Connor Souza took a dramatic move on lap one, diving under front row competitors Michael Cooper and Wesley Heard into the lead coming through turn four. As they clicked off the first lap on the timers, the pylon told the tale: Souza was in front, with Heard in second and Cooper falling off the outside of the three-wide back to fourth as last week’s winner Tyler Tomassi scooted from fifth to third.
Tomassi went by Heard into second and then Evan Marchand was under Heard, who then sipped to fourth with Cooper fifth. Tomassi set to work on the leader’s bumper while Marchand pulled into third, one car behind Tomassi. Evan continued to favor the outside, looking around Tomassi again and again as he came up to his bumper. Tomassi dropped in to prevent as Marchand continued to look to the outside. This was good news to Souza especially as he got very high in turn four on lap six and his competitors had options underneath but Souza slammed the door. Next time around, Tomassi came loose at the same spot, got sideways, then saved it. This gave Souza the chance he needed to drop to the low groove at the front.
Marchand was able to get alongside Tomassi during the moment of difficulty and the next time around – lap nine – Evan was able to slide into second. During all the drama, however, Souza took full advantaged and generated a six-car lead with four laps remaining. Marchand, Tomassi, Heard and Cooper pursued.
Marchand began to close a bit on lap 13, but Souza ran on with reckless abandon. Tomassi, however, summoned up some speed to come up to Marchand’s bumper.
And then Souza was blasting across the finish line with a 0.8-second victory margin. Marchand and then Tomassi battled across just three tenths apart with Marchand claiming second. Heard was fourth, followed by Cooper, Brandon LaVoie and Hailey Brightman.