by Dana Rowe
Nick Lascuola came back to his old home track after a long absence and showed the fans that he hasn’t lost the ability that sent him on a long winning skein and track championships. This evening, he battled up to the front from a ninth-place start and stole the lead that Reagan Parent had held for 26 laps. Afterward, Lascuola was elated to be back after his absence. Casey Call got past Parent with two to go to claim second and Josh Parsons then eased Parent back to fourth. Twin-winner Derek Gluchacki took fifth.
Two stories emerge from the racing: first is Parent’s 26 laps at the head of the pack and second is the final four laps as Lascuola, having worked his way up from ninth, took over and then held off the aggressive Call to the checkers.
Reagan spring boarded off the pole, then arm-wrestled his way to lap 26, holding off Mason Levesque, then Mason Tessier, Joshua Parsons and Eric LeBrun. When Lascuola arrived on lap 16, he first went after LeBrun and got a nose out front, fell back, then finally took over second on lap 22. It took four laps of dogged determination against Parent before he could slip in front on lap 26.
Call battled past Parsons and then LeBrun onto Lascuola’s coattails with a pass on Parent with two remaining and Parsons followed him through, shaving Parent back to fourth.
The top five looked like this: Lascuola, Call, Parsons, Parent and Gluchacki. Top four were all within the same second at the finish and Gluchacki was just at the one second mark. In fact Derek owned the best lap on the event at 82.928 mph.
Drama was the word on lap three as Adam Avedisian came down the front and suddenly a ball of fire burst forth from his engine compartment as flammable fluid spilled onto his headers while he was passing the starter’s stand. He brought it to a stop in turn one and exited the car to show he was all right.
At the outset, Parent ran out to a four car lead over Tessier, then doubled it over the next circuit. Gluchacki was getting past Eric LeBrun into fifth at this point on lap six.
He closed up and began looking under Parent on lap nine but was unable to make the pass. Gluchacki nosed under Parsons and got alongside, completing the pass on the backstretch. Now Tessier had to worry about Gluchacki coming up from eight cars back but continued to harangue Parent. But Levesque and Goodrow got together in turn four, catching up Brendan Hammann, and the trio made for the pits. Hammann was unable to return.
Tessier was suddenly very wide in turn four, allowing Parsons and Eric underneath for a three-wide. Parent moved a carlength ahead of the group as Gluchacki held on to second, LeBrun continued underneath Parsons and LeBrun fell back. Lascuola was lurking there and got onto Eric’s bumper. Gluchacki made a dash and pushed ahead of Parent down the back, but it was not to be. Parent was on the pole under Gluchacki for the restart.
Eric was low in the second row, and now Lascuola was on his outside. Two tries had to be made at the restart but they were finally away. Parent had the lead, pestered by Guchacki and Lascuola dropped into third.
As the struggle continued, Gluchacki got loose and wide in turn four. Lascuola snapped up the opportunity and went to second, with Parsons nosing under Gluchacki for position. Lascuola then drove in under Parent to try for the lead. They went door-to-door but Lascuola would not be denied. Parsons also powered past. But a spin by Trenton Goodrow brought the field to caution and brought about a green-white-checker restart. Lascuola and Parent lined up with Call and now Jake Matheson making up row two. Parsons and Gluchacki backed them up.
Lascuola was away with Call clinging to his bumper. Parent fell back and Parsons got underneath and into third, while Gluchacki and Matheson brawled through the remaining two laps. Derek was able to hold Matheson off by a mere .082 seconds at the line.
Matheson was awarded sixth, followed by Eric LeBrun, Tessier, Jacob Burns, Hammann and Luke LeBrun.