by Dana Rowe

Evan Marchand’s winning ways continued into the new season as he outran Connor Souza and then Wesley Heard for top honors in Bandolero Outlaw racing. The six-car feature was not the less for excitement as the sextet put on a show, even after they were reduced to a quartet when Connor Souza and Samantha Dell were knocked out of competition.

At the green, Cooper zoomed out on Dell and Tyler Tomassi went alongside the latter from the second row, but fell back. Marchand nabbed third from low in the second row leaving Cooper fourth, just ahead of Heard and Souza. Tomassi was struggling and fell to the rear.

Marchand went to the outside, passing Dell and then Cooper.

Evan began to dominate at the front while Souza, Heard, and Tomassi followed. It was an eight-car lead in two laps while Cooper and Tomassi began to battle it out. Souza bore down and began to close the gap Marchand had built. By lap 5, he was on the leader’s bumper but the chase was interrupted as Dell spun in turn four. Souza would get his chance outside Marchand for the restart.

It was a good challenge, as the came out of the box dead even. They went door-to-door across the stripe, then down the backstretch and again across the line before Evan got his nose by a foot in turn two. But Souza spun in the second turn and Dell had nowhere to go: both were eliminated by the wreck, leaving just four competitors.

Now Heard occupied the outside pole and the came down to the box. But Marchand again claimed the front and Heard dropped in. Tomassi fell in behind Cooper but put his nose underneath and on the next lap took third in turn two. It was a single-file assault on the checkers for the final two laps with Marchand starting his season with yet another big win. Heard claimed second ahead of Tomassi and Cooper.