Reese Bogue’s success – three wins in eight races on the season in Bandolero Bandits, felt the sting of handicapping as he started eighth on the field, and looking at the back bumpers of his most ardent challengers. No matter, as Smilin’ Reese jumped on the throttle and cut the deficit in half on lap one. He wove through the interference for two-thirds of the fifteen laps before spoiling Adam Harrison’s ten laps at the front and roared off in search of the checkers – which he found for the fourth time this season.
Ethan Dion filled in at the runner-up spot, while Colin Vanasse and Harrison rounded out the top five.
Harrison jumped off the pole, past outside polesitter Rob Murphy, Jr., into the lead and began pulling away. Murphy was stuck on the outside as Ryan Vanasse, Jr. glued himself to Harrison’s bumper and shot underneath. PJ Evans, meanwhile, was nosing under Brenden LeBelle to snare third place. One lap in, and Harrison was ten lengths ahead of the pack. Evans had acquired second. Bogue, however, had gone by Evans, Murphy and LeBelle in one fell swoop, then followed Evans past Ryan Vanasse into third. LeBelle grabbed fourth and Vanasse dropped in at fifth, ahead of Dion.
The leading trio now had a 20-car bulge over Dion, who had superseded LeBelle. Murphy and Harrison were now wheel-to-wheel behind them.
Six laps in and the leaders, running nose-to-tail approached the soon-to-be-lapped car of midseason newcomer Grant Harkin. Bogue ducked under Evans into second and on the following circuit had pared the lead down to four cars. Evans was feeling the heat of Dion at his bumper and LeBelle was working his way in under Collin Vanasse.
With six to go, Bogue was just a half-car off Harrison’s bumper and Dion was closing on Evans. Dion took a look outside and couldn’t go as they encountered the lapped car of Zacarias Kelley.
Four to go showed Bogue at the front, followed by Evans. Harrison got underneath Evans and it became three-wide as Collin ducked in underneath. Bogue was now three cars up on Harrison who had Evans at his back, but Harkin spun to the infield at the flagstand to bring out a lap 3 caution.
It was a three-lap shootout with Bogue smiling his way back into the lead and Evans ducked under Harrison, who was on the outside pole, to claim second. Dion was still on his bumper keeping Harrison on the outside. LeBelle followed with Collin on his shoulder just before Mike Hanafin and Brent Robidoux spun together in turn two, changing the three-lap shootout over to a green-whit-checker.
Bogue and Evans lined up with Dion and Harrison backing them up and LeBelle and Collin in row three. It shaped up to be a dog-eat-dog restart among the stalwarts at the front.
Bogue stuck his nose out on the green, but Evans leaped back alongside going through turns one and two. Bogue pulled away again coming out of two and Dion dug in under Evans to steal second.
Under the white flag, it was Bogue, Dion, Collin, Harrison and Evans. Over the final circuit, Dion dropped in to challenge for the trip to Victory Lane and they brawled it out. Coming across the stripe, it was Reese holding him off by a nose – translated to 97 thousandths of a second by the electronic timer. Bogue now had his fourth on the season.
Joel Newcomb was sixth, chased by LeBelle, Ryan Vanasse, Murphy, Hanafin and Robidoux.