by Dana Rowe
There were only two leaders in the Sport Trucks feature, both former champions. For the first half of the race, it was Mike Cavallaro, who came off the outside pole. For the second half and at the finish it was Rob Murphy, who came back after making a start the previous Wednesday in the Tri-Track Modified series at Open Wheel Wednesday, driving for Dave Berghman. Rob was rained out on Wednesday, but Saturday he got in all thirty laps, outlasting Bobby Tripp to the checkers. Better yet, Murphy promised to return on Tuesday to drive for Dave Berghman for the resumption of the modified hundred-lapper.
High point of the race was the challenged between Murphy and Cavallaro. Murphy had to pick his way from ninth to challenge Cavallaro for the lead. Mike had jumped off the pole to take the lead over Ed Gannon. It wasn’t immediate as Gannon battled for nine laps until Randy Burr found his way past Lenny Guy into third to challenge him.
Cavallaro got into the lead once again on a lap-6 restart and Guy had driven in under Gannon, sticking him on the outside. Burr was burrowing his way under current trucks champ, Mike Duarte while Murphy waited behind them for an opportunity. Cavallaro burst out to a four-car lead as Randy powered into second, leaving Murphy digging in under Gannon.
Next time around, Cavallaro’s lead had stretched to five lengths over Burr but then Guy got loose in the marbles on the backstretch then limped to the pits as the caution flew.
This telescoped the field for the restart but it also brought Gannon back to Cavallaro’s bumper and Burr on the outside pole. Murphy was outside Gannon in the second row. Cavallaro nosed out leaving Burr under Gannon and Murphy under Duarte. Another time around and Mike had a carlength on Burr, who had shed Gannon – who was now outside Murphy. Duarte and Dave Simpson followed.
Murphy drove in under Burr then onto Cavallaro’s bumper to challenge for the lead. Duarte pushed in under Burr. Murphy saw the spot and pushed in under Cavallaro then to the front on lap 14. Duarte claimed third behind Cavallaro and Tripp had gone to fourth with Josh Hedges at his back. Bobby looked around for a shot underneath Duarte, but his patience growing thin, decided to push by on the outside. Cavallaro, falling back, blocked their progress.
As Tripp ran outside Duarte, Mike decided to shed the challenge by dropping under Cavallaro and drove in. Tripp dropped in behind and followed him through. With four remaining, Murphy now led Duarte, Tripp, Cavallaro and Hedges. Hedges dropped in under Cavallaro but as he passed, caution flew for debris in turn one. The restart set the field up for a three-lap shootout to the finish with Duarte outside Murphy, Cavallaro outside Tripp and Hedges under Burr. Gannon and Guy made up row four.
Murphy was back to the lead across the stripe and Tripp dodged in under Duarte into second. Bobby was unable to close on Murphy and the latter crossed under the checkers three cars ahead. Tripp nailed second, followed by Duarte, Cavallaro and Gannon. Burr was sixth while Simpson, Guy, Darryl Church and Andrew Kun completed the top ten.