Jake Vanada leaped off the pole, put great distance on his competitors and left them all in the dust, taking his first Sport Trucks win going all the way from green to checkers. Back in the field, Barry Shaw and Richie Murray were battling it out over the 2019 championship. Shaw had points to make up and Richie needed to hold him at bay.
But the race, itself, ran caution free and the field strung out single file making it nearly impossible for passing. Instead it became a game of pursuit and once Shaw had settled into fifth behind Mikey Cooper and Murray became ensconced in seventh, separated from Shaw by Mike Belanger, the suspense ran over who might be able to make a pass, if at all.Another great hero – or heroine – arose in the Seekonk battle for truck supremacy on this championship evening, and that would be Brittany Campbell. Following heat action, division leader Richie Murray suffered engine problems – the O8 wouldn’t start. Without power, the championship race would end and give the crown to Shaw by default. Instead, Campbell – in the middle of a late season which was gelling for her with increasing success – handed over the reins of her mount to Murray so that he could defend his lead in the standings. It is the second time in the late season that a Sport Trucks competitor has stepped up and loaned his vehicle to a fellow competitor. Three weeks ago, it was Darryl Church turning over the keys to Barry Shaw after he was spun into the wall. On this championship evening both the leader and his pursuer were battling for the grand prize in rides donated by friends and competitors. Both Brittany Campbell and Darryl Church have shown themselves as worthy, sports-minded competitors and the highest of congratulations are in order.
After lap two, if the electronic scoring system is to be believed, there was NO passing among the top eight competitors for the final 28 laps of the thirty circuits scheduled.
After Vanada rocketed away to run his own race, the remainder of the top seven ran nose-to-tail with an occasional waver to the outside to look for an opportunity, then drop back in.
Connor Souza led the chase pack, followed by Mike Cavallaro, Mikey Cooper, Shaw, Belanger and Murray.
Halfway through, Vanada was romping, a full straightaway ahead of the field. Cavallaro was nervously looking for a way around Souza, but was unable to find a path. Cooper was looking around Cavallaro as best he could: neither could spot a pathway and settled back in again and again.
With eight remaining, Shaw became impatient and looked under Cooper but could find no room, Cooper was defending so well. Souza was gaining some distance on Cavallaro, going out five cars ahead. Cavallaro edged away from Cooper as well, to a three-car bulge. Still, it was a five-car lineup going nose-to-tail: Cooper, Shaw, Belanger, Murray and Ed Perry had bridged up to the peloton.
Still, it was a high-speed single-file and Cooper at the front of the group had enough speed to keep Shaw from passing, although he spent a lot of time looking high and low. Cooper held tight to his position. Belanger ran solid between Murray and Shaw and Murray had the game in hand, just two cars (four points) behind Shaw and settled in.
They wound through the final five laps to the checkers in order and the result was a win for Vanada, the first in a few years since a Pro Stock win. Sousa came home second. Cavallaro finished third, but ran afoul of tech inspection and Cooper was elevated to third. Shaw and Belanger rounded out the top five. Murray rolled in at sixth, securing both Rookie-of-the-Year honors AND the Sport Trucks championship. Seventh was Ed Perry. Lenny Sousa, Elias Dib and Johnny Silva III rounded out the top ten. Anastasia Lebrun and Maddie Harkin were just off the pace in eleventh and twelfth.