Scott Bruneau came to the track with his first new-bodied car in several years. The man who had merely hammered his bodies straight again during the off-season, brought in a new exterior kept familiar with his traditional red and white. The newness seemed to pay off as he powered through for an opening day win. He toiled forward while Scott Serydynski and Mike Mitchell spent much of the race exchanging the lead until late in the race when contact sent Mitchell spinning and Serydynski was called to the back of the patch on the assist. Mitchell finished twelfth overall, while Serydynski retired with three laps remaining.
Bruneau had worked his way from fifth at the start to third by this time and inherited the lead with three laps remaining and Corey Fanning on his outside. It was a two-lap dogfight and Bruneau managed to hold Fanning off by less than three-eighths of a second. John Hanafin, who had suffered mechanical problems in the heats, came from the back to take third, just ahead of 2015 champ, Paul Lallier. Chris Rioux was up from his ninth place start, finishing fifth.
Serydynski started on the pole with Seven Potter on his shoulder. Fanning was behind Serydynski and Mitchell started in back of Potter. Scott leapt to the lead as Fanning got under Potter. Mitchell dropped in and under, making it three-wide for second. Tyler Lallier Got past Potter as Bruneau took over fourth. Potter was gone quickly, however, bouncing off the backstretch wall. As they put him on the hook, Joe Melberg and Thomas Adams ducked into the pits.
Serydynski and Mitchell lined for the restart. They went wheel-to-wheel for two laps as Bruneau moved into fourth behind Fanning. Ant Kohler took over fifth, followed by Tyler Lallier, Sparky Arsenault, Chris Rioux and Paul Lallier.
Hanafin gained the biggest advantage on the restart, however, jumping from twentieth to eleventh, based on the pitting and shrewd driving on the restart.
Serydynski and Mitchell went door to door for three laps until Mitchell dropped under to edge forward. On lap eight, the timers showed him in the lead, and he slid past. Fanning held third but was in pitched battle with Bruneau for position and Tyler held fifth, threatening. Sparky Arsenault was sixth but edged him out on lap eight.
Bruneau moved Fanning back a slot on lap eleven, while Arsenault held fifth ahead of Tyler and Kohler. Paul Lallier was moving up, getting past Rioux for eighth. Lap thirteen saw him moving by Kohler and briefly Hanafin, who battled back to hold on. Arsenault was in a spin between turns one and two on lap 13 and Tyler got the call on the assist. Sparky and Tyler went to the rear.
Mitchell grabbed the front on the green and Bruneau stuck to his bumper, running under Serydynski. Into second. Scott plugged along in third now with Fanning at his back. Kohler spun down the front stretch, bringing a lap 17 caution.
As Mitchell edged ahead, Bruneau dropped under him to grab the front. They battled for the lead with Bruneau holding on through lap 19, when Mitchell nosed ahead. Serydynski ducked under Bruneau and Fanning diced from behind. Hanafin, running hard, pulled in behind Fanning on lap 21.
Arsenault found himself sliding up to the wall and another restart ensued. On the restart, Kohler’s damage saw him drop his rear bumper cover on the front stretch and the yellow flew again. Mitchell then grabbed the front and Serydynski was back on his tail followed by Bruneau, Fanning, Hanafin and Paul Lallier.
But Mitchell was around and it took great avoidance for Bruneau and Fanning. Serydynski was called on the assist. Now the front row was Bruneau and fanning while Hanafin and Paul were row two followed by Rioux and Tim Watson. But Paul Williams blew up, trailing clouds of black and grey down the front stretch while Watson and Al Clements were together on the back. Clements took a hard hit to the wall, ending his day.
The restart with two circuits remaining saw Bruneau gain the advantage but had to fight Fanning to the checkers. Hanafin outlasted Paul Lallier for third and Rioux grabbed fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Vinny Pangelinan, Jesse Melberg, Kohler, Tyler and Dane Saritelli.