Ryan Arieta charged home with his third victory of the season in Bandolero Bandits, outlasting points leader Devin Deshaies to the checkers. It was a race that ran sloppy, with seven restarts over the fifteen laps, including three tries to get things going again on lap eight. However, they struggled through with Arieta picking up his third trophy. Nathan Smith was third, behind Deshaies, then Isaiah Newcomb and RJ Marcotte rounded out the top five.
As the green fell, Deshaies was off the pole, nosing ahead on Marcotte, who then pushed back alongside. But Deshaies zoomed out of turn two into the lead, trailing Marcotte, Nickolas Hovey, Arieta and Giovanni Reggiero.
Deshaies went to a five-car lead but Reggiero spun in turn two. Though he tried mightily he couldn’t quite get going again and the yellow flew.
Deshaies and Marcotte lined up to do it all over again with Hovey and Arieta at their backs. It was door-to-door out of the box, then Deshaies grabbed clear air out of turn two. Hovey dived in under Marcotte, who was having trouble keeping his car low. Arieta moved in underneath as Hovey escaped and Deshaies went to another five-car lead. Hovey gave chase with Arieta on his bumper and Isaiah Newcomb pushing in below Marcotte.
Arieta spun solo in turn two and Riley Caron adeptly dodged around him. Deshaies and Hovey lined up, went door-to-door across the stripe. Marcotte, running under Caron, nosed ahead and under Hovey then tried to get under Deshaies, who would not budge. Marcotte slipped into the infield and lost ground as Hovey squirted into the lead. By lap 6, he led Deshaies, Isaiah and Marcotte, who had Arieta rebounding onto his bumper. Hovey was busy holding off Deshaies when Isaiah spun coming out of turn three. He was just able to keep it off the wall.
Hovey and Deshaies were wheel-to-wheel on the first start and Marcotte grabbed Hovey’s bumper. Deshaies fell back a bit then got loose in turn four. Marcotte ducked past but Isaiah and Caron went around trying to avoid.
It took two more attempts to get moving again and finally Arieta had edged to the pole as leaders Hovey and Marcotte went to the rear after contact and a spin. He battled Nathan Smith for the lead then moved ahead. Smith was followed by Reggiero. But Joel Newcomb strated going backwards, forcing Deshaies to slow markedly and Marcotte went around.
The restart saw Arieta taking the front from Smith as Deshaies was outside trying to get back his lost position. Meanwhile, Hovey’s right front suspension showed damage and he went to the pits as Reggiero spun in turn four and retired to the pits.
Arieta pushed his nose ahead of Smith on the lap eleven restart and then got full control of the front in turn one. Deshaies went to Smith’s high side as Isaiah came low to the latter’s bumper. Lap 12 saw Deshais pulling up alongside Smith. But Arieta had quickly gone to a half-straightaway lead.
Two laps remained, and the field had gone single file with Arieta leading Deshaies, Smith, Isaiah and Marcotte. They wound through the final two laps in position and Arieta then got to savor his third win.
Caron was sixth and Joel Newcomb seventh, while Reggiero and Hovey, pitbound, were eighth and ninth.