Samantha Dell planted a benchmark to her racing career by grabbing the win in Bandolero Outlaw competition. She did it by holding off the duo who robbed her of the position the last time out – Giovanni Ruggerio and Nathan Smith. This time, Giovanni edged Nathan by the same hairsbreadth margin of the earlier race. But Samantha – well, she was 3 carlengths ahead and ready to celebrate.
She had started outside Smith in the second row, behind polesitter Isaiah Newcomb and Ethan Heilborn. Newcomb grabbed the lead and Smith ducked under Heilborn with Dell following him through to third. Heilborn dropped in behind her. Smith looked underneath but Newcomb shut the door. The lead trio tightened up and ran nose-to-tail in lap two, while Ruggerio ducked under Heilborn. Cameron Tavares gave chase as Ruggerio and Heilborn went door-to-door. Ethan pulled ahead but stayed on the high side while the trio at the front had pushed their margin out to a half-straightaway. But with eleven laps remaining, Nicholas Rose spun out in turn two.
Newcomb and Smith face off, ahead of Dell and Heilborn. Ruggerio and Tavares followed. They were wheel-to-wheel across the stripe, then Newcomb took a nose and Smith dropped in behind. Dell looked underneath but Smith slammed the door.
The field strung out single-file and by lap eight, the lead was four cars. Ruggerio was running fourth behind Dell with Heilborn on his rear bumper. Riley Caron followed. Dell then dropped under Smith and they ran through turns two and three until Samantha pulled ahead in turn four. But with five to go, Newcomb spun out while negotiating turn four. Tavares had to spin to avoid him as the field came around.
Front row for the restart was Dell and Smith, while Ruggerio and Heilborn sat behind them, making it look like a replay of the previous feature. On the green, Dell nosed forward and Smith stayed outside for some side-by-side racing. Again, Dell pulled away in turn four. Ruggerio, Heilborn Tavares and Caron followed Smith as Dell edged away into a two-car lead. Smith pulled out to a five-car advantage over Ruggerio. But Newcomb spun again and brought up a lap 12 restart.
The lineup was the same; Dell began to pull away but Tavares and Caron got together and went up into the turn two wall with Caron’s rear deck flying off and down to the infield. The red flag came out as track and safety crews converged, but Caron was able to climb out under his own power for an ambulance ride to the pits and a checkup by the EMT’s. Tavares was able to drive away while the wrecker crew lifted Caron’s car on the wrecker crane for the trip to the pits.
Dell, Smith, Ruggerio and Heilborn lined up as before, this time with Joey LeMay and Newcomb in row three. Dell pulled away; Ruggerio went under Smith into second and LeMay grabbed fourth. Dell was three cars up on Ruggerio and held it under the white flag as Newcomb had problems and pitted. The final lap was an outright sprint with Dell sailing under the checkers for her first trip to Victory Lane. Ruggerio outlasted Smith by a nose for second. LeMay grabbed third and Heilborn was fifth. Sixth went to Tavares, followed by Stephen Bowden, Aubrey Keller and Rose. Tenth went to Newcomb, one lap down..