IT’S FLANAGAN’S FEATURE BUT ROBIDOUX’S CHAMPIONSHIP, THANKS TO ED GOULD
Ed Flanagan, Jr took his first feature win on the season, holding off the charging John Robidoux, who wanted the win on the evening as badly as he wanted the season’s championship he won over Earl Curtin III, who went out of the race with twelve laps remaining after hitting the wall coming out of turn two. Robidoux was aided to the win as he blew up in the heats, losing his motor but able to edge through the final lap. Fellow competitor, Ed Gould stepped out of his own ride to hand him a car to compete in the feature. Robidoux drove Gould’s car as if it were his own, straight to a big second place and a championship. He and Earl Curtin II had entered the fray just a scant 7 points apart for the season’s crown.
Curtin started ninth and Robidoux tenth as Daniel Johnson led off from the pole after winning his first heat race shortly before. He ducked away from Mark Murphy with Flanagan on his tail going to second. Jamie Salley popped up from fifth to grab third while Murphy battled under Joseph Fortin.
By lap four, Curtin and Robidoux had move rapidly into fifth and sixth and were battling for position with Jeremy Lambert in heavy traffic, when Lambert’s car snapped around, nearly taking Curtin out of the action after Lambert had drifted up into him going into turn three.
Johnson had Flanagan on his shoulder, while Robidoux and Curtin were side-by-side two rows back with Salley and Joseph Fortin ahead of them. On the green, Johnson again claimed the lead while Salley got in under Flanagan and they were wheel-to-wheel out of turn four. Robidoux and Curtin were running fourth and fifth.
By lap six, Salley was bothering Johnson over the lead, while Flanagan, Robidoux and Curtin were running bumper-to-bumper a car behind. Curtin gave Robidoux a bumper call but Robidoux held him off. Curtin dropped underneath and went underneath for fourth. Undaunted, Robidoux crossed under and pressed forward into turn three and they came out of four door-to-door.
There was contact between them down the front stretch. Curtin got loose in turn one and into a power slide through one and two. He held the drift through turn two and it looked like he could hold onto it, but the back wheels caught and he had his front wheels cocked for the slide, which sent him into the wall just off turn two. He came to a stop just off the wall and steam from a broken radiator began to issue from the nose. It was a tragic ending to a great final battle for the crown at mid-race. Curtin had to be towed and finished the race 13 laps down.
Johnson and Salley lined up for the restart with Flanagan, Robidoux, Bill Doyle and Fortin backing them up. Johnson gained an edge in a door-to-door out of the starting box, but while he battled Salley, Flanagan sneaked in underneath him. Salley backed out of the three-wide and settled to the groove in fourth, behind Robidoux.
Flanagan grabbed the lead out of turn four with Johnson hanging outside. Robidoux nosed under Flanagan for the lead then backed out in the turn. By lap 15, it was Flanagan, Robidoux, Johnson, Doyle, Salley and Fortin.
Johnson was loose in the turn but held on, keeping Fortin in fourth on lap 18.
Robidoux was on Flanagan’s bumper with five laps remaining. Johnson had Doyle on his bumper in fourth, followed by Fortin and Salley.
Flanagan put on a drive in lap 22 that gave him two cars’ breathing room on Robidoux and Doyle came on to move Johnson back to fourth on the same circuit.
Fortin got into Johnson, who got sideways under speed but he made a miraculous save and Fortin was unable to get past.
At the finish, Fortin held off Robidoux for the win and Robidoux claimed the division as his own with the championship. Doyle was third followed by Johnson, Fortin, Salley, Mark Murphy, Amy Arsenault and Melissa Charette.