Seekonk Speedway Race Magazine June 23rd-28th Recap - Page 25

It was a question of who ran second, as Matt Hirschman turned a pass of Justin Bonsignore on the third circuit into 97 laps at the front of the hundred-lap Tri-Track Open Modifieds feature. And collected the $10,000.00 check offered for his efforts.

Bonsignore had led from the pole, but Hirschman leveraged a lap two restart with Bonsignore into race leadership – and his number 60 appeared atop the leaderboard for the rest of the distance. He had plenty of company, as Bonsignore chased him all the way to lap 15, then Ron Silk jumped into the pursuit through lap 42. Tommy Barret put his oar in for the next seven laps but Silk grabbed it back until Rowan Pennink roared in with nine laps remaining just beyond the halfway point. Barrett did not go easily, and nosed past again,but Pennink remained in control and surged ahead after three laps. That is, until McKennedy asserted himself. McKennedy had gotten past Barrett into third and became a misery to Pennink. McKennedy was able to conquer the runnerup spot on the ninety-first circuit and now became a misery to Hirschman. The latter, however, had saved just enough of his car and tires to hold off the hard-charger to the checkers for a 5/8-second margin. Pennink rolled in just a second-and-a-half afterward, followed by Anthony Nocella and Barrett.

It was a story of two races. The affair began with a collection of cautions and drivers running for the pits to make adjustments and change rubber. The second half was what the crowd came for: just over fifty laps of green and big motors pushing wide tires to high speed around the third-of-a-mile bullring. Hirschman was able to enjoy an unimpeded view and clear air for 97 laps after his pass of Bonsignore.

Bonsignore and Hirschman dueled over the lead and Bonsignore won the spot, but Doug Coby was loose and spun on the backstretch. He, Mike Douglas, Jr. and Blake Barney headed pitside. Only Barney was able to return. On the lap two restart, they brawled again and Bonsignore pulled ahead but Hirschman heated it up and surged into the lead on turn three. It was the last time in 100 laps total that competitors saw anything but his rear bumper. Berndt leveraged past Jon Kievman into third while Silk worked over Berndt for the position in response. As Berndt faded from third to be replaced by Silk, Bonsignore continued to pursue Hirschman.

Suddenly Richard Savary and Barney became locked together, nose-to-tail and slowed markably. Caution flew just before they disentangled, and the field lined up for a restart. Hirschman pulled away from Bonsignore, who dropped in behind. Silk joined them and the lead trio ran nose-to-tail with Barrett and McKennedy behind them. Silk moved up to replace Bonsignore and Barrett moved the latter back to fourth. McKennedy and Pennink then replaced Bonsignore and Pennink put Barret between himself and McKennedy.

Silk went to second behind Hirschman, while McKennedy moved into fourth on Pennink’s bumper. But Anthony Nocella went around, involving seven others,who all spun between turns one and two to avoid him. Chris Pasteryak went pitside dragging a trail of sparks, to end his night. Also lost to the event were Eric Goodale, Jeff Rocco and Savary. The 26-car field was now down to 19 with eighty laps remaining.

Hirschman and Silk lined up, followed by Barrett and McKennedy, then Pennink and Bonsignore. On the green, Pennink had problems on the start, causing an accordion effect in the field and the mad scramble saw Earl Paules grind to a halt on the back stretch. He restarted and they tried once again. Hirschman nosed out and Silk dropped into second. McKennedy nabbed third followed by Barrett and Pennink. Barrett went to the outside for some wheel-to-wheel with McKennedy. The latter nosed ahead with Pennink now running a solid fifth, ahead of Ryan Preece, Bonsignore, Nocella and Woody Pitkat; the field was now running single file.

Lap 30 saw Hirshcman with a two-car lead over Silk while another two back, Barrett, Pennink and Preece ran nose-to-tail. Five laps later, Silk and McKennedy were doing the same with Hirschman. In the pack, Nocella was pressing past Todd Annarummo into eighth. But Dennis Perry spun to bring a lap 39 restart.

McKennedy looked under Silk on the green and fell back with Barret getting under him. And into third. But Kurt Vigeant went around solo on the backstretch into turn three. Hirschman won the battle with Silk again and Barrett then went door-to-door with the latter. Hirschman took the opportunity to get his two-car lead back as Barrett succeeded at stealing second. Pennink, holding fourth, chased Silk.

With the final caution cleared, now the battle began in earnest. Hirschman continued to roll out to a five-car lead just after the race’s midpoint as Silk got back into second and Pennink went under Barret, to secure third on the front stretch into lap 53. McKennedy pressed Barrett back into fifth, followed by Nocella and Preece. The field stretched out and speeds went up with the single-file running.

The lead remained at five cars over Silk; behind him a four-car train ran nose-to-tail: Pennink, McKennedy, Barrett and Nocella. McKennedy went to the outside of Pennink as the latter looked under Silk and went alongside, grabbing second and one lap later, McKennedy grabbed third Nocella began working under Silk, who was stuck on the otside, watching the freight train pass underneath him.

At the three-quarters point, Hirschman’s five-car lead was still secure, while Pennink kept the same margin over McKennedy.. Nocella and Barrett completed the top five in running order. Preece and Silk brawled for position behind them. Preece succeeded in dislodging Silk and Les Hinkley went by Barney to steal seventh from Silk. The latter’s pain was not over as Annarummo took him out of eighth. Hinckley had come into field from the Modifieds consi and had labored his way up froma 22nd-place start.

The field ran eight laps with no change until Pitkat passed Barney to go nerfbar-to-nerfbar with Silk. The spot seesawed between them until Pitkat secured the position on lap 88.

McKennedy had been eying Pennink in third and went to work. His late-race histrionics succeeded in propelling him into second and he began to close on the leader, but it was by increments and with nine laps remaining, the outcome was doubtful. Still, McKennedy continued to close and picked up some speed. He got to Hirschman’s bumper, but the leader used some of the chutspa he had been saving while leading and held McKennedy at bay to the finish. McKennedy still looked all over Hirschman’s bumper enroute to the checkers but no solution was found.

Hirschman flashed underneath the fluttering checkers just .698 seconds ahead of McKennedy, rapidly succeeded by Pennink, Nocella and Barret. Hinckley finished sixth, followed by Preece, Annarummo, Pitkat, Barney, Silk, Berndt and Bonsignore.