In a world filled with endless madness and misery lies the Extravaganza root-based Rockingham Speedway. Ghosts and ghouls of Extravaganza past haunt the facility after 50+ years of racing, with drivers looking to dominate the masses and extricate from the graveyard of doom. Rookie Geno Sphere pulls of a miraculous Rockingham pole looking to dive deep into the points standings after missing one race earlier in the year.
Geno Sphere led the first 22 laps before Rick Jackson separated himself from the pack. This would be the fourth straight event that the #44 has led this season, looking to turn back to form despite two straight DNF's. Disastrously, Rick and his cousin Scott wrecked entering turn 3 on lap 81, sending the purple and white Race-2-Win mobile into the fence as the rest of the field dove safely into the inside lane.
A log-jam of lapped traffic caused a near collision-course to break out on the ensuing restart. Aaron Cummings took the lead away from new leader Craig Lee and led his first two laps of the season. Johnny Reed Foley wasted no time in his bid, scurrying through lapped traffic after taking the top-spot away with his new-found Top-Gear Motorsports horsepower.
Donald Stewart came into this event 7th in the Extravaganza standings, nabbing a 10th at Daytona and a 3rd place at California. He has always been known for stepping up to the plate at the bigger tracks, though his one top-5 and only 21 laps led in 2021 made it seem that his glory days may be through. The Geer-5 team renewed his contract against immaculate odds to be released to another team, though he would be proving his worth today after taking the lead on lap 130.
Stewart and Foley would swap the top-spot several times during the next 80 laps. The caution came out on lap 212 after contact between Bink Lucas and Matt Raboin in turn-4. Both slid up into the wall, collecting Zach Michael and Rick Jackson in the process. Both Zach and Rick would finish with a DNF, marking Rick's third of the season and dropping Zach to 11th in the standings. Bink would miraculously repair his racecar and finish 6th, with Matt still nabbing a top-20 by the end of the day.
The following restart saw contact between lapped cars Tony Pizzaro and William Perry. Points leader Pizzaro came up the racetrack after the initial hit and catapulted Steven Spears into mid-air. The #65 slid across the racetrack, nearly getting railroaded by the field until Alex Crapser hit the front-end of his car. Both drivers were out of the event after the crash, with Spears out of the top-20 in points and Crapser outside the top-10 by the end.
The cautions continued to breed after contact between Pizzaro and Mark Murphy in the same part of the racetrack. Murphy power-slammed the inside wall and flew 90 degrees up the racetrack into the turn-3 traffic. Randy Dobbins body-slammed his passengers side, slamming hard into the outside wall and into Jim Fitzmaurice, who obliterated Randy back into Murphy's rear end. All three drivers would fail to finish the event. The final crash of the race resulted in Rick Jackson and Michael Henson wrecking while Jonathan Skrabacz was entering the pits. Rick blew his engine in the accident, while Skrabacz and Henson limped to top-25's after the attrition.
Finally green flag racing was at the forefront, with David Butterworth leading the charge on the restart. John Battista took the lead on lap 229 with lapped traffic looming ahead. He wouldn't get by all of it, getting passed by Craig Lee who dominated the rest of the run. The Henson-Scrabacz-Jackson caution initiated a 100-lap shootout to the finish, coming out towards the very end of green flag pit stops. Battista, Dave Miller, Matthew Dominique, Ken Pettit and Tony Long all stayed out on the tires they recently took, while the rest of the pack received fresh rubber while coming in during the yellow. Dave Miller would take the lead on lap 298.
Dave Butterworth pulverized through the field, becoming the first driver with fresh tires to reach the top-spot. It's been a remarkable season for the #81 team thus far, entering the race 13th in points and on the up with two top-15 finishes despite qualifying 30th or worse in all three races. Donald Stewart and Bill Werkheiser are also hungry for the victory and ready to pounce from behind.
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