by Dana Rowe

Mike LeFort came in with the hot number, jumped to the lead from a fifth place start before the first lap had been completed, then saw clear air all the way to the finale. Behind him was a different story as Alexander Manuel and David Westgate antagonized his rear bumper and each other which kept the crowd uneasily shifting in their seats as the drama unfolded. They finished in that order through a wild finish that seemed to be anybody’s game. Tough Tim Bolger and Samantha Mattera battled their ways into the top five.

It took two tries to get the race going as Karlin Levesque and Tyler Dunancik tangled and wound up on the infield grass, necessitating a full-race restart.

LeFort made one of his signature way-outside passes in turn four into the lead as fourth-place starter Jason Poitras came across the grass after spinning on turn three but was able to rejoin the field in turn four without brokering a caution.

LeFort was a man on a mission, opening an eight-car lead over Timmy Ouellette and the charging Manuel. Christine Simpson followed with Westgate whipping his horses behind her. But Dunancik spun to the infield off turn four, ending his evening on the two-spin rule requiring drivers who make two solo spins to take the rest of the evening off.

LeFort and Ouellette faced off for the lap two restart. Manuel was low in row two with Simpson on his outside. He quickly took over second as LeFort pulled away and Westgate charged through to third. But another caution intervened. Again Lefort, Manuel and Westgate claimed the top three spots while the middle of the pack saw drivers running three wide.

Manuel glommed onto LeFort’s bumper trailing Westgate while Mattera was working at getting into fourth under Ouellette. Manuel was all over LeFort and Westgate watched, seeking an opening. Mattera secured fourth and Ouellette dropped into fifth with Tyler Almeida and Bolger wheel-to-wheel behind him.

Two laps later, Westgate was closing in on Manuel’s bumper. Almeida got under Ouellette for some door-to-door travel. Westgate snugged up and the lead trio began running laps nose-to-tail: whoever blinked first would fall from grace. But LeFort, Manuel and Westgate were not about to yield and they rushed forward at breakneck speed, their positions unchanging.

Bolger had held seventh since lap three and came up against Ouellette. He got by on a restart that propelled him to fifth. Two laps later, he edged Mattera out of fourth.

Manuel went to LeFort’s high side for the pass and they ran wheel-to-wheel with Westgate at their bumpers. The combat continued for two laps before Manuel fell back outside Westgate and they battled it out for another two laps. But Almeida and Henry Lavalle got together between turns one and two, bringing out the caution flag.

LeFort and Manuel faced off again with Westgate and now Bolger behind them. Mattera and Joey Wordell, Jr. made up row three. They battled out of the box and across the stripe until Manuel nosed out in turn two. But LeFort fired up and they were again dead even. Westgate dived into the fray to make it a brief three-wide at the front before LeFort escaped into the lead again as they brawled under Tim Bolduc’s waving white flag. Manuel grabbed second while Westgate held onto third. Bolger and Mattera charged in behind to complete the top five.

Rounding out the top ten came Wordell, Glenn Leduc, Jordan Lopes, Cliff Avila and Ouellette.