Seekonk, MA — On Saturday, June 28, Bill Bernard held on to win his first career Late Model feature in the Phil’s Propane 50. In a race that went green to checker, Bernard fought off a hard charging Gerry DeGasparre in the latter half of the event.
Berkley’s Jake Vanada jumped out front under the double greens, and set the pace for the first several laps. Polesitter Bob Hussey followed Vanada for a few laps before being overtaken by rookie Frank Duquette. Duquette, using the outside lane, picked up the lead at lap seven, but could only keep the NAC Security & Sound System Chevy at the front for one lap before the Ashland Lumber Chevy of Bernard followed on the outside and took over the reigns on lap nine.
Gerry DeGasparre and Ryan Vanasse, the only winners on the season heading into the Phil’s Propane 50, started ninth and tenth respectively, and were working their way through the field methodically, with the A-1 Custom Auto Body Chevy of DeGasparre moving into the top five by lap 10.
Once out front, Bernard pulled away from the field, putting several lengths between he and Duquette. At lap ten, the top five were Bernard, Duquette, Vanada, DeGasparre and Randy Burr. While Gerry was using the outside to move up, Vanada was sliding back in the Hot Dogs & More #28, falling out of the top five by lap 18. Vanasse cracked the top five at lap thirteen.
Using the outside lane, DeGasparre took over the runner-up spot at lap 17, and started closing in on Bernard. By the time the field crossed at the halfway, the defending champion was just a couple of car lengths behind the leader. As they closed in on the back of the field, DeGasparre slid up the track and looked to the outside of Bernard. The duo raced side by side for several laps and they fought for the lead. Neither driver gave an inch, and several times they touched. DeGasparre tapped the wall on more than one occasion, and started to lose the handles on his machine, allowing Bernard to re-take the lead. With ten laps to go, and racing through heavy lapped traffic, Vanasse moved past Duquette for third and tried to close up the distance, but ran out of time.
“I’m a little out of breath,” a tired Bernard exclaimed. “There are so many people I need to thank for this. First of all I want to thank God for giving me a second chance at life, to the men and women at Women and Brigham’s Hospital, to my doctor, the surgeons that operated on me this past winter. Thanks to my crew chief Joe Ardeen, Joe, this one’s for you. Thanks to all my sponsors, Ashland Lumber, Pinehill Woodcrafters, Carney Painting, Installations Plus, and all the guys that support us. And a special thanks to Phil’s Propane for helping keep us afloat.
The ARC Pro Stocks ran the remainder of their Cerelli Foods qualifier, with 48 laps of non-stop action. With 28 laps complete at the start of this event, Dave Darling and Fred Astle Jr were one-two. Darling was already a guaranteed starter by virtue of his win in the opening day 75 lap qualifier. Jeramee Lillie, Rick Martin and Tom Scully Jr sat in the top five as the green unfurled.
Darling jumped out front and set the pace for the remaining 47 laps, with Astle settling right behind. Jr Scully quickly started his march, and moved past Martin within a couple of laps, and worked his Wheelock’s NAPA Auto Parts Chevy around the Houle Motorsports Chevy of Jeramee Lillie by lap 36. By that time, Darling and Astle had already pulled away, and without a caution, Scully was unable to mount a charge for the top two positions, closing in to a few car lengths of Astle at the finish.
Rick Martin, making his first appearance in a Pro Stock this season, had his hands full with the Nunes Builders Chevy, as the handles seem to go away relatively quickly after the green. Martin hung into the top five until the half-way point, but started to fade, falling out of the top ten by the end of the event. Ken Spencer, who was running third when the caution came out on lap 28, had a tire go down just and pitted just moments before the ARC officials postponed the event on June 20. Having to start at the tail end of the field, the Hadrose Well Drilling Chevy was up to the task, and Spencer started to work his way through the field. Just at the halfway point, Spencer cracked the top ten, and continued to work through the pack. Without the aid of a caution, he could only get up to the seventh position, the final car on the lead lap.
The fiercest battle on the track over the final 20 laps was the race for sixth. The Impact Collision Parts Ford of Mike Brightman had the position, and continued to hold off the Tom Barboza Excavating Dodge until the checked flag fell. Murphy tried to make the pass several times, using the outside and the inside, but Brightman was strong enough to hold off all of the challenges, finishing sixth and seventh respectively.
“This car is unbelievable,” Darling stated. Ronnie Pond has hit the nail on the head with this car. I have to thank Gary Johnson, Johnson Landscaping, Almeida Farms, Pepsi, and Holiday Cruises of Lakeville, and thanks to the fans for coming out tonight.”
In the Seekonk Sport Trucks, Rick Martin picked up his fifth win of the season, besting Jody Tripp for the win once again. Jariah Roderick jumped out from his outside pole position, and led the first lap before New Bedford’s Lenny Guy took over the lead from a lap one restart. Mike Ronhock, who started sixth, quickly made his way up into second, but only for a couple of laps before Martin was able to slide by on lap eight.
Jody Tripp started ninth on the grid, and fell back a spot on the start before starting his climb forward. It wasn’t until lap seven when Tripp moved his Silver Key Inc. Chevy into the top five, overtaking Barry Shaw for fourth on the next lap. The second caution came out on lap 9 when John Dumas and Brian Murray got together in turn 4.
Martin used the restart to make his move, and overtook Guy for the lead for good on lap ten. Tripp moved into second on the following lap, with Guy hanging on for third. Mike Ronhock and Barry Shay rounded out the top five at the halfway point. Dumas and Murray would bring out the fourth and final caution when they got together on lap 17.
Over the final eight laps, Tripp would pull every trick out of the book to try to find his way to the top of the leader board, but would not be able to overtake the now five time winner. The fight for fourth and fifth was heating up, as John Paiva and Barry Shaw both slid past Ronhock, and went back and fourth for the fourth and fifth positions. As they came down for the checkered, Shaw took over the fourth position, with Paiva settling for fifth.
Upon post-race inspection, Shaw failed inspection and was dis-qualified from his fourth place finish, moving Paiva up to fourth with Mike Ronhock rounding out the top five.
“I never thought I would have this kind of season,” Martin stated about his 5 wins in seven races. “We worked toward it all winter, but so did everyone else. I have to thank my dad, George Climos, G Lopes, Estrella’s Trucking, Richie’s Auto Radio, Excel Recycling, Total Welding Supply, and all these guys that help me out over the week.
Jim Silvia became the first repeat winner in the Street Stocks in a quest for survival. Silvia took over the lead on a lap eleven restart, and survived through several more restarts. Johnston’s Crystal Serydynski jumped into the lead on the start, and settled in at the top of the field with Roland Wheeler battling tough outside and then behind her.
Mike Lima was using the outside lane and moved into second position by lap five and started to put heavy pressure on Serydynski. The pair raced side by side for the lead for several laps, with Crystal hanging on at the top through a couple of cautions. Under a lap ten caution, Serydynski was forced to pit, handing the lead over to Mike Lima with Silvia second. Silvia got the jump and took over the lead from Lima. Wheeler continued to hang on to third.
Over the final ten laps, several cautions were displayed for simple spins to Justin Travis, Chris Rioux and Dan Gamache Jr all slapping the outside wall on the backstretch after Roland Wheeler stalled in turn two. Only Travis was able to continue.
After going to a single file restart at lap 17, the rest of the race was run without incident, as Jim Silvia crossed the line for his second win of the season. Lima held on for second over Brian Spillane, Mike Mitchell and Ray Negley.
“I have to thank Rob Southwork for working on my car all week while I was busy painting,” Silvia stated after climbing out in Victory Lane. “Thanks to CP Watson Landscaping Materials for sponsoring me. This is great.”
Saturday night ARC racing continues on Saturday, July 5, as we take a step back in time. The cars of yesteryear with the New England Antique Racers, Senior Tour Auto Racers and the Atlantic Coast Old Timers come to town and bring us back to our youth. The Pro Stocks, Late Models, Street Stocks and Seekonk Sport Trucks will be on hand as well.
On Sunday, the Valvoline Independence Day Celebration will bring fans together for an evening of celebration. Spectator Drags, Pure Stock Racing, Enduro car and truck Drags, Enduro Racing, Car & Truck Figure 8’s, Fireworks, our world famous Demolition Derby and more will keep fans on their feet for a night of action. For more information on these and more events, check out our all-new website at seekonkspeedway.com.
Sources: Kevin Boucher/ Seekonk Speedway PR
Pro Stock (75 laps)
|3||Tom Scully Jr||0||Running|
|10||Tom Scully Sr||0||Running|
Late Model (50 laps)
|2||Gerry DeGasparre Jr||0||Running|
Sport Truck (25 laps)
Street Stock (25 laps)