Phipps Returns to Win National Crown; McElfresh, Saxon Score Wins

Rod Phipps said he wasn’t ever going to run another Figure-8 race, but one more start brought the Anderson driver his third National Crown title at Anderson Speedway on Saturday.

Phipps took the lead from Mike Riddle Jr. with a pass entering Turn one with four laps remaining to win the 60th running of the National Crown. Phipps scored wins in 1999 and 2007 in the biggest race of the season for the Immediadent Figure 8 division.

Riddle took the lead on lap 26 when early front runner Josh Tharp climbed the rear bumper of leader Rob Allman in the crossover behind the lapped car of John Frawley.

Frawley also played a role in Allman’s taking the lead from Tharp approaching the crossover when Tharp got caught behind the slower car.

That allowed Riddle to take the lead and for the next 46 laps kept Shawn Cullen and Phipps at bay. With 27 laps remaining Cullen and Phipps started to turn up the heat on Riddle as the two swapped the second position several times.

Finally on lap 71 Phipps was able to get inside of Riddle to take the lead. At the checkered flag Cullen caught Riddle for second place with Jeff Swinford and Tharp rounding out the top five.

“Everyone was asking me when I was going back to run Figure-8,” Phipps said. “I retired in 2007 after winning the National Crown and I guess I had more to accomplish. “It was good clean racing,” he said. “I forgot how much fun Figure-8 racing is.”

Riddle said his car broke a rear shock and was a handful at the finish.
“I gave them room to race,” he said.

The race was red-flagged on lap 27 when Michael Phipps and Mike Cain got together for the second time in two laps. The first incident took place on lap 27 when Cain spun Phipps in the crossover. On the restart Phipps spun Cain entering Turn one with the end result being Phipps car puncturing a hole in the pit exit water barrel.

Elwood’s Jacob McElfresh led all 30 laps to capture his first Street Stock feature win of the year. McElfresh was closely chased by Anderson’s Rich Boyer and Rob Allman until the caution flag waved midway through the race.

On the restart McElfresh maintained the lead continuing to pull away from Boyer and Allman to win by almost three seconds. Bret Miles and Danny Acrey II rounded out the top five.
Street Stock feature wins were scored by New Castle’s Acrey II, his fourth of the season and McElfresh.

Noblesville’s Joe Beaver set quick time with a lap of 13.971 seconds.

Front Wheel Drive point’s leader Jeff Saxon saw a sizeable lead wiped out by a caution with 11 laps remaining and then held off Gary Bragg Jr. to capture his fifth feature win of the season.

The caution flag waved when Aaron Jones tapped the rear bumper of Kevin Harmon while the two were battling for the fourth position. The result of the contact caused Harmon to spin and both drivers were sent to the rear of the field.
Ray Zirkle, Ron Phipps and Gary Bragg rounded out the top five. Harmon recovered to finish sixth.

Anderson’s Ray Zirkle scored his initial win of the season in the first Front Wheel Drive heat race with a nifty move at that start going from the outside of the second row into the lead before the first turn was completed. Second was point leader Jeff Saxon followed by Gary Bragg Jr.

Kokomo’s Gary Bragg captured the second heat win with Aaron Jones and Jared Keller rounding out the top three. It was Bragg’s second win of the season.

Bragg Jr. was the fast qualifier with a time of 15.734 seconds.

Midget racing takes center stage at Anderson Speedway this next week with Sarah Fisher returning to the track to compete in the Kenyon Midgets along with USAC star Tracy Hines racing a Regional Midget along with the Ford Focus Midgets on Wednesday.

There is an autograph session with Fisher and racing starting at 8 p.m.

The USAC Midgets come to Anderson Speedway next Saturday for a 200-lap event featuring the stars of the national traveling series. New Castle’s Dakota Armstrong who won the 400 lap Midget race at the speedway last year is expected to compete for the win.

Point’s leader Brad Kuhn, Jerry Coons Jr., Darren Hagen, Brad Sweet and Hines will headline an anticipated large field of cars.

For additional information on Anderson Speedway call (765) 642-0206.