Smilin’ Reese Bogue poked through into the lead on lap two, edging polesitter Rob Murphy, Jr. back to second, then had Murph scouring his rear bumper for the remainder of the trip to the checkers. Murphy’s battle for the lead endured throughout the feature, but he was usurped on the final circuit by Ryan Vanasse, Jr., who repeated in the runnerup spot. Murphy claimed third, followed by Adam Harrison and last week’s winner, Brenden LeBelle rounded out the top five.
Incidentally, both Bandit winners so far this year are sporting the number 4 on their cars. Bogue is CT4 while LeBelle is 4 without embellishments. Fortunately, they sport different colors on their vehicles.
The Banditos had a difficult time coming up to speed, as it took five attempts to complete lap one. Once going, they progressed well, with a single caution midway through for the rest of the fifteen circuits. On that lap 8 restart, Race Director Tim Bolduc was forced to a single-file restart due to the race running over time limits. Frequent spins and difficulties communicating field realignment each time were major contributing factors to the problems getting the race underway.
But once rolling, the feature settled down to good action. Murphy erupted out of the box and Smilin’ Reese moved into second. Adam Harrison looked under Bogue, but could not keep his car in the low groove and Bogue grabbed second as they navigated lapped traffic in turn four.
He was on Murphy’s bumper, trailing Harrison, Vanasse, Jr. and Ethan Dion. Bogue took over the lead from Murphy and went to a five-car lead on lap five and added another space over the subsequent circuit. Meanwhile, LeBelle, who had been thrown to the rear by one of the opening lap caution events, ran from the rear of the 13-car field to fifth, was looking to overtake Vanasse.
Eight laps in, Reese was certainly smilin’ at his ten-car lead, although Murphy still pursued with Harrison at his back and Vanasse looking underneath. But Brandon Cowen ground to a halt between turns three and four. He started with a push from the track crew but the motor died again, leaving him stuck on the front stretch.
Bogue was away on the green, under single file starting. Murphy kept second but Harrison began to fell back and Vanasse was all over his bumper, looking for third. Bogue was three cars up on Murphy the next time across the stripe, and Murph had three lengths on Harrison.
This was the action spot, as Vanasse became relentless. He came alongside and they were wheel-to-wheel across the stripe into lap thirteen. Once more around into the white flag lap and he was past Harrison in a great surge that also carried him past Murphy into second.
But Bogue’s lead was too long for the quarter-lap remaining in the feature, and he dashed in ahead of Vanasse for his first win. Vanasse collected his second consecutive runnerup finish with Murphy a close third.
Completing the top ten were: Dion in sixth, Colin Vanasse seventh, then Jaden Dib, Mike Hanafin and Brent Robidoux.