by Dana Rowe
Connor Souza grabbed the front of the Outlaw Division as the green dropped and though outside polesitter Tyler Tomassi took an early shot coming back along Souza’s outside, Tomassi was forced to drop in behind coming out of turn two. Souza made the first crossing of the stripe in front and saw nothing but open air ahead of him all the way to the checkers. Tomassi gave chase, but three laps in gave way to opening night’s victor, Evan Marchand.
As Souza pulled away on laps two and three, Marchand was fastening onto Tomassi’s bumper and then, they were door-to-door. One more circuit and Marchand had forced his way into second and Tomassi acquired Wesley Heard at his back bumper.
Souza was soaring and had a half-straightaway lead on Marchand in lap five. He bore down and the Outlaw responded, slowly increasing the gap as the field strung out single file.
By lap 9, Heard was on Tomassi’s bumper and pressing but Tomassi held true, forcing Heard to look for any possibility. None transpired and they locked into a nose-to-tail duel. They ran this way from lap 7 all the way to lap 13 while the rest of the field held position, doing parade laps.
But with two to go, Tomassi gave himself some relief, putting a two-car gap between himself and his antagonist. Heard continued to pursue.
At the finish, it was Souza cruising under the checkers with a 2.54-second lead and Marchand claiming lead points in the early going with his second. Tomassi, Heard and Newcomer Hailey Brightman completed the field.