by Dana Rowe

Evan Marchand added a race three win to his opening day victory, after jumping out of a tight trio with Nicholas Hovey and Connor Souza on lap 12, then leading the field over the final eight of the twenty laps in the feature race.  Hovey and Souza continued to duel, letting Marchand sail away in the free air ahead of him.  He built a 1.5-second lead by the finish.

Tomassi and Wesley Heard led off from the front and went door-to-door across the stripe and into turn one, where Tomassi pulled into the lead.    Second time around, Hovey was able to surge to the front going down the backstretch, then led the next six laps.

Marchand, at the same time, was navigating from sixth into third, dueled briefly with Heard, but leader Tomassi suddenly swerved high on the track and Hovey nailed the lead again.  But Heard’s handling probems continued and he spun in turn two.  Michael Cooper was unable to avoid contact, ending his evening on the early side.  Samantha Dell also spun in turn two, but was not involved in the crash.

Hovey and Marchand took the front for the restart with Souza and Tomassi behind them.  It took two tries to get going as Heard slowed to a halt near the pit exit and had to be pushed pitside.  On the second try, Marchand and Hovey hacksawed the lead, then Hovey nosed ahead and Souza hung on his bumper, sliding under Marchand.  Evan fought back, getting alongside Hovey once again just before Souza spun in turn two.

They lined up as before and this time Hovey jumped ahead out of the starting box.  Marchand dropped in behind him in turn two, trailing Tomassi and Souza went to the outside and around the pack, dropping into third while Marchand ran tight on Hovey’s bumper.  Souza pulled in to make it three cars running nose-to-tail at the front.

But Hovey got loose and ran high, allowing Marchand to duck under and claim the lead with eleven laps remaining.  He immediately went to a three-carlength lead over the following circuit while Hovey and Souza were wheel-to-wheel through turns one and two.  Hovey again pulled ahead to settle into second and Souza grabbed his bumper.

Marchand now had a five-car lead and was cruising until Dell spun in turn four.  Hovey was on his shoulder for the lap five restart.  Marchand nosed out, then took the lead in turn one.

Souza and Hovey traded places over second for the next three laps until Hovey got sideways.  Tomassi escaped and Dell rushed past as well.

Marchand took a 1.6-second lead under the checkers with Souza collecting second and Tomassi third.  Del was fourth followed by Hovey and Hailey Brightman.