At the tender age of 17, Colby Fournier of Berkley, Mass, pulled off the first big win of his rookie Pro Stock Season by holding of a tenacious and hungry Tom Scully, Sr. for an entire race – 40 grueling laps, becoming the divisions’ youngest winner since the Pro Stocks began 33 years ago.
Fournier came off the outside pole with Lowell’s Jason Ferreira on the low side. The two battled briefly before Fournier had the lead coming out of turn two. That’s when the Senior Scully attached himself to Fournier’s tail. Somerset’s Kyle Casper got by Ferreira on lap 4 and Tom Scully, Jr. got past on lap 9. The front four then wound the remainder of the 40 laps in position at a blistering pace.
Scully worked his rookie opponent high and low continuously, only to find Fournier’s resolve, skill and speed equal to the test. While rookies often are flappable, Fournier maintained his course with the iron resolve of a seasoned Pro Stock charioteer. As the duo dueled, places in the pack moved around. Last week’s winner, Mike Brightman, had been put to fifteenth at the start for his win, and was moving painstakingly forward. Division champion, Fred Astle of Westport, started tenth, and edged his way through the crowd to fifth by lap 11. Rehoboth driver Dave Darling came up behind him on lap 13. Brightman, from Acushnet, arrived at Darling’s bumper on the 27th circuit. Brightman had relieved Bridgewater’s Dick Houlihan of that position, and Houlihan filled in behind. Lap 42 saw Jake Vanada get by Ferreira for pursuit of Houlihan. That left Ferreira in tenth, and there he remained as the final laps wound down.
Fournier showed great resolve in the final laps to the checkers. Scully, the wily magician, opened his entire bag of tricks and used it against his opponent, trying high, then low, then high again. A tap leaving turn 4, headed for the white flag had Fournier’s tail skew slightly, but he straightened it out and his opponent was unable to take advantage. The final circuit was a seat-squirmer and Scully lined up for the slingshot off the final turn, but Fournier came off, headed square for the prize and held on for that .165 second difference which rewarded him that parade lap with the checkers in hand.
North Dartmouth’s George Rego assuaged his win disqualification last week by coming out and winning this week’s Street Stock feature by a comfortable margin over East Taunton driver Justin Travis. Rego had won the previous outing but saw his trophy turned over to Sparky Arsenault when tech inspectors found fault with his equipment. Rego had said before the race that he would solve his disappointments by coming back with another win.
He started on the second row, outside the Woonsocket Rocket, Chris Beauleau. Swansea driver Scott Cestodio had the pole with Chris Rioux of Rehoboth on his shoulder. A mid-pack loop by Pat Delaney of Fall River on the initial lap brought a complete restart. Rioux visited the pits, moving the front grid up one slot. Rego followed Cestodio on the green, under Beaulieu. On the second lap, he navigated under Cestodio for the lead. Travis passed into second on lap 3, but Rego was flying, grabbing a six-car lead by lap five. Travis, Cranston’s Rey Lovelace, Beaulieu and Cestodio strung out behind him.
Lovelace edged by Travis for second in lap 7. Two laps later, Nick D’Alessio spun on the frontstretch, bringing a caution and a restart. Lovelace started outside Rego. He foxed Lovelace, waiting in the box until Lovelace committed and then backed off to roar out to the lead by lap’s end. Travis then got under Lovelace to take second again.
Back in the pack, Ryan Lineham began to move forward, getting out from under his 13th starting position on the last restart and into eighth. As Rego earned himself a ten car lead over Travis on lap 16, Lineham barged under Chris DeMoura and then Beaulieu. By Lap 19, Rego was holding 8 cars between him and Travis, who had Lovelace on his bumper. Several car lengths separated them, from Cestodio, Mitchell and Lineham.
Mitchell and Lineham were dueling, trading paint by lap 23. They swapped the lead, side-by-side through several laps before Lineham got clear on lap 27’s backstretch.
Rego continued the comfortable lead through the finish line, with a 1.683 second lead over Travis; Lovelace claimed third, followed by Cestodio, Lineham and Mitchell. Rego hauled down best time on the event at 80.225 mph.
Hometown favorite Robin Berghman leapt off the outside pole on the start of the Pro Four Modified feature at Seekonk, to the appreciation of the crowd, but West Warwick’s Brian Vincent hauled down the honors as the visiting division made an early-season stop at the Cement Palace. Berghman led the first two laps until Tyler Anderson of Nashua, NH rocketed past into the lead, after starting eighth. He led through lap 10, but Henry Sirignano, Jr. of Abington died as he attempted to make the pit exit, bringing out the caution.
Apparently contact on the restart forced body metal against Anderson’s right rear, and it began emitting volumes of blue smoke as the restart roared down the frontstretch. Anderson retired to the pits. Vincent had gotten under Berghman on the restart, along with wily veteran Norm Wrenn also from Nashua. Wrenn had started tenth, but moved rapidly through the field into contention by lap nine. Anderson’s retirement left them in first and second with Berghman and Brookfield’s Andy Major on their tails. Wrenn spent the remaining 15 laps looking for a way to get by Vincent to no avail.
Major was able to pass Berghman on lap 14 for third, and she inherited Phil Lausier from Hudson, NH as a pursuer. Major attempted to close on Vincent and Wrenn, but a fifteen car lead and lapped traffic slowed his approach.
Lausier solved Berghman’s resistance with a pass underneath, to secure fourth on lap 21.
Vincent crossed the stripe 1.452 seconds ahead of Wrenn, having set the top lap speed on the event, with 95.007 mph. Wrenn, Major, Lausier and Berghman made up the top 5.
If Warwick driver Ryan Vanasse is out to put a stamp on the Late Models division, he’s done it by now. His fourth win out of the six events this season is sending a message to the division: dig harder! The truth is, the reigning champ has either won or broken. If he has not had issues during a race, he has won it.
The wins are not routine, and there’s plenty to be said about his competition, as was the case in this most recent meeting. Vanasse was relegated to the outside of the fourth row, while rookie Dylan Estrella of North Attleboro had the pole with Middleboro veteran Randy Burr on his shoulder. Cardiac Kid, Bill Bernard, running out of Holliston, sat right behind Estrella with Cranston hotshoe Bobby Pelland III up high.
As Estrella rushed into the lead, Bernard ducked under Burr with Pelland and multi-champ Gerry DeGasparre of Pawtucket glued into a pace line. Bernard got under Estrella for the lead going into lap 2. Pelland’s rear got a bit loose and he nosed into Acushnet’s Matt Breault (one of only two other drivers to win in the division this season) causing a spin and caution.
Bernard was quick to get out from under Estrella with Burr getting under and into second. DeGasparre nabbed third with tenacious Estrella on his outside. Pelland got into line in fourth, passing the rookie in lap four. Meanwhile, Vanasse got by Fall Riverite John Paiva into 6th.
Burr pursued earnestly for 23 laps, with either threat of DeGasparre or Pelland on his tail and Vanasse edging ever forward. Change was initiated by a lap 21 spin by Breault brought out a caution, ending what had been a long-running parade. The restart had Bernard and Burr at the front with the dangerous duo of Pelland and Vanasse behind them. DeGasparre and Estrella manned the third row.
Bernard grabbed the lead and Burr fell back, to find Pelland trying under and Vanasse attempting a high pass, making a three-wide. Burr shot forward to extricate himself and Bernard got loose, allowing Burr underneath to the lead. Vanasse came around Bernard in lap 26 with drawing Pelland with him. He went to work on Burr and got into the lead with 3 laps remaining.
Breault again looped on the next lap. Vanasse rocketed away on the restart of the mad dash to the finish. Burr crossed 0.49 seconds behind with Bernard, DeGasparre, and Pelland immediately behind.
Seekonk’s Mike Cavallaro brought his Sport Truck to a familiar location – Victory Lane – once again, but none could say it was an easy win. He had been enjoined in a dogfight among the leaders in the division, especially last week’s feature winner, Ed Gannon of Fall River. New Bedford hotshoe Lenny Guy and Ted Berube, running out of Somerset, all took on-track issue with Cavallaro as the division becomes more and more competitive at the top, despite Cavallaro’s winning ways.
Front four on the grid were Robert Andreozzi at the pole, Berube outside, Guy and Cavallaro in the second row, and behind them, Tivertonian Greg Boone with Gannon on his outside. Dan Leach, holding down third place in points, was on their tails.
Andreozzi, from Portsmouth, had an electrical failure which killed his motor as the field came up to the starting box and was forced to reture. Berube took the pole, and the lead over Guy as the green fell. While Guy was hung up high, Cavallaro got underneath and into second. Gannon, Boone, and Leach followed.
Newcomer on the season, Robert Rainville of Attleboro, was around into the grass on leap 2 but was able to keep moving. But Peter Donato and Stan Dumas tangled in turn two on lap 7 and Donato couldn’t restart in time, bringing the caution.
Now, Berube and Cavallaro faced off at the front. Berube got the jump and Lenny Guy nabbed third with Gannon fourth. Cavallaro was trying around Berube but not having an easy time of it; Gannon was giving Guy some fits, working underneath but Lenny was able to shut the door on him. The group of four broke away from the rest of the field, running bumper-to-bumper at the front.
By lap 14 they were still locked together and closing on Jim “The Hawk” Hawkins out of Attleboro. All navigated safely underneath as he moved up. Rainville was ahead, and he held the low groove. Berube went to his outside into turn one and came out of turn two in a spin onto the backstretch, bringing out the caution and ending his run at the front.
Cavallaro came off the low pole into the lead and Gannon attempted to follow him underneath Guy, but Guy again closed the door by dropping in quickly. Another caution and another restart saw Guy dropping in behind Cavallaro but this time Gannon went outside and into second on lap 17. He set his sights on Cavallaro and went to the outside, continuously darting to the outside in a battle of four cylinders (Gannon) versus Cavallaro’s V8. The battle raged for the final nine laps, with Gannon unable to get by, but Cavallaro unable to shake him.
In the balance, it was Cavallaro over Gannon by a fender although Gannon could claim bragging rights for the fastest lap at 82.99 mph. The one through five finish of Cavallaro – Gannon – Guy –Berube- Leach squeezes the leaders of the division even more, as Cavallaro had led Gannon in the championship standings by 318 to 287, Leach with 286, Berube 285 and Guy 276.