Rough Start …Great Finish in Truck race
They went brawling into the final two turns of the Sport Trucks feature: Radical Rick Martin on the outside and Rob Murphy down low – the veteran master and the young hotshoe. They battled through tuns three and four, on the edge of their traction, and came sliding out of turn four with the checkers flying a half-straight ahead, locked in battle,. Martin’s back end slid a few drgrees away from his line and Murphy skittered through the low groove, wobbling slightly. Hungry John Paiva hung on their heels waiting for any opportunity or spin. In the tense moment, Martin’s tires bit first and he leapt ahead past Murphy and under the checkers. Murphy grabbed second right on his bumper and Paiva flew across the stripe, locked to Murphy’s bumper for third. It was the grand finale of a race which had begun with a massive red-flag accident, then ran caution-free with intense, high-octane action to this conclusion. Scott Dion and Nick Uhrig rounded out the top five after pounding among the leaders for supremacy.
Darrel Church had taken the lead at the outset and Scott Dion made his way from fourth underneath Nick Uhrig as third starter Martin did not come off quckly and Dion dropped in front of him. Murphy, Brandon and Anna Gregoire gave chase until the second pass into turn one saw Brandon spin in front of the big crowd (17 had started the race and a mad scattering to avoid him set up a chain reaction.
Chase Belcher went to the wall between turns one and two, then Mike Duarte and Barry Shaw got tied together and piled into Belcher. Duartes trouck mounted Belcher’s rear deck and climbed atop the cab, while Shaw stayed on the ground, but piled into Belcher’s door.. The stress on the vehicle by the twin assault was a testimony to the sturdiness of Belcher’s roll cage to protect him.
With the red lights on around the track, ambulance, fire and track crews rushed to the scene. Belcher’s net came down and he let them know he was all right, but he was trapped in the vehicle for a long time while crews struggled to remove Shaw and Duarte so that Chase could make good his escape from the vehicle. The wrecker crews struggled mightily before they could remove Duarte from atop Shaw and Belcher.
Meanwhile, Dane Saritelli was sitting at the edge of the infield with his bumper torn free and Brandon sat on the grass a few yards away. In turn one just short of the pileup at the wall, Billy Schoeler and Gergoire were spun facing against the traffic. Several other cars were sporting bumps and bruises from the altercation.
A real testimony to pit crews came when both Shaw and Belcher returned to the oval in time for the restart. Duarte, with underneath damage from climbing atop the pileup, was unable to get back out.
Uhrig and Church led the field off on the lap one restart which would run all the way through the checkers. Uhrig pulled away from Church only to see Murphy leaping underneath Church and into s the lead as they crossed the stripe again. Martin then pushed past Uhrig for second with Paiva following to third and Scott taking fourth.
By lap five, Murphy, Martin and Pavia were a high-spped train, coupled together as they wound around the track. Two cars back another locked-together group was Scott, Church and Uhrig. with Taylor Therrien just off the pace. Things tightened up to a seven-car speed parade on the next lap. The Pursuit was furios.
By lap ten, Murpy, Martin, Paiva and Scott had detached themselves. A short distance back, Uhrig was beneath Church, contesting fifth while Therrien searched for a way past them.
Martin, on Murphy’s bumper, was sideways out of four and there was contact with the leader’s rear.. Radical Rick gathered it in then went to the outside but Murphy charged back to the front and Paiva took the opportunity to charge under for second..
By lap 14, the field looked the same as Murphy led Paiva, martin, Scott, Uhrig and Church all tightly together, with Brandon, Shaw, Therrien and Schoeler a distance back. Two laps later, an anxious Paiva was playing bumper tag with the leader while Martin sat third. The leaders began to encounter lapped traffic and the field tightened up again with seven cars curling around the oval like a fast freight train.
Martin became impatient on lap 20 and ran to Murphy’s high side. He lit the boosters and began to push toward the front with the checkers just five laps away. He worked his way past Paiva and was alongside Murphy with two to go. Tjeu were door-to-door down the backstretch with Paiva, Scott, Uhrig, Church and Brandon as they came sliding through turn four. for the finishing straight.
Brandon Dion, Church and Shaw finished sixth through ninth.