BRADENTON, Fla. – Usually, starting from 14th place in a 100-lap feature race on a three-eighths-mile oval makes winning an extremely difficult task.
But for Riverview’s Joe Boyd, that didn’t slow him down as he picked his way through the field on his way to win Saturday night’s crash-filled Icebreaker 100 for the Bright House Challenge Series in front a capacity crowd at Desoto Speedway.
A 12-car inversion put Canadian driver Jerry Artuso on the pole and sent the night’s fastest qualifier, Jesse Dutilly, to 12th in the 26-car field. Artuso took the lead on the start and was inching away from second-place Michael Atwell of Naples before the caution flew for the slowed car Sarasota Anthony Campi. Campi, winner of two of the last four super late model races at Desoto, saw his night end after just six laps.
Artuso and Atwell would battle for the lead for the next several laps before another caution for a spin involving Bradenton’s Dennis Colletti bunched up the field. On the restart, Atwell got by Artuso while some of the faster cars that were inverted were making their way toward the front. This included Dutilly, who had made his way up to sixth.
Nine laps later, the caution flew again as Atwell and Jeff Scofield crashed while battling for the lead. This put Lakeland’s Chris Fontaine in the lead and Dutilly up to second. Dutilly was still running second on a lap 37 restart when he started slowing with a tire issue and caught a break when a caution flew a few laps later, allowing him to pit without losing a lap.
Just prior to the halfway point, Fontaine and Wildwood’s Wayne Anderson, who was making his first appearance at the track in three years, touched going into turn three battling for the lead. Fontaine got the worst of it, spinning in front of the entire field and collecting Scofield. That ended the night for Fontaine and Scofield.
Anderson and Boyd, who weaved his way through the carnage to find himself in second, would battle for the next 20 laps for the lead. Boyd got under Anderson at the line for the lead on lap 68 and quickly began pulling away from the field.
Boyd survived several restarts over the closing stages of the race and pulled away for his first Icebreaker win. He led a race-high 33 laps and collected the night’s Hard Charger award for gaining the most starts from his starting position.
“I didn’t think I could come back from 14th tonight but man I had a great car,” Boyd said in victory lane. “It’s been awhile and man…this feels good.”
Anderson held of a surging Dutilly over the final laps to take second. Dutilly wound up third after falling as far back as 20th after his tire issue.
“I think we had a car that could win and I wish we could have got back up there,” Dutilly said. “I’m happy to be here – especially after what happened with the tire and getting to race with some of the best people in the state of Florida. I’m happy to be a part of that.”
Scott Walters finished fourth and Jake Perkins took fifth. Anthony Sergi, George Gorham, Nick Neri, Dennis Colletti and Chad Allman rounded out the top 10.