by Dana Rowe

            Paul Lallier shook off a difficult opening night by earning a start on the outside of the front row and battled polesitter Smokin’ Joe Kohler over the first third of the race before taking over on lap eleven to lead the division the rest of the thirty laps to the checkers.  It was  a completely different look from the ill-handling car he had wrestled with just one week earlier.

            Dick Benoit worked up for a second overall, while Scott Bruneau worked his way from fourteenth to third.  Kohler nailed down fourth place and Kid Chaos – Corey Fanning secured fifth.

            Smokin’ Joe pulled ahead out of the starting box and Lallier dropped in on his bumper.  Rey Lovelace and Tyler Lallier were side-by-side behind them but in turn two, Paul Williams got around in turn four, collecting three cars including Kevin Rioux and Joe Arena.  Ed Perry took the moment to pit.  Joe Melberg retired with just two laps gone.

            Kohler and Lallier hacksawed the lead on the restart and as Kohler pulled ahead, Tyler Laller got under Paul, who charged ahead and secured second.  Lap three saw Kohler, Paul, Tyler, Ryan Souliere and Benoit in the thick of things. Lap four began the same, but Rioux spun for the caution.  He collected Kyle Casper and Chris Gomes with the trio finding the infield grass. Danny Cabral and Rioux retired with 4 laps down.

            Kohler and Paul, Tyler and Souliere set up with Benoit and Lovelace behind them.  At the green, Kohler nosed out again for some more side-by-side with Paul, then Tyler nosed underneath for a brief three-wide.  Kohler battled and held him off.  But another caution flew as a host of cars were caught up in a spin and it was back to ground zero.

            Kohler won the battle once again and Paul settled onto his bumper.  Benoit grabbed third ahead of tyler while Soulier battled underneath Captain Fun – Craig Pianka.  Pianka won the confrontation and moved into fifth.

            Ten laps in and Paul nosed under Kohler, and this time Smokin’ Joe could not hold himoff.  He kept pushing ahead and had the lead to himself on lap 22.  Benoit was on Lallier’s bumper and followed him under Kohler, who dropped in behind Benoit.  Tyler and Pianka ran fourth and fifth.  Sparky Arsenault then spun into the infield for yet another caution.

            Paul and Benoit lined up with Kohler and Tyler behind them and Pianka and the newly-arrived Scott Bruneau making up row three.  Bruneau had been picking off a car each circuit over the last few laps and was poised for an assault on the front.  But Lallier went to the front out of the box and Benoit dropped in.  Kohler, Pianka and Tyler ran a momentary three-wide over third place and came away with Tyler falling off to sixth.  Kohler got under Benoit and the field remained paired up behind them.

            Three laps later, Paul had some breathing room with a three-length margin over Benoit, who was pursued by Kohler, Pianka, Fanning and Bruneau.  The field was now strung out single file and Bruneau went under Fanning into fifth.  He got all over Pianka’s back as Lallier eased into an eight-car lead over Benoit.

            With five circuits remaining, Bruneau was at it again and ducked under Pianka into fourth, getting onto Kohler’s tail.  Once more around and he looked under Kohler and dived in, to steal third.  The field had stretched out and a large gap loomed between Benoit and Bruneau and as hot as the latter had been running, there wasn’t enough distance left for another pass.

            Lallier secured the win with 2.3 seconds on Benoit.

            Sixth went to Fanning, followed by Kyle Casper, Tyler Lallier, Ryan Flood, Souliere, Lovelace and Ed Flanagan, Jr.