by Dana Rowe
Mike Henriques climbed up from a seventh place start to nail down his first win of 2019 after Joey Morrissette spent the first half of the race in the catbird’s seat. Morrissette had grabbed the lead from the pole position and fended off Max Bergstrom over the distance until Henriques arrived on lap nine. Five laps later, Henriques had taken over to lead the final dozen circuits to the checkers. Bergstrom was good for second, just ahead of Greg Perry. Cliff Avila and Danny “The Outlaw” Massa, Jr. rounded out the top five.
Henriques and The Outlaw were side-by-side in row four as Morrissette and Ava Chouinard led the field to the green. Morrissette and Chouinard had a spirited wheel-to-wheel contest over the first lap before Joey put his nose ahead going into lap two. Bergstrom got a nose under Chouinard then drove in while Henriques ducked below Tommy Blackwell into fourth and then under Ava into third.
Morrissette led Max by a car. Four laps in, Amy Arsenault went under Blackwell for sixth as Morrissette stretched his lead to three cars.
Henriques was looking to Bergstrom’s high side and pulled up alongside on lap eight. Chouinard pursued in fourth as the field strung itself out. Avila closed in on her bumper. Having eased Bergstrom back to third, Henriques began to close the gap to Morrissette and got up to the bumper in turn four of lap ten. He started looking both high and low for a way around, but Morrissette did some good defensive driving. Henriques elected to push on the high side, but Morrissette held him off. Chouinard was on Bergstrom’s bumper as last week’s winner, Lenny Sousa, took a spin between turns one and two amidst a duel with Blackwell. Tommy was assessed an assist and joined Sousa at the rear.
On the restart, Morrissette and Henriques went door-to-door but Shayne Lambert took a spin before the lap was out. Second try saw Morrissette nose ahead at the stripe, but Henriques battled back in turn two. By turn four, Mike had pushed ahead into the lead. He then went to a three-car lead and in a second lap had pushed it out to six cars. Morrissette continued in third, ahead of Bergstrom, Chouinard and Avila. Perry was behind them working under Arsenault, Massa was below Doug Benoit and Marissa Morgan was holding down tenth.
Henriques pushed out to an eight-car lead with eight laps remaining and then had a half a straightaway on lap 19. Emily Brightman spun bringing caution with five to go. Henriques grabbed the lead from Morrissette and Bergstrom ducked under as Joey got loose. Perry ducked under Avila and past Morrissette into third on Bergstrom’s tail. Avila followed him into fourth and Massa took over fifth. Morrissette finally settled into sixth.
From there, it was a single-file drag race through the final 2 ½ laps to the checkers with Henriques grabbing the trophy by 1.483 seconds over Bergstrom.
Sixth went to Morrissette followed by Arsenault, Sousa, Chouinard, Benoit and Morgan.