by Dana Rowe

Devin Deshaies made it two in a row on the early season in the Bandolero Bandits Division, claiming the lead at the race’s midpoint from early leader Giovanni Ruggerio, then rolling on to the checkers, but not without plenty of trouble at the hands of Isiah Newcomb who followed Deshaies past Ruggerio. Newcomb pursued and challenged the fleeing Deshaies but could not find the equation to get past. In the end they finished 1-2 with Ruggerio a close third. Nathan Smith and Brayden Meservey rounded out the top five on the event.

Outside pole-sitter Ruggerio leapt to the lead on the green but Nathan Smith stayed low and charged back, getting a nose out. However, Ruggerio claimed the front before the lap was out. Newcomb edged Smith out of second, trailingand they were pursued by Ryan Arieta, Deshaies, Meservey and Nikolas Frechette. The field now stretched out into single file as Ruggerio rocketed out to a five-car lead. Newcomb, however, settled in and began to close the gap.

Deshaies navigated past Smith and closed to Newcomb’s bumper, looked under in turn two and took over second on the backstretch. He looked ahead to find Ruggerio two cars in the lead and set to work. Next time around, he had whittled the lead down to one car; Newcomb, smith and Meservey followed, with Collin Vanasse battling for Meservey’s slot.

Deshaies completed the pass at lap’s end and Isiah went by on the following circuit. Deshaies pushed out to a five-car gap with six laps remaining. But Riley Caron and Vanasse got together in turn four and they spun to the infield just past the flagstand. Vanasse felt the hit the worst, his front while being knocked out of position. His evening ended in the crash,while Caron made the restart but retired on lap later.

Deshaies took the lead over Newcomb on the restart. Ruggerio nabbed third with Smith on his outside. Arieta was working on Frechette and got underneath, held him off and then took the position. Joel Newcomb and Brent Robidoux followed them.

As the field again stretched out single file, Deshaies, Isiah and Ruggerio continued to pace at the font. Deshaies pushed hard, grinding out a fifteen-car lead while Ruggerio snugged up on Isiah’s bumper to challenge for second.

Arieta had a straightaway lead with two circuits remaining as Ruggerio pulled out all the stops and looked underneath Newcomb but Isiah held position. They ground it out over the final two.

Arieta breezed to his second win in as many tries on the new season, while Newcomb was able to hold off Ruggerio for second.

Sixth went to Arieta, followed by Frechette, Joel Newcomb and Brent Robidoux.