Sparky Arsenault came off the pole and refused to allow any competitors into the lead for the thirty laps of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown opener for Sportsmen. He defeated challenges on four restarts and outsprinted Tom The Bomb Adams to the checkers. The ever-present Scott Serydynski charged home in third, followed by Smokin’ Joe Kohler and Paul Lallier, featuring three former champs (Sparky, Scott, Paul) in the top five.
While Sparky paced the field from the front, The Bomb and Smokin’ Joe spent the time harrying each other over second. Adams led to lap eleven when Kohler took second away. Adams relaimed the position on lap 17, and Kohler grabbed it again on lap 24. Adams wrested it away from him two laps from the finish and Serydynski slued past with one to go, setting Smoke back to fourth.
Out of the box, Arsenault and Adams went wheel-to-wheel until Sparks could pull ahead down the backstretch. Adams dropped in with Kohler on his tail, followed by Jesse Melberg and Ryan Flood.
Lap two saw Serydynski get under Lallier for sixth and Scott Bruneau looking underneath Lallier. He succeeded and Chad Baxter slid in underneath with Kyle Casper waiting in the wings to keep Lallier on that fast freight train to the rear.
By lap 6, Adams was still on Arsenault’s bumper, and Baxter was still working under Lallier. Adams was all over Arsenault’s bumper for the lead for several laps, while Serydynski got under Melberg and into fourth. Bruneau came up under Melberg.
Adams was looking underneath but had the door slammed in his face. Paul Williams fought the wheel to narrowly avoid bouncing off the wall, but then made contact with Craig Pianka, sending him spinning to the infield.
On the lap 11 restart, Arsenault nosed out on Adams with Kohler on his bumper. Adams suddenly fell off and Kohler went under into second. Adams was caught on the outside as Melberg went under for the pass.
Lap 15 saw an impatient Casper slice his way under Bruneau with plenty of contact and the caution came out as Chris Gomes broke down on the front stretch. Bruneau knocked Casper to the infield and went pitside with a flat left front tire. When he returned he was black-flagged for contact under yellow.
Sparky and Smokin’ Joe lined up and they went side-by-side for a lap before Arsenault could nose ahead in turn one of lap 17. Adams then got under Kohler and Baxter was under Melberg behind them. Baxter looked under Kohler but had the door close on him. Adams was on Arsenault’s bumper, now.
Flood began looking under Melberg for sixth and pulled ahead on the backstretch, finally securing the spot in turn four. Melberg roared back alongside, the got together and then became locked together, grinding to a halt in the middle of the backstretch. It took the track crew several minutes to disentangle them.
Again Sparky took the lead and Kohler went under Adams while behind them a resurgent Lallier was working below Baxter. Kohler then nosed a bit ahead of Adams and Lallier dived in to make it three wide for a moment then backed out. Arsenault was now five cars ahead in lap 27.
Suddenly, Rob Murphy’s mechanical woes on the season compounded themselves and he blew up in turn four, spewing all kinds of fluid onto the track between turn four and the stripe while smoke filled his car and the air around it. The fire brigade was immediately on the scene, but could find no fire. The track crew had to put down so much speedy dry that the sweeper had to be called in to clear the racing surface safely.
A green-white-checkered restart resulted with Sparky and Kohler at the front. Adams and Lallier were then followed by Serydynski and Baxter. Again, Sparky nosed out and Kohler held on but Arsenault escaped into the lead once again. Adams got under Kohler in turn four and took a nose into the white flag. Serydynski was pushing hard and went under Kohler into third. Lallier made a run at Kohler but the checkered flag intervened, leaving him fifth.
Baxter was fifth, followed by Flood, Jordan Hadley, Pianka, Manny “The Flyin’ Portagee” Dias, Williams and Jesse Melberg, followed by Joe Melberg.