Barry Shaw shepherded the Darryl Church ride to his sixth win on the 2019 season, as his Sport Truck still stands garage-bound after last week’s meeting with the front stretch wall. He was able to take it from a ninth place start into the lead by lap seven and held the front all the way to the checkers.
Meanwhile, division leader Richie Murray pulled in behind Shaw on lap nine and hounded him the rest of the distance to the finish. Murray made some pretensions to pass, but Shaw remained resolute and held him off. It was the least that Barry could do: he and Murray are locked in combat over the championship and Richie has the lead. Shaw did everything he could by winning but Murray kept his rival’s points gain to just two by finishing at his tailgate.
Ed Perry chased them for a third overall, while Mike Belanger and Mikey Cooper rounded out the top five.
Nick Testone edged ahead on Jake Vanada as the green fell, but Vanada rushed ahead and they ran door-to-door with Lenny Guy grabbing third. Vanada was almost past in turn one, secured the lead in turn two and shot down the backstretch. Unfortunately, he suffered a sudden loss of speed in turn four, then completely lost power in turn one, coming to a halt. Murray braked hard to stay off his bumper and succeeded but there was a scramble in the field and Mikey Cooper had his right front fender stripped off. Vanada got a restart and rejoined at the rear.
Guy and Testone came to the line for the restart and Testone pulled away. Mike Cavasllaro drove in under Lenny from the second row as Testone secured the lead coming out of turn two. Cavallaro moved up through the rest of the lap and into turn one. He was pushing under a wide Testone coming out of turn four and they dueled for the position.
In turn two, Testone edged down as Mike drifted up and there was contact. Testone came loose and coming out of two, his back end slipped uptrack and his nose came down, striking Cavallaro in the rear quarter. This pointed his nose toward the wall and he piled in carrying Testone along into the barrier with him. Guy had been riding on Testone’s high side and had nowhere to go as the duo carried him into the wall as well. They came to a rest near the pit entrance in turn three.
All three were eliminated by the wreck and Vanada took his truck to the pits to determine his power loss problem.
The lap 22 restart saw Perry and Belanger at the front. Shaw was low in the second row with Cooper on his outside. Murray was in row three with Brittany Campbell on his shoulder. They came away door-to-door with Shaw clinging to Perry’s tailgate. Perry grabbed the front and Shaw ducked under Belanger. Murray followed, trailing Cooper as Connor Souza got under Campbell. Belanger fell back and Murray ducked under him as Shaw went to work on Perry. The leader did his best to elbow Shaw back, but Barry knew he needed to do no less than win and was irrepressible. Five laps in, he was looking under and had the front the next time around. Perry was the spacer between Shaw and Murray; Belanger followed, then Souza, just ahead of Cooper, who managed to grab some more speed and moved Souza out of fourth.
Nine laps down and Shaw was cruising with a ten-car lead on Murray, who had Perry and then Belanger close behind. Souza and Cooper were in pursuit and Campbell was doing her best to get by the latter. They ran single-file to the midpoint of the race with Murray cutting Shaw’s lead down to three. Ten cars behind Murray came Perry, Belanger, Cooper, Souza and Campbell running nose-to-tail. Once more around and Murray had cut the lead to one length.
With ten to go, the order remained the same and Murray was putting on the pressure. But Shaw seemed undeterred and held the hammer down. The trailing group was still bumper-to-bumper.
The distance between Shaw and Murray pitched and yawed but they were seldom more than a car apart.
With five circuits remaining, the two leaders rocketed along single-mindedly while behind them, Belanger was battling with Perry for third. This would continue through the checkers
The final five laps were a dash to the finish with each trying but none able to make the pass. They flashed across the stripe single file as Shaw collected his sixth on the season. Murray’s second protected his lead, which remains at fourteen points with one race left in the championship season. Perry, Belanger, Souza, Cooper and Campbell roared in just inches apart.
Elias Dib claimed eighth, while Maddie Harkin and Johnny Silva III completed the top ten. Anastasia Lebrun was the last car still running at eleventh.