When $5,000 is on the line for a 100-lap asphalt Modified race, mayhem is just a part of the game. Anthony Sesely someone avoided most of that mayhem Saturday night at Wall Stadium in New Jersey and went from third to the lead in the final corner to pick up the big bucks.
Zack Alspach and Eric Mauriello were battling for the win going into the final turn on a green-white-checkered finish when they made contact in turn three. Alspach went around and Mauriello went right over the top of Alspach's left front tire. Sesely stayed near the outside guardrail to miss it all and that allowed him to pull into victory lane.
"My only chance was just to stay clear of both of them," said Sesely who wasn't sure if the race was really even over after taking the checkered flag. "I rode around saw everybody getting off the track and I thought 'It's pretty clear now. It's over."
Sesely made his way to second place with 30 laps to go but he got spun out in turn two after a hard battle with Andrew Krause. He decided to pit at that point to take on two new tires and rejoined the field in 11th place.
"I was holding Krause up," he said. "At that point my right rear was done already. I couldn't decide on whether to pit or not. I was just trying to maintain and get a little further in the race and then make my decision on what I was going to do. And then when I got looped off of turn two that kind of made it for me."
Sesely battled back and got to the lead with five laps to go. He dove to the bottom of Trevor Alspach going into turn one. They made hard contact and drifted through the center of the corner. Sesely actually went over the top of Alspach's left front tire before completing the pass.
Sesely had to forfeit the lead and head to pit road under caution one lap later because his right front tire was flat after the contact with Alspach.
He was able to make his way back to the front due in large part to a few more crashes.
"I can't believe you can get a flat with four to go and come back to win," said Sesely. "But stupider (things) have happened here at Wall Stadium."
Zack Alspach was able to get his car pointed in the right direction after the contact in the final corner and actually managed to finish second to Sesely. After the race he took most of the blame for what happened on the final lap.
"It was the last lap," said Alspach. "It was $5,000 to win. I put a block on him and he was there and we just went sideways into three. I feel anybody else would have done the same thing. Anything goes."
Mauriello was dejected after the race, but he mostly agreed with Alspach's take.
"It was racing," he said. "I got under him. He came down. We ended up how we ended up."
Most of the race was dominated by Zane Zeiner who started second, but took the lead on the exit of turn two on the first lap. Zeiner led the first 90 laps before losing the lead to Trevor Alspach. Zeiner chose to try to make it the whole way on one set of tires when most other drivers took on new sets of rubber with about 30 to go.
Even when it seemed Zeiner's tires were starting to go away he was still able to hold off Sesely and many other challengers for quite a while before Alspach muscled his way by and made way for Sesely.
Sesely has scaled back his number of races at Wall and is only doing the big money shows. He's won twice in three appearances so far this year.
"It's pretty cool that it's going to say Anthony Sesely wins $5,000 and not Matt Hirschman," he said with a smile.
By Rob Blount, Twitter: @robblount - Regional Editor (CT, NJ and Long Island) for Speed51.com
MODIFIED FEATURE – 100 Laps – 1. ANTHONY SESELY, MATAWAN, 2. Zack Alspach, 3. Adam LaCicero, 4. Andrew Krause, 5. Jason Hearne, 6. Steven Reed, 7. Zane Zeiner, 8. Scott Branick, 9. Chad Churilla, 10. Jason Treat, 11. Eric Mauriello, 12. Trevor Alspach, 13. Shawna Ingraham, 14. Shaun Carrig, 15. Chas Okerson, 16. Glenn Slocum, Jr., 17. Ken Woolley, Jr., 18. Derek Hopkinson, 19. Patrick Verwise