MARTIN BRAWLS TO TRUCKS VICTORY
In a wild show of persistence, Radical Rick Martin nosed, pushed and traded paint to get underneath persistent rookie Branden Dion, who would not yield to the equally intent veteran. The duo had been battling door to door for several laps before Martin dropped underneath and brawled his way up alongside Dion. Dion refused to yield and the duo scraped, ground and pounded around the track as if it were the old Bomber era at the Konk. Martin finally succeeding at pressing through to the lead popping out to the front like the cork from a bottle of champagne.
The brawling wasn’t over, as Dion, on the outside, now faced the intrusion of Rob Murphy underneath, coming through on Martin’s tailgate. Murphy, looking for points to elevate his second place in the championship standings, barged on by and points leader Paiva followed suit underneath the rookie and they dueled over third.
But the racing gods conspired and Dan Leach and Nick Uhrig spun out of turn four. Uhrig was away immediately and Leach quickly recovered to rejoin, but the field was already on the backstretch and the caution flew.
The lap 23 reset provided maximum drama as Murphy lined up outside Martin; both with very fast trucks and Paiva was outside Dion in the second row. The drag race out of the box had the leaders door to door while Dion moved ahead of Paiva, locking on to Martin’s bumper. Murphy fell back along the outside, loath to give ground but forced to yield with race-worn tires and the outside groove. Dion got his nose past as Paiva was held back by Murphy. The quartet screamed around the final two laps and under the checkers for a major win in Martin’s favor. Dion hung tough, eking out a .282 second second over Murphy. Paiva was even closer in fourth: .088 off Murphy’s pace. Lenny Guy roared in just ahead of Darryl Church to round out the top five. He had deprived his opponent of the position on the late restart.
Guy had led off from the pole and stepped away from Church at the outset. Anna Gregoire locked onto Lenny’s bumper from outside the second row and followed him into second as Nick Uhrig bogged on the start and fell back along the outside, forcing Murphy back behind him. Branden came springing to third underneath Gregoire.
Entering the third circuit, Guy, Gregoire and Dion were scrambling at the front. Paiva, moving forward under Uhrig, claimed fourth after a seventh place start and Martin followed through to fifth.
But Uhrig and Jim Hawkins got together for a spin in turn four, bringing out caution. Joey Wakefield was collected and had his evening cut short in the wreck. The restart sat Gregoire outside Guy, while Branden and Paiva featured in the second row. Martin and Scott Dion backed them up.
Lenny rushed away as Branden got under Gregoire, who dropped in behind him, shoehorning between Dion and Paiva. Martin went past Paiva for fourth and Murphy got underneath to duel the points leader for fifth. Radical Rick was moving up fast, and as Branden got by Guy for the lead, he took over third from Gregoire and then second from Guy. Branden and Martin then engaged in a prolonged duel over the lead, which culminated in the dramatic lap 20 pass. They ran door-to-door with Martin holding the outside from a lap ten restart until Martin crossed under coming out of lap 19.
Completing the top ten were Mike Cavallaro, Church, Gregoire, Scott Dion
and Bill Schoeler.