LALLIER STORMS TO FOURTH FEATURE WIN ON SEASON
Paul Lallier served notice that he’s still Street Stock champion by battling the returning John Hananfin to the stripe for yet another feature win. His total of four is best in the division. “I told you I would be here tonight,” exulted the pumped up driver in post-race interview with announcer Kevin Boucher.
Lallier had worked his way rapidly from seventh to second behind leader Ray Negley by lap five, to be supplanted in second by Crystal Serydynski on lap eight just before a fate-changing pileup in turn four which restructured the division championship race.
Ray Lovelace, tied for points for the divisional lead with Crystal, had been forced from the race early after a first-lap wreck which saw polesitter Negley climb the rear wheel of outside pole Austin Blais and shedding body parts. Lovelace, coming around from his tenth place start, apparently picked up some of the debris, causing damage which sidelined him for the race. Crystal appeared set for a night of great points gain, as was Scott Bruneau, at the time in second.
Negley resumed his pole for the complete race restart and surged to the lead ahead of Blais. Lallier charged forward, followed by Crystal, moving to second on lap four. Serydynski took third on the next circuit.
Al McNeal spun on the front stretch just before turn one as Negley led Lallier, Crystal, Hanafin and Bettencourt. The lap seven restart had Negley and Lallier on the front row with Serydynski and Hanafin behind them. Bettencourt and last week’s winner, Ed Gannon, made up the third row.
Negley had the front on the green as Crystal navigated under Lallier to begin looking underneath Negley for the lead. Negley slammed the door.
As he ran wheel-to-wheel with Lallier coming out of turn four, Negley checked up and Crystal, on his rear bumper, rapped his rear bumper. Negley spun in front of Lallier and the field scattered to avoid with minor damamge ensuing. Negley went to the rear and Crystal was assessed the assist. They lined up at the rear of the field.
Lallier and Bettencourt now had the front with Hanafin and Gannon holding third and fourth. Lallier pulled away to the lead while Hanafin got in under Bettencourt for second on lap 10. Manny Dias then jumped past Gannon and Bettencourt for third with Bettencourth holding on to fourth.
At the back, the battle between Negley and Serydynski wove on, as Crystal worked to get around and pursue the pack. Negley was working at keeping her from passing, checking up in corners and riding her up near the wall when she tried the outside. It was a withering battle for the remainder of the race.
Meanwhile, Bruneau edged Bettencourt back to fourth on lap fifteen. Bruneau battled for position with Dias over the remaining laps with Bettencourth on his tail. Gannon came up from eighth position to sixth seven laps remaining, passing Gerard Berthelette and Scott Serydynski.. On the final circuit, Bruneau and Bettencourt made a charge on Dias; Bruneau leapfrogged into third and Bettencourt grabbed fourth. Dias, stuck outside, saw Gannon and Berthelette get by for sixth and seventh. Dias claimed seventh, followed by Scott Serydynski, Andy Johnson and Chris Demoura to round out the top ten.
Bruneau’s third, coupled with Lovelace being out of the feature and Crystal’s eighteenth place finish, vaulted him into the points lead in the division with two points races remaining.