Ed Perry Grabs Checkered in Exciting Seekonk Sportsman; Axon Places Second; Fanning Jumps To Early-Season Point Lead Over Bruneau

By DAVID M. WIERNUSZ

Ed Perry drove the wheels off his Dutch Auto Body No. 06 to take the win in Seekonk Speedway’s Sportsman twenty-five lap feature event. Perry, who started on the pole, was under constant pressure from Corey Fanning and Steve Axon. “We tried to hang one or two on the outside; hopefully they would bunch up behind me and I could break away,” said 43-year-old from Rehoboth, MA. Perry is the owner and sole proprietor of C.O.D. Heating.

Twenty-five Sportsmen took the green flag for the twenty-five lap main event.

Scott Bruneau, the division’s defending champion, avoided what could have been a race ending wreck on lap three. Bruneau and Chris Gomes were running side-by-side down the backstretch. Bruneau on the inside. Gomes outside. Gomes went high, scraped the wall hard, pinballed back down the track and tagged Bruneau’s right side as the duo moved into turn three.

“It wasn’t’ really that bad,” Bruneau said. “We survived it. [Gomes] got the worst of it, obviously.” Bruneau started 16th and finished the race a disappointing 11th.

By lap 5 Perry jumped out to a two car length lead. Ryan Flood, No. 98, dove under Rey Lovelace, No. 24, in a move to grab second. As the field screamed out of turn four and down the frontstretch, Corey Fanning, No. 11, made it a three car race for the second spot as he closed in on the bumper of second place Flood. Lovelace hung on the outside. Flood got lose exiting turn two and Fanning grabbed the second.

As Flood, Lovelace and Fanning were swapping positions chasing Perry, Steve Axon, who started fourteenth, was fifth.

The caution flag flew on lap 11 when Donald Perry, No. 69, spun high in turn one. When the field got back to green, Axon was racing Flood for third as Fanning glued his No. 11 to Perry’s rear bumper. Tap, tap, tap. Fanning and Perry raced down the frontstretch into turn one. Perry swerved. Fanning tapped. Perry wiggled and fishtailed. Fanning checked up and opened some daylight between him and Perry as they shot down the backstretch.

Having started eighteenth, Paul Lallier, No. 70, last week’s feature winner, moved up to fifth with nine laps remaining.

The red flag came out on lap 18. Dick Benoit’s No. 47 caught fire as a result of a four car wreck in turn two. For a moment or two, fire was visible under the left front wheel well as Benoit exited his race car. Craig Pianka, Ryan Souilere and Flood got caught up in the wreck. The damage to Souilere’s right front was extensive and, consequently, ended his evening.
Once the field got back to green and the laps wound down, Axon wasted no time in attempting to grab the top spot from Perry. Fanning and Lallier raced for second. Further back, Tyler Lallier, No. 7 and “Sparky” Arsenault, No. 96, were in a metal-to-metal brawl for fifth.

Axon got a run on the inside of Perry as the duo took the white flag. Axon had the inside and was crawling up along Perry’s left rear fender as they raced toward the checkered. Perry powered out of turn four and, according to Kevin Boucher, the race announcer, edged Axon by .028 seconds. Lallier managed to get around Fanning to take third.

When asked about his run from eighteenth to third, Lallier said, “[p]atience! I was on the break more than I was on the throttle hoping I could get up there with a few laps to go. I think I had something for [Perry and Axon] but they kept it low and slow. I’ll take the third.”

Fanning was slightly disappointed that he did not finish on the podium. “We came from ninth to fourth, the car is in one piece; we’ll take it.” Shrugging his shoulders, Fanning said, “I’m happy.”

SEEKONK SPEEDWAY NOTES

Car count. Eighty race cars checked into the paddock area Saturday (June 16th). 16 Sport Trucks; 21 Late Models; 25 Sportsman and 18 Pro Stocks . . .

The Sportsman division has the highest car count of the four Saturday night divisions at the speedway. It averages twenty-four cars weekly, and one of the reasons is Danny Cabral – he owns three of them. Danny drives the No. 44 and owns No. 24 driven by Rey Lovelace and No. 47 driven by Dick Benoit . . .

Bobby Pelland III won his first Pro Stock feature race Saturday night (June 16th). Pelland grabbed the checkered in the 45-lap main in spite of the constant pressure from a very persistent David Darling . . .

Fans packed grandstands along Seekonk Speedway’s frontstretch.

Late Model fans were treated to plenty of side-by-side racing between two veterans — Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. and Charlie Rose. Rose’s No., 7 hung on the outside of DeGasparre’s No. 71 for much of the 35 main event. DeGasparre managed to hold off challenges by Rose and Mark Jennison’s No. 22RI to take down his first win of the year. Vinny Arrenegado is leading the Late Model championship chase with a four point edge over Ryan Lineham . . .

Bobby Tripp won the 35-lap feature event for the Sport Trucks. Tripp started fifth and powered past Ed Gannon and Barry Shaw, Jr. to chalk up his second checkered of the 2018 season. Trip has a six point lead over Mike Duarte and Barry Shaw, Jr. who are tied for second . . .

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