Derek Gluchacki returned to the scene of his many Legends victories for a startling late-race duel with Vinny Arrenegado which netted Derek the win in the 50-lap Late Model feature at the Haunted Hundred. Following a Ray Lovelace spin late in the feature, they restarted in the front row with Arrenegado on the high side. Six laps remained at the lap 44 restart and they ran door-to-door the rest of the way to the checkers with Ryan Kuhn at their bumpers looking again and again to duck underneath for a big steal.
Arrenegado ran hard on the outside, pulling ahead in the curves and Gluchacki fighting back down the straights, hampered by Kuhn’s insistence from behind. Arrenegado crossed the stripe with his nose inches ahead each time and held a tight line, keeping Gluchacki in control in the low groove. But Derek began to fight back and let it rise up as the end approached. Still Arrenegado pushed ahead coming out and Kuhn kept trying to nose under as they ran down the straight. Twice Kuhn was almost underneath but not enough and had to back out. There was paint traded between the leaders coming down to the white flag and again in turn two on the final lap. And again in turn four as they angled toward the checkered silk in starter Tim Bolduc’s hands. They rocketed toward the stripe and crossed with Gluchacki mere inches ahead of Arrenegado and Kuhn flashing across, the three cars seeming to be one.
It had been fifty laps of this action which led to a grand finale of this sort.
Rey Lovelace had the pole. Ryan Kuhn – just out of the car for the Pass 150 and stepping into his Late Model for another fifty circuits was outside, with Ryan Lineham, Charlie Rose, and Arrenegado clustered near the front. the front. Gluchacki, the eventual winner, started at the middle of the pack.
As Lovelace shot away under the green, Lineham looked under Kuhn, who got stuck on the outside and fell back on the freight train. He went back ten spots before he could get to the groove, recovered and began to move forward again.
Lineham began to attack the lead and soon was past Lovelace. Arrenegado grabbed Lineham’s bumper and Rose rocketed into third. Lovelace settled behind Charlie and Lillie pursued in fifth.
By lap four, the field was running pretty much single file and Lineham, Arrenegado and Rose were bumper-to-bumper. Lillie was just off the pace. Kuhn was active, getting under Josh hedges into sixth.
Arrenegado started looking in under Lineahm for the lead. Lineham resisted, but Vinny got underneath a lap later in turn four. Lineham still had a nose ahead at the stripe. However, Arrenegado’s demand was irresistible and he nailed down the lead in turn three on lap eight. Not to be deterred, Lineham dropped under and they were wheel-to-wheel again. Rose eyed the duel in front of him and Lillie dancing in his mirror. Kuhn was now behind The Hammer with Mark Jenison running hard in sixth and Hedges in tow.
The competitors coalesced at the front with now five cars running nose-to-tail and Jenison working at closing up to the crowd. Kuhn took the moment to get under Lillie and steal the spot going down the backstretch. The field was now pretty much single file.
Morgan was now on Hedges’ bumper and Gluchacki was working behind him as Lovelace spun into turn two. This brought about a lap 13 restart with Lineham at the pole and Arrenegado at his shoulder. Rose and Kuhn followed, thenLillie and Jenison.
At the green, Lineham nosed out then worked his way to a three-car lead. Rose rushed under Arrenegado and Kuhn dug under Rose. Gluchacki went three-wide and into fifth, Jenison giving chase. Lillie fell back to tenth. Nick Uhrig moved up and made contact with Mark Hudson, bringing a caution. Lillie then Hudson and several more headed to the pits for repairs.
Lineham and Arrenegado lined up again and went door-to-door over the stripe and all the way to turn two before a large clot of cars came together on the back stretch, including Uhrig, Lillie, Mike Benevides and Mike Duarte (who shed a good deal of sheet metal) and another horde of competitors charged into the pit area. Second try at the restart had the same door-to-door with Kuhn harrassing their rear bumpers. But a car entered from the pits as the field clamored down the back stretch brining another caution. Finally, lap 18 was started and run as Lineham leapt out of the box and Kuhn ducked under Vinny. Gluchacki was now clamoring at their backs, followed by Rose, Morgan and Jenison.
Kuhn and Arrenegado wrestled over second giving Lineham a breather and Gluchacki surveyed his options from fourth place. As Vinny moved ahead, Derke bolted under Kuhn into third as Kuhn became momentarily unsteady. Gluchacki fastened onto Arrenegado’s bumper. Lineham was now enjoying a three-car advantage. Further back, Hedges was now under Jenison, looking to steal sixth place.
Caution brought another restart on lap 28 and Lineham and Arrenegado were again wheel-to-wheel. They battled into lap 29 with Ryan edging ahead bit by bit. Gluchacki became impatient and put his nose under and ran forward, creating a three-wide and just as suddenly found himself in the lead. Arrenegado dropped into third, followed by Rose and Kuhn.
Lineham and Arrenegado were dicing behind the new leader. A one-car gap opened up as Vinny settled onto Lineham’s bumper. Then it was two cars. Gluchacki held the distance.
By lap 36, Kuhn was making noise at Lineham’s bumper and two laps later he was nosing past. Gluchacki was getting into lapped traffic on lap forty, but made his way through. He had a three-car lead on lap 44 when Lovelace spun again on the backstretch.
With six laps remaining, Gluchacki and Arrenegado were lined up for the restart. Kuhn and Lineham were at their backs. Morgan and Paul Newcomb made up row three. At the drop, Gluchacki took a nose at the stripe but Vinny came back for some door-to-door and Kuhn held third in anticipation.
The two leaders hunkered down together and ran a hacksaw race, pitching and yawing the lead with Vinny pushing ahead on the straights and Gluchacki coming back through the corners. Arrenegado was staying close to the low groove and Gluchacki was struggling for space to run his horses. Lineham had fallen off and now Morgan was getting underneath and into fourth behind Kuhn. Coming down to the white flag, they traded paint in turn four and then again in turn two of the final lap. Arrenegado gained a narrow edge on the back stretch which he carried into the turns. The rubbed again in turn four and Gluchacki put on a burst of speed, bringing them down to the checkers in a dead heat. At the line it was Gluchacki taking the win by some very short inches and Arrenegado coming in second. Kuhn was a paper’s width behind them for third. Morgan collected fourth and Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. got past Lineham and Paul Newcomb into fifth. Newcomb collected sixth followed by Lineham, Rose, Tom “The Bomb” Adams and Uhrig rounded out the top ten.