Brandon Martinez, a.k.a. Batman, completed his return from a year-and-a-half hitatus in signature form by rushing to the front of the pack and snaring a win in the latter stages of the feature. The win elevated him into the top ten at the ten spot. Batman had contested position with another returnee for much of the feature – Eric LeBrun – and in the final analysis, they finished the night 1-2 after a fierce, eleven-lap duel and pursuit from the final caution. Third on the evening went to points leader Peter Bennett, while Brendan Hammann and Ryan Doucette rounded out the top five.
RJ Marcotte bounced off the front row into the lead at the outset. Jacob “Rowdy” Burns ducked under outside polesitter Matthew Carpenter, who had come out of the starting box with a moment’s instability, and into second the next time around, Mason Tessier grabbed third, followed by Carpenter and Doucette.
Burns eased Marcotte out of the lead and suddenly Martinez appeared in fourth, moving up from his start in ninth. At his back was Doucette, followed by LeBrun. On the next circuit – lap four – Martinez was past Tessier and Marcotte into second. Lebrun made the move as well, into third then second on the next lap. The pair dueled over the runnerup slot.
Suddenly, Marcotte was around and Holderbach was involved. Luke Lebrun, as well, was stopped on the front stretch. Holderbach and Nikolas Frechette both retired for the evening. It was the beginning of a sloppy period of play that saw nine cautions over eight laps, LeBrun nosed ahead on the green and Bennett moved in under Martinez. Retook the lead in turn two but Isaiah Newcomb went around on the front stretch.
Now, it took three attempts to restart the feature and finally Burns again came away with the lead. Martinez was under Eric as Burns sped to a three-car lead. But there was contact between Bennett and Doucette with Bennett completing a double-360 spin and then continuing. Dennis Pantani was together with Devin Deshaies and they came to rest near the wall on the backstretch. Deshaies pitted and returned.
Six laps in, the fifth restart saw Burns at the pole with Martinez on his shoulder, backed up by LeBrun and Tessier. Bennett and Shileigh Martinez shared row three, backed up by Doucette and Carpenter. Burns and Batman were door-to-door out of the box. They hacksawed the lead until Burns took the lead on the next circuit. Martinez dropped in ahead of LeBrun, followed by Bennett. Martinez looked under but Burns held him off.
LeBrun then got in under Martinez, who replied by surging ahead again in turn one. But LeBrun came back underneath again. Eleven laps in and Burns continued to lead, thanks in part to the duel going on behind him. Bennett was fourth, waiting patiently, followed by Brendan Hammann and Doucette.
At the midway point, Burns was enjoying a seven car lead and LeBrun had assumed second over Martinez but Jeff Wood spun in turn four. Again it too three attempts to get them running again.
First attempt saw Burns and LeBrun engage in some door-to-door with Burns going ahead on the front stretch after nearly a full circuit, but then spinning and collecting Shileigh Martinez and creating a mad scramble. On the next attempt, Marcotte’s motor quit in turn three, following a single-file restart. At first it was decided to end the race on the next caution, but following a discussion, it was decided to attempt to finish the feature.
LeBrun and Bennett lined up with Batman and Hammann at their backs. This time, the field broke from the box and racing continued. LeBrun grabbed the lead while Martinez and Hammann vaulted to second and third. Martinez began to pare Lebrun’s lead down from five cars, to four and then three carlengths, but Luke LeBrun and Wood were together in turn two, bringing out the tenth caution.
Eric LeBrun and Martinez now lined up with eleven remaining. LeBrun grabbed a quick, two-car lead, Brandon, Bennett, Hammann and Doucette pursuetd. Martinez moved up on LeBrun’s bumper and looked underneath. He was denied, tried again and got side-by-side with LeBrun in turn two, and edged ahead through turns three and four, finally gaining the full lead crossing the stripe into lap nineteen. LeBrun dropped onto his bumper and looked underneath as Bennett bided his time behind them. Tessier looked under Doucette, but was denied. Doucette tried the same on Hammann, who neatly shut the door.
The finishing order had been ascertained and the field was running single file once more. They wound through the final five laps in high speed pursuit without changing the order. Martinez had his first win in two seasons.
Sixth on the evening went to Carpenter, followed by Connor Souza, Deshaies, Pantani, and Newcomb completed the top ten.