It’s not as if Dave Darling needs an excuse to win races, but this time, he won on his own birthday. On the other hand, he does seem to take special interest in occasions, such as extra-laps races and this seemed to be one of those. Especially if you consider the results. He started ninth on a 14-car field and enroute to the lead, which he took on lap 18, he brushed past the cream of the crop of Seekonk’s Pro Stock elite. Only Ryan Vanasse was behind him at the start, by virtue of Ryan’s win last week, and he finished on Darling’s coattails as well. Third went to Mike Brightman who had led the feature until Darling took over, while Kyle Casper and Tom Scully, Jr. presented as top fivers.
Brightman started outside polesitter Larry Gelinas and they ran side-by-side from the start. Bobby Pelland III was low on the second row and he began looking under Gelinas on lap 3, generating a three-wide. There was contact between them and Gelinas slid uptrack. Brightman was able to escape, but caution flew and they relined for the lap two restart.
Pelland was outside Brightman as the green waved. Casper, running on the low side of row two, rushed up to Brightman’s bumper as he pulled away, getting under Pelland. But Darling had already charged up from ninth and behind the lead trio, he was working his way under Fred Astle, Jr. By lap 4, Brightman led Casper, but Dave was on Kyle’s backside. Vanasse came up under Pelland and Astle ran high and fell back. Bob Hussey came very loose, but made a huge recovery.
Brightman had a car legth lead over Casper on lap sixth, followed by Darling and Vanasse, while Tom Scully, Jr. rushed up and under Pelland. Astle, Kevin Folan and Dick Houlihan followed. The field was now single file and Astle came forward to try an underneath pass on Pelland and succeeded at getting into sixth.
The front of the field clustered up and it was nose-to-tail between Brightman, Casper, Darling and Scully. Darling went to work and got below Casper as Vanasse paused behind them to determine the results. By lap eleven, Darling was on Brightman’s bumper with the front of the field close behind. He decided to make the attempt on Brightman on the high side and at first Mike was able to keep his nose ahead and the lead six were again running bumper-to-bumper. Astle, in sixth, fell a length behind fifth place Scully.
Darling fell back and tried to drop underneath but Brightman shut the door. Meanwhile, Scully navigated under Vanasse and onto Casper’s bumper.
By lap 18, Darling was all over Brightman’s bumper and took his nose underneath going down the backstetch. They raced side-by-side into turn four with Dave coming out a nose to the good at the stripe. He got the lead to himself down the back. By lap 21, the field ran: Darling, Brightman, Scully, Casper, Vanasse, Astle and Houlihan.
Vanasse got loose in turn four but a spinout by Hussey brought caution before it hurt him. During the caution, Stampfl, Folan and Hussey pitted and returned.
Darling and Brightman lined for the restart, ahead of Scully and Casper. Mike got a nose out crossing the stripe but Dave came back alongside and then edged ahead in turn three. Around to turn one and he had the lead over Brightman. Vanasse and Scully went wheel-to-wheel, now, and two laps later Vanasse took over third coming down the front.
Darling went to an eight car lead before Alex Mielnicki took a solo spin on the backstretch.
Darling and Brightman came out of the box on lap 25 with Dave again nosing ahead. Vanasse moved in under Brightman as he cleared into the lead. Casper was working under Scully over fourth and Tom tried to drop under but Casper held him off. Astle then moved in under Scully to take over fifth behind Casper.
Gelinas had come back into the picture after working his way up from the back and was behind Scully with Radical Rick Martin in pursuit. Again the field became strung out and they wound rapidly around the oval. Brightman, Casper and Astle were running bumper-to-bumper behind the two leaders who were 20 cars ahead. Scully now repaid the favor by digging in under Astle as Gelinas motored along behind.
Darling was butting some space between himself and Vanasse: one length on lap 33 became four cars on lap 36. Brightman and Casper were still nose-to-tail. Scully had passed Astle but now Gelinas ran hard to his outside but Scully held him off to the checkers to clinch fifth.
Gelinas was sixth, followed by Martin, Pelland, Astle and Houlihan.