Vinny Arrenegado wasn’t winning until five feet before the finish line. Prior to that, young Tyler Tomassi had control of the feature since taking it away from Paul Newcomb halfway through the feature. But Arrenegado, enmeshed in a five-way competition for the Late Model championship to be decided in two weeks, was determined. With six circuits remaining, he got by his primary competitor, Tom “The Bomb” Adams and Tomassi remained as the only driver between Arrenegado and two wins in a row. With division leader Adams seeking to get that spot back, Arrenegado went after Tomassi.
As the twin sticks went up from the starter’s stand signaling two to got, six cars were nose-to-tail at the front. Tomassi led, Arrenegado and Adams came next, then Ryan Lineham and Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. and thenMark Jenison – all in line for the championship and just a cat-whisker apart in the standings.
At the white flag, Vinny nosed under Tomassi for the pass. They went door-to-door through turns one and two and down the backstretch. They made contact in turn three. On the outside, Tomassi got loose. He hung on. They came out of turn four and it was a drag race to the checkers. It was over in the twinkling of an eye. That half-dozen cars crossed the line in a mob! Even number six – Jenison – was less than a second behind the leader. And the leader – Arrenegado – was just 29/1000’s of a second ahead of Tomassi. It’s what racing’s all about.
Tomassi and Paul Newcomb started it all off, sharing the front row. They ran wheel-to-wheel out of the staring box and through the first lap before Newcomb could edge ahead. He grabbed the full lead the next time across the line and Bobby Tripp dropped into third, gave Tomassi a rough time and took over third for a lap before Tomassi got it back. They continued side-by-side with Adams at their backs. Crag Weinstein had threaded his way into fifth with Lineham at his back.
Jenison came up outside of Lineham just before Ryan dropped under Weinstein.
At the front, Newcomb had a three car lead over Tomassi. Tripp continued to pursue with Adams looking underneath. Adams went and ran through to take over third. Lineham moved in and went under as well and into fourth. Now Arrenegado paid Tripp the same compliment.
Ten laps in, Tomassi had overtaken Newcomb and now he looked underneath and nosed in to run door-to-door with Newcomb. Tyler led across the line into lap 12 with Adams on his bumper. The Bomb went under Newcomb for some wheel-to-wheel through turn two and down the back. He completed the pass in turn four. By now, Tomassi had a four-car lead. Newcomb was third, followed by Lineham and Arrenegado. Vinny nosed under for the pass and made it good with thirteen laps remaining. Now DeGasparre was knocking at Lineham’s back bumper.
Tomassi took a four-car lead into lap 20. Adams was fending off Arrenegado and now Newcomb had Lineham working his way underneath. Gerry D followed, just ahead of Jenison and Weinstein.
Twice more around and Tomassi led by six. Now Jenison was sneaking under Newcomb for position. But with seven to go, Newcomb and Weinstein made contact and went around. Newcomb took some time in the pits and returned.
The restart saw Tomassi and Adams side-by-side and behind them came Arrenegado and Lineham. They went side-by-side until Tomassi got a nos past in turn two. Now Vinny ducked under The Bomb for second and DeGasparre got under Lineham. Arrenegado shook loose from Adams and Lineham climbed to Tom’s high side to pass.
The entire field rushed out of turn four into lap 28 with two to go.
At the line, sixth went to Dan Johnson, followed by Mark hudson, Tripp, and Weinstein.