Josh Hedges leveraged three restarts on laps 18, 20 and 21 into taking over a lead held by John Robidoux for the first 20 laps and carried it the final five circuits to the checkered flag and Victory Lane. At the same time, Mike Duarte’s fifth place was good to propel him into the Sport Trucks championship for the 2017 season.
It might not have been so, were it not for late-race action between points leader Chase Belcher and Rob Murphy. Late in the race, Belcher was moving up from the back of the pack after going to the rear on an early spin. On lap 24, he was trailing Duarte and his fellow challenger, Barry Shaw by a single spot, which would have put Belcher into his second championship. However, Murphy followed Belcher and got into him, spinning him in turn two, just after they had crossed under the white flag into the final lap. It ended Belcher’s conquest. (Murphy was black-flagged for the move and stricken from the sportsman feature later in the evening.)
Duarte survived his own set of problems to come up on the final day: during practice he dropped a bolt out of his transmission, losing third gear. Duarte, his team, and fellow competitors thrashed on his truck and succeeded in swapping out the transmission in time to run the qualifier and the feature.
In that feature, Robidoux came off the pole into the lead as he has done all season long. David Simpson, the outside pole, dueled with Darryl Church before Doug Rioux suffered power failure on lap one. Second try got the race going, and Church was able to get in under Simpson and Lenny Guy moved in behind. Hedges was working under Mike Cavallaro, while behind them, Shaw was underneath Belcher.
Church continued to pursue Robidoux while Guy got below Simpson. But Cavallaro got sideways and Belcher had nowhere to go, piling into him. Ed Perry spun further up the track. The Lap 6 restart featured Robidoux and Church on the front, followed by Simpson and Guy. Hedges and Shaw made up row 3, pursued by Duarte and Murphy.
As Robidoux edged away, Simpson got in under Church. As Adam Giacomozzi headed pitside. Robidoux increased his lead as Simpson claimed second ahead of Hedges. Behind them, Shaw was getting below Church. Duarte came by Church onto Shaw’s bumper as Murphy got under Church.
The field strung out over the next three laps as Simpson continuously looked to Robidoux’ low side but was unable to pry the latter out of the groove enough to pass. Lap 16 saw Belcher working under Guy as he came forward through the back of the pack. They made contact and Guy went around on lap 18. Robidoux grabbed the front again after he and Simpson went door-to-door. The aggressive Hedges stayed tight on their backs and got under Simpson as Darryl Dutch got loose and went into Church, knocking him into Cavallaro for a lap 20 caution.
Simpson nosed out on Robidoux and they fought it out. Belcher was looking to change his fortunes and went three-wide from outside the fourth row, looking to pass Shaw and Murphy. But Perry spun out of turn two. He kept it running and attempted to rejoin the racing, but as he emerged onto the track, the field was upon him and he ducked back into the infield, bringing out the caution. A lap 21 restart loomed with a four-lap shootout to the finish coming up.
Again it was Robidoux and now Hedges on the front. Simpson was outside Duarte in row two, followed by Shaw and Murphy with Belcher outside Guy. Hedges nosed out on Robidoux and they brawled over the lead. The came back across the line with Hedges one foot ahead.
Belcher leapfrogged ahead once again, going three wide underneath Guy and Murphy, headed into the final lap. As Belcher dropped in, Murphy ran into him from behind, spinning him out in turn two as the leaders rounded turn three, headed for the finish. The spin slid Belcher back to the last car still running, in tenth and Duarte’s ten extra points for fifth move him six points ahead of Belcher for the final standings.
Robidoux held on for second on the event, followed by Simpson, Shaw and Duarte. Sixth went to Guy, followed by Rob Rainville, Dutch, Perry and Belcher.