Chase Belcher, just up from SYRA this year, fought off a host of challengers enroute to his first feature win as a rookie in the Sport Trucks Division. He outran Joey Wakefield at the outset to take the lead on lap one and held him off until John Paiva became the challenge on lap 10. Chase yielded the lead six laps later, then got it back when Paiva went to the rear on a false start call following a caution (raising controversy when Paiva stopped mid race, dropped his net in the caution then stalked to the pits in protest.)
As they had in the heat race, Belcher and Cavallaro drew their irons and emptied their magazines all the way to the finish line, with the electronic timers revealing the lead changing hands. Belcher’s teammate Rob Murphy gave him no mercy, looking to nose under and steal the win. Belcher shut the door and Cavallaro edged ahead, being recorded as leader on laps 22 and 23. But the restart after Paiva’s protest was registered saw Belcher jumpa away on the outside and Murphy dodged under Cavallaro. But Mike fired his boilers, left Murphy, crossed under and barged in alongside a surprised Belcher as the white flag came out. They came across even and fired off the whole nine yards in the single circuit to the checkers. As the smoke settled, Belcher had eked out a .451-second win and Cavallaro was forced to settle for second. Murphy was just 0.2 seconds back. Joey Wakefield also finished in the same second for fourth, holding off Nick Uhrig, who rounded out the top five.
The finish, exciting as it was, still could not compare to the photo finish in the second trucks heat, when Belcher and Cavallaro had to be separated in a photo finish by the electronic timers, which saw a paper-thin margin of 12 thousandths of a second, awarding that win to Cavallaro
Belcher left Rob Rainville at the starting blocks as Wakefield jumped to second. But he served notice that the moment was his by grabbing a six-car lead into lap two, as Wakefield claimed four over pursuer Uhrig. Lap 3 saw Paiva get under Anna Gregoire, then nose up against Uhrig’s bumper. Cavallaro fastened onto Paiva, who ducked under Wakefield. The latter pulled away.
David Lougee’s ride had been difficult and received the black flag and retired to the pits.
Lap nine saw Paiva under Wakefield and into second as Belcher streamed along, eight cars ahead. But Paiva began to close, with Wakefield, Cavallaro, Uhrig and Murphy all brawling in hot pursuit. Only a car separated Paiva from his quarry on lap 12 and by lap 13, he was on Belcher’s outside. He attempted a cross-under, but Belcher shut the door. He went outside again and began moving up. They seesawed the lead until Paiva got a nose ahead by lap 16, just as Billy Clarke spun on the backstretch and Rainville spun after the caution flew.
They came out door-to-door on the restart, then Paiva began to edge ahead and had a half-car on Belcher at the stripe. Belcher refused to yield as Paiva moved ahead. There was contact as Paiva tried to shut the door and he relented and the dogfight raged on. Two laps later, Paiva finally had the lead to himself as they crossed the stripe. He had a three-car lead on Lap 18 and five cares after another revolution.
Lenny Guy, running sixth, then spun on the backstretch.
On the restart, Pava (who held the pole) abandoned his strategy of holding until the end of the starting box and attempted to surprise Belcher at the beginning. He surged ahead about a half-car before the box and the yellow waved for the false start. The field was called back and Paiva received the penalty, which set the finale.
Completing the top ten were Chris Lima, Gregoire, Mike Duarte, Rainville and Guy.