Dave Darling and Ryan Vanasse engaged in a bitter duel over supremacy in the Pro Stock division with the outcome undecided until the closing yards of the 40-lap challenge for Seekonk’s top division. Right on their tails came polesitter Bobby Pelland III, who had initially engaged reigning champion Tom Scully, Jr. until the latter suddenly slowed in turn three of lap six and was caught by Darling, who had been running on his bumper. Scully came loose in turn four and spun to the infield. He pitted for repairs and returned for the restart.
Vanasse, who had been running third, now started on his teammate’s outside shoulder and they debated the lead over the next 27 laps, with Vanasse running the outside and Pelland in command of the low groove. Darling pursued them, constantly on their bumpers as they hacksawed the lead with Radical Rick Martin constantly in his mirror.
But moving up from the middle of the pack were Fast Freddy Astle and Ryan Lineham. Lineham was at Martin’s back on lap seven, moving in from a seventh place start. Astle, who came from ninth, edged past Kenny Spencer and Kevin Casper into sixth place, behind Lineham. They debated the position for three laps, before Astle nosed under Lineham, who got squirrelly, which allowed Astle to charge ahead. At the same time, Vanasse vaulted past Pelland and Darling drove underneath to remain on Vanasse’s bumper.
Lineham began to fade as Dick Houlihan made his way past into sixth on lap 13 and Lineham had to contend with Mike Brightman at his back.
A lap 13 restart ensued after Kyle Casper and Daryl Stampfl did a tandem spin down the frontstretch. Pelland and Vanasse came out wheel-to-wheel with Vanasse edging ahead on the outside, but Pelland hanging tough on the inside and Vanasse on their bumpers seeking an opportunity. Astle succeeded Martin in fourth and drove up to Darling’s tail before falling back. Houlihan now passed Martin to follow Astle.
Vanasse jetted ahead to seize the lead from Pelland and Darling wedged in under to contest for second. But Pelland was not finished, and careened up alongside the leader trailing Darling. The rest of the field was now strung out single file. Vanasse did a masterful job of holding both of his assailants at bay. Pelland rushed up again, then fell back with Darling still locked on behind.
It was now lap 26 and Pelland wiggled just enough that Vanasse could shoot back to the lead through turns three and four. Darling followed underneath and into second but Kyle Casper spun on the front stretch to bring out the caution and negate the transition. Vanasse took the pole and Pelland the outside for the restart with Darling low in the second row and Astle on his shoulder.
Vanasse again had the pole with Darling outside. Pelland and Houlihan followed with Astle and a resurgent Scully in row three. It was a door-to-door affair out of the starting box; Vanasse held the lead and pulled away by a length, but Darling dropped underneath and they went door-to-door across the stripe and down the backstretch. Vanasse tried to wind it up and hold on but finally had to drop in, attempting to cross under, but Darling kept him at bay and began pulling away. Vanasse was unable to make up the distance despite a serious dogfight on his part, and two laps later, they crossed the finish line with Darling in the lead. Vanasse, Pelland, Astle and Houlihan completed the top five, followed by Spencer, Scully, Brightman, Martin and Kevin Casper.