Jordan Lopes broke out of the offseason with a big win in Sport Four competition. Along the way, he disappointed Mike Lefort, who suffered his second narrow miss in the early going, after AJ Manuel snared the previous week’s preview race from him in a narrow victory exacerbated by lapped traffic.
Manuel, out to repeat his 2018 championship, followed LeFort for third while early leader Karlin Levesque (laps 1-7) snared fourth. Former champ David Westgate rounded out the top five on the evening.
It was a great night in the Sport Four division, as the huge car-count had led to an eleven-car consolation race to settle the final starters. John Lineberger outdistanced Ray Herman to win the conci. The Feature started 25 cars.
Levesque, the outside pole, was the first out of the box after Christine Simpson nosed ahead out of the starting box. They went door-to-door before Simpson got loose in turn four and Levesque moved ahead to lead at the end of lap one. Lefort immediately seized the moment and leaped from third to second to shadow Levesque. Westgate grabbed third, but Lopes had leapt from eighth to fifth on lap one, then got past Simpson onto Westgate’s bumper. They went door-to-door for two laps with Lopes running outside until he could drop into the spot. Four laps in, it was Levesque leading LeFort then Lopes, Westgate and Tyler Almeida.
Meanwhile, Manuel had started ninth and was weaving his way forward. Five laps down and he was at Almeida’s bumper. They engaged in an eight-lap duel for the position as ahead of them, Lefort got under Levesque and pushed ahead into the lead. Levesque settled in and he was joined by Lopes as the lead trio ran nose-to-tail, looking to seize any opportunity they could find.
Lefort broke away and gained a three-car lead. Meanwhile, Lopes forged his way into second leaving Levesque in third, ahead of Westgate who still had Manuel all over his back bumper. With ten laps remaining, Lopes was closing in on Lefort. Levesque held third and behind him, Westgate, Manuel and Almeida were at each other, nose-to-tail.
Six circuits remained as Lefort ran with Lopes on his bumper, running through lapped traffic. At this point, Jason Poitras spun out in turn two.
Now Lefort and Lopes were side-by-side with Levesque and Westgate at their backs. Manuel and Almeida followed, just ahead of Arthur Meack and Joseph Pilling. They went wheel-to-wheel out of the box until Lefort got a nose on Lopes in turn three. Lopes tried to drop underneath for the pass but Lefort shut the door.
As Lopes was looking high and low to get around Lefort, Manuel surged in under Westgate, looking for fourth. Lefort slid uptrack and Lopes seized the moment, getting under and putting his nose ahead in turn two. Four laps remained. Lefort dropped in on turn three but went back outside.
But behind them, Levesque, Westgate and Manuel went three wide over third place and Almeida darted angrily about behind them. Lopes edged ahead as Manuel drove in under Leavesque. Lefort snugged back up and they played bumper tag. Manuel assumed third as they went under the white flag and Almeida dodged under Levesque. Westgate joined the fray and they worked each other over. Westgate finally seized fifth, and Almeida nabbed sixth.
Rounding out the top ten came Meack, Tim Bolger, David Simpson, Jr and Crystal Murray. Murray had fought her wayfrom the rear into the top ten after qualifying for the feature through the conci event.