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Left: Ben Rowe - 2nd     Center: Kenny Wright - 1st     Right: Chuck LaChance - 3rd     (Lee Truman Photo)

Kenny Wright Scores PASS Win at Maine’s Toughest Oval
By Mark Truman

Unity, Me – Kenny Wright of Woolwich scored one of his biggest Pro Stock victories by taking the checkers in the D.N.K. 150 at Unity Raceway. The race was a makeup from two weeks ago when the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) event was rained out. With the two-week delay, PASS officials were able to secure sponsorship from D.N.K. Select Used Cars of Farmingdale and 38 cars were on hand to attempt to qualify. After a 30 minute rain delay on the evening and several cautions, Wright’s Newmarket
Sand & Gravel Monte Carlo was a car length in front at the checkers to claim the $4,000 first prize.

The Sunoco Time Trials saw 36 cars take two laps on the clock. It was no surprise that Ben Rowe of Turner set the fast time with a lap of 14.703 seconds. It was Rowe’s second straight Sunoco Pole Award as he edged out Sammy Sessions and Wright, who actually ran identical times! Sessions would get the nod due to his lead in the season point championship.

The re-draw for starting position in the Dash for the Pole saw first year driver Cassius Clark pull the top spot with Louie Mechalides to his outside. The story of the race, however, was that Sessions, Rowe, Doug Averill, and other top ten qualifiers found themselves in pretty serious accidents that would put their pit crews to the test. Scott Chubbuck made the move past Clark on lap 9 to take the win and earn the pole for the D.N.K. 150.

True Value Hardware heat races were next and Randy Turner, Patrick Thibodeau, and Chuck LaChance won $50 for their victories. Wayne Helliwell won the consolation race. Russ Hersey, Chip Keene, Gary Bellefleur, and Henry Hudson all received provisional starts to bring the final starting grid to 30 cars.

The D.N.K 150 got underway with Chubbuck pulling away early on. The first of 13 cautions flew on lap 22 which brought Mechalides alongside Chubbuck for a restart. The Cushman Competition Ford Taurus proved to be up to the task and powered around Chubbuck for the lead on lap 24. Mechalides maintained the lead for 5 laps until Kenny Wright made a move down low and took the lead on lap 29. Wright withstood many restarts and fended off the challenges of Chubbuck early on until the new threat of Rowe moved into second place on lap 45. Wright was unaware of all the activity behind him, however, as his
rearview mirror fell off on lap 4.

“I had no idea what those guys were doing back there,” laughed Wright. “My mirror fell off early on so I couldn’t see anything. I think I may have the guys take it off for good if it means more wins.”

The victory certainly was not in the bag as Rowe finally started hitting his stride on a long green flag run starting at lap 99. The driver of the Mechanical Services Monte Carlo is no stranger to leading, and winning, PASS races so it was no surprise to see him knocking on Wright’s back bumper with 50 laps remaining. Rowe checked up several times for Wright out of turn two as the drivers had an outstanding duel for 30 laps.

“I wasn’t going to spin him,” said Rowe after the race. “This is a tough place to pass and I just couldn’t get the run off the corner. The wreck in the Dash (for the Pole) messed up the toe and the guys in the crew did a great job to get us out here for the feature.”

The final caution flew on lap 139, setting the stage for a three-car battle to the finish. Chuck LaChance had raced his Rockland Ford entry into contention on lap 45 and had been able to keep the leaders in sight without mounting a challenge. However, with 11 laps to go, LaChance was on Rowe’s bumper as Rowe tried to find a way around the stubborn Wright. The final laps clicked away with Wright and Rowe inching away from third place. Wright took the white flag with Rowe on his tail and held on to the victory by one car length.

“That was a lot of fun,” said an elated Wright in victory lane. “I’ve learned a lot over the years from following Ralph Nason about how to keep out front at this race track. Ben ran me real clean and could have spun me a couple of times when I made mistakes. I’ve always like racing Ben and I’m happy that I could hold him off tonight.”

Race Notes:
Point leader Sessions suffered multiple flat tires and finished 15th.
Johnny Clark, driver of the D.N.K. Monte Carlo finished 6th.
Chubbuck and Scott Mulkern rounded out the top five.

Cautions: 13
Lead Changes: 2    Leaders: (Chubbuck grid-23, Mechalides 24-28, Wright 29-150)

Sunoco Fast Time: Ben Rowe - 14.703 seconds

True Value heat races:- Heat #1 - #1 - Randy Turner
Heat #2 - #51- Patrick Thibideau          Heat #3 - #38 - Chuck LaChance

Pole Dash Wiiner- #15 Scott Chubbuck

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Official D.N.K. 150 Results
6/1/02 - Unity Raceway

1-02-Kenny Wright 16-33-Richie Dearborn
2-00-Ben Rowe 17-2-Russ Hersey
3-38-Chuck LaChance 18-37-Larry Gelinas
4-15-Scott Chubbuck 19-24-Wayne Helliwell
5-84-Scott Mulkern 20-83-Donny Whitten
6-54c-Johnny Clark 21-29-Louis Mechalides
7-51-Patrick Thibodeau 22-85-Doug Averill
8-77-Dave Gorveatt 23-35-Garry Johnson
9-97-Walt Hammond 24-66-Andy Shaw
10-75-Gary Smith 25-99-George Philbrick
11-7-Bub Bilodeau 26-08-Matt Lee
12-1x-Henry Hudson 27-8-Cassius Clark
13-2x-Chip Keene 28-66x-Mike Parks
14-4x-Steve Nelson 29-1-Randy Turner
15-0-Sam Sessions 30-94-Gary Bellefleur

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The 02 of Kenny Wright

 

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