Veteran Rod Phipps Continues to Enjoy Success

Ask Anderson Speedway veteran Rod Phipps his most memorable win and the answer comes quickly the National Crown in 1999.

 Phipps, 41, started racing full-time at Anderson Speedway in 1992 and since that time his name is scattered throughout the record book in a number of divisions.

 It seems that over those 17 years his name appears almost annually in the top five in points for either the Figure-8 or Street Stock Division. But there is a lone championship earned in 2007.

Currently Phipps leads the Thunder Car point standings over Rob Allman by 15 markers. He won the first feature of the year in the division and placed second in the first 200 lap Enduro behind Johnny Magee.

His path to the driver’s seat was somewhat unique.

“My uncle Paul started building race cars in the 1960s for my cousin Ronnie to drive,” Phipps said. “Ronnie broke a leg in the crossover and I started driving the next week.”

His father Beacher Phipps also raced at Anderson Speedway. He was killed in 1970 when a rod went through a block and struck his head.

Since that time Phipps has driven in the Figure-8, Street Stock, SuperTrucks and Front Wheel Drive divisions. He currently competes in the Thunder Car Division, which he describes as offering the best wheel to wheel racing.

Phipps said the 1999 National Crown victory was the most important of his career and listed winning a second National Crown and the Figure-8 championship in 2007 a close second.

“I retired from Figure-8 competition after that year,” he said. “Retired on top.”

Phipps said the three Thunder Car Endurance races would be the most exciting events of the year for the division.

“I wish they would run the Thunder Cars every week,” he said. “There is a lot of passing that takes place. There are ten guys that can win on any given night. There is no fast and slow heats so you have got to race to get a good starting spot in the feature.”

This year Phipps is driving for Tony Sheets and is looking forward to competing with the Champion Racing Association at Winchester Speedway later this year and also at Salem Speedway.

Phipps said the Front Wheel Drive division is fun for beginning racers and said they drive differently on the track then the rear wheel drive Street Stocks and Thunder Cars.

“I would really love to try to drive a late model,” he said of one of three model cars he has not competed in. I did practice in an open wheel car once.”

Phipps believes he will continue to race full-time at Anderson Speedway for another four or five years.

He thanked his wife Brenda for putting up with his racing all these years and the long nights at the racetrack and in the shop preparing the cars.

The couple has three children and eight grandchildren.

“I think there will be a few that are interested in racing,” Phipps said.