by Dana Rowe
Derek Gluchacki sailed through a flotilla of hostile Legends competitors, survived restarts and each time built extensive leads enroute to coming back to Seekonk Victory Lane in a Legends Nationals Quaifier. Although it was not, Derek made it look easy.
Reagan Parent finished second and Jake Mathews, although spinning out as he crossed, captured third; Brendan Hammann and Trenton Goodrow rounded out the top five.
Gluchacki started ninth as Mason Levesque and Jacob Burns led off from the front row. A first lap wreck saw Eric LeBrun spin in turn three, collecting his brother Luke, sending Gluchacki up close to the wall in defense, catching up Thomas Murray, damaging the front of Joe DeRensis and bringing out a red flag for the safety of the track crew trying to straighten out the mess.
Once back together, Levesque and Burns lined up again and racing began with Levesque jumping to the lead and Mason Tessier dropping under Burns into third as Goodrow went to second from outside the second row. Two laps in, Josh Parsons was under Brendan Hammann into fourth. Behind them, Matheson was moving in and he dropped under Hammann into fifth. Goodrow went to the front siding Parson back to second and went up by a car-and-a-half. Levesque had Parsons on his tail, leading Matheson, Tessier and Reagan Parent. Gluchacki ran up to Parent’s bumper as Shileigh Martinez was getting under Hammann behind them.
The top four ran single file and close together with Goodrow head by four carlengths. He stretched it out to seven lengths. Parsons was persistent in his attack on Levesque and finally succeeded to second place on lap eight. But bad news was in the offing as Matheson got by onto Parsons’ bumper a lap later. Lap eleven saw Goodrow holding a four-car advantage over Parsons, who was pursued by Matheson. And now Gluchacki was past Levesque onto Matheson’s bumper, then underneath.
But Matthew Carpenter spun out of turn one, bringing caution on lap 13. Parent paid testimony to the head of the day that the field was operating under by opening his door during the caution laps to cool down his cockpit. (He closed it well before the field resumed combat.) It took two tried to resume action as Parsons spun in turn four on the restart, collecting Martinez, Burns, RJ Marcotte, Eric LeBrun, Andrew Carpenter and Matthew Carpenter. Martinez pitted for repairs and returned as did Matthew Carpenter.
On the second tr, Goodrow grabbed the lead right out of the box as Matheson went under Parsons, followed by Gluchacki. Behind them, Parent was waiting and dodged under as soon as Gluchacki cleared.
Gluchacki pried his way past Matheson and on lap later stole the lead from Goodrow. Trent settled in and spent the rest of the feature batting with Matheson over second place with one exception.. Parent came past Matheson and got under Goodrow as Glouchacki went to a ten-car lead. Eric LeBrun ran up on Matheson’s outside looking for fourth. But LeBrun got loose and fell off as Parent nosed ahead of Goodrow. Matheson looked underneath. Goodrow fell to third and Matheson got under Parent and Goodrow stepped ahead into second again.
With seven circuits remaining, Gluchacki had built a half-straightaway lead over the dueling combo of Goodrow and Matheson. Parent continued to pursue, followed by Levesque and Eric.
Matheson began looking under Goodrow, got there and they began running wheel-to-wheel with five laps remaining. Parent waited behind them for an opportunity as Gluchacki extended his lead. Matheson finally conquered second place by himself just before Eric spun out of turn three with one lap remaining. This brought up a green-white-checker restart and the field lined up.
Gluchacki and Matheson charged toward the starting box with Goodrow and Parent behind them; Levesque and Hammann were row three. Gluchacki nosed out and Goodrow, sitting low behind him, ducked under Matheson and they ran door to door. This gave Gluchacki the opportunity to open a four-car lead. Coming to the line, Goodrow and Matheson began trading paint and some hard grinding and Matheson spun, made contact and they wound up astride the finish line, Goodrow facing forward and Matheson facing back. Parent dodged past to claim second. Matheson still collected third while Hammann slid in for third, settling Goodrow into fifth.
Andrew Carpenter collected sixth, followed by Levesque, Eric LeBrun, Parsons, Matthew Carpenter, Tessier, Nick Lascuola and Martinez.