What a way to go for the chase contenders, as a race that should have split the championship chase into fractions ended up making it close again. 18 leaders in all, it was the one who dominated the middle segment that fell, but he did not fall the hardest.
Early on it seemed dangerous, too dangerous for drivers like John Battista to even consider driving towards the back to stay away from the mayhem. His car was strong enough to out-speed the three-wide traffic during the beginning stages, while the other chase contenders were burrowed in agony.
The first big wreck involved Tim McDonnell, Alex Crapser, Ken Pettit and Kevin Corbat. All four cars were minorly hurt until the caution. Johnny Reed Foley made contact with Michael Henson and Zach Michael while slowing for the pace car, slowing in front of points leader Craig Lee before he smashed the front of Foley's car with the right front. The engine blew immediately and Craig was furious, throwing his can of bottled NOS at Foley's pit-sign holder after the incident. He could only repeat the words "You will lead the DNF total when I'm through." Lee finished 40th, winding up 3rd in points.
Zakk Miller flew and flipped into the catch fence several times on the frontstretch, causing a melee behind, and underneath. Fortunately, with the rapid DNF's soon ahead, he would limp 3 laps down and finish 23rd by the end. Michael Henson went on to finish 25th.
Chase contenders and all were battling 4-wide for the lead near the mid-point of the race, attempting to gather those all powerful bonus points with Craig Lee done for the day. John Battista and Rick Jackson were sitting pretty in the standings, as some found it hard to believe that they would race this hard. John Tharp was the only driver in desperation mode, and was happy to finally have a fast racecar after all of these weeks. He went on to finish 6th and get back into the points race.
After leading his 9th race in-a-row, Ryan Heuser blew up again. The field was in a severe holocaust behind, with disrupted vision and indecision plaguing the masses. They all scattered through, though the field was now split in three. Ryan went on to finish 28th, now 10th in points.
The mid-stages of the race saw a four-car breakaway between John Battista, Scott Jackson, William "Tex" Perry and Jimmie Stevens. They stayed in line for the entire green flag run, but a few cars in the second pack caught them after some poor green flag stops. Battista went on to lead 39 laps, but finished 22nd after being involved in a wreck late.
The big story of the day was the amount of engine failures. Donald Stewart fell first for his only DNF of the season. Then Ryan, Glenn Kaufmann, Adam Crapser, Zach Michael, along with chase contenders Rick Jackson and Matthew Dominique all fell to the motor bug. Matthew actually grabbed the points lead after the race, simply by blowing up later than Craig crashed.
More big wrecks were to come, involving John Battista, John Tharp and Matthew Dominique. It brought the field back together as Tony Pizzaro, Alan Nesfeder, Tim McDonnell and Dave Miller all raced for the lead up front. These four would dominate the final stages of the race.
The final round of pit stops led everyone to believe the #12 would run out of fuel by the end. He pitted nearly 10 laps before Bill Werkheiser, John Tharp, Dave Miller and Tim McDonnell, as they all watched firmly behind and waited for him to sputter.
It never happened, and now the race was coming to the final lap with a frenzy of 8 racecars. Alan Nesfeder was a full car-length away from Dave Miller coming into lapped traffic. Scott Jackson gave the #90 an
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