Flyin’ Freddie Astle labored his way to the front, and then put on wings once he got into the lead to take the Phil’s Propane 75-Lap Feature and become the first Pro-Stocker to chalk up a second victory on the season.
Point’s leader Mike Brightman of Acushnet worked his way into second just before the midpoint of the race, and though he dogged the Westporter to the finish line 39 laps later, did not have an answer for Astle. Taunton’s Ken Spencer, Dick Houlihan of Bridgewater and Rehoboth’s Dave Darling completed the top five on the evening.
Spencer, starting on the outside of the front row, escaped from Polesitter Kevin Casper of Somerset, and led the first 20 laps of the extended feature. They were door-to-door at the start, but when Houlihan attempted to run a 3-wide, underneath pass on Casper, Spencer escaped into the lead. Kyle Casper and Houlihan swapped places, Kyle tried under Kevin, was denied, then Houlihan got under to take third back. By this time, he had Astle on his tail, after the latter had moved quickly up from his starting place outside the fourth row. Brightman had been shadowing him from his own start inside on the fifth echelon.
Astle edged past Spencer on lap 21, Brightman was third, Darling fourth and Houlihan fifth. On the next lap, Darling came up fast on Brightman’s tail, braked hard to avoid collision, but still tapped Brightman. The combined braking and tap put Darling into a turn one spin, bringing out the caution. Brightman wavered, but continued.
Astle and Spencer dueled for the lead, with Astle going back to the lead. Brightman edged Houlihan for third and Scott Dion settled into fifth.
Lap 29 saw Brightman trying underneath Spencer for second. They battled for position for a lap before Spencer yielded. Meanwhile, last week’s winner, Tom Scully, Jr. of Saunderstown, RI, forged his way into sixth, behind Kyle Casper.
By lap 35, Astle had a straightaway lead over Brightman and Spencer, but narrowly missed a disaster as Wellfleet’s Bob Hussey got into the infield on the frontstretch, crossed the grass and popped out into turn two, narrowly missing the leader.
Dave Hutchins had taken fourth from Houlihan on lap 24. The Somerset driver held the spot until lap 51, edged Spencer back to fourth for a pair of circuits, but returned to fourth. He kept the spot until Houlihan and Darling got by on lap 68. For one lap, in a mass of competitors, he was ninth on the board, but only Houlihan, Darling and Jake Vanada remained of the group that rushed by at first.
Attrition had begun, as Kyle retired on lap 44. Colby Fournier spun up into turn four at the pit exit on lap 52 but returned. It took three tries for a restart. Brightman, quick on the gas, took an early leap, bringing the field back. This time, Astle lost his air cleaner cover as green flew, bringing another yellow. Third time, Fred forged to the front and settled in.
Spencer got sideways, and Scully, Jr. then did the same, bouncing off Dion. Tom Scully, Sr. had to detour through the infield. All cars returned to the track and kept racing, but the slowdown cost Senior a lap as Astle came around quickly and got past him before he could regain speed. By this time, Astle again had a straightaway lead.
Astle survived three caution restarts in the remaining laps, but was again moving easily away from the field with 5 laps remaining. He continued through the checkers for his second win on the season.
Warwick’s Ryan Vanasse has become synonymous with winning in Late Model racing and once again proved why he is the current champion, nabbing his fifth win on the season after being forced to second the previous outing. This time he denied teammate Bob Pelland III in the latter stages, after Pelland had led 16 of the 30 laps. This was not, however, until after the duo had engaged in serious battle over the position. Also entering serious combat was point’s leader and multichamp Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. of Pawtucket, who moved Pelland back to third on a lap 27 restart to finish second. Holliston’s Bill Bernard nabbed fourth and polesitter Dylan Estrella rounded out the top five.
Estrella and Ron Barboza, Jr. led from the front; Estrella took the lead and was pursued by Barboza until Pelland moved into second on lap 6. One lap later, he took the lead as Matt Breault overtook Barboza with DeGasparre on his tail, following through to fourth. At this point, Vanasse began to move forward from seventh, edging into sixth, then passing Bernard for fifth. Lap 14 saw him in fourth behind Estrella, and two laps later, he was chasing DeGasparre for second.
He got by DeGasparre on lap 22, and set his sights on Pelland, who had been in the lead since lap 8.
Thompson spun Barboza in lap 23, sending both to the rear. The restart had Pelland and Vanasse on the front row, with Pelland at the pole. DeGasparre and Estrella followed. They battled for two laps before Vanasse could claim the lead. Matt Breault got under Estella then looped out of turn four on lap 27.
This time, Vanasse worked the pole with Pelland on the outside. Vanasse secured the front and DeGasparre followed underneath for second; Bernard got under Estrella for fourth, as the laps unwound to the finish with Vanasse hauling down his fifth victory on the season.
It couldn’t have gone better for Portsmouth, RI driver Robert Andreozzi in the Sport Trucks feature: he was awarded the pole starting position and he led from that point all the way to the checkered flag, 25 laps later, even through a number of restarts after cautions. His yellow number 2 truck was hooked up and Andreozzi was at the top of his game, as the big guns of the division came near, but could not surpass his effort.
Hard runner Dan Leach dogged Andreozzi most of the race, except for a brief lead by Mashpee mauler Mike Ronhock on lap 6 and then dangerous Mike Cavallaro on laps 24 and 25. The North Dighton hot shoe finished third, behind Cavallaro. Last week’s winner, Ed Gannon, battled his way from tenth starting position to fourth, as the Fall Riverite has seen his points of finish improve over the past month. Ted Berube, of Somerset, rounded out the top five.
Leach, of North Dighton, started on Andreozzi’s shoulder, but the polesitter left the starting gate in a hurry, forcing him to settle into second. Ronhock nabbed third from the outside of the second row and Cavallaro followed him from the outside of row three into fourth place. Berube got around Fall River’s Ron Cornell into fifth on lap two.
Cavallaro started working the outside on Ronhock, but had to fall back. At the same time, Berube got underneath to steal the fourth spot.
On lap 6, Lenny Guy of New Bedford slowed suddenly, pulled into the infield just ahead of turn one, drove across to turn two and pulled off his hood to reveal a carburetor fire. The caution was upgraded to a red flag and the fire brigade rolled to extinguish the flames. Lenny was unable to reappear.
Andreozzi and Leach led it off again with Ronhock and Cavallaro behind them. Andreozzi nabbed the lead and Ronhock got under Leach for a lap. Cavallaro and Berube dueled behind them and Gannon and Cornell were door to door just a few yards back.
Danny Thibeault got into the frontstretch wall just ahead of turn 1, bringing another caution. This time, Andreozzi faced off against Ronhock, getting the better again. Leach went underneath to get back into second. Cavallaro made a three-wide bid for the lead, but had to fall back.
Leach continued to pursue in second, while holding off Cavallaro and Gannon. As the laps unwound, the final dash to the checkered flag saw the duo attempt to make a three-wide sandwich with Leach in the middle. They came through turns three and four in that configuration and brawled across the line in a knot. Cavallaro took second, .270 seconds behind Andreozzi while Leach nabbed third .034 behind Cavallaro. Gannon was just .026 off Leach’s pace. Berube’s fifth was just .349 behind that.
Chris DeMoura jumped off the pole and headed for Victory Lane, as the Street Stock feature ran 24 of its 25 laps without a caution. The green-white-checker restart saw him lined up opposite fast George Rego, who had charged up from his eleventh place start to second on lap 17, still 10 cars back. The comfortable lead evaporated with the caution. “I saw that 64 coming,” DeMoura told Kevin Boucher at the victory strip after the race, “and I did not want that green-white-checker. I didn’t!” But DeMoura survived to take his doughnut-filled victory lap, leaving the North Dartmouth flier with second place points.
Cranston’s Rey Lovelace perched in third, while outside polesitter Patrick Delaney of Fall River nabbed fourth. Rounding out the top five was Tiverton’s Scott Bruneau.
As DeMoura pulled away from Bruneau at the start, three-wide competition blossomed in the pack. Justin Travis tried to poke through Bruneau and Mike Mitchell from his fifth row start, but was denied; on the next lap Paul Lallier, Steve Axon and Chris Beaulieu went shoulder-to-shoulder for the better part of a lap. On lap five, Rego darted between Paul Lallier and Lovelace for sixth, saw Lallier push back ahead a lap later, then claimed the spot for himself on the following circuit. But by the time Rego was working around Craig Pianka for sixth, DeMoura was encountering his first pass of lapped traffic, getting under Vincent Pangelinan, then continuing to build on his ten-car lead. Lovelace got by Pianka and onto Rego’s tail as the latter got into a door to door battle with Bruneau over fourth place.
DeMoura continued to cruise as Rego went side-by-side with Crystal Serydynski in lap 17 for third, and then set his sights on Delaney in second. He got around Delaney with 10 cars to make up on DeMoura on lap 20 of 25. By lap 22, DeMoura’s lead had shrunk to 4 car lengths, and it looked like Rego was running out of laps to overtake. However, Gerard Berthelette looped it coming out of turn two and Vincent Arrenegado, Jr. spun between three and four, in lap 24, bringing out the green-white-checker.
DeMoura got the lead as Rego went wide, slowed to get a handle, and then came back. The two were door-to-door for the entire last lap, with DeMoura eking out a .022 second victory over Rego.
This Saturday, Seekonk Speedway features their annual Tryke races, and celebrates with the Scouts. Boys and Girls from all Scout troops in the area are welcome to join us for our annual celebration. All scouts in uniform will be allowed in at no charge. For more information on the Tryke Competition and the Scout Celebration, check out seekonkspeedway.com, or call the track office at 508 336 9959.