Seekonk Speedway Race Magazine August 19th - Page 18

Ryan Kuhn is no stranger to Legends wins on Fast Fridays, but had not yet taken a win in Late Models, his current, Saturday night division. But the Crab Manchester Memorial Race was destined to change that. Kuhn led all fifty laps of the extra-distance feature, He went to a lead the length of a straightaway and stayed there, well away from the crowd battling behind him. The race continued for 45 laps without caution.

But with fifteen laps remaining, Austin Blais, pushing the limits, had his back end snap out from under him and the lead collapsed into a restart. It took three tries to get going again on lap 45, then one more with three remaining. Kuhn had Dylan Estrella on the outside of the front row and wasn’t as able to step away as he had at the outset. But Kuhn pulled it together and held off the current champ all the way to the checkers for his first division win.

As Kuhn pulled away from the start, Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. got under outside polesitter Keith Caruso. Kuhn went three cars up as Caruso fell back and Charlie Rose nosed in under DeGasparre and Estrella was working under Caruso.

On the fourth circuit, Kuhn was leading by a half-straight as Estrella had moved up to be looking under Rose for second and pushed in on turn three. They went door-to-door down the front stretch while the field strung out single file. DeGasparre followed the duelers with Jake Johnson, Vinny Arrenegado and Caruso in tow. The file remained the same over the next three laps. With ten laps down, Kuhn was ahead by a straight.

Johnson was looking at DeGasparre for position and dived under in turn two. Nick Uhrig watched from behind as Johnson and then Arrenegado got by and ran nose-to-tail with Rose behind Estrella.

Arrenegado began looking for Johnson’s spot and ran in underneath on lap 18. Jake battled him on the outside, and they hacksawed back and fourth through lap 23, when Johnson nosed ahead. By lap 25, he was nearly past before Vinny found some more revs in his engine and charged back. Johnson moved forward again in lap 26 and they seesawed into lap 27, where Jake got sideways in front of Arrenegado’s nose. He

would have gone completely around, but Arrenegado nosed into his front fender and straightened him out.

DeGasparre seized the moment to charge past them both. Vinny recovered to pursue while Johnson, still working to recover, slid back some, givinv Uhrig the opportunity to sail past. Jake pushed back on the outside to run wheel-to-wheel with him as Blais, Caruso and Ryan Lineham gave chase. With 35 laps down, Uhrig and Johnson were still fighting the good fight over sixth place.

At the front, Kuhn’s romp continued. It seemed an even match with Estrella, but Kuhn still remained a straightaway ahead and as Estrella would close in slightly, Ryan would take the distance back.

As Uhrig finally succeeded at besting Johnson in turn four of lap 44, Blais’ rear wheels lost their grip and he went around. Now Estrella was on Kuhn shoulder for the restart. Rose and DeGasparre backed them up with Arrenegado and Johnson in row three. The realignment to the previous completed lap cost Uhrig the sixth he had worked so feverishly to secure through the fiercest challenge of the event.

At the green, Kuhn nosed ahead on Estrella down the backstretch. Rose got under Estrella, distracting the latter from his pursuit of the leader. DeGasparre came loose and Arrenegado had nowhere to go and piled in, completing Gerry’s spin.

They lined again, without a lap completed but Caruso tried to drop in on Johnson, made contact and went around bringing a third restart on the same lap.

This time they were away and Kuhn had a fender past Estrella crossing the stripe and had the front to himself coming out of turn two. Arrenegado got under Estrella and they battled but Caruso then went around on the frontstretch, bringing caution and a three-lap shootout on the restart.

Rose and Arrenegado backed up the two leaders with Johnson and Jeramme Lillie in row three. Teammates Lineham and Uhrig were side-by-side behind them.

The leaders battled across the line with Kuhn pressing ahead in turn two. He took the lead for himself coming out of turn four while Arrenegado once again went under Estrella. Estrella fired up and the dueled door-to-door with Rose awaiting the results behind them.

But the laps wore down, and they flashed under the checkers behind Kuhn with Estrella over Arrenegado by a fender, followed by Rose and Johnson.

Sixth went to Lillie, followed by Lineham, DeGasparre, Blais, Uhrig and Bill Bernard. Bernard was making a rare appearance this season as the promoter of the Crab Manchester Memorial and awarded trophies for the event to the winners.