Giovanni Ruggerio picked up where he left off in 2018 by commandeering the field on opening day, 2019. He powered off the pole, leaving Riley Caron and saw nothing but clear air all the way to the checkers. Not that it was an easy win, as Isaiah Newcomb ran in behind him just six laps in and gave chase the rest of the distance. At the end it was hold-your-breath, folks, as Newcomb put on a charge to the line that only failed by .013 (thirteen thousandths of a second! The drag race to the front stretch included Dell And Nathan Smith had a lot to say in the battle, forcing Newcomb to duel with him for second before yielding with two laps remaining. Newcomb had been on the high side of Smith and when a lapped car caught Smith up, Newcomb slipped by to trade paint with Ruggerio all the way down the front stretch to the checkers.
Samantha Dell recovered from a lap 10 spin in order to avoid a wreck and gathered up fourth place, just ahead of newcomer Ethan Heilborn.
At the start, Giovanni zipped away from outside polesitter Caron and Smith edged Caron back to third on the initial go-around. Caron got stuck on the outside and was unable to drop in as Newcomb and Tell then streamed by. By lap three, the field was stretched out with Caron running fifth.
Three laps in, Smith looked around Ruggerio on the high side but couldn’t power past. This allowed Newcomb to run underneath into the runnerup slot. Dell added to Smith’s woes, now, by working over his back bumper.
Two laps later, however, Newcomb spun in turn four and Dell spun to avoid him. This sent Caron to the wall just out of turn four and he scrubbed along past the starter’s stand. It knocked his right front wheel askew, ending his race.
Ruggerio and Smith lined up for the lap ten restart with Joey LeMay and Heilborn behind them. It was door-to-door down the front stretch with Gio taking a nose in turn two. Smith was back alongside in three and Ruggerio grabbing a nose, again, across the stripe. Smith dropped in onto his bumper, towing LeMay.
Newcomb showed his grit, coming from eighth on the restart up to third. Cameron Tavares fell in between him and Dell.
Smith was intent on the outside, dropping in behind but then going back up to the second groove. He kept looking under and then around with Newcomb trying to be patient and find an opportunity. With four laps remaining, Dell seized the moment and got under LeMay into fourth. The front closed up to find Ruggerio, Smith and Newcomb locked together nose-to-tail.
Newcomb then three his car outside Smith in turn four and Smith was caught up by lapped traffic in the low groove. Newcomb now had second and came alongside the leader. Ruggerio wouldn’t yield and they went rubbing down the frontstretch from turn four all the way to the checkers with Ruggerio eking out the win.
LeMay claimed sixth, followed by Cameron Tavares, Stephen Bowden, Aubrey Keller and Nicholas Rose.