An intense third event of the season at the second ever pre-spring race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Dominator of the fall race in 2021 Rick Jackson will start on the pole, with points leader and teammate Tony Pizzaro directly behind. Race favorites John Battista and Ryan Heuser start 2nd and 5th respectively.
The first laps saw Rick Jackson lead the first 28 laps before teammate Pizzaro flew by. Two laps later John Battista took the helm, leading 2 circuits before Heuser stole the show for a one-lap extravaganza. There was four different leaders during the first 33 laps. Towards the middle of the pack, Tim McDonnell would suffer an unknown liquid leak and lose 6 laps, adding to an already frustrating start to the season.
Adam Crapser held nothing back with his Lucas Racing horsepower, coming from 16th to first in just 35 laps to nab his first lead of the night. Dave Miller took it for good on lap 40 and never looked back, taking his QSM rocket-ship for a ride to the moon. He would lead through and beyond the first set of green flag stops.
An early pit stop saw drivers with fresher tires catch the #90 on lap 83. A 10-car pack led by rookie Bink Lucas flew past the Marlboro machine and into the lead. Him and Rick Jackson would swap the top-spot a couple of times before handing it back to Miller.
Tony Pizzaro took hold of the lead and stayed there for the next 8 laps before a miracle run by Bandit Racing came to the forefront. Ken Joynt worked his way from 26th to the lead and battled side-by-side with Pizzaro and Ryan Heuser for several laps. Heuser took the point in the end, hoping to reach victory for the first time in 2022.
Tragedy struck on lap 113. Ryan Heuser and the lapped car of Tim McDonnell made contact coming out of turn-4. Heuser's spotter missed the closing rate of the #22 as Ryan spun into oncoming traffic, initially getting creamed by BInk Lucas, who sailed into the inside wall. Heuser spun around a couple of times before a head-on collision from Rick Jackson in the drivers door sent him for a seven-time flip. Alan Nesfeder was the last car to knock Heuser, collecting him in the drivers-side door while stile flipping. Heuser would barrel-roll two more times before coming to a full stop in turn-1. Johnny Reed Foley, William Perry, Dan Johnston, Craig Lee, Mark Heron, Zakk Miller, Matt Raboin, Donald Stewart, Kevin Corbat, Michael Henson and Steven Spears were also involved in the accident.
Ken Joynt had to come in for a pit-road penalty after leading on the ensuing restart, leaving Tony Pizzaro as the leader coming to the halfway point. John Battista would win the halfway bonus money after a pass on lap 132, looking to bring home the full prize in just 133 more laps.
Dave Miller re-took the lead on lap 135, constantly swapping with Miller and Pizzaro throughout the rest of the run. From behind, Matthew Dominique, Bill Werkheiser and Adam Crapser all stayed in touch with the leaders and looked to steal the show for the second upset victory of 2022.
Green flag pit stops saw Dave Miller come in a lap or two after Battista and Pizzaro. The Wendy's crew pulled the #39 ahead of Miller by almost four full seconds. Pizzaro drifted back, though Miller and Zach Michael were able to tag-team past lapped traffic and onto the #39's rear bumper. Miller was able to make the pass on lap 216, with one more pit stop to go.
The Marlboro machine would come in only one lap early, giving him a 3.5-second advantage over Michael and Battista with only 30 laps to go. Battista couldn't keep up with the Team Danger Zone horsepower, as Michael left him in the dust and caught Dave Miller with 10 laps remaining. Coming to 8-laps to go, Michael made his move on the outside lane in turn four and took the top-spot outright.
Read more »