Prior to Monday night’s Battle of the Bullring 5 at Accord Speedway, Anthony Perrego was excited to have another chance to defend home dirt against the regulars of the Short Track Super Series North Region. As it turned out, it would be a local Friday night star Perrego would face off against in the closing laps for the longhorn trophy and $5,000.
Accord regular Jimmy Wells, a rookie in Accord’s Friday night Modified division, muscled past Perrego in the opening laps and snatched the lead from polesitter Rob Rowe, taking control of the 50-lap race early on. After an early yellow, the laps clicked by quickly on the quarter-mile with Wells leading over Rich Ricci, Jr. When Ricci broke midway through, Perrego took over second, with he and Wells wading through heavy traffic.
Perrego shook off the cars between him and Wells, while Wells couldn’t get past anyone else with five laps to go. With Perrego’s American Racer tires in better shape, he needed one good lap to slip by Wells, and on the last lap that’s what Perrego got. Using a run into turn three, he threaded the needle between Wells and the inside wall to steal the Battle of the Bullring victory.
“I was really hoping it would stay green, we had harder tires on and the car kept getting better and better,” Perrego told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “The lapped traffic was definitely slowing the leader down; it was just a matter of getting by Rich there. Unfortunately, he broke down, that handed over second to us. I was just riding there for a little bit, the race seemed so long, I thought it was almost over, this place is so small the laps click off pretty quick. I was seeing five to go there and I thought we had a shot and the lapped traffic really started backing up the leader and I found a little bit of a lane where I could really rotate through the center of one and two to get down against the inside wall, the gap opened up and I took it.”
Wells was still proud of the effort after his first-year Modified team suffered a setback with a heavy accident in Friday competition just over a week ago. It was the first race back with the repaired car.
Like Perrego, he had the hard compound tires, but the constant hard racing with lapped cars was too much even for the harder compound.
“It wasn’t hard enough, we lost it in lapped traffic. They weren’t cutting me any slack, if they didn’t race me so hard I think we would’ve been able to pull it off,” Wells said. “I could see him there and when we went down in the corner she just slid up a little bit and that’s all it took right there. He didn’t have to race lapped traffic as hard as me, but we got second and we’re happy.”
Perrego was also impressed with the effort Wells has put forth both in his career and on the night.
“He did great in the Sportsman ranks and he’s come right up and is one of the best guys here. To go by him leading makes you feel good.”
Behind Perrego and Wells, Billy Decker took the final step on the podium while Rob Rowe and Jerry Higbie rounded out the top five.
The night also proved to be big points wise for Perrego who came into the night fourth in the STSS North standings behind Stewart Friesen, Andy Bachetti, and Jeremy Smith, all of whom finished the race Monday night outside of the top ten.
“It’s good. We’ve just got to keep the momentum going. We go to Big Diamond next. This car we have races on just the Short Track Super Series, so we’ll go back to the shop, massage her up and see what we got.”
The rescheduled Anthracite Assault on Sunday, July 16 at Pennsylvania’s Big Diamond Speedway will be the only combined points race for North and South regions, with the Short Track Super Series anticipating one of its biggest fields of the season.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos