by Dana Rowe

Ray Parent returned to his home track for the home opener and as he often does when visiting, he carried off the win on the event. It wasn’t easy, however: young Jake Johnson spent a good 95 percent of the race on Ray’s tail and if he wasn’t, it was division champ Ryan Lineham knocking at the door. And to finish it up, Vinnie Arrenegado (who had run fourth most of the latter half) made a mad dive underneath for all the marbles, upsetting the applecart for everybody except Parent. Vinnie ended up with second place, shuttled Jake the Jet back to third, settled Jeramee Lillie into fourth, Lineham to fifth and Bobby Tripp grabbed sixth (after already winning the Sport Trucks feature on the day.)

Lineham had the pole and Parent the outside for the start. Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. and Johnson backed them up while Vinnie sat in row three under Charlie Rose. Lineham grabbed the front but Parent elected to battle him from the outside. They ran two laps door-to-door until Parent dropped under to grab the lead, which he did in turn four. Lineham came back on the outside for more wheel-to-wheel which ended with Parent in front going into lap four. Johnson then ducked under Lineham for second. Rose pulled in behind Ryan for fourth with Arrenegado, Dan Johnson, Lillie and DeGasparre in hot pursuit.

Vinnie eased Rose out of fourth and Lillie followed suit. Parent, Jake and Lineham were nose-to-tail at the front as Rose apparently cut a tire down which propelled him into a glancing blow with the outside wall just short of the pit exit. It was enough to end his evening with only 8 laps under his belt. On the restart, Austin Blais spun at the stripe and collected Chad Baxter, ending their evenings.

Parent and Johnson went side-by-side for two laps before Parent could grab the lead in turn four. Next time around, Lineham dodged under Johnson, looking for second and they brawled for a lap and a half until Lineham’s persistence won out. Dan Johnson was cruising in fourth behind his cousin, followed by Lillie and Arrenegado.

But Jake looked to turn the tables on Lineham and ducked underneath and got alongside just as DeGasparre had his back end snap out in turn two. For the restart, Lineham was outside Parent and Jounson was low in row two underneath Dan. Lillie and Arrenegado followed. Parent nosed out again and took the lead in turn one. Johnson glued onto Ray’s bumper and ran under Lineham. Ryan dropped in behind for third place. During the combat, Parent had gained a three-length advantage. Mark Jenison had gotten by Arrenegado but now Vinnie got under him.

Caution flew as Nick Uhrig suddenly slowed and Chase Belcher had to spin to avoid him, getting a tap from DeGasparre.

It was another two-lap wheel-to-wheel on the restart but Parent pulled out ahead. And again Lineham slid under Jake as Parent pulled away. Lillie was waiting for an opportunity behind them and Dan Johnson was on his bumper. But he left too much room and Jenison grabbed an underneath move just as Mark Hudson spun, catching up Mike Teague. Hudson pitted and returned for the restart.

Jake and Lineham battled side-by-side for second once more as Vinnie and Jeramme behind them Lillie dropped in and Arrenegado got under Lineham.

Jake took an underneath shot on Parent and they battled it out before Ray was able to regain the front. Bobby Peland III had come up and was now battling with Dan Johnson and took a spin in turn four after the car started to get away from him. Parent and Jake came away 1-2 again but this time Jenison did a 360 in turn two. Belcher was unable to avoid and bumped him as did Hudson.

Again they battled, but this time, Jake spun, doing a 360. He was able to grab control, straighten out after the full circle and pull away under power. Behind him, cars scattered, collided and brought caution. Since Jake was able to drive away with no contact, he was not considered an accident car and returned to the second slot for the restart.

Parent was back in the lead and Johnson looking for opportunities on his bumper. Arrenegado and Lillie were door-to-door behind them. Arrenegado was able to pull into third with ten laps remaining. Nick Johnson came into the picture, getting into a three-wide over fourth with Dan and and Ryan Kuhn. At this point, Jake nosed under Parent and pushed ahead just as Belcher went around in turn four. It took the field back to the previously completed lap and the advantage went back to Parent, getting the restart from the pole and Jake from the outside.

Parent reclaimed the lead, then Bob Clark ran into motor problems and he began creeping around the track for the exit bringing yet another caution.

Five laps remained and the restart led to a wild affair with Parent and Johnson hacksawing the lead between them. Jake dropped in and was all over Parent’s bumper. Arrenegado chose to dive under Jake and pushed through getting under Parent as well. Parent battled and held him off as Jake looked desperately for an alternative. Behind him, Lineham and Lillie were battling for position and it swayed back and fourth over the final three laps. The quintet brawled through the white flag lap and across the line. Sorted out, the top five were: Parent, Arrenegado, Jake Johnson, Lillie and Lineham. Rounding out the top ten were Tripp, Nick Johnson, Mark Hudson, Mikey Toner, Jr. and Ryan Kuhn. Dan Johnson and Pelland were just off the top ten at 11 and 12, respectively.