Ron Silk captured the trophy and the ten-thousand dollar winner’s check in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series’ Tuesday night resumption of what had started as one the Speedway’s top events, Open Wheel Wednesday. Due to a rainout at lap 22 on the event, a rather long caution – six days to be exact – turned the race into what Seekonk aptly renamed Tri-Track Tuesday. The week-long breach turned what had been a caution-plagued Wednesday into an exciting series of long runs and just four cautions over the final 78 circuits.
Richard Savary, by virtue of his leading as the heavens opened up on Wednesday, got to start on the pole with Matt Hirschman at his shoulder. That’s right where he had started Wednesday to lead all 22 of the initial laps. Jon McKennedy had been the outside pole at the outset but things were shaken up by TTMS ruling on tires for the Tuesday night resumption. The cars had to keep the tires they had run with on Wednesday on the cars but were availed a one-tire change. Drivers could, once the field was circling the track behind the pace care, duck into the pits for the new shoes prior to the dropping of the green flag. Of course, that would set them at the back of the field for the start. Hirschman had been running second to Savary elected to go for the tire and started nineteenth on Tuesday.
This elevated Ron Silk to outside pole. Keith Rocco and Woody Pitkat made up row two, while Tommy Barrett and Derek Ramstrom convened in row three. Among those electing to pit for tires before beginning were Hirschman, Todd Annarummo, Russ Hersey and Chase Dowling, who was in Rowan Pennink’s 25 car as Pennink had a previous engagement. Dowling was a good choice, as he finished third, behind Silk and Hirschman. Hersey and Annarummo rounded out the top five. Four of that elite quintet were drivers who had pitted before the Tuesday start – except Silk, who became the exception who proved the rule. Silk did take a new tire, during a lap 57 caution, restarting behind Ramstrom in eighth. Pitkat inherited the lead with Annarummo at his shoulder.
Savary had led all of the 22 laps before the rainout and Keith Rocco had spent the majority of those laps pursuing him from second. Hirschman moved up from fourth to challenge Rocco and got into second for laps 18 and 19. Rocco grabbed it back, but Hirschman was in second as the rain began to fall, ending racing for the night. But Silk came past Pennink on Wednesday on the rain-ending lap. Top ten at that point ran like this: Savary, Hirschman, Rocco, Silk, Pennink, Pitkat, Barrett, Ryan Preece, Ramstrom and Sam Rameau.
At the resumption, Silk pursued Savary, ahead of Rocco, Pitkat, Barrett and Dowling in the Pennink 25. Annarummo was working his way up from 20th, taking great advantage of a lap 31 restart as Colbey Fournier got stuck in the tunnel while trying to pit. He elevated four spots on that lap and began to surge forward, getting past DiMatteo, then Rob Murphy (making his first modified start in the Dave Berghman car.) Two laps later, he was past Colbey Fournier.
Silk was working on Savary and finally shutted him back to second on lap 35. Rocco continued in third with Pitkat and Barrett pursuing. Savary went right to Silk’s bumper, but over the next two laps the latter went out to a five-car lead.
Jon McKennedy was on the move in a brand-new car but in traffic in eleventh place. He picked up over the next two laps as the field strung out and began to pick off competitors. He was up to seventh on lap 49. But Rameau had a six-car lead on him and Jon bore down and began to close the gap.
Pitkat was running on Russ Hersey’s bumper, looking for third, while Annarummo was looking to move him back a spot. At the lap 50 midpoint on the feature, Silk continued to hold the lead over Savary, Rocco, Pitkat, Annarummo, Rameau, McKennedy, Barrett, Matt Galko and Dan Meservey, Jr. That was your top ten.
Pitkat conquered Rocco for third on lap 54 before DiMatteo’s spin on Lap 57.
Silk elected to go in for tires, as did Savary, Barrett and Hersey. It had been a good time for Pitkat to have made the move, as he now landed in the lead. Rocco was second. Annarummo was third for the restart with McKennedy on his outside.
Annarummo got under Rocco into second and onto Pitkat’s bumper. He looked under, was denied and tried again.
Five more laps and Annarummo battled past into the lead. With his home track cachet and a previous Open Wheel Wednesday win under his belt, he looked to become the possible winner as he took the lead on lap 63. But thirty-seven more laps stretched ahead, and Silk was moving again with the newer tire: up to sixth as Todd grabbed the front.
Dowling was sizing Pitkat up for a pass but he had some problems of his own. Silk had roared upon his rear and on lap 67, he ducked underneath then grabbed second coming through turn two. Silk also got under Pitkat and into third. McKennedy and Ramstrom followed Pitkat as Silk took a long look at Dowling. He took to the outside but couldn’t make progress, but the top three, Annarummo, Dowling and Silk tightened up into a three-car nose-to-tail group. But Meservey brought out caution with a turn one spin.
Annarummo now had more attention than he wanted: Dowling was outside him and Silk was directly behind. Pitkat was high in the second row, while McKennedy and Ramstrom sat in row three, hoping for someone to make a mistake.
Todd held Dowling alongside, then pulled ahead in turn four. Silk leapt in underneath and claimed second as Ramstrom nosed under Dowling. Behind them, Hirschman had arrived and was working under Barrett onto McKennedy’s bumper. Hirschman and McKennedy hacksawed the lead for a half-dozen laps until Hirschman was able to put Ramstrom between them as a buffer, while taking over fourth.
Things were running similarly at the front: Annarummo, Silk and Dowling were nose-to-tail and Silk pressed the attack on the leader. He was able to retake the lead from Annarummo and Dowling then stole second. Silk wasted no time in building a five car lead over them. Ramstrom gave chase to Annarummo while Hirschman and McKennedy were going door-to-door. Ramstrom became a piece in the chess game as Hirschman used him as a pick to shed McKennedy, who settled in behind Ramstrom.
Silk built a six-car lead as Dowling continued to give chase, followed by Annarummo, Hirschman, Ramstrom and Kennedy. Matt Galko spun in turn two and Fournier spun to avoid him. Barrett and Galco went to the pits and returned for the restart.
Silk pulled away immediately and Dowling captured second, followed by Annarumo, Ramstrom with McKennedy on his high side. Rameau was working under Hersey.
By lap 85, Silk had a two-car lead as the field behind him strong out. McKennedy had been working on Ramstrom for several laps and finally got past on lap 87. Silk, with his five-car edge, Dowling and Hirschman were 20 cars ahead of the field.
Hirschman pushed up to Dowling and Hersey was running fourth. Tony looked under Dowing as Annarummo, behind them, sought desperatly for room to pass. Dowling sid uptrack with three laps to go and Hirschman took full advantage to slip into second. Hersey pursued Dowling in fourth. But it was the penultimate lap and the white flag was flashing above them. The leaders completed the final circuit to meet the checkered flag in the same order: Silk, Hirschman, Dowling, Hersey and Annarummo.
Sixth went to Rameau, followed by McKennedy, Pitkat, Savary, and DiMatteo. Just off the top ten were Rocco, Galco and Barrett.