Thompson, CT — The Whelen Modified Tour event was stopped at lap 107 on Thursday night after an incident that involved John Blewett of Howell, NJ. John was transported to Hubbard Regional Hospital in Webster, MA for further evaluation. At press time, no information was available on John’s condition. No decisions have been made regarding the remainder of the 150-lap event.
Earlier in the evening, Tommy Cravenho of Raynham, MA, withstood a number of cautions to score his first victory of the season. Fred Astle, Jr. of N. Westport, MA, continues to run strong in the Pro Stock division winning his second feature event in three weeks. Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI streaked to consecutive wins in the Late Model division. Ed Puleo of Branford was another first time winner on the season after taking down the victory in the Limited Sportsman Division. Roger Larson, Jr. of Milford, MA, and Rick Blanchard of Pascoag, RI, added to their win tallies in the TIS Modified and Mini Stock divisions respectively.
Tommy Cravenho of Raynham, MA, withstood a number of restarts in a caution-marred Sunoco Modified event to score his first feature win of the season. After taking the lead from pole sitter Buddy Charette, Harry Rheaume took his spot at the head of the pack. Rheaume had plenty of company as John Blewett III dogged the leader from the opening lap. A handful of laps later, John Blewett was the new leader.
It was a three-wide battle for the second position with Rheaume, Kerry Malone, and Jimmy Blewett. The trio entered turn one stacked up. Ji. Blewett shot out of the pack in second. He immediately ran down his brother John. The team cars went wheel-to-wheel for an entire lap before Jimmy claimed the top spot on lap eight.
While Kerry Malone slowed on the speedway, Rheaume, who was running third, made hard contact with the outside wall. Rocco was sent to the tail of the field for his involvement in the incident.
The Blewett Brothers were vying for the same piece of real estate on the restart when contact sent Jimmy into the outside wall to bring out the yellow. Under caution, Rocco headed to pit road with a broken rear axle. Jo. Blewett headed down pit road as well handing the lead over to Cravenho.
There was mayhem on the ensuing attempt at a restart when Ceravolo went spinning at the start/finish line. Danny Cates ended up against the turn one wall with heavy damage. Under the caution, the point leader, Woody Pitkat, headed down pit road for service.
The third attempt on the restart was a charm with Cravenho jumping out to the lead. Cravenho immediately stretched his lead while Bert Marvin and Buddy Charette battled for second. Marvin was able to gain the position on a lap 12. Geoff Gernhard was also able to advance his position into third.
Gernhard made a power move on Marvin exiting turn two to take over the second spot on lap 15. Cravenho continued to stretch his lead. By the time the caution flew on lap 22, Jo. Blewett had already made his way back into the top five. The incident that caused the caution involved Eric LeClair and Dave Salzarulo. Pitkat and Ceravolo took advantage of the yellow to come down pit road.
On the restart, it was all Cravenho leaving Gernhard to hold off Marvin. At that point, Rocco had rejoined the field. The problems for the field continued when James Harrison came to rest on the front stretch. After only a few laps of green flag racing, an incident on the backstretch necessitated the caution. The #16 of Ceravolo came to rest atop the #09 of Brad VanHouten.
The final four laps were welcomingly uneventful with Cravenho stretching his lead. The closing laps also featured one of the best races of the night. The battle for the runner-up position heated up with Gernhard holding second over Marvin and Jo. Blewett.
Cravenho went unchallenged over the final laps to earn his first victory of the season. Gernhard had a career day holding on for second over Bert Marvin. Jo. Blewett and Pitkat rebounded from early race incidents to complete the top five.
Fred Astle, Jr. of N. Westport, MA, held off Jeff Zuidema to earn his second Pro Stock feature win of the season. Polesitter Norm Wrenn had led the first nine laps of the main event before dropping from the lead with mechanical troubles, also bringing out the caution. Second-running Zuidema inherited the lead with Astle on the outside.
On the restart, Astle looked like he was shot out of a cannon on the restart, handily taking over the top spot. Zuidema settled back into the second position with the point leader Mike O’Sullivan running in third.
After taking chase, Zuidema came back to life as the race approached halfway. Zuidema edged closer but never mustered up a solid challenge on Astle. He settled back in line briefly. Jay Macedonio, backing up his winning performance last week, was running strong in fourth. Berghman was mired back in the fifth position.
Zuidema began to look racy again with ten laps to go. He was better on exit of the corner, getting along side the leader briefly before Astle would drive away on the straightaways. The pursuit continued through the final laps with Astle maintaining the top spot, ultimately taking down the win. Zuidema, who has struggled in recent weeks, settled for second. O’Sullivan quietly came home third. In the late stages, Berghman made a last ditch effort on Macedonio; however, the young driver was up to the challenge.
In a feature event that was the polar opposite of the Sunoco Modified main event, Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI, scored his seventh win of the season in a caution free event. The action featured much of the same in the Late Model division with Rick Gentes and Mark Jenison duking it out for the win.
Gentes took the lead on lap eight from early leader R.J. Marcotte. With Jenison now occupying the second position, the front two began stretching their lead. Just past halfway, a side-by-side battle for the third position featured Marcotte and Dennis Perry. Equally as heated was the battle between O’Sullivan and Oliveira for the sixth spot.
Jenison had nothing for Gentes in the closing stages of the event. The victory allowed Gentes to inch closer to Jenison in the point standings, the margin only four points. Perry bested Marcotte to finish third. O’Sullivan came home fifth edging out Oliveira.
Ed Puleo of Branford has run strong all season long but until tonight had been shut out of Limited Sportsman victory lane. Scott Sundeen set sail at the start of the Limited Sportsman 20-lapper immediately stretching his lead over the pack. With Ed Puleo alone in second the best battle under green flag conditions for third was Larry Barnett and Joe Arena. Barnett finally freed himself of Arena; leaving Arena to fend off Keith DeSanctis.
Sundeen watched his lead disappear when the caution flew on lap 13 for an incident involving John Carpenter. It was a drag race to turn one with Barnett and Puleo going wheel to wheel for the lead. Barnett made it three wide entering turn two. Sundeen made contact with the outside wall while the rest of the field scattered. Further contact found Barnett spinning in front of the pack. With nowhere to go Jay Chicolas made hard contact.
On the restart, Sundeen and Puleo once again battled for the top spot. Puleo was able to gain the advantage, leaving Sundeen, DeSanctis and Arena to wage a three car battle for second. DeSanctis came out of the pack in second as Puleo began to inch away.
Sundeen and Arena continued to battle before mechanical failure sent Sundeen to pit road. In the closing laps, DeSanctis could not reel in the leader. Puleo cruised to the win over DeSanctis and Arena. Ernie LaRose and Jay Pepin rounded the top five. Luck was also on Puleo’s side, he had to have a wrecker remove his car from victory lane with a flat tire.
Early leader Ron Rixham had worked his way out to a sizeable lead but Rick Blanchard was on the march. He had run down the leader before the first caution flew on lap three. Blanchard was the new leader after the restart. Almost immediately, it was a two car battle for the top spot when a charging Brad Caddick began to show his hand at halfway.
Blanchard held strong in the top spot; holding off the advances of Caddick. The two played cat and mouse for the remainder of the race but Blanchard proved to be too strong. At the checkers it was Blanchard, Caddick and Steve Michalski. Rixham had to settle for a fourth-place finish ahead of point leader Mike Romano.
Roger Larson, Jr. of Milford, MA scored an impressive victory in the Mini Stock main event on Thursday night. Shane Michalski led the field to the green and set the pace in the early going while Larson was the man on the move.
By lap 4 he was reeling in the leader. The best battle was for 3rd between Kurt Vigeant and Tim Sullivan. Sullivan took the spot and set his sights on the leaders. Roger Larson took the lead on lap 8. Larson held on for his third win of the season. Sullivan was second, followed by Shane Michalski, Vigeant and Leo Adams rounded out the top five.
Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Tommy Cravenho, Raynham, MA; 2. Geoff Gernhard, Salem, CT; 3. Bert Marvin, Waterford, CT; 4. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ; 5. Woody Pitkat, Stafford, CT; 6. Steve Masse, Bellingham, MA; 7. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY; 8.Buddy Charette, Woodstock, CT; 9. Ricky Shawn, Branford, CT; 10. Danny Lajeunesse, Norwich, MA.
Pro Stock Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Fred Astle, Jr., N. Westport, MA; 2. Jeff Zuidema, N. Brookfield, MA; 3. Mike O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 4. Jay Macedonio, Somerset, MA; 5. Dave Bergham, Seekonk, MA; 6. Les Rose, Jr., E. Wareham, MA; 7. Andy Johnson, Rehoboth, MA; 8. George Bessette, Danbury, CT; 9. Steve Desmarias, Westport, MA; 10. Jim Banfield, S. Glastonbury, CT.
Late Model Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Rick Gentes, Woonsocket, RI; 2. Mark Jenison, Danielson, CT; 3. Dennis Perry, Pawcatuck, CT; 4. R.J. Marcotte, Millville, MA; 5. Tommy O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 6. Mark Oliviera, Blackstone, MA; 7. Paul Newcomb, Jr., Plymouth, MA; 8. Pete Yetman, Peru, MA; 9. John Materas, Voluntown, CT; 10. Jeff Hesselton, Auburn, MA.
Limited Sporstman Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Ed Puleo, Branford, CT; 2. Keith DeSanctis, Monson, MA; 3. Joe Arena, Kensington, CT; 4. Ernie Larose, Plainfield, CT; 5. Jay Pepin, Ridgefield, CT; 6. Jesse Gleason, Lisbon, CT; 7. Tim Taylor, Wauregan, CT; 8. John Bercham, W. Greenwich, RI; 9. Brian Blaise, Colchester, CT; 10. Chris Bisson, Putnam, CT.
Mini Stock Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Rick Blanchard, Pascoag, RI; 2. Brad Caddick, New London, CT; 3. Steve Michalski, Dayville, CT; 4. Ron Rixham, Jefferson, MA; 5. Mike Romano, Pascoag, RI; 6. Scott Michalski, Killingly, CT; 7. Leo Defevers, Brooklyn, CT; 8. Mike Anzalone, Griswold, CT; 9. Chuck Rodgers, Quaker Hill, CT; 10. Steve Romjue, Coventry, RI.
TIS Modifieds (Top Ten) Feature Finish: 1. Roger Larson, Jr. Milford, MA; 2. Tim Sullivan, South Windsor, CT; 3. Shane Michalski, Woodstock, CT: 4. Kurt Vigeant, Osford, MA; 5. Leo Adams, Putnam, CT: 6. Glenn Boss, Danielson, CT; 7. Mike Viens, Seekonk, MA; 8. Richie Ferreira, Raynham, MA; 9. Leo Oliviera, Raynham, MA; 10. Josh Walmsley, Scotland, CT.