ACCORD, NY – On the first lap of Monday night’s ‘Battle of the Bullring 5’ at Accord Speedway, Anthony Perrego thought he gave away his chances at a victory.
On the last lap, he got those chances back.
Perrego, of Montgomery, N.Y., wheeled the Superior Remodeling No. 44 to a Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By VP big-block/small-block Modified triumph in the most spectacular fashion: with a last-lap, last-corner pass of Jimmy Wells to take home a $5,000 payday.
The win for Perrego was his second of the 2017 STSS season, having previously won on the eve of Memorial Day at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Center Lisle, N.Y.
It was also win No. 2 of the young driver’s career in the ‘Battle of the Bullring’ event. He also won in 2014.
The fifth ‘Battle of the Bullring’ edition literally packed the Accord pit area with 40 STSS Modifieds, 60 STSS Sportsman and 15 Slingshots on hand for a total of 115 race cars.
“I thought I gave it away on the first lap,” Perrego said after climbing to the roof of his Teo-Pro car on the frontstretch before a large crowd. “I got crossed up and gave away those spots and I had to work to get them back.”
Perrego started outside front row for the 50-lap main but got momentarily sideways in turns one and two at the outset, falling to fourth.
Pole starter Rob Rowe led the opening four laps around the tight quarter-mile before the race’s only caution flew. Jimmy Wells established himself as the new leader on the restart.
Two laps later, 11-time champion Rich Ricci Jr. put the family No. 406 into second place behind wells. Perrego followed into third.
By the 14th circuit, slower traffic became a factor as the leaders caught the rear of the 27-car starting field. The veteran Ricci used the back-markers to his advantage, pulling even with the leader on several occasions.
However, Ricci’s bid for a win ended at lap 25 when the New Paltz, N.Y., driver pulled to the infield with fluid pouring from the car.
Perrego then inherited second and began a pursuit of Wells – a Modified rookie – that lasted some 24 laps.
Wells’ No. 831 led lap after lap around the Ulster County track. However, slower traffic allowed Perrego to pull to his bumper with parallel flags in the air from starter Jeff Merkel.
On the final tour, Perrego swung wide in turns one and two, getting a run on Wells who was hung behind slower cars. As Wells drifted wide in turn two, Perrego filled the gap.
The leaders raced side-by-side through turns three and four, with Perrego winning by a bumper at the line as sparks flew.
“I didn’t want to show myself too soon under him so he could protect,” Perrego said of Wells. “He spun his tires enough in (turn) two on the last lap and I had a run.”
Wells, of Rosendale, N.Y., fell just inches short of what could have been a huge upset. Still, he managed a smile afterward.
“This is my first year in a Modified,” he said. “I’m happy to finish second, but the lapped cars made it tough on me. They weren’t giving the room I needed.”
Billy Decker of Sidney, N.Y., made his first Accord start in four years and drove to a third-place result with the Jeremy Smith-owned No. 91.
“It took me about 20 laps to get my rhythm down out there,” said Decker, who has limited laps at the Big A. “Once the driver figured it out, we were fast.”
After a race-long battle with Decker, Walden, N.Y.’s Rob Rowe finished fourth, an outstanding run for the low-budget driver. Completing the front five was Jerry Higbie of Newburgh, N.Y., who started 12th, drove forward in the United Pump & Tank-owned No. 48.
Placing sixth through 10th, respectively, were J.R. Hurlburt of Otego, N.Y., in his Accord debut aboard the Jamie and Denise Page-owned No. 6H; Mike Ricci of Tillson, N.Y., who started 19th in the No. 76R and earned the New York Truck Parts $200 Hard Charger Award; speedway regular Joe Judge of New Paltz, N.Y.; Tommy Meier of Waldwick, N.J., driving the Jeff Behrent No. 3; and Scott Ferrier of Bloomingburg, N.Y.
The Modified feature was completed in just over 13 minutes.
Heat winners for the 40 STSS Modifieds on hand were Jeremy Smith, Billy Van Pelt, Ferrier and Rich Ricci Jr. Two consolations went to Stewart Friesen and Mike Mahaney.
Kyle Rohner of Bushkill, Pa., topped the 25-lap STSS Sportsman feature in impressive fashion. Rohner, who started fourth, lost his left-front shock in a restart tangle less than one-third into the event, and manhandled the car to the $1,000 payday.
Chasing Rohner across the stripe were Cory Cormier, Joey Bonetti, Jamie Yannone and Matt Shultz.
Taylor Mills won a back-and-forth battle with Samantha Muller to annex the 20-lap Slingshot main and the accompanying $300 payday. Muller settled for second with Jake Mason, Jordan Lawrence and Ashton DeWitt in tow.
Racing resumes for the STSS on Sunday, July 16 with the ‘Anthracite Assault’ at Big Diamond Speedway in Minersville, Pa., featuring the Halmar International North Region and Velocita-USA South Region in a combination head-to-head battle plus STSS Sportsman and Roadrunners. The Big Diamond event had been postponed by rain in June.
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BULLRING BITS: A very healthy pre Independence Day crowd congregated at the Ulster County facility, filling every inch of both the spectator parking lot and pit area. Despite the huge car count, racing was completed in its entirety by 10:45 p.m. with no downtime….
The top-two STSS Modified North Region point drivers – Stewart Friesen and Andy Bachetti – were uncharacteristically quiet in the main, placing 13th and 12th, respectively….
Perrego’s Accord conquest was the fourth of his STSS career: two at Accord, one at Thunder Mountain and another at Georgetown (Del.) Speedway….
Series regular Craig Hanson was done for the night with engine issues in hot laps….
The ‘Battle of the Bullring 5’ took place one day shy of 25 years since Accord Speedway reopened on July 4, 1992. The track had been dormant for several years before it was purchased by Dave Flach….
The 2017 Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, VP Racing Fuel, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Allstar Performance, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Hig Fab, Henry’s Exhaust, HyperCo, Keizer Wheels, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, K&N, QA1, Race Pro Weekly, Racing Optics, Teo-Pro Car, Velocita, Weld & Wilwood.
‘BATTLE OF THE BULLRING 5’ RACE SUMMARY – ACCORD SPEEDWAY JULY 5, 2017
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Halmar International North Region Event No. 4 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps):ANTHONY PERREGO, Jimmy Wells, Billy Decker, Rob Rowe, Jerry Higbie, J.R. Hurlburt, Mike Ricci, Joe Judge, Tommy Meier, Scott Ferrier, Billy Van Pelt, Andy Bachetti, Stewart Friesen, Jeremy Smith, Steve Davis, Danny Tyler, Allison Ricci, Mike Mahaney, Danny Creeden, Ryan Jordan, Matt DeLorenzo, Brian Malcolm, Richard Smith, Tyler Siri, Corey Lowitt, Rich Ricci Jr., Nick Nye.
Did Not Qualify: Cory Costa, Tyler Treacy, Bobby Trapper Jr., Rich Eurich, Dan Humes, Matt Janiak, Joey Falanga, Ed Burgess, Craig Hanson, Brian Krummel, Nick Rochinski, Kyle Van Duser, R.J. Daley.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE tire): Mike Ricci (seventh) & Steve Davis (15th)
ATL Fuel Cell Bonus ($200 Certificate): Jerry Higbie (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 gift card): Rob Rowe (fourth) & Tommy Meier (ninth)
Fast Axle Bonus ($50 Certificate): J.R. Hurlburt (sixth)
Keizer Racing Wheels Bonus (FREE Wheel): Jimmy Wells (second)
Land Hoe Maintenance Halfway Leader ($200): Jimmy Wells
New York Truck Parts Hard Charger Award ($200): Mike Ricci (19th to seventh)
QA1 Hard Charger Bonus ($50 Certificate): Mike Ricci (19th to seventh)
VP Racing Fuels Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Jimmy Wells (second), Andy Bachetti (12th) and Brian Malcolm (22nd)
Wade Decker Memorial Guaranteed Starting Spot (Thunder Mountain, July 23): Anthony Perrego (winner)
Weld Wheels Bonus ($50 Certificate): Danny Tyler (16th)
Wilwood ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($50 Certificate): Mike Ricci (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Halmar International North Region Event No. 2 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps):KYLE ROHNER, Cory Cormier, Joey Bonetti, Jamie Yannone, Matt Shultz, Tony Kawalchuk, Brandon McGill, Butch Klinger, Lem Atkins, Milton Mann, Rich Ricci III, Larry Mekic, Chris Stevens, Tyler Johnston, Shayne Spoonhower, Hunter Lapp, Aaron Shelton, Greg McCloskey, Joey Bruning, Dave Demorest, Tighe Sherlock, Roger Henion, Ralph Ronk, Anthony Falanga, Cole Hentschel, Daniel Morgiewicz, Johnny Bangs.
Did Not Qualify: Phil Vigneri III, Alissa Cody, Brad Horton, Stan Vishinski, John Miller, Jake Granacker, Robbie Knipe, Leo Fotopoulos, Phil Goetchius, George Gareis, Chris Lynch, Nick Plumstead, Mike Bell, Mike Senecal, Collin DuBois, Jamie Doolan, Kenny Ryder, Mike DuBois, Nick Johnson, Rafael Carson, Brian White, Anthony Recchio, Chris Van Duser, Jeff Higham, Bob Jashembowski, Chet Doolan, Mike Murphy, Anthony Horton, Shane Henion, Jared Miller, Jim Krauss, Keith Johannssen, Dan Allen.
Slingshot Feature Finish (20 laps): TAYLOR MILLS, Samantha Muller, Jake Mason, Jordan Lawrence, Ashton DeWitt, Blaine Klinger, Nick Del Campo, Dan Malley, Sarah Bohlyn, Kyle Swart, John Kendall, Sheldon Swart, Justin Mills, Anthony Monaco.
Did Not Start: Ashley Rogosich.