CURTIN OUTLASTS FORTIN FOR PURE STOCK WIN
Earl Curtin III stormed through the field from his seventh place start to take the lead of the Pure Stock feature on lap 3, then spent the rest of the race holding off the man he’d eased out of the position – Joseph Fortin. There was plenty of action to behold as the race went green for the entire 25 laps and battles raged three wide in the pack behind the lead pair. It wasn’t until lap 22 that Curtin was able to grab a single carlength’s lead for breathing space, as Fortin bothered his back bumper the entire distance, intent on getting back to the front. Jesse Melberg, last week’s winner, made another of his pantented charges toward the front, climbing from eighth through a madly swirling field of competitors to finally wrest third from Amy Arsenault. Ed Flanagan followed across for fifth, locked onto Arsenault’s bumper.
Keri-Lyn Manfredo leapt of the outside pole past Daniel Johnson to nab the lead at the outset and Fortin went by him into second. Crossing the stripe after the first lap, Johnson had Arsenault, Curtin and Robidoux chasing him down. As the field swirled, Curtin moved in behind Manfredo on lap two, then went to the outside for the pass.
After a brief door-to-door, and Fortin ran underneath for second. Manfredo went into a spin in turn four, only to be saved by contact with Flanagan. She straightened out and the race continued without a caution, but the entire field had passed during the recovery. By lap six, Curtin was fending off Fortin, pursued by Arsenault, Flanagan and points leader, John Robidoux. Jamie Salley then rolled past Robidoux into fifth.
Robidoux’ problems were not over, as a rampaging Melberg steered past, seeking the front.
The leaders came up to a struggling Manfredo, working a now-troublesome car. She spun in front of them, but they were able to take evasive action. Behind them stretched Arsenault, Flanagan, Melberg, Salley, Robidoux and Bill Doyle.
Lap thirteen – the midpoint – saw Melberg heading outside of Flanagan to wrest fourth away from him. At lap 15, the dogfight continued between Curtin and Fortin at the front. Arsenault was eight cars back with Flanagan on her bumper and Melberg, having fallen back, fully engaged outside Salley.
Into lap 17, Arsenault suddenly found herself in the middle of a three wide, as Flanagan ducked under and Melberg surged forward on the outside. Arsenault held her ground and Flanagan fell back. Melberg, however, fell back then rushed up alongside again.
Into the 22nd circuit, she was holding him off in a fierce duel which lasted to the backstretch of lap 23. With a lap-and-a-half to go, Melberg surged past into third, establishing the order of the finish.
Salley, Robidoux, Doyle, Johnson and Daniel Massa, Jr. completed the top ten.