Milford, Connecticut’s Doug Coby led all but 6 of the 100 laps in the $10,000-to-the-winner main feature at Seekonk’s midsummer Open Wheel Wednesday event, and became the seventh winner of the annual classic.
Milford, Connecticut’s Doug Coby led all but 6 of the 100 laps in the $10,000-to-the-winner main feature at Seekonk’s midsummer Open Wheel Wednesday event, and became the seventh winner of the annual classic. It wasn’t an easy evening, as numerous cautions called the26-car field back together after Coby had run out to some fairly long leads. Polesitter Les Hinckley of Windsor Locks took the lead from his pole position at the green and held it for the first six, but Coby was not to be denied. Hinckley stayed in the hunt in second place to lap 49, when Earle Paules of Palmerton, PA, took a solo spin in the fourth turn, to bring out the caution. Paules and Hinckley, among others, retired for new rubber and returned.
Steve Masse of Bellingham, CT moved into the second spot, pursuing Coby through lap 64, when Bobby Santos of Franklin, Ma, spun in the pack, and Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA got under Masse on the restart. Hirschman proved the old adage that Seekonk is not a horsepower track, when he spent the final 36 laps making life miserable for Coby. Hirschman, son of NASCAR modified champ Tony Hirschman, was driving the smaller-block V8 SK-Mod among the bigger-engine Tour Modifieds. The lighter car was able to stay close on the leader’s tail all the way to the checkers.
Seekonk grad Todd Annarummo of Swansea, who had won the big Open Wheel Wednesday event in 2010, followed Hirschman across the stripe, followed by Mike Stefanik of Coventry, RI, Chris Pasteryak of Jewitt City, CT, Jimmy Kuhn, Jr. of East Bridgewater, MA, Masse, and Vinnie Annarummo of Swansea. Earl Paules and Ryan Preece rounded out the top 10.
It was a twice-blessed event for Coby, who had won his heat, just ahead of Masse and Kirk Alexander in the third heat for the Modifieds. Hinckley had led Jordan and Paules across the line in heat one, and Vinnie Annarummo had outdueled Stefanik by .186 seconds, just ahead of McKennedy, Berghman and Hirschman in the second prelim.
Vinnie Annarummo had started on the outside pole with Hinckley down low, and made a determined bid for the front. But the inside lane closed up to run bumper-to-bumper and Annarummo had to drift back to sixth before he could drop into the groove. Coby began low in the second row and had been on Hinckley’s bumper since the start. He got under the leader and to the front on lap 6. Stefanik, Tim Jordan (Plainfield, CT) Annarummo, Earle Paules of Palmerton, PA and Kirk Alexander of West Swanzey, NH followed in a tight pace line.
As the line continued to string out, Coby moved out to a 10 to 12-car lead over Hinckley as drivers jockeyed in the pack at the rear. Green flag racing ran from lap 10’s caution restart to lap 51. Stefanik pursued Hinckley with Masse on his rear bumper. The first lapped car was Framingham’s George Sherman, who is making the transition from Pro Four Modifieds. Sherman received the black flag on lap 46. Lap 38 saw Coby into a field of cars and he began to lap. He put a lapped car between himself and Hinckley, which held the pursuer back.
But Paules went around solo in turn four to bring out the caution. Hinckley and others
accompanied him to the pits for adjustments and tires. The lap 49 restart saw Stefanik outside Coby with Masse and Jordan behind them. Hirschman and Annarummo were row three, with Seekonk’s Dave Berghman and Chelmsford, MA driver John McKennedy then Ascutney VT’s Dwight Jarvis and Todd Annarummo behind them. Coby went into the lead and Masse clung to his bumper. Stefanik battled Masse on the outside, but had to settle into third. Hirschman settled into fourth with Jordan at his back. Vinnie Annarummo went door to door with Berghman while Todd was wheel-to-wheel with Jarvis.
Hinckley, who had worked his way back to 12th and Kuhn then bid high and low around Pasteryak, making it 3-wide. Kuhn, in the low groove, went to the lead, Hinckley on his tail as Pasteryak opted to fall back out of the middle of the sandwich.
With Coby cruising, Masse following, Stefanik had Hirschman all over his bumper and Vinny behind them. On lap 65, Bobby Santos of Franklin, MA spun in turn four and went to the pits. Stefanik elected to also go for rubber and adjustments, accompanied by Tim Jordan. Masse was on Coby’s outside for the restart, Hirschman and Vinny behind them. Jarvis and Todd followed. Hirschman got under Masse into second on the green with Vinny behind him. Masse worked his way back under Vinny to third on lap 71.
Tommy Barrett looped in turn 4 to set up a lap 80 restart. He went off on the hook. On the restart, Coby got away from Hirschman, but Eric Berndt got into Hinckley, coming out of turn 4, sending the latter hard into the front stretch wall, crushing his right front suspension. Jon McKennedy and Berghman were collected in the crash and went off on the hook.
Hirschman grabbed the front, but the restart was called back, as he had left early. Coby grabbed the lead on the replay and Todd got by Masse on the outside for third. Stefanik was the big beneficiary of the caution; he moved up from 17th to 6th in one leap. He then passed Masse as the trio at the front battled for supremacy. The extra power began to work for Coby, as he gained a 5-car lead with ten laps remaining. Todd was working Hirschman’s bumper but couldn’t find a passing route. Stefanik edged past Pasteryak into fourth on lap 94, setting the top 5.
Coby came home a comfortable 2 seconds ahead to the tune of a ten thousand dollar payday. Hirschman and Todd stormed across the line, with Stefanik and Masse battling it out behind them.
Plymouth, MA driver Randy Cabral returned to his home speedway for a big, big Open Wheel Wednesday victory in NEMA Midget competition. Randy went to the front early and dominated the field but had to hold on at the end for a .741 second win over Baldwinsville, NY driver Jeff Abold. More locals filled the top five with brothers Greg Stoehr of Bridgewater and Russ Stoehr of Lakeville finished third and fifth. Fourth went to long distance competitor Jeremy Frankoski of Huntersville, NC.
Cabral earned himself a double, winning the heat race earlier in the day over fellow local, Keith Botelho of North Attleboro and Paul Scaly of Raynham. Jeff Abold was fourth. Liverpool, NY driver John Zych won the second heat over Russ Stoehr by a paper thin .074-second margin. Chris Leonard of Pelham, NH was third, followed by Frankoski.
Scaly started from the pole with Botelho on his shoulder. Zych and Chris Leonard were ahead of Frankoski and Cabral. Todd Bertrand and Abold made up the fourth row.
Botelho took the lead on the first circuit, but Scaly came back underneath to take it back. Cabral, however, drove his midget from fifth to first in five laps. He was not headed again in the 25 lap feature. Cabral gave chase for two laps, but Frankoski took second on lap 6, just before Jesse State spun hard into the turn 3 wall, losing a wheel in the collision which ended his evening. He was unhurt, but the car was wreckered from the oval.
The restart saw Abold get under Frankoski into second with Botelho holding fourth and Anthony Nocella fifth. Nocella lasted another 9 laps, but coasted to a stop in turn four, just past the pit exit. The Woburn, MA driver was pushed to the pits.
Abold was on the outside of the front row with Frankoski and Greg Stoehr behind them. Abold dropped down and tried low only to have the door slammed shut. Cabral worked his way out to a 5-car lead as the race unwound, with Abold unable to close. Stoehr moved under Frankoski for third. Russ Stoehr got past Botelho on lap 20 to make the top 5.
Mike Horn, Botelho, Chris Leonard, Todd Bertrand and Erica Santos rounded out the top 10
Hudson, NH driver Phil Lausier was where he needed to be when the roof caved in for race leader Frank Perry of Holbrook, MA. Perry had led 20 of the 25 laps from his pole position in the Pro Four Modified race. But Andy Major of Brookfield, MA tried an underneath pass on the frontrunner; the result was Perry spinning in turn 4. Randy Cabral, who was to later win the NEMA Midget feature, spun to avoid Perry then went to the pits. Perry pulled up for a couple quick words with Major, and then went to the back of the field. Major joined him, awarded by the race director for contact. Lausier was awarded the pole with 5 laps remaining. A very fast Norm Wrenn was on his shoulder. Lausier won the contest for the front and flew home to the checkers. Wrenn earned second, just .257 seconds behind.
Perry and Cory Cleary of Plymouth, MA started on the front row. Perry went to the front out of turn two, and Cleary settled in behind. Lausier, starting in the second row, nabbed third. Rob Richardi, Jr. rolled to a stop after showing smoke, bringing out caution. He was pushed off and racing resumed. Another caution on lap 5 had the field facing off again. Perry leapt away from Cleary and gained a 5-car lead. Major moved past Cleary and Lausier moved into fourth. Wrenn moved smartly into fifth place.
Major was on Perry’s back bumper in lap 13, while Lausier was looking under Cleary and succeeded into third. Wrenn followed into fourth and the duo began closing on the leaders.
Lap 20 saw the race shaken up with Perry spinning and Lausier’s spot in third making him the heir apparent. With Lausier and Wrenn at the front, Dave Richardi and Cleary made up the second row, with Robin Berghman of Providence behind them. Lausier ran to the front with Wrenn following. Richardi, Berghman, Cleary and West Chatham, MA driver Dan Meservey gave chase. The laps wound down with Wrenn and Berghman both looking to move up a slot, but race’s end saw them in the same positions. Cleary was fifth. Perry, Major, Dick Dubois, Cabral and Eric McGovern rounded out the top 10.