The threat that is Brittany Campbell came to fruition in the Sport Trucks division after the Labor Day weekend off from racing. Campbell started outside polesitter Nick Testone III and after a first lap restart, she powered off the outside pole into the lead and held the front for the entire race, save for lap five, when Lenny Guy was able to poke a fender past into the lead while crossing the stripe. Campbell reversed that in turns one and two and headed up the rest of the feature.
The two threats to take the championship – Richie Murray and Barry Shaw, Jr. – came in just after midway to pursue Campbell and each other to the finish. Murray protected his points lead over Shaw by finishing just ahead of his rival for a second to Shaw’s third. Guy held on to his third in the standings with a fourth place finish, just ahead of Mike Belanger.
Perhaps the big hero on the evening, however, was Darryl Church. During the divisional heats, Shaw was collected coming through turn four and spun hard into the front stretch wall, Not the way you want to end a shot at the championship. But Church retired early from the heat, went to Shaw and offered his truck for the feature. Even though he’d never driven Church’s number four, Barry was able to shepherd it to place just behind Murray – and so the charge to the banquet head table continues between them.
Campbell has shown her skills over the season, steadily moving toward the front and the truck has given her great speed and handling. This time she put it all together. The handling was a major bonus in an opening lap situation that could have taken her out of the picture. On the original green flag, Testone and Lenny Sousa had come off the front side-by-side, with Campbell and Guy in row two. Testone jetted away and Sousa tried to drop in but caught Campbell’s right fender just ahead of the wheel well, spinning him directly in front of her. Guy had seen it begin and shot uptrack. Cambell had Sousa inches from her bumper, but made a quick, uptrack turn and escaped. Ed Perry, who had been on Campbell’s bumper, was not so lucky. As Brittany’s yellow tailgate flashed away, Perry was confronted by Sousa’s nose just a yard ahead. Perry turned down but hadn’t enough time or room to avoid and he glanced off the side of the bed, rode up and over the rear wheel and shot across the berm. Mikey Cooper was able to stop short of Sousa and Belanger shot through the infield grass.
It ended Lenny’s night and he went off on the hook.
The full-race restart now had Campbell alongside Testone. Guy and Perry followed with Mike Cavallaro and Murray in row three. Shaw had originally started scratch, but now was three spaces closer to the front.
Testone shot away, but Campbell gave chase on the outside, pushing by down the backstretch and crossed the stripe into the second circuit in the lead. Testone fell back and Guy attempted to pass on the low side as Murray came up alongside him. Perry nosed in under Murray but Campbell pulled away from the situation. By lap three, she was fifteen cars up with Guy running with Testone.
Suddenly, Testone was around and Perry was getting the call for the assist. Perry went pitside for some repair and returned.
Now Campbell had Guy on her high side; Jake Vanada and Murray had survived the gaggle of spinning cars and made up row two. Shaw had made the most of the five laps and chaos and sat outside in row four, behind Connor Souza and Cavallaro.
Lenny took a nose going through turns one and two and held it all the way to the stripe. It was the only lap that Campbell would be recorded out of the lead. Murray looked to make it three-wide, but fell back. Campbell now got her nose by Guy and Vanada nosed in under him, starting a three-wide. However, Campbell sprang away into the lead and Vanada went to second. Murray looked to make it another three-wide but it broke down quickly.
Seven laps in, Cavallaro and Guy were fighting for position, when Cavallaro slid onto the grass in turn three, slowed and popped back out in front of Elias Dib, who had nowhere to go and piled into Cavallaro’s back bumper. He ended in the infield, spewing steam and had to be taken off on the hook. Cavallaro drove to the pits and did not return.
Now Campbell had Vanada for company on the front row, ahead of Guy and Murray. Shaw had navigated through the confusion to sit low in row three, under Connor Souza. Before the festivities could begin, Vanada began steaming from his right front wheel well and released a stream of coolant through turn one. He retreated pitside. Guy moved up to the outside pole. This time, Campbell grabbed a nose in turn two and the full lead down the back. Murray got under Guy with Shaw locked onto his bumper. Brittany pulled away as Shaw took a look and a try at every possibility open to him, but Murray adeptly blocked each try. Guy settled into fourth. At the same time, Belanger rolled into fifth and the field extended itself out single file.
With ten to go, Campbell had been enjoying the front and had a four-car cushion over the brawling between Murray and Shaw. Murray pulled out and put some distance on Shaw. But Campbell began to see Murray getting larger in her mirror as he bore down. And Shaw was also closing the gap. With six to go, she came off turn four a bit loose and this brought Murray to her bumper. He looked under and she shut the door as Shaw came up to his tailgate.
Four to go and Murray was looking high but was denied. Shaw was dodging high and low behind him. Three to go and Murray was relentless but Campbell rebuffed all his tactics. Shaw fell off by a car length. Murray looked underneath again as they took the two to go sign from the starter. She closed the door once more. Shaw ran up to Murray’s bumper again. The white flag came out and still they brawled – over the final third mile. Coming through four, Murray took another run underneath, but Campbell held on down the straight to the checkers and claimed her first win in the division. Murray and Shaw piled in behind her, leaving their question of the championship to another race.
Sixth on the evening went to Connor Souza, followed by Perry, Cooper, Testone and Maddie Harkin.