by Dana Rowe
Tyler Tomassi was one of but two leaders of the pack in Bandolero Outlaws competition and he didn’t work the transition over Michael Cooper until two-thirds of the race had passed. Cooper had led from the pole, jumping past Tomassi.
At the start, rookie Samantha Dell caught in the accordion effect of braking cars as Cooper got Crossed up and Tomassi went suddenly uptrack to avoid him, forcing Dell to brake hard and go into a spin. This brought Evan Marchand from fifth to restart outside Cooper on the front row. Amid the swirl of cars, Souza went to third. He and Tomassi stormed past Marchand, who was stuck on the outside and couldn’t drop in. Tomassi passed Souza and settled into second to bother Cooper’s bumper. Marchand was able to drop into third as the field opened up and began to close on Tomassi from five cars back.
Souza stayed on Marchand’s bumper while he closed on Tomassi, who was all over Cooper at the front. Dell and Hailey Brightman gave chase to the pack.
With four laps to go, Tomassi finally got under Cooper, shutting him back to second. Marchand and Souza bumped and Souza then shot past into third. On the White flag lap, Tomassi held off Cooper while Marchand got third back. They traded some more paint and Marchand went around in turn three, sending Souza home in third. Evan was able to control his car and then keep Dell at bay for a fourth. Samantha ran home fifth and Brightman finished sixth. Race officials penalized Souza for the contact, sending Marchand to fourth and Dell to fifth.