Ryan Flood Grabs First Career Win in Seekonk Sportsman – Bruneau Comes Up Short; Track Officials Penalize Lallier for Murphy Bump; Tempers Flare.

 

 

By DAVID M WIERNUSZ

 

“Finally we got it.  It’s been a long time coming – four years in the making,” said Ryan Flood, the eighteen-year-old driver from Sandwich, MA marking his first trip to victory lane in the Sportsman division.  When asked about the wall of cars that that closed in on him on all sides at the end of the main event, Flood remarked that “I was trying not to look at it because that’s what got me in trouble last time.  I just hit the gas and tried to go for the win.  I just kept turning left.”

Flood commented on the late race threat from Scott Bruneau.  “Scott is a great guy, I know he is not going to run me to the point where he is going to wreck me and I’m not going to do the same to him – he’s one of the good ones and a very respectful guy to run with so I am glad it was him that I was running with.”

Flood is the eighth Sportsman winner in nine races.

Scott Bruneau attacks the bumper of Ryan Flood (No. 98)

 

A twenty lap green flag run, constant three wide racing and a metal-bending, temper-flaring crash on lap 28 headlined the thirty-lap race.

SPORTSMAN FEATURE EVENT

The first three wide brawl of the twenty-six car field shaped up on lap 5 with Tom Adams on the inside, Craig Pianka on the outside and Paul Lallier sandwiched in the middle.  As the trio exited turn two and shot down the back stretch Adams stayed low.  Lallier and Pianka made door-to-door contact.  They touched.  They tapped.  They banged.  Lallier fishtailed, though he managed to straighten it out and race out of turn four.  Pianka checked up, slowed and came to a stop high in turn three.  Caution flag flew.

Flood and Pangelinan occupied the front row on the restart and, in one of his best performances this year, Ed Flanagan Jr.’s No. 5 kept pace in the inside of the third row.   The top three were nose to tail.  While a battle for fourth shaped up between Flanagan and Gill Bradstreet, Cory Fanning, Lallier and Sparky Arsenault formed another three wide fight, this time for eighth.  Lallier sandwiched in the middle.  Fanning on the inside.  Arsenault on the outside.

Their racecars seemed as if they were locked together as the trio remained inches apart for an entire lap.  Arsenault got loose, swerved, checked up and dropped back as the trio exited turn four.

The field remained green while Flood and Pangelinan pulled away from the pack by about ten car lengths.

Tom Adams attempted to grab eleventh from Rob Muprhy as Murphy and Chad Baxter were racing door-to-door.  Murphy and Baxter exited turn four – the pair drifted high.  Adams kept his No. 56 Katz Pet Supplies machine low and shot under Murphy.  They went down the front stretch three wide, continued through turns one and two and – still three wide – down the back straightaway.  Baxter finally backed off while Adams had to check up to avoid the bumper of Corey Fanning’s No. 11.  Murphy held the spot.

As green flag racing continued, Flood and Pangelinan started lapping cars by lap 17.  Bruneau edged into third, though unable to reel in the leaders who maintained their distance.  Flanagan was running solid in fourth place.

Ed Flanagan, Jr. (No. 5) was running a great race prior to being collected in a wreck on lap 29

 

The yellow flag unfurled on lap 24 when Jesse Melberg spun in turn four as he raced side-by-side with Pianka.  Bruneau, Lallier, Murphy and Flanagan would all have a shot at the win on the restart.  With the green flag flying the pack opened up coming out of turn four with 6 laps to go.

As the field circled out of turn two Bruneau was bending Flood’s rear bumper – tap, tap, tap.  They headed into turn three with Pangelinan hanging on the outside.  A three way battle for the lead developed as four more laps were added to the board.  Flood, desperately trying to keep the door closed on the inside, fishtailed going into turn one.  Just as Bruneau dove in and was making a clean run up along Flood’s left rear to grab the lead a caution flag flew because two cars stalled on the speedway’s exit ramp as they attempted to enter the pit.

After clearing the exit ramp, the field went back to green. Two more caution flags flew on the next two laps setting up a two lap shootout, a five car wreck and controversy.

Upon each restart Bruneau immediately made a move on the inside to grab the lead from Flood.  Pangelinan pushed hard on the outside.  A three wide fight for the win.  Two laps remained.

Murphy closed in on the leaders as the pack raced down the back stretch.  Lallier glued himself to Murphy’s bumper – they touched, they tapped and they touched again as the duo rolled into turn four.  Murphy spun.  Cars scattered.  Caution.  Five cars were collected in the wreck:  Murphy, Tim Watson, Dannay Cabral, Flanagan and Kyle Casper.

Paul Lallier (No. 70) move to the outside as Rob Murphy (No.1) and Ed Flanagan, Jr. (No. 5) collect each other in white-flag lap melee.

 

Speedway officials penalized Lallier for the incidental contact with Murphy and positioned him to the back of the lead lap on the restart.  Flood held off runner up Bruneau and took the checkered.  Pangelinan, Arsenault and Pianka rounded out the top five.

Several drivers and their teams were furious over the incident.  The left side of Murphy’s car was destroyed.  “I was passing [Bruneau] for third and the number 70 [Lallier] did not know how to hit his break and decided to drive through us and take out ten cars with two [laps] to go,” Murphy said.  Paul Lallier argued with track officials about having been put to the rear for tapping Murphy.  Lallier commented that “[Murphy] is always loose…you just touch him, he just spins…I’m not faulting [Murphy] but it’s just the way they run that car.”

In a Facebook video post, track announcer Kevin Boucher summed up the Sportsman feature this way:  “If you left disappointed after this race, there’s nothing more we can do.”

SEEKONK SPEEDWAY NOTES.

The American-Canadian Tour rolled into Seekonk this past weekend for its fourth event of the season.  Twenty-seven cars took the green flag for its 100-lap headline event.  Scott Payea took down the win and pocked $2,500.  ACT paid a total purse of $20,790…

Tom Adams and his team explained the tech issue that disqualified their No. 56 Katz Pet Supply Sportsman after taking the checkered on June 24th.  Adams’s racecar was running a Camaro flywheel and clutch disk that were, in combination, five pounds too light.  Parts that are found to be out of compliant with racing specifications are not returned to the race teams.  Adams’ machine is now set up with a flywheel, pressure plate and clutch assembly from a 1969 Corvette – parts that, according to Adams’ team, meet the weight specifications…

“It’s a catastrophe – a hole in the oil pan.”  That was the word from Scott Serydynski’s crew after the veteran Sportsman driver’s No. 22 was pushed off the track and into the pit during practice.  “Broke a motor; cannot change it now,” said Serydynski as he seemed to take the evening-ending breakdown in stride.  Serydynski is the only repeat winner in the Sportsman division this year…

Sportsman fans might have noticed that Anthony Kohler’s No., 30 has been missing in action the last three weeks.  Kohler’s racecar endured heavy damage on May 27th when it was caught in the last lap smash up that left Rob Murphy’s No.1 machine resting on its side.  A week later it was caught up in another metal bender.  “Bent the rear end, springs, frame…” said Kohler who hopes to have the No. 30 back on the track soon…

If it’s not broke, fix it!  That seemed to have been Mike Cavallaro’s pre-race strategy on his No. 80 Sport Truck.  While Cavallaro posted the best time in practice (14.8 s / 81.1 mph), he nevertheless made adjustments to the right rear end of his machine prior to the feature.  “There’s no prize for practice!” exclaimed the six time track champion…

Technical inspector Chris Dumont was huddled with Sportsman driver Craig Pianka discussing the elevation of a 3-1/2 inch diameter, convex mirror mounted on Pianka’s roll cage bar running up along the driver’s side windshield post.  Dumont appeared to be concerned that the mirror was too high, thereby allowing the driver to use the mirror to impermissibly look through the rear window.  A driver may only use such a mirror to get a rear view down the car’s left side…

Chad Baxter’s second place finish in the Sportsman main event on July 8th was erased when his No. 10 was disqualified for a crankshaft height infraction.  Chad’s brother, Joe Baxter, reports that height issue was corrected this prior to this week’s racing when the team put in a Nat Chiavettone built motor into the Richard Sprague-owned machine…

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