SEEKONK, Mass. — Joe Kohler lived up to his nickname on Saturday night, as he was smokin’ down the track from start to finish to claim his first victory of 2021 in the Helger’s South Coast Power Equipment Sportsman at Seekonk Speedway.
Kohler backed up his strong second-place finish on Opening Day last Sunday with a wire-to-wire win, as he started at the pole position and never looked back. He dominated all four restarts after caution flags, and wasted little time separating himself from any and all of his competitors during the 25-lap feature. Kohler began the race with Sparky Arsenault to his outside, but promptly jumped out to the lead as the green flag waved in the cool spring breeze. Arsenault was challenged early by Chris Gomes for second place prior to the first caution of the evening, brought out on Lap 7 by the No. 23 vehicle of Cody Tripp near the pits next to Turn 4.
With Kohler moving ahead yet again at the restart, the battle between his competitors headed up, with the trio of Ed Perry, Steve Axon, and Gomes going three-wide in hot pursuit of third place on the first lap after the caution. Two more cautions flew during the middle portion of the race, with Scott Serdynski Jr. spinning on Lap 11 near the start-finish line, and Colby Lambert drawing the yellow flag soon afterwards before exiting the track. Both restarts saw Kohler take the lead, with Axom moving past Arsenault for second place.
A four-car incident involving Andrew Gillis, Randy Moretti, Adam Giacomozzi, and Kevin Rioux brought another yellow to the race with 12 laps remaining, with Kohler again powering in front and never looking back. Perry moved past Gomes for second soon after that final restart, and held on for the runner-up position. Gomes and Axom finished third and fourth respectively, with last week’s winner Chad Baxter gaining 13 spots in 25 laps, moving from 18th up to the top 5 in an impressive showing. Craig Pianka, Adam Pettey, Sparky Arsenault, Chris Rioux, and Corey Fanning finished in the top 10 on Saturday night.
The Sportsman division will return on Saturday, May 15 with their first race in the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series. Their 35-lap feature is also a part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series. Due to limited capacity restrictions, advanced tickets will be on sale at seekonktickets.net.
BY ADAM BELUE