Jesse Melberg briefly ran side-by-side with Ryan Souliere on the first lap of the Sportsman feature but quickly turned the race into a tour-de-force as his booster rockets kicked in and he pulled away from the field. He led from green to checkers including restarts on laps 12 and 17 but he was running in clean air the whole distance. Points leader Scott Bruneau came up behind late in the feature, hoping to take the win and improve his national standings from fourth to third, but Melberg was focused and roared on through the checkers, forcing Bruneau to accept the runnerup slot. Chad Baxter, who had battled Melberg at the race’s midpoint, was third, while Sparky Arsenault and Scott Serydynski rounded out the top five.
As Souliere fell back on lap one, Dick Benoit took to his outside as Mike Cavallaro got under Baxter on lap two. They linked up with Benoit falling back and ran three wide while Melberg went out to a half-straight lead on lap four.
Baxter pulled into third then nosed under Souliere for some side-by-side action down the back.
Melberg was on fire and had a full straight lead over Baxter but Souliere pushed back into second as Serydynski pushed into fourth. Baxter, with Serydynski on his bumper, again nosed under Souliere and both made the underneath pass.
Melberg’s lead was nearly a half-lap after twelve circuits.
John Bechem then took a spin in turn two and Ryan Flood did the same in turn three.
Melberg and Baxter faced off for the restart and went side-by-side as Serydynski hogged Melberg’s bumper. Bruneau was moving up and poked his nose into fourth as Baxter and Serydynski dueled wheel-to-wheel over second. Paul Lallier came up and was battling Cavallaro for fifth.
Baxter slipped back and Bruneau stuck in under him, grabbed third and went after Serydynski. He got underneath and Lallier came in below Baxter. Benoit then brought things to a hault with a spin in turn three.
Melberg’s long lead was gone as he lined up with Bruneau on his shoulder. Serydynski was under Lallier in row two with Sparky and Rob Murphy following. Melberg popped out of the box and Bruneau grabbed his bumper as Serydynski looked underneath. But Bruneau dropped in, shutting off access. Lallier went to Baxter’s outside and Arsenault worked under Murphy.
In two laps, Melberg had a four-car lead but Bruneau settled in for the chase. He narrowed it to two cars on lap 20 but Melberg was not allowing anyone to close. Baxter got under Serydynski into third and Arsenault then passed him into fourth.
With three laps remaining, Bruneau got the lead down to one car as Baxter began to close on him. But Melberg kept the hammer down and maintained the slim lead all the way to the finish.
Sixth went to Lallier, followed by Captain Fun, Craig Pianka, Kid Chaos (Corey Fanning) Chris Gomes, Vinny Pangelinan, Ray Lovelace and Ryan Flood.