Kyle Casper Holds off Paul Lallier To Win Seekonk Sportsman Scorcher
By DAVID M. WIERNUSZ
Kyle Casper won the 35-lap Sportsman feature event at Seekonk Speedway. Driving the Rich Courser-owned No. 21, Casper became the fourth driver in as many events to visit victory lane. Casper started on the pole and lead every lap.
The 34-year-old from Lakeville, MA commented on the late race pressure from Paul Lallier: “Paul had a strong car. When Paul was back there he pressured me the second half of the race. I was tight in the middle. I was trying to make sure I stayed on the bottom and get a good run out of the corner so he couldn’t get underneath me. Paul raced me super clean. I respect him for that. It goes a long way.”
Twenty-one cars took the green for the Sportsman’s main event. Casper jumped to an early lead.
The cars that were lined up on the inside took at early advantage. “Smokin’” Joe Kohler and Tyler Lallier quickly lined up nose-to-tail behind Casper.
A tight cluster of no fewer than six cars were banging, scraping and bumping behind the leaders. Paul Lallier, who has one feature win this season, managed to emerge from that pack and edge into fifth. Scott Bruneau’s path was not as clear; the defending division champion was caught on the outside in heavy traffic running tenth.
The first caution flew on lap 8 when the No. 17 of Chris Rioux came to a stop on the frontstretch.
On the restart Casper jumped to a car-length lead over an intense, three-way battle for second. Tyler Lallier, his father, Paul and Smokin’ Joe were running door–to-door when Paul Lallier moved inside of Kohler pushing Tyler high up the track. The trio ran three-wide through turns one and two.
They shot up the backstretch. Banging. Bumping. Smokin’ Joe fishtailing between the two Lalliers.
Tyler, hung out to dry on the outside, checked up and dropped back. Paul shot under Smokin’ Joe and grabbed the second spot. Tyler and Smokin’ Joe didn’t have a chance to catch their breath when Craig Pianka saw an opening and muscled between the pair for yet another three-wide fight down the backstretch. Pianka drove hard, grabbed the third spot and left Smokin’ Joe and Tyler to sort it out in his rearview mirror. Casper maintained a car length lead over Paul Lallier.
A bit of real estate opened up throughout the pack and Bruneau, after starting eighth, moved to fifth. Corey Fanning, the division’s point leader, started tenth, edged into sixth.
Four more caution flags were unfurled for minor spins as the laps wound down.
The field lined up for the restart with five laps remaining. Casper on the point; Paul Lallier outside of row one. Pianka on the inside of row two; Bruneau on the outside. The pack of cars roared down the frontstretch into turn one. The field started to bunch up accordion style. Bumping. Banging. Tapping. Pianka swirved. Bruneau checked up and drifted high up the wide asphalt bank.
As Bruneau and Pianka got out of shape attempting to gather their race cars, Fanning and Tyler Lallier pounced. Fanning grabbed third. Tyler raced into fourth. Bruneau dropped back to fifth. Pianka fell to seventh. Asked about the lap 30 restart, Pianka replied, “My restarts have been really bad… I am really trying hard not to have a bad restart. And not check up in the end. And I did exactly what I was not supposed to do. . . I should have hung in there, stayed in third and finished third.”
Bruneau’s take on the last restart was a bit more casual: “I don’t know. It got crazy. Three wide and I just held on to it.” Paul Lallier crossed the stripe second and Fanning took third.
SEEKONK SPEEDWAY NOTES
The heat wave that rolled up and into the northeast this week baked the speedway on Saturday (June 30). The temperature was 87 degrees at 7 p.m. . .
Sportsman top five point standings. Corey Fanning; Paul Lallier (-4); Scott Bruneau (-10); Tyler Lallier (-22); Craig Pianka (-26).
Car count. Seventy-eight race cars checked into the paddock area Saturday (June 30th). 16 Sport Trucks; 24 Late Models; 21 Sportsman and 17 Pro Stocks . . .
Rob Murphy returned to racing after sitting out a two-race rough riding suspension by winning the 30-lap Sport Truck feature. Bobby Tripp, Mike Duarte, Mike Cavallaro and Ed Gannon rounded out the top five. . .
Ryan Kuhn won the fifty lap Late Model feature by holding off second place Vinnie Arrenegado. Nick Uhrig was third, Bobby Tripp fourth and Ray Parent fifth. . .
David Darling chalked up his first Pro Stock win of the season. Fred Astel was second, Ryan Vanasse thrid, Jake Johnson, Jr. fourth and Tom Scully, Jr. placed fifth. . .
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