With Mother Nature providing a spectacular atmosphere and a full-house crowd at Accord Speedway (NY) Saturday afternoon for the fifth running of The Gobbler, 39 Modifieds entered for a chance at the last remaining Northeast dirt racing trophy of the season. Andy Bachetti and Mike Ricci put on a spectacular duel over multiple restarts before Bachetti was able to get the final laugh and take home the $5,500 check.
Bachetti drew the pole, but Ricci got the initial lead at the drop of the green flag. Bachetti reclaimed the lead on one of the early yellows of the 50-lap event, only to be caught sleeping by Ricci on yet another restart. Bachetti reminded Ricci that he would be back with a side nerf bar tap under yellow.
Ricci held the lead through the middle of the race, but the final restart on lap 37 proved to be most decisive. With Ricci choosing the outside line, Bachetti fired off quickly and made a strong run on the inside to take the lead for good.
“We started off with a win at the Hard Clay and we ended it here, that’s a big feat for us. Now, we’re going with a little momentum to next year,” Bachetti told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Gobbler race day did not start out well for Bachetti, after a poor draw in his heat race led to him getting caught in two tangles in the heat race. Bachetti recovered to finish in the transfer spot and top ten redraw for the feature, where he eventually drew the feature pole.
“We had a decent race car, could’ve been a little better,” he admitted. “We got screwed up in the heat, so we didn’t have any time to make it better for the feature. We had to go back here and fix it. It was a little beat up, but overall we were good for the race.”
Restarts were the ultimate battleground for the race lead, with a fresh clay surface proving to be an advantage to the race leaders with clean air as second-place finisher and local favorite Mike Ricci explained.
“You had to be out front for the clean air because the track got a little loose dirt on it. If you’re running second you’re driving the guy behind you and the leader just pulls away.”
In the end, Ricci was satisfied with how both he and Bachetti had raced each other, despite things getting a little close, especially on the late restarts.
“I knew on that last restart Andy had something up his sleeve. We both raced, we banged, but Andy is a professional; we both are. We’ve swapped paint here many times. I wish we had another restart to get him back, but we’ll take a second to end the year,” Ricci said afterwards.
Bachetti was also pleased with how things went, despite a little nerf bar tag under yellow, which Bachetti explained as being a simple reminder with no anger implied.
“It was a good show. Mike’s always fun to race with. One of those cautions I just had to let him know I was back there.”
Behind the dueling pair, 2016 Gobbler winner Anthony Perrego came home third with Joe Judge and Ryan Godown rounding out the top five. Godown went on to win the 20-lap Wingless Sprint Car feature later in the day.
The 25-lap Sportsman feature went to Kyle Rohmer with Corey Cormier and Chris Stevens on podium.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA, RI & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com