Soper's BMW emerged unscathed from a start-line accident which destroyed five cars seconds after the green light.
Those less lucky included Jeff Allam, whose works Vauxhall was pushed into a spin, starting the chain reaction which led to the carnage. Nobody was hurt in the incident but the race had to be stopped and restarted.
Patrick Watts, on pole, was another who failed to make the restart, his Mazda being damaged in a separate incident.
The former grand prix driver, Julian Bailey, earned Toyota's best place of the season when he brought his Carina home in second spot, with team-mate Will Hoy fourth behind Leslie.
Bobby Verdon-Roe produced his best finish with a strong sixth in the Junior Toyota.
Nigel Mansell was released from a Florida hospital yesterday after minor back surgery and is on course to compete in the Indianapolis 500 on 30 May. Mansell, who underwent surgery last week at Morton Plant Hospital, will spend about a week recuperating at his home in Clearwater, Florida, a spokesman for his Newman-Haas IndyCar team said.Reuse content