Fifteen thousandths of a second was the difference between Charlie Rose and Rey Lovelace after 30 laps of Late Model competition, which saw Rey hold the lead from the green to the white flag. It was a race which evolved rapidly as, following a lap-two caution, the remainder of the 30 circuits ran green to the checkers.
Rose had worked his way up from seventh over the space of the feature and edged Jake Johnson back to third with two remaining, then turned his attention to Lovelace. Jake had forced Charlie to pass on the outside and he went after Lovelace on the high side as a result. They seesawed their positions over the two conclusive laps, then — on the final circuit – Rose (running even with Lovelace) powered up on the backstretch and shot forward in turn three. They raged through turn four and down the front stretch where Rose managed to get his nose inches ahead under the checkers for the win. Johnson was four-tenths back for third, followed by Austin Blais and brother Dan Johnson to complete the top five. It was Rose’s third win on the season.
Lovelace was on the money from the start, pulling away from outside polesitter Nick Uhrig out of turn two. Jake Johnson went under Uhrig for second and Austin Blais got door-to-door as Jeramme Lillie spun in turn one. Lovelace now faced Johnson on his outside, who nosed ahead. But Lovelace surged back and took the lead coming out of turn four. Johnson settled on his bumper and Blais rushed up to battle for second. Rose ran up to Blais, then dodged past to fill Johnson’s mirror.
Looking for an escape, Johnson tried to get under Lovelace, but was unable to push through and settled in. Lovelace, Johnson and Rose were now running nose-to-tail and Johnson kept looking underneath Lovelace.
Lap 15 saw Rose go to Johnson’s high side and they were dead even in turn three. Charlie got his nose past “The Snake” crossing the stripe. He continued to move up on Lovelace, now, pushing ahead and falling back. Johnson fastened onto Lovelace’s bumper to hold Rose outside while Blais was closing on the group.
Lovelace pushed back and had a half-car on Rose on lap 19. Rose fell back alongside Johnson then burst ahead. Blais was holding position behind the dogfight, waiting for any kind of opportunity. But the key factor was Rose on the outside and he was adamant – and fast. And he still had stick in his tires.
The quartet stormed toward the stripe as the checkers billowed ahead of them and the crowd rose to catch sight of the finish. Rose’s mad rush in turn three had carried him down the front, and he captured the win, giving him the best stats for wins in the division for 2017.
Sixth went to DeGasparre, followed by Vinny Arrenegado, Dylan Estrella, Ryan Lineham and Mike Teague.