Ryan Lineham worked his way slowly forward toward the front as Dan Johnson again romped away in the lead. But Lineham finally passed Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. into second on lap 18 and went after the leader. Two laps later, he edged past Johnson to run the final ten laps to the checkers at the front. Jake Johnson had chased Lineham and came past Dan on lap 21 into second and from there he harrassed Lineham to the finish. The second place gave Jake enough poi nts for the division’s rookie-of-the-year honors after he and Ryan Kuhn entered the event in a virtual tie for the honor. Dylan Estrella was third while Tom Scully, Jr and Jeramme Lillie rounded out the top five.
Dan Johnson and John Paiva fought for the lead on the green, going wheel-to-wheel until Johnson grabbed the front coming out of turn four. Paiva dropped in ahead of Estrella and Lineham grabbed fourth with DeGasparre on his tail.
Estrella got past Paiva into second and DeGasparre and Kuhn followed suit. Lineham trailed Paiva, just ahead of Rey Lovelace.
By lap seven, they were running in the same order and the field had strung out single file. Jake looked under Lovelace for position but had the door slammed shut. On the following lap, however, he got under on turn two.
By lap 12, Lineham had ducked under Kuhn, and they were wheel-to-wheel down the backstetch. Lineham got into fifth in turn four and Nick Uhrig followed him though into sixth, easing Kuhn back to seventh. Estrella got loose and slid uptrack and DeGasparre shot underneath. The indignity continued as Lineham dived under and Jake followed underneath. But Eddie LeClerc spun in turn two.
Now Johnson had DeGasparre on his outside and Lineham in his mirror for the lap 17 restart. It was side-by-side racing for a lap until Dan began pusing ahead and Lineham at his bumper under DeGasparre. Jake was under Estrelaa and behind them Lovelace and Kuhn as Paiva turned into the pits. On the following circuit, Lineham was able to get past Dan into the lead and Jake worked in underneath. Estella and DeGasparre dueled behind them.
Jake settled into second and went after Lineham as Estrella was door-to-door with Dan for third. Estrella came loose and Dan ran ahead but he and DeGasparre got sideways in turn four. Lovelace and LeClerc seized the caution to pit. LeClerc returned.
Lineham and Jake took the front and battled across the stripe and they whipsawed the lead for a lap and a half until Lineham grabbed the lead going down the back stretch. Estrella grabbed third but had Tom Scully on his outside. Lillie had come up to fifth, trailing Uhrig, DeGasparre, Kuhn and Dan Johnson.
Three to go, and Jake was at Lineham’s bumper seeking any and all opportunities. The duel between Estrella and Scully over third continued as Lillie ran fifth. They ran this way into the white flag lap and to the checkers, bringing Lineham the win and the checkers. It was a tour-de-force as the Late Model Champion had begun the season focused on Pro Stocks and running Late Models as a sideline. Early on, however, he had decided to take on the division seriously and departed the Pro Stock ranks.