Bruneau wins first South Coast Power Equipment Power Five feature…
Scott Bruneau chased Anthony “Ant” Kohler the final six laps to the Sportsman feature but Kohler crossed under the checkers first. Kohler’s pace had kept at the front the entire 30 laps. He had fended off outside polesitter Sparky Arsenault, Austin Erickson, Kyle Casper and 17 laps of hard assault from Kid Chaos – Corey Fanning. Bruneau had been the icing on the cake enroute to Kohler’s first-ever win.
Or, was it? Tech inspectors found a mechanical disqualification and that first win will have to come on another evening. The trophy went to 2017 champ Bruneau.
Bruneau started ninth as Kohler pulled away from Arsenault at the outset and Erickson latched onto Ant’s bumper. Ant’s brother, Smokin’ Joe Kohler, had passed Bruneau on the start, and the latter had to climb back past as he headed for the front. Meanwhile, Casper had replaced Erickson on Ant’s bumper, but Fanning was at his back and two laps later, squeezed past. Casper slid up the track as they traded paint and before another lap was completed, caution waved for debris just outside the racing groove in turn one.
Kevin Rioux headed pitside and lost power at the exit. He had to be pushed in. Casper also headed pitside. Neither driver returned.
The lap 7 restart featured Kohler and Fanning with Pianka and Erickson backing them up. Bruneau sat below Arsenault in row three. Kohler pulled away from Fanning who dropped in and tried to press in underneath but Kohler shut the door on him. Fanning persisted and made several attempts along with some bumper tag. Finally, he got under pushed through and took the lead.
However, Chris Gomes and Scott Fanning got together in turn two and caution flew again before the lap was complete, bringing Kohler back to the pole for the restart. Erickson and Bruneau were in row two with Joe Kohler and Justin Travis behind them.
At the drop of the green, they were door-to-door. Fanning dropped in behind the leader and Bruneau jumped onto his tail, trailing Smokin’ Joe and Erickson battling for position. Kid Chaos locked onto Ant’s bumper and looked under but could not go. With 12 laps remaining, Ant began to open a gap. Fanning looked to close, but Bruneau moved in and gained his attention by making attempts to take over second. By lap 22, however, Fanning was eight cars up on Bruneau but unable to close back up on Kohler’s bumper. Now Joe Kohler had Tyler Lallier looking underneath and sliding in to shake him loose from fourth. But Chad Baxter spun out, bringing a caution.
On the restart, Anthony escaped Fanning at the stripe and Bruneau got underneath. Fanning nosed ahead, but Bruneau was solid in the groove below him. Scott began to edge forward and took the position in turn three. Six laps now remained and Kohler had a 2-car lead. Bruneau bore down and began to close, as Lallier, Fanning and Joe Kohler gave chase.
Lallier went after second and tried to slide under Bruneau, who denied him the spot. They went under the white flag and it was a no-holds-barred run to the line. Anthony Kohler arrived first, but Bruneau nabbed second which elevated him to the win following the DQ. This made the final results on the race read: second to Lallier, followed by Fanning, Joe Kohler and Adam Petty in the top five. Rounding out the top ten came Paul Williams, Steve Axon, Erickson, Pianka and Tim Watson.