Samantha Mattera moved from Seekonk’s Thrill Shows to Fast Friday racing a few years back, and wasn’t able to have the success she was having at the Thrill Shows right off the bat. But, after many years of trying to earn her first checkered flag, Mattera wasn’t going to let anyone take it from her on Friday night in the 25 lap Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series finale in the Sport 4 division.
Mattera started just inside the top five, but it didn’t take her long to make her move around Timmy Ouellette to take the top spot. Once Mattera took the lead, it wasn’t an easy task to hold the remainder of the 24 car left in the field behind her. A few cautions in the middle of the race slowed the action, including one that eliminated Raymond Herman from contention.
Charging up through the field from her sixth-place starting spot, Crystal Murray would grab the second spot on lap 10, but Murray was nearly a whole straightaway behind Mattera in her path to try to earn the victory. A caution flag would slow the action with just seven laps remaining, closing the field right back to Mattera’s bumper and creating some chaos in the final circuits.
It wouldn’t be the final restart — as Mattera would have to hang on for three or four in the final 10 laps, but it didn’t rattle her. She would cross the line ahead of the entire field at the checkered flag, winning the race by over one second over David Westgate. But, before the finish, Murray was hounding the back bumper, trying to find her way around. She got sideways entering turn three on lap 20, and lost a few spots, dropping to fifth. That would almost hurt her chances of winning the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series championship.
Murray was racing Jordan Lopes, Mike Lefort and Karlin Levesque for the Phil’s title. In the final three laps, there was contact between many of the leaders, leaving Murray and Levesque nose-to-tail in the final two laps. As the field crossed for the checkered, Mattera, Westgate, Dunancik, Murray and Levesque would be the top five. Murray and Mattera, two females who earned victories on Friday night, would celebrate in Victory Lane.
However, following a ruling in technical inspection, Murray would not win the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series title, handing it to Levesque. With just three races remaining in the championship points battle, there is a three-way tie at the top. Lopes, Lefort and AJ Manuel all have 460 points and are going to decide it between themselves in the final few weeks.