Ryan Kuhn is making his sophomore season impactful, as he seems always amid the contenders near the front and now has garnered his third consecutive win to further enable his quest for a championship. Good news among the freshman class came as Chase Belcher rejoined the field fresh off surgery on a troublesome elbow. Belcher opted to start scratch on the 17-car field and worked his way through the entire ensemble for a third place finish. Falling between Kuhn and Belcher for a second place was Mark Jenison, who had led the major part of the 30-lap feature, from lap three to lap 23. Rounding out the top five came the two number 56 cars: Mikey Toner, Jr. and Tommy Adams.
Jenison had started behind polesitter Tom Scully, Jr. Toner was outside pole and Mark Hudson sat high in row two. At the green, Scully pulled ahead and Jenison nosed under Toner in turn two. He had second behind Scully before the lap was complete; Toner settled into third and Hudson grabbed fourth with Nick Uhrig grabbing fifth. Jenison wasted no time, looking under Scully on lap two. Tom tried to close the door but spun out.
The reset had Jenison with Hudson alongside while Toner and Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. inhabited row two. Uhrig and Vinny Arrenegado followed, ahead of Dan Johnson and Ryan Lineham. On the green, Jenison nosed out and Toner was under Hudson. DeGasparre was fourth and Arrenegado looked underneath for a steal but was denied. Uhrig then got up on Arrenegado’s outside for a duel as Kuhn barreled up behind. Belcher had moved up and was chasing Adams toward the front.
Jenison had generated a six car lead and Toner now looked under Hudson to steal second. After some hard, door-to-door driving, Toner suddenly went backwards, losing ground rapidly. But as Jenison’s lead ran to 18 carlengths, caution flew for a spin in the pack. It was a gift for Toner as he had lost speed during an uncompleted lap and he went back to his former position for the restart.
Jenison pulled away from Hudson out of the box and owned the lead in turn two. Toner was under Hudson and Kuhn was door-to-door with Arrenegado behind them. Belcher had springboarded past Adams and Chad Baxter on the restart and now ran seventh behind Arrenegado. Kuhn was enroute to the front again, dispatching Hudson and jumping onto Toner’s tail.
Jenison had a five-car lead as Kuhn cleared past Toner. Uhrig followed as Belcher closed and got under Uhrig for the pass. He then began to close on Toner’s position. Kuhn was closing on Jenison as well. He narrowed the gap and by lap 23 was looking underneath for the pass. He slid in and Jenison elected to drop in behind the new leader.
With five laps remaining, Lineham spun in turn two and went to the pits for adjustments. Kuhn and Jenison faced off with Toner and Belcher behind them. Adams and DeGasparre inhabited row three. As the flag fell, Kuhn sprinted away and Toner dived under Jenison. Jenison battled and wrestled second away from Toner in turn three. Kuhn now had a three-car lead and Belcher was on Toner’s high side looking for third place.
Belcher pulled away and Adams now jumped in under Toner. Kuhn’s lead went to five cars over Jenison as Belcher sought to close, but the distance was too great with only two laps remaining. Toner was able to hold Adams at bay and they finished fourth and fifth. DeGasparre and Arrenegado brawled across the stripe with DeGasparre getting the edge by just 88 thousandths of a second.
The middle of the pack – from eighth to eleventh and including Dan Johnson, Lineham, Scully and Louie Romiza finished in that order in a big not, all within the same second.