laps later, Travis looped coming out of turn 4, down the frontstretch. He came to rest on the edge of the grass in front of the starter’s stand.
DeMoura had the pole with Axon on his shoulder for the restart. Delaney and Pianka backed them up, with Bruneau and Beauleau behind them Lallier and Rioux were the next row. Lineham, Rey Lovelace and Serydynski followed. The previous week’s victor was black flagged and left the track due to fluid leaking from the car.
DeMoura outran Axon on the restart coming out of turn four into lap 18. Pianka began going backwards at this point.
Lap 20 saw Rioux loop in midpack setting up a mad scramble among the competitors and bringing out the caution again. The restart had DeMoura and Axon again at the front. Delaney and Bruneau were the second row, followed by Lallier, Lineham, Serydynski, Beaulieu and Pianka. Cestodio made his way to the pits during the caution. Dartmouth’s George Rego also went into the pits with his front fender hanging.
This time, Axon gained the lead off turn two. Lineham pulled out three wide for a pass and Mike Taschereau looped in turn 4, but was able to keep it going. With the field headed toward the checkers, Serydynski made good a run to fourth through a three-wide pack which included Lineham, who followed her for fifth. He made a late attempt underneath her at the finish line but could not complete the pass, settling for the fifth spot.
Sixth through tenth went to Beaulieu, Bruneau, Delaney, Mitchell and Pianka. Travis finished just outside the top 10.
Home town driver Mike Cavallaro worked his way from the back of the pack while New Bedfordite Lenny Guy led the first 17 of 25 scheduled laps in the Sport Trucks division, took the front away and led the final 8 circuits to the checkered flag in hot divisional action at the speedway. The three-time trucks champion added more points to his divisional lead as his closest pursuer, Fall River’s Ed Gannon was retired in a crash that ended the night for three drivers, with just two laps remaining. Somerset’s Ted Berube brawled in just .299 seconds back and Guy rocketed over with only a .579 disadvantage. North Dighton’s Dan Leach and West Warwick driver Peter Donato filled out the top five. Cavallaro, Berube and Guy had slugged it out in their heat race earlier in the day, with Guy leading the parade at the stripe, chased by Cavallaro and then Berube.
Robert Andreozzi of Portsmouth kicked things off from the pole with Guy on the outside. Billy Clarke and Peter Donato from West Warwick made up the second row with Berube and Mashpee Mauler, Mike Ronhock behind them. Row four had Leach and Gannon, while Tiverton driver Greg Boone was down low and Cavallaro up high in five.
The start was even, but Guy began to edge ahead and was cleanly in first by turn three. Ronhock pulled in behind Andreozzi on lap 2, while Gannon ducked under Donato and then under Ronhock into third place as Cavallaro followed under Ronhock into fourth. Into lap 5, Guy led Andreozzi, Gannon, Cavallaro, Ronhock, Berube and then Leach. Two laps later, he had a 4-truck lead on the field.
Gannon dived under for second on lap 8, with Cavallaro following through to third, relegating Andreozzi to fourth. Guy held onto a four-car lead. Gannon began to close slowly on Guy, with Cavallaro another four cars behind and Andreozzi six behind him. At this point, Berube got into Andreozzi’s rear, spinning him.
The lap 15 restart gave Gannon the outside pole with Guy. Cavallaro was low on row 2 and Berube was outside. Guy got away from Gannon on the green; Cavallaro went into second and Berube went under Gannon into third on the backstretch. Leach began working to get under Gannon. Andreozzi looped it on the backstretch of lap 18.
Now Guy had to contend with Cavallaro’s V-8 power on his outside for the start. Berube and Gannon made the second row, while Leach and Ronhock followed. Guy got the jump on the restart, but Cavallaro powered up and began edging up, pulling his nose ahead on the backstretch. As the field crossed the stripe, Berube tried getting under Guy on the low side, but was held off. Cavallaro and Guy see-sawed the lead, but Ronhock looped it on the backstretch. Clarke was unable to avoid, catching his right rear and stripping off the bumper which bounced out in front of Jim Hawkins from Woonsocket, and The Hawk was unable to dodge away, running over the bumper.
The lap 20 restart saw Cavallaro on the pole and going right to the lead over Guy. Berube got underneath into second in the third turn, leaving Guy with third place. But Ron Cornell looped in turn 4 before the lap could be completed, bringing a complete restart.
Try number two saw Boone and Ronhock getting together to bring out a third restart. Andreozzi spun into turn two, collecting Gannon and Clarke, necessitating a fourth try at the lap 20 restart. Finally, Cavallaro was away into the lead, Berube got underneath and Guy came out in third place. Gannon was on Guy’s bumper with Leach on his outside. The field completed a full lap before Clarke went around in turn 4.
Berube lined up outside Cavallaro, but the latter was able to pull quickly into the lead as the green flew. Guy held onto third. Leach, Gannon, Cornell and Donato pursued.
Going into lap 23, Berube got into Cavallaro and the field behind them checked up. Gannon tried to make a pass, bounced off Andreozzi and then the backstretch wall; as he came off the wall he hit Ronhock, who spun and went backwards into the turn three wall, telescoping his rear clip. Andreozzi, Gannon and Ronhock were retired to the pits and did not return to the feature.
Cavallaro, Berube; Guy and Leach lined up for the restart in the same positions as previously. Cornell and Donato were now row three with Clarke, Boone and The Hawk behind. Cavallaro jumped away with Berube and Guy behind him. Cornell got by Leach into fourth and Donato claimed fifth.
On the final lap, Leach and Cornell were into each other; Cornell went around and Billy Clarke had nowhere to go, piling into Cornell nose-to-nose as he spun. Up front, Cavallaro led the field under the checkers for his second of the season. Gannon had been second in points behind Cavallaro, and the DNF, 2 laps down, was costly in points with a 10th place finish.
Sixth went to Hawkins, followed by Boone, Cornell and Clarke.