Ryan Lineham’s season opener met with success after a long duel with Ray Parent that stretched from lap 7 to the finish line and saw Lineham finally take the lead coming out of turn four on lap 28. Parent had held the lead since the outset and Lineham had used every asset he possessed to take the lead.

Lineham had tapped Parent’s bumper in turn two of Lap 28 but Parent made the save. The circled through turn three and Lineham again rubbed his bumper in turn four, heading under the white flag. Parent’s rear moved to the centrifugal force and began to fishtail back and forth, allowing Lineham to go by on the outside. Parent recovered and was able to finish second while Austin Blais deprived Nick Uhrig of third and Uhrig took fourth with 2016 Champ Dylan Estrella on his coattails. Parent later suffered a disqualification after tech inspection, elevating Blais to second, Uhrig to third, Estrella to fourth and Charlie Rose to fifth.

A large field of 25 Late Models took to the oval for the opener and Parent held the pole. Jeramee Lillie was on the outside pole. The race was laced with numerous cautions from an opening lap yellow flag through a total of eight restarts. In the sporadic racing in between, competitors waged a spritely war for superiority.

Lineham, starting sixth, was passing Uhring into second on lap seven, with Rose in fourth, followed by Estrella, Blais, Lillie and Anthony Flannery. Parent held a one-car lead but Lineham snugged up to his bumper in turn two. Michael Benevides got spun on the front stretch but managed to do a 360-degree spin and continued, but a caution had been thrown for lap nine. It took two tries to get going again, as Ray Lovelace and Stephen Potter got together and into the turn one wall. Apparently, Potter’s throttle had stuck, and he left twin streaks of braking rubber from the entrance to turn one all the way to the wall between one and two.
Lineham was all over Parent’s back after the restart, trying to go high and drop under a number of times. A lap 15 caution saw Parent away and Uhrig getting underneath Lineham, who surged back into second on the following lap.

Cautions again interrupted racing on laps 21 and 22. Each time Parent and Lineham would line up and restart with Parent pulling ahead. Uhrig continued to try to get under Lineham, who then would rush ahead and alongside Parent.

The final caution was on lap 25, leading to a five-lap shootout and Lineham going in for the win.

Rounding out the top ten on the race were Gerry DeGasparre, Jr., Ray Christian III, Mark Jenison, Lillie and Jake Johnson.