(Ethan Dion led flag-to-flag to capture the win in the Bandolero Bandits feature on Fast Friday at Seekonk Speedway)
SEEKONK, MA : Ethan Dion was greedy with the lead of the Bandolero Bandits: he erupted from the pole onto the front of the field and never allowed his competitors to pass. This, of course, was easy for the speedster as he easily rocketed out to a long lead. And with the feature running caution-free, none of them had the opportunity to restart alongside. He had instituted a six-car lead over the initial two laps while Colin Vanasse, Rob Murphy, Jr., Brenden LaBelle and Smilin’ Reese Bogue snarled around each other trying to settle the runner-up spot. This was good news for Dion as he cruised ahead in the clear air, increasing his lead.
Smilin’ Reese broke away on lap four and spent the rest of the 15-lapper trying to overhaul the leader, concluding with a second-place finish. Ryan Vanasse, Jr. completed the podium finish with a third while Brenden LeBelle and Adam Harrison rounded out the top five.
The feature was an abrupt about-face from last week’s chaos with five cautions before a lap could be completed and difficult field realignments. Race directors Tim Bolduc and Len Ellis took extra time with the division during drivers’ meetings before racing began and their instructions hit home with an uninterrupted fifteen laps, much to the crowd’s delight.
On the green, Dion pulled away from outside polesitter Colin Vanasse and began building a comfortable margin. Murphy ducked under Colin into second as LeBelle followed him into third. Bogue settled into fifth behind Vanasse. But Bogue was past Ryan Vanasse on the next circuit, then deprived Colin and LeBelle of position to gather in second. Dion had fired the afterburners and sat ten cars up on Bogue who had Le Belle, and Murphy (with Ryan looking underneath).
Vanasse ran under Murphy into fourth with 10 laps remaining and the field mostly single file. Murphy pursued, followed by Adam Harrison, Colin and Mike Hanafin. Dion continued to increase his lead over the next few laps, and with five remaining, he had a 15-car lead. Bogue and LeBelle followed but Ryan looked underneath then passed LeBelle in turn three, running up to Bogue’s tail. Smilin’ Reese pushed out, getting about ¾ of a car length on his opponent, but Vanasse would not go away and pursued on a mission.
With two remaining, he took another look underneath on the backstretch, but Bogue saw him coming and slammed the door. This was giving Dion everything he could ask for although he was giving ground: Bogue and Vanasse only trailed by 7 lengths.
However, with just over a lap to go, the distance seemed insurmountable. They ground under the white flag, and the field held position for the final circuit. Dion came home with his first feature win as a Bandit by 5/8 of a second over Bogue and The Rocket, Jr. was just .189 seconds behind Reese.
Bandolero Bandits Feature Results :
- Ethan Dion (#8)
- Reese Bogue (#CT4)
- Ryan Vanasse, Jr. (#11)
- Brenden LeBelle (#4)
- Adam Harrison (#47)
- Robert Murphy, Jr. (#82)
- Collin Vanasse (#78)
- Jaden Dib (#12)
- Mike Hanafin (#76)
- Brent Robidoux (#25)
- Zacarias Kelley (#29)
- Colin Floyd (#65)
Seekonk Speedway press release by Dana Rowe