Earl Curtin III had to use every groove on the track to pick up his first Pure Stock win of the season on Friday night, squeezing past John Robidoux with just a few laps remaining, as the duo raced in heavy traffic from the start to the checkered.
Ed Flanagan Jr and David Desrosiers brought the field down, with Desrosiers leading the first lap. Flanagan seemed to have a tire go down, and drifted up the track, taking Desrosiers with him, giving the inside lane, and ultimately the lead to Bill Doyle. Doyle set out front, with Desrosiers and Ian Savard right behind. While the top three were racing for the lead, behind them were Jesse Melberg, Robidoux and Curtin, working their way through the pack. Curtin was the first of the trio to break through, moving past Savard by the eleventh circuit. At the halfway point, Robidoux and Amy Arsenault were fourth with Savard back in fifth.
Robidoux slid past Curtin by lap 16, and using the outside lane, went past Desrosiers into second on the 18th lap. Curtin followed Robidoux into second on lap 21, and set his sights on the new leader. For the final four laps, they diced back and forth, with a dead heat on lap 23. By the time the checkers flew, Curtin had about half a car length advantage, and picked up his first win since early 2011. Robidoux held on for second, with a hard charging Jesse Melberg in third. Bill Doyle and Amy Arsenault were fourth and fifth.
Shaun Buffington shook off the engine failure of last week, the engine failure of his practice session and the broken header bracket in his qualifier, and picked up another Nick’s Pit Stop Legends win on Friday. Chris Robbins jumped out into the early lead and set the pace for a handful of laps before Nick Lascoula took over at the top of the leader board. Taylor Martin hung near the leaders with Tom Gray moving into second by lap seven. By the halfway point, Buffington had moved into third, with Martin and Jordan LaMothe fourth and fifth.
Buffington took over second at lap 14, and started to put pressure on the Young Lion. A restart on the fifteenth circuit put Buffington up top, and he held on through one additional restart to hold off the charges of Lascoula. Over the final laps, Gray was able to sneak past and finish second. Lascoula held on for third, with LaMothe and Martin picking up fourth and fifth.
Jason Enos II picked up his first career Sport4 win on Friday. Glen Leduc jumped out to the early lead with Paul Morin battling with him. Peter Amelotte took over second a couple of laps later with points leader Chuck McDonald moving past as well. Newcomer Frank Shepard was making quick time in his first visit moving into the top five by the fifth circuit. The only caution of the event came out on lap seven, when Morin spun into the infield.
Leduc picked up where he left off, setting the pace, but by now, McDonald and Lil Enos had a shot for the lead. In a three wide race for the lead, Shepard moved around Enos and Leduc and picked up the lead at the halfway point. Enos wasn’t done yet, as he continued to battle with Shepard. The pair swapped the lead back and forth for the final 10 laps, with McDonald right behind, waiting for an opening. Lenny Sousa was starting to make some noise, after starting scratch on the field. He had moved into the top five, and started to put pressure on McDonald. Shepard was the first across the checkered, but did not pass post-race tech, handing the win to Enos. McDonald was moved to second, and padded his championship lead just a bit, with Sousa finishing third, Henry Lavallee fourth and Amelotte fifth.
Curtis Roland, 2011’s SYRA 600 champion picked up his first 750 win on Friday after a fierce battle with Tylar Nailor. Nailor jumped out to the early lead over Shelby Donovan and Chase Belcher. Belcher took over the top spot until he spun in front of the pack. Only Kaitlyn Donovan got caught up in the incident. This moved Rolando to the outside of Nailor on the restart.
For the next thirteen laps, the pair raced side by side, with each driver leading several laps. Rolando, a rookie in the 750 class showed the experience he gained in winning the 600 title last year, and held tight on the outside. Tyler, plagued by mechanical gremlins for much of this season, was having his best race of the year, keeping pace with Rolando. With just three laps remaining, those gremlins returned, forcing him out of the lead pack. With Nailor out of the running, Curtis was able to relax for the final few laps, as he picked up a popular win. Belcher recovered from his early incident to finish second, with Shelby Donovan third, point leader Austin Blais fourth and Willie Sanchez fifth.
In the SYRA 600 20 lap feature, Madison Birchall rolled to her first career win. Elizabeth Hood jumped out to the lead on the opening laps with Shawn DeMello right behind. Birchall sat third, but slid back on the opening laps to fourth. Brook Meservey was third before spinning with DeMello just shy of the mid-way point. This gave Birchall an opportunity to battle Hood for the lead. Hood, coming off her best run of second last week did all she could to hold off the Waterford, CT native as they raced door handle to door handle for a handful of laps until a caution on lap 12 slowed up the field for the final time.
Once back under way, Birchall jumped out front and held off a hard charging Tyler Boudreau, who inherited the points lead with his second place finish. Brett Meservey crossed the line in third, with Taylor Bowser and Hood rounding out the top five.