On August 6th, Seekonk Speedway’s “Fast Friday” program returned with the Seekonk Youth Racing Association 600 and 750 classes, Sport Fours, Pure Stocks, and the third visit this season form the NEMA Lites.
After a multitude of cautions and red flags elongated the action, Chase Belcher, Adam Swift, Rich Sprague, John Robidoux, and Anthony Nocella emerged once the smoke cleared to pick up the victories.
The SYRA 600 mini cups took the green flag to begin the night with a pair of eight lap heats. The first heat was contest in a calm manner, a single file brigade of cars from front to rear. Leading the group to the finish line was rookie Taylor Bowser, picking up her first win over Shelby Donovan and Jason Enos In the second heat, Austin Blais started from the pole but was soon passed by Chase Belcher on lap 4. The duo swapped the lead from the second half of the race, but Belcher was able to hold on by less than a car length to notch the victory.
The twenty five lap feature got off to a rocky start. In between turns three and four, a three wide battle for the lead resulted in contact and a spin between frontrunners Matt Barboza, Taylor Bowser, and Austin Blais. On the third lap, Matt Barboza spun exiting the fourth turn to bring the caution out for the second time. On the ensuing restart, Shelby Donovan and Ashley Burke spun in separate incidents. Burke made contact in the rear of the field, and while attempting to regain control of the car, plowed into the driver’s side door of Donovan, who had spun at the front of the pack. The red flag halted the action as the medical staff attended to each driver. Burke, the rookie making her first start, was taken from the infield by the ambulance, but was later released. The third caution proved to be the final one, and Chase Belcher maintained a large gap over Curtis Rolando and Austin Blais en route to the victory.
The Sport Four division raced one eight lap heat with a field of nine cars. Kyle Pacheco passed pole sitter Robert Hendry early and opened up a small gap over the field, but a caution for an Ed Gould spin of lap 5 closed the gap. On the restart, Rich Sprague made his way around Pacheco and picked up the victory.
Robert Henry started on the pole but quickly dropped through the field. Approximately halfway through the race, Taylor Therrien retired her machine after making contact in the back of the pack. Meanwhile, Dave Westgate Jr. piloted his car to the front, where he would sit comfortably until the final lap. Rich Sprague closed the gap and worked his way around Westgate with a tap on the back bumper in turn three. At the line, Sprague edged Westgate by less than a half car length. Kyle Pacheco, Chris Bissell, and Ed Gould rounded out the top five. After post race Tech, Westgate inherited the win when Sprague failed post race tech. Pacheco also fell to a rules infraction.
The SYRA 750 class heat races were mild mannered affairs. In the first heat, Kaitlyn Donovan passed Tylar Nailor, moving from third to first on the first lap, and she never looked back. Donovan notched the heat win over Nick Lascuola and Tylar Nailor. In the ensuing heat, “Wide Open” Willy Sanchez raced out to an early lead. Branden Dion rode the high side, and eventually his persistence paid off as he complete the pass on the final lap and received the checkered flag.
In the feature, another horrendous crash marred the onset of the race. On the second lap, several cars tangled together and the #87 of Christine Cavallaro and the #18 of Ashley Kuhn careened into the wall. Both cars suffered substantial damage, but each driver was ok. After the red flag, Adam Swift pulled away from the pack to secure his second trip to victory lane, beating out Nick Lascuola and Branden Dion.
In the NEMA Lites, a serious crash halted the first heat race on the third lap. Anthony Marvuglio was running behind pole sitter Christian Briggs in second, but started leaking fluid around the track. The remainder of midgets running Marvuglio’s line fishtailed exiting turn four and spun on the front stretch. Dave Moniz was unscathed, but Jim Santa Maria was hit at full speed by Kenney Johnson, who had nowhere to go. The race was red flagged, and Christian Briggs completed the race in the top spot ahead of Moniz and Andy Barrows. The second heat race was also competitive but caution free. Bethany Stoehr led the opening five laps, but entering turn three, former SYRA driver Carl Medeiros Jr. completed the pass for the lead and never looked back.
The feature was scheduled for twenty five laps, but it was reduced to twenty due to time constraints. The caution was waved almost immediately after a spin involving Kevin Park and Carl Medeiros Jr. in turn one. On the fifth lap, the caution flew for a spin involving Stoehr and Moniz in turn four. Once again, the race was brought to a halt on the restart. After Marvuglio failed to reach race speed in a timely manner entering turn one, he was rammed in the rear by Eric Lewis. In an attempt to avoid Lewis and Marvuglio, Stoehr and Lanson Fonoro spun out as well. When the red flag was revoked and the cealn up was finished, Christian Briggs extended his lead. On the thirteenth lap, the red flag was waved again following a flip by Randy Cabral. Thankfully, the car only tipped and slid on its side as opposed to a barrel roll, and Cabral walked away uninjured. Once the race restarted, Anthony Nocella completed the pass for the lead on Briggs and cruised to victory lane.
The main event of the evening, as always, was the pure stocks. Both heats were void of incidents, but were very exciting. Despite a charge from John Robidoux, Bill Doyle held off the pack to lead start to finish in the first heat. In the second ten lap race, rookie Jesse Melberg snatched the lead from Jamie Burch on the second lap and notched the win ahead of Randy Moretti and Jamie Salley.
The final race of the night was a wild one from start to finish. The fourth lap marked the first caution of the event as Robert Hinckley failed to bring his car into the pits after a mechanical failue. On the restart, Amy Heroux inherited the lead from David Desrosiers and opened up a gap of over one second over the field. Jesse Melberg rapidly closed in on Heroux, and eventually pulled to her back bumper. With 3 to go, Melberg made contact with the left rear quarter panel of Heroux, spinning the #9 on the entrance to the back stretch. The #32 of Melberg was sent to the rear of the field for his part in the collision. John Robidoux grabbed the lead, and led the field to the checkered flag after the green-white-checkered finish. Following post-race inspection, the #93 of Robidoux was disqualified, as well as runner-up Ed Flanagan and fifth place finisher Derek DeMoura, thus handing Jamie Salley his first win in the #87.