Robert Pelland III erased a long season of disappointment when he crossed the finish line .282 seconds ahead of Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. for his first win of the his Late Model career.
Pelland has been top five most of the season with a number of second places. He’s rushed off to grand leads only to see them evaporate with the waving of the caution flag. He’s often seen teammate Ryan Vanasse get by for the win. This evening, it all came together for Pelland as he claimed the lead on the first circuit, then held off DeGasparre for 28 laps enroute to the victory. As 6-race winner Vanasse moved in behind DeGasparre, the sense that a repetition of the past was in the works. But the gods of racing smiled on Pelland this evening, and he held off all challengers through to the checkers.
Ron Barboza and Lillie had been the front row, but on the start, Bill Bernard had tried under the polesitter, made contact with Barboza and both looped. Dylan Estrella, starting outside Bernard on the second row, was collected and had the left rear tire come completely off the rim. He went to the pits, but returned.
Now Lillie and Tyler Thompson were the front row for the complete race restart, as the field had not finished lap one before the caution. Pelland and DeGasparre lurked in the second row. Pelland immediately went under Lillie, leaving Thompson on the outside of a three wide. Thompson dropped off the top and Pelland went to the lead with Lillie on his tail. DeGasparre also went under Lille and gained the second spot as Vanasse came up behind Lillie for fourth on the fifth lap. Three laps later, he was into third, and the trio at the front began motoring wildly around the oval, watching each other like angry dogs, afraid to make a move that would jeopardize, but hungry for the prizes of the race.
This time, there was no caution to pull Pelland out of the lead, and try as he might, DeGasparre could not pass. And Vanasse rocked along vainly looking for an opening. But it was Pelland’s night at last and he led all comers under the checkered flag.
Flyin’ Freddie Astle made it four wins on the season and 3 of the last 4 races to reset the lead in the Pro Stock seasonal rankings by edging past Mike Brightman, who finished fourth on the evening. But the limelight was shared by Tom Scully, Sr., who saw Astle squeeze by for the lead, then spent the final 30 laps of the 40-lap feature seeking to regain the front. The two unwound the laps locked together bumper to bumper with Scully looking high and low around the reigning champ, but unable to bounce past.
Jake Vanada started on pole with Kevin Casper on his shoulder. Scully, Sr. and Dick Houlihan shared the second row with Kyle Casper and Scott Dion behind them. Vanada quickly went to the front and Scully ducked under Kevin for second. But Colby Fournier and Dave Hutchins got together bringing out caution, with Vanada and Scully side-by-side. The Casper brothers made up row two. Astle had already moved up to eighth from his eleventh place start. Vanada claimed the front with Scully taking second. The Caspers battled side-by-side, then bumped. Kyle wavered and then Kevin spun, with the field scattering through turn 4 to avoid them. Ken Spencer went to the pits, trailing sparks from his left front.
Vanada and Scully faced off again and now Astle was outside Houlihan in the third row. Vanada again grabbed the lead over Scully. But on lap 5, Scully powered under Vanada to the lead. Dave Darling moved into third, while Kevin Casper and Astle were door-to-door over fourth. Astle claimed the spot on lap 8. On lap 10, caution came out again when Hutch looped in turn 4.
Scully and Vanada faced off again, Darling and Astle held the second row. Scully went to the front, but Vanada went underneath him as Astle came hard on the outside for a 3-wide pass. Scully dropped back from the middle spot, leaving Astle and Vanada door to door. Scully settled on Astle’s bumper as he began to edge past Vanada. Astle and Vanada settled in 1-2 but Scully came around Vanada to grab second on lap 15. Scully settled into a withering barrage against Astle while Vanada began dealing with the challenge of Darling, who was closing on his rear. Darling moved past into third, leaving Vanada in fourth. Brightman had finally extricated himself from a tight pack into fifth.
Astle had his hands full with Scully, but held on for a tight finish, just .341 seconds ahead as Tom Scully Sr., perhaps driving his best season, nabbed yet another second place.
Rounding out the top 10 were Kyle Casper, Tom Scully, Jr., Rob Murphy and Scott Dion.
Veteran driver George Rego worked his way through a competitive field of Street Stocks to haul down his second victory of the 2011 season over Frank Duquette. Rego worked his way up from the sixth starting row to overtake Duquette, who had led from the outset. Former champs Sparky Arsenault and Mike Mitchell followed in third and fourth, while Patrick Delaney rounded out the top 5.
Duquette had gone immediately to the front and held the lead for 19 of the 25 laps in the feature race, challenged by Craig Pianka at the outset, then Patrick Delaney. Paul Lallier moved into second on lap 2 and tried to duel past but was unable. Meanwhile, Rego was working his way through the field from his 12th place start.
Rego made the most of restarts, moving from ninth on a lap 2 restart to sixth. When Joe Kohler had his left rear go down and spun on turn 4 of lap 7, Rego had motored to fifth. Duquette had the advantage over Paul Lallier on the restart. Lallier lost the left rear and looped as Rey Lovelace got the call on the assist and both went to the rear. Now, rego was starting low on the second row behind Duquette and Crystal Serydynski, who had forged her way up from eighth starting spot.
The Duqe pulled away from Serydynski and Rego stayed on his bumper, freezing her on the outside. Steve Axon hung on Rego’s tail. Ryan Lineham had been working forward from 13th and settled in at fifth. Justin Travis then looped at the stripe and Rego found himself starting outside Duquette with Axon, Serydynski, Lineham and Arsenault in pursuit. Duke edged away then took the lead off turn 4. Axon got under Rego for second and Lineham fell in at fourth with Serydynski behind him and Sparky working on her back bumper.
Lineham somehow encountered problems that ran him up to the wall on lap 13. He took it to the pits under power and returned for the restart. Duquette and Axon lined up with Rego and Serydynski behind them. Rego got under Axon on Duke’s bumper and gave him a shot to let him know he was there. Lap 19 saw Rego push underneath and take the lead. Arsenault pulled up to Duquette’s rear with Mitchell on his. Delaney, Serydynski and Chris DeMoura formed a pace line behind.
Rego, in the lead, was hammer down and commanded the front all the way to the checkers.
Ron Cornell and Billy Clarke started on the front row for the Sport Truck 25 lap feature, with Mike Ronhock and Danny Thibeault behind them. Lenny Guy and Rob Andreozzi sat ahead of Gannon and Berube. At the start, Berube bid big, going three wide from his outside spot and blew past Andreozzi and Thibeault, destined for the front. However, Ronhock – bouncing off a win over Gannon in the heats — bid low for the lead under Cornell and the threat of four wide at the front forced Berube to check up and fall back. Ronhock grabbed the lead with Cornell, Guy, Gannon and Dan Leach on his coattails as the freight train surged under Berube.
Mike Cavallaro, as has been his pattern all season was headed for the front as he had in winning his heat, but took a sudden spin in turn one of the ninth lap while running door-to-door with Ronhock. Gannon had come under Dan leach for third, and when Ronhock was penalized to the rear for the assist on Cavallaro, he inherited the front. Gannon escaped Leach and Berube came around from the second row for third with Billy Clarke behind him.
Gannon held the lead through to the checkers, with Berube, then Leach, then Cavallaro returning to attempt a challenge. However, Gannon was not to be passed and he brought it home 2/3 of a second in front of Cavallaro. Leach was third, Berube fourth and Andreozzi fifth. Ronhock, Thibeault, Clarke, Jim Hawkins and Greg Boone rounded out the top 10.