By Adam Belue
SEEKONK, Mass. — The first race of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series in the Everett’s Auto Parts Late Model division saw lots of action, several caution flags, 15 extra laps, and the fourth consecutive first-time winner of the 2021 season, with Gerry DeGasparre Jr. claiming the checkered flag on Saturday night at Seekonk Speedway.
DeGasparre started eighth in the 19-car field, and navigated his way to the front, avoiding some incidents in front of him to take over the top spot on the 13th lap of the 45-lap feature. He claimed the top spot from pole sitter Paul Lallier, who had a strong showing before fading back to outside of the Top 10, and held off points-leader Vinny Arrenegado for the win.
Lallier and Bobby Tripp began the race on the front row, with Tripp using the outside line to quickly pull ahead on the first lap. A quick caution on Lap 4 gave Lallier the chance to give Tripp some payback, as he moved back into first with a similar outside move, but Tripp countered before the two made contact near the start line on Lap 6, with Tripp getting the worst of the incident. Lallier was able to drive away nearly unscathed, while his front row partner spun out and was sent to the back of the field.
Another incident with a second-place car occurred on the restart, as Ryan Flood spun out near Turn 4, which collected Trent Goodrow, Derek Gluchacki, and Jeramee Lillie as well. The third caution came out just three laps later, as defending champion Tommy Adams had issues with his No. 56 car, causing him to lose his third-place position and yielding some nose damage to Richie Murray, who made contact with Adams when he abruptly slowed down in traffic.
DeGasparre was able to avoid the early wreckage in front of him, and moved up to third by Lap 9. He passed Joshua Hedges for second on Lap 11, and made his final pass two laps later, taking the inside route by Lallier for the lead. DeGasparre pulled out to a nearly two-second lead as the second half of the 45-lap feature started, but Arrenegado, who took over second on Lap 20, slowly pulled closer before Murray spun out with seven laps remaining to bunch up the field.
DeGasparre was able to hold off Arrenegado on the restart and never looked back, with Hedges taking the third spot on the podium. Chase Belcher and Nick Uhrig, who dueled for position throughout the race, were fourth and fifth, with Ryan Lineham, Tripp, Mark Hudson, Tyler Lallier, and Murray – who moved up from the truck series this week – rounding out the Top 10.
After a week off for the Memorial Day Thrill Show, the Everett’s Auto Parts Late Models will be back on Saturday, June 5th with a 30-lap featu