CASPER HOLDS OFF BRUNEAU, LALLIER IN SPORTSMEN WIN

by Dana Rowe

Kyle Casper is making the most of his swap to Sportsman racing with another win, this time over champion Scott Bruneau and former champ Paul Lallier. Casper started in sixth, dueled Tim Watson and Vinny Pangelinan over the initial four laps and then moved to fifth just before a snafu between Ryan Flood and Tyler Lallier at the front put him on the high side of the front row, outside Chris Gomes for the restart. Kyle did not let the opportunity pass and seized the front after some wheel-to-wheel with Gomes.

From there he held the lead over the remaining 25 circuits to the checkers.

Flood started on the pole, sharing the front row with Gomes and they went side-by-side a full lap and then into turn two before Flood owned the lead. Tyler had started low in row two and got under Gomes as Flood pulled away. It was a quick move into the runnerup spot and Lallier wasted no time dropping under flood for a shot at the front. But he got into Flood’s rear quarter, sending the latter spinning up the surface. Kid Chaos, Corey Fanning had nowhere to go and piled into Flood and they collected Rob Kohler. Fanning limped to the pits along with Ed Perry. Flood needed help restarting then also headed off. The trio was done for the evening.

Casper grabbed the lead on the restart and Gomes gave pursuit. Bruneau, who had started behind Casper, rolled into third, , followed by Pangelinan, Paul Lalier and Captain Fun – Craig Pianka.

Casper was moving well in the clear air, going three cars up on Bruneau, then stretched it out to five cars. Paul Lallier got under Gomes and they battled for a half-lap before Lallier could claim the spot. But Kohler spun, collecting last week’s winner, Sparky Arsenault.

Kyle grabbed the lead out of the starting box once more. Bruneau came under Gomes into second and Panglinan and Lallier followed suit, shuttling Gomes back to fifth. Casper had another three-car lead, but Lallier got under Bruneau into second and began to close the gap. Pangelinan was chasing Bruneau and John Hanafin was working his way under Gomes behind them. Hanafin had the spot with sixteen laps remaining.

Lallier was using up his bag of tricks on Casper’s bumper but the merriment was interrupted when Ed Flanagan, Jr. took a spin in turn four. This set Casper and Lallier at the front for the restart. Kyle was quick on the trigger and came away with the lead. Bruneau had restarted behind Casper and ran under Lallier, who battled him on the outside. They battled for a lap-and-a-half before Bruneau claimed the spot. Lallier dropped in and attacked his back bumper. By now, Casper had taken advantage and was again three cars ahead. Hanafin dodged in under Lallier. Pangelinan followed, then Pianka and Arsenault were wheel-to-wheel.

Casper took the lead to four cars as the field went single file behind him. Lallier began looking under Bruneau while Hanafin stuck his nose under Lallier, got halfway past, then fell off. With seven laps remaining, the top ten had been established and the race became a high-speed parade toward the checkers. The field filed uninterrupted under the checkers at breakneck speed.

Casper was followed by Bruneau, Paul Lallier, Hanafin and Pangelinan. Sixth came Pianka, then Arsenault, Dave Gargaro (making his first Sportsman start after a Sport Four win on Friday night) Gomes, Kohler, Tim Watson and Al Clements IV.