Chase Belcher came into the evening two points up on the championship chase and the confrontation with Rob Murphy for the final race of the season was immense. Belcher was starting outside on the third row; Murphy was on his left and an epic confrontation was promised. Instead, Murphy tangled twice with David Lougee and both were gone just four laps into the race.
Belcher had the championship at that point. He claimed the lead on the restart and battled Mike Cavallaro and Ed Gannon to the finish, coming back to the front when Gannon suffered a solo spin with two laps remaining. Belcher pulled away from Mike Duarte, who shared the front on the restart and held off Cavallaro to the finish for a win and the championship.
Lenny Guy kicked things off from the pole after original polesitter Mike Lopes false started and had to go to the rear. The full race restart saw Lenny pull away from Ed Perry with a push from Murphy who was behind him. Belcher leapt into second with Perry and Murphy in a three-wide with him. Murphy had to get out of the three-wide to avoid contact with the wall and, as the three-wide broke down, Lougee got into the back of Murphy who went around with a flat front tire. Lougee made for the pits as did Murphy.
Guy grabbed the lead on the restart with Belcher on his bumper. Belcher then ran under Guy and grabbed the lead out of turn four. Murphy, coming from the rear looked under Mike Lopes and the made contact in turn two. Perry looped and collected it before the caution flew. He headed for the pits, then elected to stay ontrack for the duration and caution flew.
Belcher and Guy again lined up with Cavallaro and Gannon behind them. Belcher took the lead and Cavallaro went under Guy. Gannon also passed Lenny as Duarte got by Perry into fifth. Belcher went to a two-car lead but Murphy and Lougee got together in turn four. An angry Murphy climbed out of his truck and started toward Lougee, who pulled away into the pits. Both competitors were parked for the night, leaving Cavallaro the only competitor with a mathematical chance of catching Belcher.
They lined up on the front and went side-by-side on the green as Guy was working under Gannon and Duarte was debating with Perry. Cavallaro elected to battle Belcher from the outside. They ran through a full lap with Belcher just one five thousandths of a second ahead at the stripe. As they continued to runk Belcher gained a nose on Cavallaro as Gannon held third.
Cavallaro settled onto Belcher’s bumper and Gannon grabbed third out of turn two before Shawn DeMello spun in turn four. Again Belcher and Cavallaro pulled up to the front and went door-to-door again until Belcher nosed ahead. Gannon ran up to Belchers tailgate as Perry gave chase.
By lap 12, Gannon had passed Cavallaro into second just as John Robidoux spun but was able to recover and continue. Duarte was working under Cavallaro for position and as Gannon went to Belcher’s high side, Duarte was leading Cavallaro, Perry, Guy and Bob Rainville. Gannon nosed out and continued to edge his way past Belcher.
Gannon continued to hold the front as the laps wore down. Belcher held second, ahead of Duarte, Cavallaro, Perry and Guy. And Gannon ran out to a four-car lead on lap 20. The field stretched out and was running pace laps through lap 24. With the white flag flying, Gannon – the leader – got into a solo spin right at the starting line.
Belcher again had the pole for the restart and catapulted away from Duarte. Cavallaro got under Duarte and into second. Belcher, however, was in command and ran to the checkers with Cavallaro second, followed by Duarte, Perry and Guy. Rookie Dan Johnson was sixth, just ahead of Rainville while DeMello claimed eighth. Bill Schoeler was followed by Rick Albarenez, Gannon and Lopes.