Atkinson Wins CRA Sportsman Battle; Erwin, Magee Get Victories

Jason Atkinson led the final 51 circuits to capture the Champion Racing Association Sportsman feature at Anderson Speedway on Saturday.

The event turned into a race of attrition with only eight of the 24 cars that started the 75-lap event still running at the finish. The first half of the race was slowed by nine cautions and two red flags.

Six cars were taken out on two separate restarts as the back of the field suffered a classic accordion effect with cars speeding up and slowing down.

Points leader Steve Minich Jr. led the first 15 laps when he was bumped by Tony Dager in Turn three and spun. Both drivers were sent to the tail of the field and on the restart Dager made contact with the outside Turn three wall ending his night.

That gave the lead to Brian McFadden who remained on the point until lap 24 when Atkinson was able to get to the inside down the back straight and completed the pass for the lead entering the third corner.

Atkinson was challenged briefly for the lead by fast qualifier Keith Sterkowitz but drove away at the finish to win by 1.4 seconds. McFadden finished third followed by Billy Hutson and Minich.

“It wasn’t too bad tonight,” Atkinson said of the track conditions. “This was just a fast car.

In the CRA Street Stocks feature, Kentucky driver Rick Erwin inherited the lead on lap 25 when leader Brian Hopkins made contact with the lapped car of Larry Latham and spun.

Erwin led the rest of the way and was chased for the remaining 50 laps by Josh Burton with Joe Beaver claiming the third spot with two laps remaining when Scott Neal had his rear brakes lock up.

Jason Thompson claimed the fourth spot with Neal coming home fifth.

Hopkins made it all the way to eighth after restarting on the tail with 50 laps to race when a mechanical problem knocking him out of contention.

The race was only slowed five times by caution periods. Erwin won by .47 seconds over Burton.

“Those guys were racing hard at the finish and were fast” Erwin said following his victory.

Carthage’s Johnny Magee tried for 13 laps to get around Doug Riddle and finally was able to make the pass on lap 14 with an inside move through the third corner to capture the ImmediaDent Figure-8 feature. One lap later Jeff Swinford was able to use the outside line to get around Riddle.

Riddle was forced to the sidelines on lap 16 with a flat right rear tire.

Magee was challenged for the win by teammate Swinford the remaining distance but was able to record the win with Larry Swinford came home in third to make it a sweep for the Swinford owned team. Rickie Tharp and Josh Tharp rounded out the top five.

It was Magee’s second feature win of the season.

Noblesville driver Rickie Tharp and Anderson’s Doug Riddle were heat race winners. Josh Tharp of Noblesville was the fast qualifier with a time of 20.132 seconds.

The Hoosier Outlaw Sprint Series, the fastest cars to compete at Anderson Speedway make their third and final appearance next Saturday. The racing card includes the ImmediaDent Figure-8 division and the Front Wheel Drive division in action on the oval and in the crossover. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing action starting at 8 p.m.