Ryan Vanasse stepped into Bill Bernard’s team car for the James “Crab” Manchester Memorial race for late models, started fifteenth on a field of seventeeth and worked his way into second behind Dillon Moltz on the fortieth of fifty laps. Moltz had led since lap three and been pursued by Ryan Lineham since lap 12. He had built a commanding lead following a lap 15 restart, a straightaway over Lineham and then another 12 cars back to Vanasse when he cleared by Bobby Pelland III and Brandon Dion on lap 34. He began to chase Lineham, but his chances were long despite the fact that he was closing rapidly on Lineham.
But when Bernard spun out of turn two and Pelland suffered a throttle stuck wide open, taking him almost to the wall by the pit exit, caution flew and a new match began.
The ten-lap shootout began with Moltz, Pelland, Vanasse and Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. manning the front rows. It took two tries to get the restart, as Derryck Anderson spun out on the first try. Second time, Moltz went to the lead out of turn two with Vanasse glued to his bumper, holding Lineham on the outside . DeGasparre leapt to third by dropping under. Lineham settled to fourth with Dion and Jeramee Lillie in pursuit.
Vanasse went under Moltz and after some side-by-side racing moved ahead to the lead. DeGasparre tried to get underneath as well, but Moltz was able to hold him off and settled to the low groove in second. With five to go, Vanass led Moltz, DeGasparre, Lineham and the bumper-to-bumper trio of Dion, Lillie and Dylan Estrella.
Lillie went to the outside to grab fifth from Dion and on the following lap, Estrella eased him back by going underneath.
Vanasse had a five car lead by lap forty-eight, when Bernard spun out of turn four, setting up a green-white-checker finish. With Moltz on his outside shoulder, Vanasse took the green and the lead as DeGasparre looked under Moltz for second. They scrambled wheel-to-wheel to the finish line, with Moltz gaining second by .069 second and just .413 behind Vanasse. Lillie and Lineham followed. Rounding out the top ten were Estrella, Mark Hudson, Dion, Ron Barboza and Tyler Thompson.
In post-race interview with announcer Kevin Boucher, Vanasse announced he was turning his $1000 purse over to the Manchester family and thanked the Bernard race team for originating the event in Crab Manchester’s memory.
Boucher told the crowd, “Now there’s Ryan Vanasse coming back to the late models and putting on a clinic!”
Vanasse had invested real toil as he worked his way, slowly at first, through the large field, easing from fifteenth to catch teammate Bernard on lap six. They ran together through the midpoint of the race, when Vanasse moved into fifth behind Pelland.