Seven-time champ Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. took advantage of a pair of restarts on laps 13 and 14 to fight his way past Nick Uhrig and seize the lead then charge on, unheeded until a final duel at the end with Connecticut newcomer Ryan Morgan. Morgan seized the lead from DeGasparre on a lap 32 restart with 3 laps remaining but Gerry refused to give it up and dropped in behind then looked underneath. Morgan held him off but contact with DeGasparre in the preventative move loosened him up and he slid up the track. DeGasparre seized the opportunity and ran underneath into the lead. Morgan pursued him to the checkers but could not get by, finishing second. Ryan Kuhn and Branden Dion dueled over the final three laps and Kuhn came out with a third place finish while Dion claimed fourth. Jeramee Lillie filled out the top five.
At the outset, Michael Benevides grabbed the lead from the outside pole and polesitter Uhrig settled into second. DeGasparre came up outside Uhrig for a challenge over second. Uhrig dug back in underneath Benevides and by lap three had the front. DeGasparre fell in behind Uhrig and got under Benevides, while Kuhn secured fourth. Behind him, Austin Blais was battling outside Dylan Estrella.
Joey Parker brought the caution with a lap 4 spin in turn three as his rear tires came loose.
Uhrig and Benevides lined up for the restart and went wheel-to-wheel through turn two, where Uhrig pulled away. DeGasparre ducked under Benevides and into second. Uhrig had gained a three-car lead while Blais trailed DeGasparre and behind him Dan Johnson and Charlie Rose battled side-by-side. Johnson moved up under Benevides, putting him on the outside freight train headed toward the back. Benevides was unable to settle as traffic ran nose-to-tail.
Morgan was coming on from the middle of the 22-car field and looking under Ryan Lineham for sixth.. He grabbed the position on lap 9 and Rose followed him under. But Lillie spun to the infield grass on lap 13.
DeGasparre and Uhrig lined up and went wheel-to-wheel for a lap-and-a-half until Rose’s rear end snapped out in turn three, collecting Nick Johnson. Rear end damage had Johnson off on the hook, while Dion was called for the assist and joined Rose at the rear.
The lap 14 restart was another DeGasparre/Uhrig battle until Gerry nosed out on turn two and grabbed the lead down the backstretch. Blaise got by Uhrig and claimed second while behind Uhrig, Dan Johnson was fighting it out beneath Uhrig on the ensuing lap. Johnson went to third and Morgan dived in under Uhrig, who now was also caught on the outside, unable to drop in. Blais went to DeGasparre’s bumper with Johnson in pursuit followed by Morgan, Uhrig and Lineham.
As Blais continued to chew at the leader’s bumper, Morgan ran fourth behind Johnson while Uhrig and Lineham continued in pursuit. Lap 21, however, saw Morgan run in under Johnson and steal third in turn three. Uhrig followed, nosing in under Johnson. But Parker, Mikey Flynn and Ron Barboza, Jr. all other out of turn one. It was the end of the night for Barboza. Estrella got the call on the assist on the wreck.
Now DeGasparre sparred with Blais on the restart. Gerry got away into the lead while Blais pushed outside. Morgan used the opportunity to get under Blais in the hunt for second. Blais still rocketed along on the outside, holding second and trying to move up and pass. DeGasparre finally pulled ahead of Blais. Morgan now looked under DeGasparre and pushed all the way in on lap 32. DeGasparre fired up and nosed ahead.
DeGasparre continued to hold onto the lead from the outside and pinched Morgan down through the turns to keep him from running ahead. But caution flew once more with three laps remaining. Uhrig had to be pushed to the pits with a flat right front and his driver’s door ripped from the car. Blais and Flynn were also casualties, retiring to the pits.
DeGasparre took a fender on Morgan on the restart, but Morgan wasn’t about to yield and nosed up, with the electronics recording him as leader on lap 34. Kuhn came up to look under Morgan who nudged DeGasparre, then slid up the track while holding Kuhn off. DeGasparre took full advantage and ran ahead into the lead. At the finish, DeGasparre had two tenths of a second on Morgan. Kuhn was just a tenth of Morgan’s pace for third. The top six cars all finished on the same second, with sixth going to Estrella.
Rounding out the top ten were Dan Johnson, Jake Johnson, Chad Rose and Parker.