Division leader Tyler Lallier was handed a huge gift after racing was completed, when the two cars who preceded him across the finish line hit the bad side of tech inspection and, along with the fifth place finisher were all disqualified.
Chad Baxter and Chris Gomes had waged an epic battle over the lead, right down to the final few yards on the tarmac. Baxter won out after Gomes had led the first 17 laps in the 25-lap event. Gomes avidly pursued Baxter over the final eight circuits but could not pry the lead out of his opponent’s grasp. Tech inspectors did it for him, but the trophy went to Lallier, who had finished third. It was another 1-2 finish for the family as his father, Paul Lallier roared in on his bumper. Austin “Porkchop” Erickson followed Paul under the checkers, but he was also caught up in tech and third then went to Scott Bruneau. Corey Fanning and Sparky Arsenault rounded out the top five, after all the DQ dust had settled.
Gomes had the pole for the feature with Paul Williams on his shoulder. Gomes shot away and Vinny Pangelinan ducked under Williams from row two. Baxter followed Pangelinan from the third row and started Williams on the great freight train going backwards. Williams was unable to settle in until lap two, where he ducked into eighth ahead of Arsenault, who had suffered the same fate.
At the same time, Chris Rioux had springboarded from row four on Baxter’s tail and was looking for some way around him. Three laps in and the field was already single file for the most part. Gomes had sped out to a ten car lead over Pangelinan and Tyler Lallier had elevated himself onto Rioux’ bumper with Paul behind him.
Lap five and Pangelinan had cut the lead to six carlengths but another circuit saw Gomes push it back to ten. The chase group remained the same. Seven laps down and Baxter grew impatient and was looking under Pangelinan. He ducked under and they ran wheel-to-wheel down the back until Baxter pulled ahead in turn four. Gomes still had the ten-car advantage. Vinny dropped into third, followed by Rioux and Tyler, but Paul now had Kyle Casper ducking underneath; Sparky and Porkchop followed.
Ten laps in and Gomes was cruising 20 cars up on everybody. Paul and Casper still debated sixth, but a lap later, Paul won out.
Pangelinan looked underneath on Baxter but couldn’t go. Midway through the race and Gomes had a straightaway on the field – and then, Kid Chaos – Corey Fanning – spun out in turn one, evaporating the lead.
Gomes and Baxter made the front row for the restart, with Pangelinan and Rioux in their mirrors. Tyler and Arsenault were row three with Paul and Casper behind them. Bruneau had been moving up and joined Erickson in the fifth echelon on the grid. Tim Watson, Adam Pettey and Williams went pitside during the caution; only Williams returned.
Gomes shot out by three-fourths of a car, but Baxter came up to speed and they battled side-by-side. Gomes nosed ahead and Baxter took it back. Finally, Gomes grabbed the lead and Pangelinan ducked under Baxter in turn two. Vinny pushed his nose ahead. But with ten to go, Casper was suddenly around in turn four. There was a good deal of fluid under his car and a good deal of Speedy Dry hit the pavement and he went off on the hook. During the time, Williams pitted and returned.
It was Gomes and Baxter again. Gomes edged out and Pangelinan came in under Baxter. But Vinny fell back just enough for Baxter to drop in and he looked under Gomes. With eight laps remaining, he grabbed the lead for the first time going down the backstretch. Vinny ducked under Gomes as Tyler watched for an opportunity. Rioux and Paul followed.
Lallier then nosed in under Pangelinan, taking the Pressure off Gomes, who shot after Baxter. They brawled through laps nineteen and twenty as the field strung itself out. Gomes unleashed a brutal attack on Baxter’s rear bumper as Erickson got past Pangelinan into fifth with Bruneau following.
Two to go and Baxter had a two-car lead on Gomes. The latter cut it to one going under the white flag into the final lap, but Baxter held him off to the checkers. Tyler crossed third.
Lallier made his podium speech to announcer Kevin Boucher from third place, but was later elevated to winner.
Sixth on the evening went to Steve Axon. Completing the top ten were: Rioux, Pangelinan, Williams and Brad Johnson.