The Extravaganza regulars travel to our second short track of the season, where Matt Raboin attempts to sweep the Richmond-Martinsville-Bristol stretch and crawl his way into the top-10 in points. His teammate Matthew Dominique comes in as the points leader, mirroring his early-season performance of 2019. He will grid 8th in the field with race favorites John Battista and Ryan Heuser starting off 5th and 17th.
Adam Crapser started the field off on the pole, looking to hold off the Extravaganza elite and capture his first premier Series victory. From the mid-western dirt track atmosphere to the Bonanza Series Championship, Crapser is slated to be the next rising star in the series. He would prove worthy of him future title by leading the first 36 laps of the event.
Ken Pettit was the first driver to make a charge on the #4 Alvin machine. Adam was struggling to meander through lapped traffic, letting the Marley mobile fly by on the inside lane and have him handle the pressure ahead. Pettit would lead through lap 60 before giving back the position.
John Battista and Pettit raced side-by-side for second while Adam pulled away from the pack. Pettit cleared past the Wendy's Lucas Racing mobile to re-catch the leader and fly back by on lap 100. He would stay there for fourteen laps before another lead swap by Adam. The lapped traffic ahead were giving the leaders fits during this point, with only three cars conceding to fall a lap down by the lap 120 mark.
The first caution of the race was caused by a battle for 17th position. Dave Butterworth and Rick Jackson made contact entering turn-3, sending the Crown Royal car for a spin while Butterworth cracked the outside wall. On the subsequent restart, Dave Miller made it past Adam Crapser for the lead and remained there for 73 laps.
Cristian Torres was lounging within the race of his life, earning the top-spot over Miller on lap 236. Fourteen laps later, Torres would capture his first ever Halfway Bacon Bonus, earning an extra $100,000 to the Twisted Metal pocketbook. It would not last the entire distance, as John Battista found his way to the lead for the first time after lurking in the top-5 all race long.
A turn-3 incident between Dave Butterworth and Michael Henson on lap 270 was followed by a 40-lap stint of Wendy's domination. After an Alex Crapser and Jonathan Skrabacz tangle in the same corner, four cars decided to stay out on 40-lap old tires while the rest of the field ebullated in malevolent delight, presuming the warn out rubber would devastate their efforts. Markell Murphy, Scott Jackson, Ryan Heuser and Bill Werkheiser all took the gamble.
One of the drivers that gambled for track position fell into the depths of another engine tragedy. Ryan Heuser had just made his green flag pit stop in third place before coming to a blow with only 53 laps to go. His teammate Craig Lee fell victim to an engine failure early in the going as well, leaving both drivers in a deep hole in the standings coming out of Martinsville. Ken Joynt also battled engine fatigue, gapping the Quick-Silver teammates in the final race result.
Despite the disparity in pit strategies, every driver still had to make one more stop. The advantage for the drivers that pitted was their ability to gas-and-go to make the finish while the other drivers would need at least one full can. Markell Murphy had miraculously pulled away from the field by over seven seconds before coming in with 60 laps to go. Fortunately for him, there were no caution flags between he and Tony Pizzaro's pit stops and he was able to maintain the top-spot by a hair by the end of the cycle.
The splash-and-go stop by Pizzaro lessened the gap from seven seconds to just a couple of car-lengths by the 20-to-go mark. Pizzaro made his move on Murphy in turn-3, clearing the Red Bull machine in hopes to cruise to his second victory of 2022. Just three laps later, Murphy made the same move on the inside of turn-1 and repeated the favor, using his fresher two-tires to his advantage while Pizzaro dropped into the clutches of Scott Jackson in a battle for second place.
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