by Dana Rowe
DJ Pires grabbed his second win of the season in a spirited battle that ran most of the Pure Stock feature which saw him dueling multi-winner Doug Benoit much of the distance. Benoit’s second put him on the podium finish, where he had landed all season long. In fact, Benoit has either won or placed second for the duration.
Pires had started mid-pack, but was making noise in the top five by lap five and into the lead by lap seven. Benoit started behind Pires in twelfth place and followed him to the front. Benoit arrived in second on lap 10 and shadowed Pires all the way to the finish. Going into lap 16, he got his nose ahead, but Pires scored it back in his column on the following circuit. They finished 1-2 and Lenny Sousa’s propsperity continued since gaining the new car with a big third place. Dave Desrosiers spent more than a few laps as the fastest car on the track and that springboarded him into fourth, while Greg Perry, Jr. celebrated his birthday with a solid fifth.
Nicholas Mignone and Daryl Perry came off the front row and Tommy Blackwell powered under Perry from low in row two to get into second and chase Mignone. Lap four saw Blackwell elevate himself to the lead, but Greg Perry broke through into the front on lap five, then saw Pires climb past the next time around.
Five laps in, Mignone was sideways in turn four, bringing out a major miracle as none of the 18 opponents made contact. Randy Laplante had come up from fifth and was on the front for the restart. Danny “The Outlaw” Massa and Perry backed them up with Sousa and Pires in row three for a speed merchant’s joy of a restart. But Massa was slowed and Sousa made contact with Massa spinning.
On the second try, Blackwell and Laplante were wheel-to-wheel into turn two but Tommy had the lead in turn four and Perry was under Laplante. Pires went past Bob Moore and Sousa into fourth then displaced Laplante in third. Moore spun, bringing caution.
Laplante and Pires were behind Blackwell and Perry for the restart. Pires dodged underneath and suddenly, he, Blackwell and Perry were three-wide at the front. Pires was able to power forward to take the lead.
DJ went to a five-car lead before Mignone’s spin brought a lap eight restart. Pires went out to a three-car lead and Perry got past Blackwell into second. Benoit had arrived and got onto Perry’s bumper. As Benoit applied pressure, Perry got high and Doug dived under and into second. Perry followed, ahead of Sousa and Blackwell. Pires had generated a four-car buffer zone.
Sousa dropped under Perry into third as Mike Henriques headed pitside and Pires’ lead was now four cars. Desrosiers roared in onto Perry’s back as Benoit pared Pires’ lead down to three cars with ten to go.
Caution flew again, and the leaders were now side-by-side. Pires nosed halfway past Benoit, who stayed outside. Sousa came up to their bumpers and Desrosiers ducked under Perry. They came door-to-door across the stripe in a tight group but two laps in, Blackwell spun in turn one, collecting Moore.
Eight remained as they came out of the box again and Pires and Benoit whipsawed the lead until Pires got crossed up on lap 18 and Benoit slid by. Sousa got under DJ and stole second as well as Desrosiers. Pires, in fourth. But Moore, Marissa Morgan and Henriques were around in turn four. A good deal of smoke poured from Moore’s car and the fire brigade and ambulance responded with the red flag being thrown for the safety of the crews and emergency personnel at Moore’s car. He was helped from his car and walked to the waiting ambulance for a checkup.
Six laps remained and going back to the last completed lap seated Pires on the outside of the front row, above Benoit with Sousa and Desrosiers behind them. Pires got the drop on Benoit, shooting out to the lead and then generating a two-car lead as Sousa locked onto Benoit’s bumper. Desrosiers, Perry, Massa, Laplante and Amy Arsenault followed. The field stretched out single file in this order and cycled the track five times to the waiting checkered flag.
Sixth went to Laplante, followed by The Outlaw, Arsenault, Daryl Perry, Ava Chouinard, Missy Charette and Emily Brightman.