by Dana Rowe
Lenny Sousa crumpled the old 31 car against the turn four wall last week, purchased a new ride for this week’s show, and not only won Pure Stock’s time trials, but jumped off the pole and led ‘em all to the checkers. Every driver should have such luck with a new car.
It wasn’t exactly easy, as he had to fight off some of the divisions stubbornest competitors: Dave Desrosiers, Mike Henriques, Danny “The Outlaw” Massa and of course, triple winner on the season: Doug Benoit, who roared up from eleventh to Lenny’s back on lap 13 of the thirty offered in this stop of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown for Pure Stocks.
Benoit brought out his entire bag of tricks, but Sousa would not be denied his spot on the Triple Crown field.
Doug was just three tenths of a second back at the finish, followed by Desrosiers, then Henriques and Massa to complete the top five.
Sousa slingshot away from Randy Laplante going down the backstretch of lap one, then suddenly was a carlength ahead. Desrosiers rushed up outside Laplante then fell back alongside Marissa Morgan. Behind them Henriques was under Greg Perry, Jr.
Just into the second circuit, Nicholas Mignone spun in turn two. Tommy Blackwell couldn’t avoid Mignone and the collision ended his night. Mignone was able to return to action.
Souza escaped Laplante again and Desrosiers got under to steal second. Henriques was right on his bumper followed by Perry, Bob Moor and Amy Arsenault, battling wheel-to-wheel with The Outlaw. While Lenny was pressing his lead, a four-wide sprouted and broke up deep in the pack.
Desrosiers took over second and Henriques followed him into third. Ava Chouinard and Jason Tisi got together and spun in turn four, bringing a lap 3 restart, then DJ Pires spun in turn two. Sousa pulled away on the lap five restart. This time Sousa got away from Henriques. Desrosiers battled and stole second from Mike, who settled into third Massa followed with Moore at his back.
The field began to stretch out as eight laps in, Massa was working alongside Henriques for third only to see Benoit suddenly there to make it a three-wide. Benoit went ahead of them but Mignone spun in turn four and then exited on the two-spin rule.
Now Sousa had Desrosiers on his shoulder and won out on turn two. Henriques got under Desrosiers but Perry fell victim as he was running behind Massa, who bumped Henriques and slowed. Perry was right behind and spun while braking hard.
Sousa and Desroseirs faced off ahead of Henriques and Massa, With Benoit and Arsenault drawing up behind. Sousa grabbed the front again and as Lenny went to a three car lead, Benoit stole third from Desrosiers and set to work on Henriques. Massa followed Desrosiers with Arsenault going to his outside.
Benoit then went to second and Arsenault dropped in behind Massa. Moore, Lapalnte and Pires followed. At the midpoint, Sousa was six cars up on Benoit, but suddenly, Pires was barely crawling down the backstretch and caution flew.
Sousa and Benoit lined up for the faceoff and Sousa nosed ahead. Benoit came back in a rush but Sousa retook the lead in turn three. Desrosiers and Henriques were at each other’s throats once again until Arsenault took a bump, got loose in turn four and spun. Moore was tagged with the assist.
The restart with ten to go again had Sousa and Benoit ready to duel. They were door-to-door and Benoit nosed ahead in turn two but Sousa found some more horses and came back alongside, then grabbed the lead in turn one on lap 21. He began to work for a lead, but each time he’d get a length to the good, Benoit would gobble it back up and be at his bumper again. With seven remaining, Chouinard spun in turn four.
Sousa blasted away out of the box and suddenly found himself leading a runaway train, with Benoit, Desrosiers and Henriques nose-to-tail at his back. Lenny managed a one-car lead. Behind Benoit, the tight pace-line continued with Desrosiers, Henriques, Massa, Laplante and Perry all locked in a chain. Three laps remained.
Sousa and Benoit were still stretching and collapsing Sousa’s one-car margin. Benoit rushed up to his bumper and Sousa loosened slightly and wiggled. Benoit played the good sport and backed off to prevent a spin and Lenny collected it in turn four enroute to the checkers at the stripe just up the track. Benoit was on his tail for second, then Desrosiers, Henriques and Massa flashed across for the top five.
Laplante came home sixth, followed by Perry, Moore, Morgan and Arsenault.