BERTHELETTE NABS FIRST WIN OF SEASON
Gerard Berthelette nailed down his first win of the season with a dominant display, taking over the front on lap five and holding off Chris Demoura for the final sixteen laps to the finish. The journeyman Streeter pilot had finally put the demons of early-season leads spoiled late in the race with the win. Demoura surged from sixth to second on lap eight and annoyed Berthelette to the finish line, but Gerard was firm in his grasp on the front and set himself into a comfortable lead to the finish. He cleared the checkers nine tenths of a second ahead. Crystal Serydynski charged to third by lap fifteen to recover a slim divisional points lead over Rey Lovelace,w ho finished eighth. Scott Bruneau claimed fourth. Paul Lallier, who was to be married the next day, rounded out the top five.
Vinny Pangelinan saw Austin Blais nose into the lead on the start, but powered up to push in front. Berthelett, starting third, pulled ahead of Lallier and began working on Pangelinan’s bumper as Blais drifted back. Lap four saw Pangelinan holding the front with Berthelette seeking an opportunity. DeMourah had come past Lallier with Bruneau following through, leaving Lallier sixth, followed by Blais, Crystal and Bobby Bettencourt, Jr., who was battling under Steve Potter.
Berthelett got under Pangelinan and to the front followed by DeMoura before Mike Palin, Al McNeal and Daryl Perry got together for a spin in turn four.
The restart had Berthelette and Pangelinan on the front, followed by DeMoura and Bruneau, as the field was brought back to the last completed lap. Berthelette charged to the front as Demoura came up under Pangelinan, who could not settle in at first, but pushed down, holding second. Lallier had come to fourth with Bruneau on his tail, but Crystal came up on Lallier’s back bumper a lap later.
By lap nine, Berthelette had an eight-car lead. But Bettencourt and Steve Axon got together for a spin on the front straight, collecting Scott Serydynski, who began leaking fluid. He was forced to retire from the race.
Berthelette and DeMoura lined up with Pangelinan and Lallier the second row. Crystal and Bruneau followed. Berthelette was a way in the lead again as Lallier held Pangelinan on the outside. DeMoura clamped down on Bertheletts’s bumper and the moved away from the field. A tight line formed behind them, brawling, which included Pangelinan, Crystal, Lallier, Bruneau, Potter and Craig Pianka with Blais coming up alongside Pianka.
By lap 16, Berthelette had worked a car’s length of breathing space over DeMoura. The field behind them now was Crystal, Bruneau, Lallier and Pangelinan. The field stretched out single file over the final five circuits, as Berthelette led the field into his first win on the season.
Rounding out the top ten were Pangelinan, Potter, Pianka, Blais and Lovelace.