Seekonk Speedway Race Magazine August 19th - Page 29

Chase Belcher celebrated his fifth win on the season, further cementing his lead at the top of the division’s standings. But it wasn’t easy, as Mike Duarte had commanded the front from lap 10 until the final lap, and had done a masterful job of holding Belcher off from lap 11 until lap two of the final circuit. Chase, while holding off an insistent Barry Shaw, found enough room to work under Duarte in turn two of the white flag lap, ran wheel-to-wheel with his opponent then broke to the front coming off the final turn. Their drag race to the finish saw Belcher gain the front with Duarte’s nose alongside Belcher’s rear quarter as they careened under the checkers. Duarte was second while Shaw scored third to remain in second place in the points. Josh Hedges and then Ed Perry completed the top five.

Coming down to the green, John Robidoux came off the pole to outdistance Lenny Guy for the initial lead of the feature, while Darryl Church wedged in under Lenny as Robidoux immediately took a one-car lead. Church fell back as Guy held on to second. Church suddenly found himself in a three-wide as Duarte went underneath and Ed Perry simultaneously went to the outside.

Duarte shot ahead and Shaw moved underneath with Church and Perry outside for another three-wide. By lap 3, Robidoux had Guy on his bumper while Duarte was tight on Guy’s tailgate. Now Shaw rushed up and the four leaders ran nose-to-tail in lap 3. Belcher and Hedges ran up to make the bumper-to-bumper a five-car affair.

Duarte stuck his nose under Guy and stole second going into turn two on lap four and one circuit later, Shaw had jumped in underneath with Belcher, Hedges, David Simpson and Perry following.

Robidoux’ mirror revealed Duarte running high and low, looking for a way to the front. Duarte chose the high road and Shaw began prospecting the low side as Duarte came alongside Robidoux. Robidoux continued to burn the asphalt, holding Duarte outside as Shaw, then Belcher and Hedges bursued, awaiting the resolution of Duarte’s challenge.

The latter nosed ahead down the backstretch on lap 10 then dropped in on turn three. Robidoux did not yield and there was contact, sending him around in turn four.

Front row for the restart consisted of Duarte and Shaw. Belcher and Hedges were behind them with Simpson and Guy in row three. It took Duarte just one lap to burst out to a four-car lead and Belcher got under Shaw into second. Belcher pared it down to three cars on the following circuit while Hedges was all over Shaw’s tailgate, looking for position. Guy spun on lap fourteen, bringing caution. Doug Rioux was called for the assist and retired to the pits.

Now Duarte had Belcher on his shoulder for the lap fifteen restart. Shaw and Hedges were set to battle from the second row with Simpson and Perry ahead of Church and Robidoux. They were side-by-side out of the box, through turn two and into turn three before Duarte could edge a nose out in turn four. Shaw got under Belcher, who powered up on the outside and ran ahead, but couldn’t get enough past to drop in. Shaw held him out there for two laps before Belcher could settle to the groove on lap 18. Perry rushed in under Simpson for fifth, succeeding in turn three.

Lap 20 saw Belcher back on Duarte’s bumper and he pressed a withering attack, high and low. He continued this assault through the final five laps to the finish, able to press forward by ¾ of a carlength.

Simpson claimed sixth, followed by Robidoux, Guy, Church, Robert Jackson and Rob Rainville.