Dave Darling came cutting through the field again, smooth as glass, coming from outside the fifth row to the front and then to the checkers with seeming ease. While the rest of the field suffered its ills, Darling found the front just sixteen laps into the 40-lap feature. He and Fast Freddy Astle had come through on parallel courses and arrived about the same time. Astle got past Daryl Stampfl onto leader Kevin Folan’s bumper on lap 7. Darling arrived on Astle’s bumper on lap 9. They passed Folan on lap 11 and as Astle took the lead, his mirror was full of Darling’s 52 car. Four laps later, they traded places as Darling went to the front and they ran 1-2 for the remainder of the race.
Third place was a good effort by Bobby Pelland III, followed by Tom Scully, Jr. and fifth went to Rocket Ryan Vanasse.
It was a sometimes-difficult race with six cautions, including three attempts at a restart on lap 13. But the early portion and later laps in the feature had some very good racing.
Folan kicked if off by grabbing the lead from his pole position as Stampfl surged in under outside polesitter Dick Houlihan. Mike Brightman, behind Houlihan on the outside, saw Pelland slide in underneath and onto Stampfl’s bumper. Lap two saw Folan in the lead, followed by Stampfl and then Pelland. Astle had come up to fourth while behind him, Brightman had dropped in and was under Houlihan. Radical Rick Martin followed with Vanasse on his bumper.
By lap five, Martin was behind Brightman with Vanasse in pursuit and Darling on his bumper.
But things went afoul on lap seven as Pelland went around in front of the field. Scully dodged high and avoided. Brightman got hard on his brakes and stopped inches short of Pelland’s door and Kyle Casper was able to stop short of Brightman, but the accordion was in effect and Casper was hit from behind, sending him into Brightman, who banged into Pelland. All were able to return to the action.
Folan and Stampfl came out of the starting box together and Folan went to the front. Astle sneaked under Stampfl and Brightman ducked under the latter and onto Astle’s bumper. Freddy looked under Folan but couldn’t find room and Folan continued to hold him off as Darling arrived in third.
Astle pushed in under Folan on lap 10 and Darling followed, sending Folan back to thrid as Vanasse got past Stampfl into fourth. Stampfl had Martin in his mirror.
Brightman was having some difficulties after being accordioned earlier and spun in turn two of lap 13. Pelland was caught up but suffered little damage. Brightman pitted for repairs and adjustments.
It took three attempts to make the lap 13 restart, as the first two attempts resulted in callbacks by the starter for bad starts. Third try was the charm and Astle took the lead in turn one. Darling elected to stay on the outside for the duel. Vanasse had come up into third, followed by Stampfl, Folan and Scully.
Darling was on Astle’s bumper on lap 15, having decided to change tactics as a caution was called for debris on the track.
Astle and Darling came away door to door, then Astle inched ahead. Again they were side-by-side and then Darling nosed out in turn four. He had the lead in hand coming across the stripe into lap 16.
Darling went out to a two car lead over Astle with Vanasse running third and Folan on his bumper. Casper had come up to Folan’s rear but suddenly, Martin found himself sitting still in turn two. Vanasse immediately pitted for maintenance.
The lap 17 restart saw Darling nose out on Astle, who elected to try it on the outside. Dave edged ahead by a half-car as Pelland began to work his way under Folan. He took it to third behind the frontrunners as Scully homed in on Folan. Casper and Brightman followed.
Scully went under Folan into fourth in turn four on lap 20.
Darling had forged a six-car lead by lap 22. Vanasse was moving forward again and passed Brightman into seventh behind Casper. He was under casper and into sixth on lap 27, and the following lap, he got past Folan on the backstretch.
Darling’s lead on lap 31 was 12 cars. Astle was still second with Pelland behind him, followed by Scully and Vanasse. But it was Darling’s evening, and lap 36 saw him ahead by half the straightaway. Behind him, in order, were Astle, Pelland, Scully, Vanasse, Folan and Brightman. The field was running single file, and they parade-lapped the final circuits to the checkers.
Darling collected another win as Vanasse, second in the points, finished fifth, unofficially sliding him another 10 points behind the leader.
Sixth on the evening went to Folan, followed by Brightman, Stampfl, Casper and Davis Silvia.