Lallier’s Second secures Championship
Kid Chaos – aka Corey Fanning dogged each other’s tracks throughout the 30-lap Sportsman feature and in the final analysis grabbed the top two slots on the race. Travis was originally declared winner, but tech inspection discovered an infraction which then elevated Fanning to the top spot.
Paul Lallier, meanwhile, held on to his slim points lead over ‘17 champ Scott Bruneau, who finished ninth. Lallier came close to gaining the win, owing to Travis’ demotion, but Fanning dived under Lallier with three to go and Paul dropped in behind him for another try. Time ran out before he could make the move. Craig Pianka rocked into third, followed by Sparky Arsenault and Jesse Melberg to round out the top five.
Post-race, in voice filled with emotion, Lallier explained how son Tyler (Sportsman #7) had talked him into one more season of racing and told the crowd: “This is my last points race!” Going out at the top.
Travis had started eighth and Fanning eleventh. While Dick Benoit jumped off the outside pole to begin 25 laps of dominating the front, Fanning springboarded past Travis into eighth. Vinny Pangelinan had one of the best starts of the season, coming from inside the second row to battle Benoit over the top spot until Travis dislodged him from second on lap 23. Chris Gomes was also part of the excitement, grabbing third and brawling with Benoit and Pangelinan down to lap 15. Paul Lallier played a more sedate game, hanging on to sixth place after starting seventh until lap 18. But as Travis and Fanning arrived in his vicinity, he picked up the pace, following Travis to the front and preceding the tenacious Fanning.
Travis arrived to dislodge Pangelinan from second on lap 22, moving Ed Perry out of third. Vinny, Benoit and Chris Gomes had kept the crowd on their feet with their long runs at the top three and Benoit sported some fair leads over his pursuers along the way. But Travis, with Lallier following, went after the runnerup spot.
Travis and Lallier caught up with and passed under Kyle Casper and Lallier went to fifth and Travis filled in behind. The moved Chris Gomes back and as he fell off, there was contact with Casper, cutting down one of Kyles tires. He pitted and returned for the restart.
Benoit spent the ensuing laps building a 3-car lead over Travis, Lallier and Fanning, who had reassembeled at the front. With five laps to go, Pangelinan spun in turn four. All competitors were able to avoid him, but several had to spin to do so. But suddenly, leader Dick Benoit had fluid leaking and after an on-track inspection he headed for the pits, leaving the lead to Travis.
Lallier lined up on Justin’s outside and Fanning was under Craig Pianka in row two. Tyler Lallier. First attempt came to nought as four cars spun before a lap was complete. Scott Bruneau pitted and returned. This time, Travis and Lallier were wheel-to-wheel out of the box. They swapped the lead back and fourth. Baxter spun out, but kept it moving and the racing continued.
With three laps remaining and Travis pulling ahead, Fanning drove in under Lallier as Pianka watched from behind for opportunities. Fanning was able to pull ahead of Lallier into second and Lallier dropped into third. It was a hard, high-speed grind, two laps to the checkers and the top five ran it in order, all the way to the finish.
Sixth went to Casper, followed by Tyler Lallier, Bruneau, Pangelinan, Billy Hutchins, Jr. and Paul Williams.