Nickolas Hovey pushed in front of Devin Deshaies to take the lead of the Bandolero Bandits feature, then left the field behind for the final 13 of fifteen feature laps and a win on Phil’s Propane Triple Crown for 2017. RJ Marcotte, who had been knocked out of second as Hovey rushed toward the front, held on in third, then passed Deshaies with four to go to grab second while last week’s winner, Ryan Arieta grabbed third with a late-race pass. DeShaies held on to fourth as Riley Caron out dueled Isaiah Newcomb to the wire and collected fifth.
Deshaies and Marcotte ran wheel-to-wheel off the front row and Deshaies grabbed the front in turn one. Hovey, starting third, held on to Deshaies’ rear forcing Marcotte to drop into third on Nickolas’ bumper. Arieta, last week’s winner, dropped from the outside of row two into fourth, where he ran the majority of the race, before moving past Deshaies in the late going.
Lap two saw Hovey navigating under Deshaies for the lead after a short door-to-door session on the frontstretch. Hovey secured the lead in turn two and Marcotte then drove under and into second. Hovey wasted no time and was four cars up on lap four, just as Nathan Smith spun off turn three.
The restart featured Hovey and Deshaies on the front row with Marcotte and Arieta behind them. Hovey popped out of the box and into the lead immediately, trailing Deshaies, while Marcotte and Arieta went side-by-side. Caron followed with Smith and Newcomb in pursuit, ahead of Giovanni Reggiero and Hailey Vallerand.
Hovey went to a six-car lead over the following lap. Marcotte pulled ahead of Arieta and onto Deshaies bumper. Behind Caron, Smith and Newcomb were running parallell for position. By lap five, the field was stretched out single file and running hard.
This continued through lap eleven as the competitors became evenly spaced around the speedway. But Marcotte began to close on lap 12 and got onto Deshaies’ bumper just before Smith spun on the backstretch.
The lap 11 restart saw Hovey nosed away from Deshaies, then Marcotte and Arieta dodged underneath while he was stuck on the outside after he and Arieta did some banging and trading of paint as the white flag came out. Deshaies came loose and got sideways in turn two on the final lap but hung onto the car, straightened out and was able to continue to the finish.
Sixth went to Newcomb, followed by Ruggiero, Smith and Vallerand.