VANASSE SHOCKS LEADERS WITH BRILLIANT PASS TO WIN PRO STOCKS
Ryan Vanasse had been battling in the top three all race as Kyle Casper had driven a masterful race at the front from the outset. However, when points leader Dave Darling fought through to the front, alongside Casper to dispute the lead, the complexion c hanged and so did Vanasse’s tactics. With Darling battling the leader on the outside and Casper moving up the track to hold him off, Vanasse began looking underneath.
Daryl Stampfl looped in turn four. The lap 37 restart had Vanasse low in the second row behind Casper. Casper grabbed a half car out of the box and Darling came back along his outside to nose ahead. The low groove came open and Vanasse lit the afterburners to rocket in, under and into a three-wide situation. As the trio careened along, Casper (in the center of the trio) started to lose stability on the track and wisely backed out. The instability also affected Darling on the outside, but to a lesser degree. He fell back enough and Vanasse, holding the low groove under power, was able to turn his wild tactic into a power move into the lead. As Vanasse sprinted away, Freddy Astle got under Darling, who had to fight it out with the intruder.
Vanasse flashed over the stripe with a .17 second margin over Darling and just .226 ahead of Astle. Casper was able to hold on for fourth and Mike Brightman claimed fifth. The top five cars were all within .920 of each other.
Casper and Brightman had started at the front, and the polesitter moved away from Brightman to a four-car lead by lap four. Vanasse was two lengths behind Brightman, followed by Kevin Folan and the wheel-to-wheel combo of Dick Houlihan and Stampfl. Houlihan took over fourth and Dave Hutchins began to trouble Stampfl over fifth.
Lap eight saw Kenny Spencer III around in turn four and the scramble to avoid brought several cars to grief. Dave Silvia and Spencer headed for the pits while Mike Mitchell sat in turn four, waiting for the wrecker. He was out for the night.
As unlucky was Tom Scully, Jr., who was collected in another situation two laps later. George Kourafas got into the grass coming out of turn two and back up into Bob Hussey, who spun. He made two complete loops under power as Scully coming upon the scene, braked hard to avoid. Hussey’s rear slammed his grille as the back end of Hussey’s car spun the second time and Scully was off on the hook after just ten laps of competition.
Casper, Vanasse, Brightman, and Houlihan lined up for the restart. Casper was away out of the box as Brightman tried under Vanasse into second. Stuck on the outside with Houlihan at his back, Vanasse tried a crossunder on Brightman but was denied as Dave Hutchins, Sr. spun to the infield out of turn three. Folan went to the pits on the caution.
Folan was away again at the green and Vanass was under Brightman. Dave Darling worked under Houlihan, looking for fourth and a lap later was working under Brightman for third. By lap fifteen, the leaders were Casper, Vanasse, Darling, Brightman, Houlihan and Rick Martin.
By lap 19, Casper had a four car lead on Vanasse, who was fending off Darling. Darling began looking under Vanasse, but was denied as Hutch spun in turn four and kept going. By lap 23, Casper was leading by five cars. But the lead began to shrink as Vanasse closed in. Lap 28 saw a two car lead. Vanasse had Darling glued to his bumper. Behind them, a tight line comprised of Brightman, Houlihan, Astle and Martin and Astle pursued. Freddy nosed under Martin for position and Martin replied with a cross-under but Astle shut the door.
Cory Cleary’s backstretch loop brought a restart with five laps remaining. Darling was outside Casper once again with Vanasse and Houlihan behind them. Brightman and Astle were row three. They were door to door out of the box, but Houlihan suddenly developed problems with his car and went suddenly backwards.
The restart set the stage for Vanasse’s dynamic move to the front for the win. In his postrace interview with track announcer Kevin Boucher, Vanasse was quick to congratulate Casper’s wisdom in backing off the pedal when he felt his car becoming unstable in the three-wide.
Completing the top ten were: Martin, Kevin Casper, Spencer, Hussey and Stampfl.