Tough Tommy Adams and Derek Gluchacki engaged in a veritable brawl over the closing laps of the Late Model feature that had the crowd on its feet and afterward speaking of “never boefore” and “the best.” It was an incomparable closing to a feature that had seen Gluchacki, one of the division’s rookie class, take a substantial lead over the first 21 laps before it was collapsed by cautions and Adams had sorted his way up to a side-by-side restart.
From there on, it was a withering series of attacks between the duo until the finish. Adams finally accomplished his goal of taking the win by passing under Gluchacki and scooting ahead over the finish line for his first win on the season. Gluchacki followed and then opening night winner Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. DeGasparre was lifted to second when Gluchacki fell prey to tech inspection and was disqualified. (A win and a second to open the season gives DeGasparre the points lead in early running.) This also presented Dan Johnson in third, followed by 2018 champion Ryan Lineham and Chase Belcher to round out the top five.
Adams had started below Belcher in the third row, and behind Gluchacki who had Vinny Arrenegado on his outside.
Tony Macrino and Bobby Tripp were coming off the front row. They went door-to-door until Gluchacki squirted underneath into the lead as Macrino suddenly fell back and Tripp moved ahead to go wheel-to-wheel with Gluchacki. As the leaders dodged around Macrino, Adams surged past Arrenegado into third, followed by Belcher. But caution prevailed and they lined up for a restart with just one lap complete. Arrenegado and Mark Hudson visited the pits. Gluchacki and Tripp faced off with Adams and Macrino behind them, followed by Belcher and Johnson.
Arrenegado had developed problems and after another lap attempted to pit under green, but ground to a halt at the tunnel entrance, calling out another yellow flag. He was able to restart after a couple attempts, pitted and returned, but lost power in the pit entrance and had to be pushed in, ending his evening.
Gluchacki and Tripp preceded Adams and Belcher. At the green, they dueled down the frontstretch with Adams looking underneath to make it a three-wide but couldn’t find his way in. It was a drag race through lap two until Derek took a nose in turn two and the lead in turn four after two more laps wheel-to-wheel. Belcher dropped under Adams for position.
Gluchacki pulled away, sporting a five-car lead on lap 23 before another caution brought a lap 6 restart. DeGasparre had springboarded from twelfth to sixth, gaining a spot each lap and was outside Romiza in the third row. They were backed up by Johnson and Lineham. Gluchacki jumped ahead down the frontstretch and Adams leapt in under Tripp. Belcher ran fifth and Gerry De got under Romiza and took the spot as Lineham went to the high side. By lap nine, the lead was a half-straightaway as Adams and Tripp dueled for second. DeGasparre was watching them, looking for any opportunity. He tried underneath, there was contact and Tripp made a huge save to prevent a spin. Belcher moved in to battle with DeGasparre and they scrapped side-by-side.
Midway through the 30-lapper, Gluchacki was enjoying a 20-car lead over Adams, who had another 20 cars on Tripp and DeGasparre who were running nose-to-tail. Johnson got underneath Belcher until there was contact, sending Belcher uptrack, struggling to regain control.
Adams began to slowly close on the leader on lap 17 and by lap 20 had halved the lead to ten carlengths. Tripp, DeGasparre, Lineham and Johnson pursued at a distance until Mike Duarte suffered mechanical difficulties which sent him spinning across the stripe.
Gluchacki and Adams were wheel-to-wheel for the restart with Tripp and DeGasparre behind them. Row three saw Lineham and Johnson ahead of Mark Hudson and Belcher.
Gluchacki nosed ahead but going into lap 21, Adams dropped underneath to grab the lead. This began a swirling brawl between them as Derek repaid the favor, dropping under to take it back. They went wheel-to-wheel for a lap, then Adams went very wide through turn four. He then dropped underneath once again. DeGasparre had gotten by Tripp to claim third and Johnson began to work on Tripp and Lineham.
Neither of the leaders were willing to grant the win to his opponent and their speed kept leaving the bottom open for further attempts. With five to go, Adams charged underneath once again. Behind Lineham, teammates Tripp and Belcher vied for position until, with three laps to go, Belcher grabbed the spot. Hudson pulled in behind them. Gluchacki didn’t wait long before going to the bottom and pulling ahead. DeGasparre wisely watched the two-car cyclone ahead and avoided involving himself but still watched for opportunities.
Adams powered up and they ran parallel lines until the final circuit when he dropped underneath once again and they ran for the checkers. It was the final exchange, however, after the jaw-dropping brawl of the final ten laps. Adams came home with the big win on the season’s second session.
Sixth place was captured by Tripp and Hudson, Jeremy Lambert, Mark Jenison and Ryan Souliere completed the top ten.