Scott Serydynski Grabs Checkered in Seekonk Sportsman; Fanning Black Flagged For Fluid Leak; Murphy’s Spin Mangles Baxter; Adams Edges Melberg – PTD Exclusive

By DAVID M WIERNUSZ

“We were trying to hold on because I knew we had a good car,” said Scott Serydynski as he was catching his breath after his third Sportsman win of the season. “Unfortunately we got a little banged up in the front, which wasn’t too bad, we were still able to stay up front and we were able to win it.”

Serydynski had to deal with a fluid leak from Corey Fanning’s No.11 and a lap 19 crash as he raced his way from a fifth starting spot to take down the win in the twenty-five lap main event.

“It was tough race all around. The track was getting real slippery. The 11 (Fanning) was dumping gear lube or some sort of fluid on the ground. The track was really slippery,” said Serydynski as he described from his point of view the noticeable line of oily-smelling smoke that was rolling out of Fanning’s car throughout the race. Fanning started eighth and worked his way up to second by lap 14 when his No. 11 started to smoke. While Fanning was running strong – even edging into the lead on lap 20 – the smoke caught the attention of track officials who dropped the black flag on him on lap 21 for laying down fluid.

“Broke a transmission – the story of my life,” said Fanning as he shrugged off the breakdown. Not only did the transmission failure earn Fanning a disappointing twenty-third place finish, it plummeted him to fifth from second in the points chase with seven races left in the season.

LAP 19 CRASH

A three wide – almost four wide – battle for the lead took shape on lap 18. As the field shot out of turn four, Rob Murphy was on the inside, Jesse Melberg in the middle and Fanning hung out in the high groove. Serydynski closed in on Murphy’s bumper as he raced along Melberg’s left rear fender.

Rob Murphy (No.1), Jesse Melberg (No.32), Scott Serydynski (No.22) and Corey Fanning (high outside).

The pack of cars powered into turn one, checked up as they rolled through the turn then shot out of the corner and headed down the backstretch. Murphy spun. Most cars sought to avoid Murphy by cutting high. Serydynski and Dick Benoit crunched door to door as Murphy continued to spin on the low side. Chad Baxter attempted to move around Murphy on the bottom when they made heavy contact. The crash ripped most the sheet metal off the right side of Baxter’s car.

Chad Baxter (No.10 / right) makes contact with Rob Murphy (No.1). The entire right side of Baxter’s racecar was destroyed.

Murphy described the incident. “Yeah, I had a clean pass and the 32 (Melberg) brought the 11 (Fanning) up to the wall. I got to his door, I thought I had the spot. He must have not liked that because on the video it shows that he (Melberg) drilled me from behind and dumped me in front of the whole field.”

And from Baxter’s point of view: “The track was blocked. I went through the grass to avoid it. The 1 (Murphy) was still moving and he came up and took me from the back.”

With Murphy restarting at the back of the pack and Fanning behind the pit wall with a broken transmission, Serydynski, Melberg, Tom Adams and Benoit were set for a shootout with eight laps left to go. Serydynski got the jump on the restart and took the lead. As Melberg and Adams went door-to-door for second, Melberg got sideway making contact with Adams on the backstretch. “(Adams) saved me… I got real sideways. We door slammed and it straightened me out. Man, it was…!,” said Melberg.

Serydynski held on for the win. Adams edged Melberg on the last lap for second. Sparky Arsenault crossed the stripe fourth and Benoit fifth.

SEEKONK SPEEDWAY NOTES

Sportsman driver Chad Baxter was disqualified from his July 19th victory after track officials received the test results from a lab analysis of a rubber sample taken from one of Baxter’s tires. Baxter’s No.10 race car is owned by Richard Sprague. The analysis was conducted by Blue Ridge Labs, Inc., Hudson, NC. Blue Ridge conducts tests on race car tires by comparing the chemical composition of a sample taken from a competitor’s tire against benchmark rubber that the lab has on hand from the tire manufacturer – in this case, American Racer. Most race car tire tests done by Blue Ridge simply identify whether there is a variation between the benchmark rubber and the sample. A statement posted on the speedway’s web site offered no other details beyond saying that Baxter’s tires “failed inspection.” It was not immediately clear as to what type of analysis Blue Ridge did to Baxter’s rubber sample or what the particular findings were which caused the tires to fail inspection…

Corey Fanning won the Rookie Stock feature event on Sunday, July 23rd at Hudson Speedway, Hudson, NH…

While competitors do battle on the track, they often extend their generosity to fellow drivers when something breaks. Danny Cabral is one such driver. When Sportsman driver Dick Benoit learned that he lost starter during practice, Cabral jumped in to help. Cabral switched pit stalls with Benoit so that Cabral was in a position to push start Benoit’s No. 47…

Driver Kevin Bond has been racing his No. 28 Sportsman at Seekonk and Thompson Speedway (Thompson, CT) this season. Bond reports that because Thompson paired down the number of Limited Sportsman events this season, he added more Seekonk races to his calendar. While Bond counts Thompson as his home track, he has so far run six races at Seekonk this year…

“Fred tried to do some changes during the week and it didn’t work – we’re just trying to get back to where we were.” That was the word from a member of Fred Astel’s crew as they seemed to be struggling with a weight distribution issue during practice on the No. 30 Everett’s Auto Parts Pro Stock. The changes apparently paid off as Astel chalked up a second place finish in the division’s forty lap feature…

Crew is making adjustments to Astel’s Pro Stock (No 30). Late Model driver, Dylan Estrella (No. 46), backs out of his pit stall.

Seventy-three racecars checked into the paddock area to race this past Saturday (July 29th). 16 Sport Trucks; 19 Late Models; 24 Sportsman; 14 Pro Stocks…

Sportsman driver Tommy Adams just purchased a Late Model from RPM Motorsports in Georgia, VT. Adams ran practice laps with his new racecar this week and he seems to be more than pleased with it. “It’s fast”, said Adams who plans on running a few Late Model races this year and compete for rookie of the year in Seekonk’s Late Model division in 2018…

Chase Belcher chalked up his third win this year when he won the thirty lap Sport Truck feature; Ryan Vanasse grabbed his second win this season in the forty lap main event in the Pro Stocks; and Nick Uhrig visited victory lane for the first time in 2017 when took down the checkered in the thirty-five lap Late Model feature…

Correction. The Sportsman division ran a $1,000, money-only, non-point race on Wednesday, July 19th. A news article that posted on July 24th mistakenly said that the race was run on Wednesday, July 12th.

Thoughts and comments can be sent to david.wiernusz@yahoo.com.