Reynolds assumed the lead and held it for four laps, until the penultimate, 14th lap when “Little Callaghan,” on the strength of the race’s fastest lap – and the second-fastest Vee lap of the entire weekend – a 1:17.127 effort on lap 12, an average speed of 74.682 mph; seized the lead. Callaghan, who scored a stunning debut win on slicks in the rain at Palmer just two weeks before, led at the bottom of the hill at Turn 10, less than half-a-mile from the checkers, when “a rookie mistake” led to him spinning and flying off-course on corner exit, luckily missing the Armco barrier.
When Callaghan spun, Juhasz had a half-car-length lead on Reynolds, and he outran his young rival to a 1.775-second margin of victory. Kenney steadily motored onto the final step on the podium, a scant second ahead of Afzal Bashir. The fourth-place finish, a career-high, continued Bashir’s best weekend of his three-year Vee career and was a positive statement to his seeking out varied – and storied — tracks, such as Watkins Glen, PittRace and Mid-Ohio in addition to NER’s staples.
Big Rodman parlayed his aggressive start into a fifth-place finish at his best track. Rounding out the top 10 were Adams, whose pleasant new-car break-in continued with his second top 10; a recovering G.O. Callaghan; Genis, who celebrated his 61st birthday with a fine eighth place; Robby Sammons, who recovered from spinning off into the gravel and DNF in Race 1 in his white #85 Speed Sport; and Ferreira, who claimed he was “physically beat” while his brilliant smile wiped away the fatigue after a well-earned 10th.
The group was graced with a trip across the scales after an impound-all. That only revealed – not surprisingly – that the chassis AND body need some work.
That left only the weekend’s feature, another 23-minute plus one lap affair that resulted in one of the most spectacular and special Vee races possibly, in years, a last-lap pass for the win and the weekend’s closest Vee margin of victory.
Juhasz led the first six laps from pole, but with Barry raging through the field from his 15th starting spot in the 19-car field – he was seventh at the end of lap one – it was inevitable Barry would take the lead, and he did, on lap seven. Meanwhile, Grimes, who in semi-desperation had borrowed a carburetor from former NEFV champion Mike Hinkle – who’s currently on a Vee racing hiatus but as usual was ready-and-willing with support, parts, expertise and encouragement – was making a steady, if somewhat-less-spectacular, march through the field.
After starting 18th and on the last row, Grimes’ start, a la Big Rodman’s hell-bent-for-leather run around the outside, resulted in a stellar nine-position gain to ninth after one lap. But it took Grimes 11 laps to get into the top five, and three more laps to pass Reynolds for second, on lap 15 of 19.
Grimes then stalked Barry, while fending off Reynolds, and over the last five laps, was quicker than the leader on four of the five. Barry was more consistent, but Grimes erased a 1.816-second deficit, drafted up behind Barry onto the frontstretch to take the white flag signaling one-to-go, and then stormed inside the former NEFV champion Barry into the oval’s first turn. Grimes charged off to the race’s fastest lap on his run to the checkers, 1:18.029, an average speed of 73.819 mph.
The winning margin was a scant 1.115 seconds, while Callaghan was only 1.196 behind Barry, to round out the podium. Kenney topped off an incredibly consistent front-running weekend with his third top-six finish, in fourth while Juhasz closed a spectacular debut weekend with his third top-five, in fifth.