By Kyle Souza
OXFORD, Maine and SEEKONK, Mass. — Upcoming racing star and former Seekonk Speedway Late Model champion Ryan Kuhn took the lead from Mason Tessier with 110 laps to go and paraded to victory in the inaugural virtual “Let’s Go Racing” 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday afternoon. The race was broadcasted to a live audience on Speed51.com, one of the country’s top motorsports platforms covering short-track racing.
More than 60 drivers took to the track for qualifying heats, a last-chance qualifier and the 250 lap race, with 33 cars taking the green flag. In the end, Kuhn would pass Tessier in the midst of a green-flag run in the second half of the race after Tessier had dominated the first 155 laps from the pole position. The race ended under a brief caution period after a green-white-checkered restart.
For his victory, Kuhn would earn $300 — courtesy of Helger’s Southcoast Power Equipment ($200), Team V Racing ($75) and Anchor Paws Rescue ($25). He would also earn a $50 gift certificate to Seekonk Speedway, a 75th anniversary season T-shirt, and a free paint scheme for iRacing produced by Trent Goodrow Designs.
“The first half of the race was a little chaotic, but the second half, I really enjoyed,” Kuhn said. “I feel like I prevailed in the long runs at the end. We had a good strategy. I knew tires were going to even out, so I stayed out the whole race and it worked. We got by Mason and it was set sail.”
In the final stages, Thomas Axsom, Kuhn’s spotter in real-life, was the one who made the charge to try and take him off the top. Axsom would close to within just a few car lengths, three or four back when the field crossed with five to go, but would line up to the outside of the front row for the final restart. He quickly got to the bottom in second, but had to settle at the finish. Axsom picked up the victory in the Last Chance Qualifier prior to green and moved from 30th to second in the 250 lap feature.
“We started right at the tail and I don’t even know what lap it was, not even 75, I was already up around 13th,” Axsom said. “I sat 9th for around 100 laps, and we slowly worked our way up. I got the call we were going to stay out because it was hard to pass. The older tires were faster at the end. At the end of the day, it was a good race. I was shooting for a top five, but to find myself here, can’t complain about that.”
For his second-place effort, Axsom would earn $100 from Helger’s Southcoast Power Equipment, $100 from Moe’s Moving in the “Mover of the Race” award and a 75th anniversary season Seekonk Speedway t-shirt.
On the final lap, contact between Derek Gluchacki and Ryan Doucette sent both spinning down the frontstretch. At the same time, Joe Kohler and Tyler Tomassi got together in turn three. Per race control, Gluchacki and Doucette received a penalty to the end of the lead lap. Kohler did not receive further penalty because he was the final car on the lead lap at the end.
That would move Brandon Wilkinson to third, Seekonk Grand Prix Bandolero regular PJ Evans to fourth and Nick’s Pit Stop Legends Cars competitor Regan Parent to fifth. Sportsman driver Tom Scully III was sixth, while Bandolero regular Ryan Vanasse Jr., Doucette, Gluchacki and Kohler completed the top 10.
Oddly enough, two of the top three finishers haven’t turned a real-life lap at the Massachusetts third-mile, but have experience on iRacing, and work on crews at the track as part of NASCAR Saturday.
“We’ll take it,” Wilkinson said. “Drew (crew chief) and all of the guys decided to pull me in early and pull a weird strategy because I figured Ryan wasn’t going to pit. Track position was going to be key. It was a great day and a great time, and that’s all that matters.”
Heat races were won by Tessier, Jake Johnson, Richie Murray, Derek Gluchacki, Ryan Doucette and Jake Kleamovich. The consolation race was won by Kohler, and the Last Chance Qualifier won by Axsom.
The event included a mix of competitors from Seekonk’s Fast Friday and NASCAR Saturday night racing, and also included former track competitors and crew members.
A full list of awarded prizes at the checkered flag is listed below.
LIST OF AWARDED PRIZES:
-$200 To The Race Winner from Helger’s Southcoast Power Equipment: Ryan Kuhn
-$100 To Second Place Finisher from Helger’s Southcoast Power Equipment: Thomas Axsom
-$50 To Third Place Finisher from Helger’s Southcoast Power Equipment: Brandon Wilkinson
-$75 To The Race Winner from Team V Racing: Ryan Kuhn
-$25 To The Race Winner from Anchor Paws Rescue: Ryan Kuhn
-$50 Gift Card For Seekonk Speedway, Race Winner: Ryan Kuhn
-Seekonk Speedway 75th Season T-Shirt, Top 5 Finishers: Ryan Kuhn, Thomas Axsom, Brandon Wilkinson, PJ Evans, Reagan Parent
–$100 Biggest Mover Award Courtesy of Moe’s Moving: Thomas Axsom
-$50 Gift Card To Checkered Flag Landscaping Courtesy of Ryan Lineham: Mason Tessier
-$50 Gift Card To Seekonk Grand Prix, Leader Lap 52: Mason Tessier
-Free Paint Scheme by Trent Goodrow Designs, Lap 31 Leader: Mason Tessier
–$50 Prize To The “Hard Luck” Driver Courtesy of Atlantic Yacht Rigging: Mason Tessier
–$50 “Hard Luck” Award Courtesy of Atlantic Yacht Rigging: Mason Tessier
-Free Paint Scheme by Trent Goodrow Designs, Race Winner: Ryan Kuhn
-Free Paint Scheme by M&D Designs, 5th Place Finisher: Reagan Parent
Seekonk Speedway will have more information on the future of virtual racing for competitors in the near future. For more information on Seekonk Speedway’s 75th anniversary season of racing visit www.seekonkspeedway.com, and follow the track on Facebook.
OFFICIAL RESULTS: SEEKONK “LETS GO RACING” 250
- Ryan Kuhn
- Thomas Axsom
- Brandon Wilkinson
- PJ Evans
- Regan Parent
- Tom Scully III
- Ryan Vanasse Jr.
- Ryan Doucette
- Derek Gluchacki
- Joe Kohler
- Tyler Tomassi
- Jake Kleamovich
- Dylan Estrella
- Reese Bogue
- Mason Tessier
- Anthony Bello
- Connor Souza
- Richard J Murray
- Michael Cooper
- Christopher Gomes
- Ray Parent Jr.
- Steve Bowden
- Riley Caron
- Brenden LaBelle
- Devin Deshaies
- Giovanni Ruggerio
- Nathan Smith
- Chase Belcher
- Mike Floyd
- Joshua Parsons
- Jake Johnson (DQ, Intentional Contact Under Yellow)
QUALIFIED, BUT DID NOT START: Colbey Fournier, Mike Brightman