Angelo Belsito hasn’t forgotten his way around the Bull Ring at the Cement Palace in his time with the Granite State Pro Stocks. Despite a sudden, heroic charge at the finish by Ryan Vanasse which threatened to unseat him, Belsito picked up the grand prize at the season’s ender. Vanasse took second and early leader Reid Lanpher completed the podium finish. Joey Doiron and Dave Darling rounded out the top five.
Belsito was outside the third row, behind Darling for the start. Lanpher had pole with Craig Weinstein. On the green, they ran side-by-side until Lanpher nosed ahead. Joey Doiron grabbed Lanpher’s bumper and began to slide under Weinstein. But Craig held on and Doiron settled into third. Darling had grabbed fourth. Behind him, Mike Mitchell was underneath Belsito.
Lanpher quickly generated a five-car lead and began to increase it. Weinstein was seven cars up as Darling took third but a spin in turn four brought the field back for a restart.
Lanpher and Weinstein led Doiron and Darling into the starting box. Lanpher took the lead after some side-by-side racing with Weinstein. Doiron got under Craig but fell back and Darling held fourth. Darling overtook Doiron, who then debated fourth with Belsito for three laps before Angelo could take the position. By lap 12, Lanpher was leading a strung-out field by ten cars. As Belsito completed the pass on Doiron three laps later, the lead had swelled to fifteen.
Darling ducked under Weinstein in turn three in a sudden move and the field settled in for three laps of high speed pursuit. Now, David Farrington was in the picture and nosing under Doiron for some wheel-to-wheel running. Belsito had moved in on Darling’s bumper as Farrington got by Doiron, who was now seeing Vanasse getting in underneath. John Lowinski-Loh went pitside for the day on lap 20. Belsito settled on Darling’s bumper.
Several laps ran in succession without passing although there were many looks underneath by different drivers. Farrington was shadowing Belsito, followed by Weinstein and Vanasse.
Lanpher stretched his lead to a half-straightaway and Belsito was eight slots up on Darling. Farrington was a half-straight back at the halfway point in the feature.
Belsito began closing on Lanpher. He shaved it down to five cars and another lap later was two cars back as they navigated lapped traffic. With Belsito on his bumper, Lanpher was having a hard time getting past the lapped car of Mike Brightman. Just then, Mitchell spun at the stripe, bringing out the caution. Officials announced that Brightman would be given the Lucky Dog award which would keep him on the lead lap.
Belsito and Lanper lined up with Darling and Farrington in row two; Weinstein and Vanasse followed, in front of Doiron and Austin Blais.
It took two attempts to restart and after Weinstein spun down the backstretch out of turn two, officials announced that Jimmy Renfro would receve the Lucky Dog as well.
Second try at the restart had Belsito and Lanpher running door-to-door across the stripe. Belsito edged out and took the lead in turn four. Darling followed Lanpher and Vanasse jumped onto Dave’s tail with Doiron giving chase. Darling then moved in under Lanpher while Vanasse went below Doiron.
The debates continued with Vanasse nosing slowly ahead while Doiron was getting under Farrington and Eddie MacDonald was moving into the picture. Belsito now had a ten-car lead. But Kevin Casper and Ray Christian III got together, leaving Casper badly damaged in the turn four infield. Casper was out after 63 laps. Christian was able to continue.
Now two Seekonk Pro Stock champions sat side-by-side for the restart: Belsito and Darling. They came out of the box dead even and it took until turn two for Belsito to push forward into the lead. But Blais and Christian got together after two laps and they lined up again.
Belsito pulled away as Darling drifted uptrack. Lanpher pounced on the opportunity and grabbed second while MacDonald dueled Doiron, looking for fourth. He succeeded as Belsito pulled out to an eight-car lead. Darling was looking under Lanpher to get the position back and they went side-by-side through turn four. Belsito pushed his margin to 12 lengths and then to a half-straightaway before Renfrew spun in turn four, bringing everyone back together for a restart. Weinstein was called for the assist and joined Renfrew at the rear.
Belsito and Darling went at it again, doing some door-to-door before Belsito moved out and Darling dropped in. MacDonald was now running on Lanpher’s high side. The battled wheel-to-wheel for three laps before Lanpher had control and then Vanasse slid in underneath. They battled for another couple laps before Vanasse moved ahead of MacDonald into fifth. Belsito was again nursing a five-car lead. David Farrington edged in under MacDonald, looking for sixth.
Two laps later, Renfrew spun again, in turn four. Nick Lascuola headed for the pits and Weinstein was black-flagged for his second incident with Renfrew.
Belsito and Darling lined again, ahead of Lanpher and Doiron. Vanasse and Farrington made up row three, with MacDonald and Ryan Kuhn behind them. Belsito had the lead in turn four and next lap saw Lanpher looking under Darling. As they dueled, Vanasse put on a burst of speed and shot into second from fifth. MacDonald got underneath for a three-wide as Lanpher took third and Darling dropped to fifth. Eight laps remained as Farrington spun in turn three.
Now Belsito had Vanasse on his high side for the restart with Lanpher and MacDonald behind them. Darling was outside Doiron in the third row. Vanasse got a great jump on Belsito but the start was called back as Ryan had left prematurely. Second try and Belsito got the lead and Lanpher looked underneath Vanasse. They ran side-by-side but Belsito took the lead. MacDonald had gone to Doiron’s high side, but Doiron pulled ahead. Darling took the opportunity to duck underneath and ease MacDonald out of fifth.
Lanpher was not ready to concede with four laps remaining. Vanasse was looking to Belsito’s high side and Lanpher was sizing up an underneath move. On the final circuit, he pushed in but Vanasse fought back. At the checkers it was a matter of mere inches between them, but Vanasse had the runnerup spot by .093 of a second.
Belsito, of course, had the win and Lanpher appeared on the podium for his third. Farrington and Darling rounded out the top five.
MacDonald claimed sixth, followed by Kuhn, Joe Squeglia, Mike Brightman and Bobby Pelland III to complete the top ten. Farrington, Renfrew and Devin O’Connell were just outside to top ten.