Sport Four’s 2018 champion has been chasing an annoying series of mechanical problems throughout the season, but this week they all went away and the fire-engine-red number 88 looked like it was on its way to a five-alarm blaze. AJ started sixth and erupted past Tough Tim Bolger, Tyler Dunancik and Timmy Ouellette into third on the first lap. He tried to clear around Samantha Mattera into third, but she grabbed a little more speed and held him off.
Polesitter, David Simpson, Jr continued to lead as Mattera and Manuel dueled over second. AJ now looked underneath Mattera and pressed forward. He was able to get the lead going down the backstretch on lap three and glanced forward to find Simpson a distance ahead. Sam dropped into third followed by Ouellette. Bolger and Dunancik. But proceedings were interrupted when Joseph Pilling spun into the infield on the front stretch.
Simpson had Manuel on his shoulder for the restart. Mattera and Ouellette made up row two. They went wheel-to-wheel down the front stretch before Manuel took over the front coming out of turn two. Simpson settled in ahead of Mattera and Ouellette, who were battling for third. Dunancik and Bolger were doing the same.
Lap six saw Manuel comfortably in front. Dunanci had moved in behind Mattera and Ouellette was dueling Crystal Murray, who was headed for the front. She broke ahead and Arthur Meack sneaked in under Ouellette. Meack took over sixth.
With eleven remaining, Mattera took a bump from Dunancik which loosened her enough that Murray shot by into third. Mattera grabbed Murray’s bumper and held on.
But with seven to go, Sabrina Beaulieu spun up onto the berm in turn four. Ron Gajdowski was smoking and leaking fluid and was black-flagged to the pits.
The restart saw some speed merchants edging into the picture. While Manuel and Simpson led Murray and Mattaera, row three had Meack; Points leader Lefort was behind him with Karlin Levesque on his low side. Jordan Lopes was behind Leford with Tyler Almeida below him: all the top of the points standings with at least a win on the season.
On the green, Manuel took the lead and Murray got under Simpson into second. Dunancik went past Mattera into fourth and Levesque was wheel-to-wheel with Mattera. Next time around, Almeida got under Simpson, Lefort was on their tails and behind him came a three-wide of Lopes, Mattera and Meack. Lefort then ducked under Almeida.
With three to go, Manuel was four cars up on Morray, followed by Dunancik, Levesque, Lefort and Lopes, just before Bolger and Ray Herman, Sr. got together on the backstretch. This set up a three-lap shootout.
Manuel and Murray sat side-by-side, Dunancik and Levesque watched from row two. Crystal was wide and fast coming out of the box and seemed about to unseat AJ from the lead. However, he pressed the issue and held on by a snout. He got the lead in turn two. Dunancik slid up and was victimized by Levesque while Almeida leveraged Lefort back to sixth with Lopes on his bumper. The field was already single file. They rocketed through the final two laps in this order.
At the finish, Manuel had the win, followed by Murray, Levesque, Lefort, who edged Dunancik for fourth and Dunancik. Sixth fell to Almeida, while Lopes, Mattera, Meack and Simpson completed the top ten.