by Dana Rowe

            Josh Hedges came back from opening night’s disappointment with a huge win over his division rivals.  Hedges more than made up from his demotion for jumping the start by charging up from his fourth place start past Randy Burr, Ed Gannon and Lenny Guy into the lead on lap six, then holding the front for the rest of the thirty-lap feature. Current champ Mike Duarte moved into second a lap later and pursued him the rest of the way, as did Barry Shaw, Jr. who wheeled in on Duarte’s tailgate and the trio ran a torrid set all the way to the checkers.  Polesitter Ed Gannon was equally in the fray behind Shaw.  At the finish, Hedges led all comers by most of a straightaway as he galloped over the stripe to collect the trophy.  Then came Duarte, followed by Shaw.  Last week’s winner, Bobby Tripp, sandwiched himself in between Shaw and Gannon with five laps remaining and these were your top five on the event.

            Guy and Gannon came off the front row, going wheel-to-wheel until Gannon nosed ahead as they recrossed the stripe going into the second circuit.  They jockeyed along this way until Gannon was almost past on lap four, but Randy Burr took a spin near the flagstand, calling out the caution flag.

            Gannon had the low side on the restart with Hedges and Mike Cavallaro behind; Duarte and Shaw lurked in row three.  Gannon and Guy went door-to-door again until Hedges moved to make it three-wide, a move that failed and Gannon pulled into the lead coming across the stripe.  Hedges got past guy and Duarte dug in underneath him.  Five laps in and it was Gannon leading Hedges, Duarte, Shaw and Cavallaro and Guy dropped in behind them.  Tripp was rolling in seventh and got past Lenny on the high side, then set his sights on Cavallaro.  Darryl Dutch and Burr rolled along in pursuit.

            Tripp was past Cavallaro into fifth on lap six and began closing on Gannon.  At the front, Hedges led on with Duarte looking for opportunities as was Shaw behind him.  Tripp came up behind Gannon and went high.  The dueled intently, neither giving way.  Lap 20 saw Burr all over Guy’s tailgate, looking for seventh while Gannon continued to deny Tripp’s attempts.

            With the high side yielding little fruit, Bobby elected to drop underneath Gannon.  He had to back out of an attempt in turn two, but dived back in on turn four.  This time he got alongside and they engaged in more door-to-door until Tripp finally won fourth with five laps remaining.

            By now, Hedges had a lead that encompassed most of a straightaway.  Duarte was still pursuing in second with Shaw giving chase.  Tripp was a distance behind and it looked like he might not have enough track left to overcome Shaw for third.  Gannon pursued Tripp and now Cavallaro was at his tailgate.

            The field ground through the final five laps in a pace line to the waiting checkered flag.  Hedges had earned his composure back with the win.

            Sixth went to Cavallaro, followed by Burr, Andrew Kun, Guy, Darryl Dutch, Brittany Campbell and Maddie Harkin.