Tom Scully, Jr. of Saunderstown, RI used a last minute pass on the backstretch of the final lap of the Pro Stock feature to gain his second wind of the season over Dave Hutchins, Sr. of Somerset. Scully, who had ended the previous feature as a DNF in the pits with severe front-end damage, came roaring back this week
But Hutchins was roaring, too, as he took off from his outside pole position and stationed a fast, good handling car at the front for 39 ½ laps. Jake Vanada chased him for the first part of the race, the Dighton driver bitterly yielding ground. Vanada, too, had been in the pits at the end of last week’s feature, but this week chased Hutchins not only in the feature but to second place in the first heat race. Scully, Jr. had finished third in that preliminary.
Acushnet’s Mike Brightman had been annoying both Scully and Hutchins from his position in third, trying to get under Scully each time he went to the outside for a pass, but unable to succeed. He finished third, protecting his points lead on the division as his primary antagonists, Westporter Fred Astle, Jr. and Dave Darling of Rehoboth finished behind him in fourth and fifth. Brightman also finished second to Somerset’s Kyle Casper in the second heat, with Tom Scully, Sr. and Ken Spencer on his tail.
Tom, Sr., who had started fourth, was on Vanada’s coattails until lap 6, when he and Lowell’s Jason Ferreira looped separately. Scully tried to get back onto the track from the grass in turn four, but the caution flew for Ferreira.
Hutchins and Vanada lined up with Taunton’s Scott Dion and Scully, Jr. in the second row. Hutch roared away again and Dion got under Vanada. They went door-to-door with the younger Scully in hot pursuit. But Vanada began to fall back and Dion popped into second. It was a long freight train backwards for Vanada, as Scully followed, then Darling, Brightman and Astle.
Kevin Casper of Somerset looped in turn two, with Rob Murphy getting the call on the assist. Murphy retired for the night, while Casper and Vanada visited the pits.
Hutch roared away again while Scully, Jr. went underneath Dion to claim second. Brightman followed underneath with Astle on his bumper and Darling riding Dion’s back end. Darling saw the move and dropped under Dion to follow Brightman and Astle through. There were 25 laps remaining, and the finishing seven cars – Hutchins, Scully, Jr., Brightman, Astle, Darling, Dion and Kyle Casper were lined up for the eventual finish, with the exception of the swapping of first and second place.
The snake wound around the speedway with the trio at the front darting at each other for supremacy. Scully would rush the outside on the front stretch, Brightman would try to dive up behind Hutchins for second, and Scully would pull back down to close the door.
With the checkers in the starter’s hand, the leaders entered the backstretch and Scully suddenly burst around Hutchins and into the lead as they entered turn 3. Brightman closed on Hutchins, who had left some room down low, but Hutch closed the door; there was contact and he got loose in the rear. Brightman eased off and they crossed behind Scully, 1-2. Astle and Darling followed, with all four of the leaders on the same second.
What can stop Ryan Vanasse’s winning ways? The Warwick wizard came back from last week’s photo finish third place with another dominant win to edge again closer to divisional points leader Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. of Pawtucket. DeGasparre, who last week became only the second driver to better Vanasse on the track, finished second and Cranston’s Robert Pelland III – another of the season’s constant frontrunners – grabbed third. Bill Bernard of Holliston garnered fourth and North Attleboro’s Dylan Estrella rounded out the top 5.
Fall Riverite Ron Barboza earned pole position; Bernard was on his outside. Barboza had the lead to himself as lap one concluded and Estrella, who started low on the second row, stayed tight on Barboza’s bumper for second. Bernard, stuck on the outside, was shuttled back to eighth by lap 7. By this time, Vanasse had marched from sixth at the beginning of lap two to third behind Estrella. On the next lap, courtesy of a caution restart he was underneath and into second and Pelland had come up to fourth, knocking on Estrella’s back door. Tyler Thompson was into fifth spot. Moments later, Vanasse was past Barboza for the lead and Pelland followed. DeGasparre pulled into third.
Lap 10 saw Brian Vincent take his second spin, in front of the pit entrance, spilling fluid underneath. He retired for the night. The restart lined Vanasse and Pelland at the front. They engaged in the first of several door-to-door duels on restarts, with Vanasse gaining the advantage. Barboza and DeGasparre had been the second row, and DeGasparre again took third, jumping onto Pelland’s bumper. Vanasse began to edge away.
Following a stout chase, Vanasse managed to get by Pelland on lap 24. Dave Hutchins, Jr. spun on the next lap, bringing a restart with 5 to go. Vanasse and DeGasparre faced off with Pelland and Estrella behind them. Vanasse took the front, and Pelland nosed underneath, trying to retrieve second. DeGasparre hung tough and was ahead at the stripe. Vanasse pulled away and DeGasparre put some space between him and Pelland. Bernard had deprived Estrella of fourth and began pressuring Pelland.
It was then a parade to the finish with Vanasse two cars ahead; Pelland was 3 behind DeGasparre at the checkers.
Vanasse gained valuable points, as he had already taken the heat race over Pelland, Lillie and Estrella. In the second heat, Tyler Thompson took the front, followed by DeGasparre and Bernard.
Chris DeMoura of North Dighton got loose on a late race restart and saw Woonsocket Rocket Chris Beaulieu shooting into the lead he had held for 13 laps; there was light contact between the pair and DeMoura gathered it back in to burst back to the lead. Beaulieu held on for second place, and points leader, Flyin’ Ryan Lineham from Coventry got under Rehoboth’s Chris Rioux for third. Johnstonite Crystal Serydynski claimed fourth place. A wild, 3-wide ride between Cumberlander Mike Mitchell, Rioux and Sparky Arsenault from Attleboro saw Mitchell into fifth, with Rioux and then Sparky behind him.
Fall River’s Frank Duquette led off from the pole with North Attleboro’s Tim Eaton outside. Duke grabbed the lead after a brief door-to-door and Rioux came under Eaton for second. Duquette ran at the front through lap 6, leading at times by a half-dozen cars.
North Dartmouth’s George Rego got loose on the front stretch, crossed the infield at speed, and popped back onto the racing surface on turn two before he could regain control. Steve Axon was unable to avoid and hit the back of Rego’s car. A mad scramble ensued; Axon’s fender began dragging sending him to the pits; Eaton picked up debris which cut his tire down, sending him into a spin where he was hammered by Vincent Arrenegado, Jr, Craig Pianka and Ron Shears. Shears was done for the evening.
Rioux and Duquette restarted at the front and went side-by-side with Rioux holding him tightly in the low groove. Duquette pulled ahead but there was contact between his rear and Rioux’ front, loosening him up and sending him high. DeMoura, restarting third, seized the moment and dived under into the lead. Back in the pack, Lineham motored through a three-wide move; the low groove was closed, so he elected to go three-wide again, outside Mitchell and Duquette with Frank as the meat in the sandwich. Duquette fell back and Mitchell moved ahead with Lineham settling between them.
Paul Lallier fell in behind DeMoura. The Attleboro driver worked high and low to get around, moving up alongside and falling rearward from lap 11 through lap 18. Beaulieu shadowed them, seeking opportunity. But Lallier began falling off and was forced to retire after 20 of the 25 laps were completed. When Joe Kohler spun in turn 1, Lallier took it to the pits on the caution.
The final five laps were a donnybrook, with DeMoura and Beaulieu going at it from the green on the restart all the way to the checkers.
DeMoura had a doubly-good day, as he also won the initial heat race over Lallier, Craig Pianka, Justin Travis and Lineham. Duquette had claimed a fast victory in heat two over Rioux with Eaton, Kohler and Beaulieu maintaining pace behind him.
It’s getting difficult to keep Mike Cavallaro out of victory lane this year. Cavallaro hung in there while his opponents eliminated each other, then took control at the midpoint of the race. When Fall River’s Ed Gannon got into the back of leader Ted Berube and sent him spinning (earning himself a trip to the rear, also) Cavallaro had already moved to third, which made him the polesitter for the restart. Cavallaro outran his front row partner, Fall Riverite Ron Cornell on the green and was at the front for the final 13 laps. Gannon worked his way up from the back to finish second, followed by North Dighton’s Dan Leach, Berube and Cornell.
Polesitter Cornell had taken the lead at the start of the race, but last week’s winner, Rob Andreozzi of Portsmouth, laid chase with Gannon, Danny Thibeault and Leach behind. Cornell got wide and Andreozzi got underneath. At the same time, Gannon went to the high side, making it three wide for the lead. Andreozzi squeezed into the lead with Gannon on his right shoulder in second in lap four. Two laps later, Leach was under Cornell for third, then Cavallaro and Berube.
Lap ten saw Gannon dive under Andreozzi, taking the lead. Leach tried to follow for second, but he and Andreozzi made contact; the latter spun out and Leach took the rear for his assist.
Now, Gannon had Cavallaro on his shoulder for the restart and Berube and Cornell behind them. Gannon pulled ahead and Berube got under Cavallaro. Tiverton’s Greg Boone looped between turns one and two, and now Gannon had Berube on his outside for the restart. Berube ran off to the lead with Gannon on his tail, Cavallaro, Cornell, Thibeault and Andreozzi. But on lap 13, Gannon was into Berube’s tailgate, sending him around. With both drivers going to the rear, Cavallaro inherited the lead.
Berube charged back to the front to pester Cavallaro by lap 17 when Hyannis’ Anna Gregoire spun. He had a half truck on Cavallaro’s outside on the restart, but Cavallaro charged back. Gannon glued himself to the latter and went under Berube for second and Leach came through the same route to third. By lap 20, the cars were in a pace line behind Cavallaro: Gannon, Leach, Berube, Cornell, Thibeault, Andreozzi and Gregoire. The line held firm to yield the Seekonk native his fifth win on the season.
Another double positive resulted as he had led Andreozzi, Leach and Cornell to the finish of heat one. Berube took the roses in heat two, with Gannon on his tail, followed by Thibeault, Barry Shaw and Jim Hawkins.