East Claims Glen Niebel Classic; Keller, Tharp Get Wins
Brownsburg’s Bobby East had to bump and bang his way into the lead but once out
in front it was lights out for the competition.
East captured the 10th annual running of the Glen Niebel Classic for the USAC
Sprint Cars at Anderson Speedway on Saturday. He becomes the 10th different
winner of the annual race that honors the owner of cars that won six Pay Less
Little 500 events.
East was the fast qualifier and after the first lap was running fifth. Bobby
Santos III grabbed the lead from the pole chased by Chris Windom and the Tony
Stewart Racing teammates of Tracy Hines and Levi Jones.
East used the inside line to get around Windom on lap 7 and then closed on
Santos. East looked high and low to get around Santos and several times the cars
touched but continued racing in tight quarters.
Finally on lap 13 East was able to make the pass entering Turn three and from
there pulled away from the competition. By the end of the race, run in a record
19 minutes, East had lapped everyone except second place finisher Tracy Hines.
“This car was awesome,” East said after the win. “Dad built a great car. This
car was really fun to drive.
After East took the lead it appeared that Windom was holding up the Stewart
teammates. Tracy Hines got around Windom on lap 34 and eventually moved into
second by making an outside pass of Santos through Turn one.
Jones moved into the fourth spot on lap 51 and Jerry Coons Jr. grabbed the fifth
spot when he made an inside pass of Windom.
There was action from the drop of the green flag with Lincoln’s Dave Darland
getting sideways coming off the fourth corner which caused three cars to swerve
into the infield. Defending race winner Tanner Swanson suffered front end
suspension damage and was finished for the night.
Defending Front Wheel Drive Figure-8 champion Andy Keller made it two
consecutive feature wins passing Bill Leisure with two laps remaining.
Leisure took the lead at the start chased by Josh Tharp and Jared Keller. Andy
Keller, who started sixth, moved into third after three circuits and battled
with Donnie Ellis Jr. for the second spot.
Keller took the second spot on the fifth lap and turned up the pressure on
Leisure, who ran a consistent line to maintain the point. On the 13th lap,
Leisure allowed Keller to get to the outside coming off the fourth corner and
Keller had the advantage entering the first turn.
From there Keller pulled away and was chased to the checkers by Leisure and
Tharp with Nick Warner and Travis Burge rounding out the top five.
“He (Leisure) was running a good line and it was tough to make the pass,” Keller
said. “He left the door open one time.”
It took three attempts to get the oval feature started for the Front Wheel Drive
competitors. The first attempt was halted for multi-car incidents at both ends
of the track which eliminated top drivers Nick Warner, Gary Bragg Jr.
The second attempt was stopped when Ashley Patterson spun and made contact with
the Turn two wall.
Jerry Dane grabbed the early lead but that was short-lived when the top five
cars were running in a tight formation down the back straight and Dane spun
coming to a stop.
That put Ray Zirkle into the lead chased by Travis Burge and Rickie Tharp. Tharp
took the lead for good on lap 7 with an inside pass of Zirkle.
Tharp pulled away for the win followed to the checkers by a three-car battle for
the second spot between Zirkle, Jeff Saxon and Gary Bragg, which was the way
they crossed the finish line. Donnie Ellis Jr. came home in fifth.
There will be two nights of racing at Anderson Speedway next weekend. Midgets
will be in the spotlight on Friday with the USAC Regional Midgets, USAC Ford
Focus Midgets and Kenyon Midgets in action starting at 7:30 p.m.
The Street Stocks, Thunder Cars and the Front Wheel Drive divisions will be in
action on the quarter-mile high banked oval starting at 8 p.m.