Cook Earns Thrilling CRA Sportsman Event; Wyman Wins Classic ThunderCar Battle; Nuckles and Tharp Also Grab Victories
Fort Wayne driver Al Cook Jr. held off a determined pack of cars with five laps remaining to claim the victory in the Anderson 75 for the Champion Racing Association Howe Late Model Sportsman series event Saturday at Anderson Speedway.

Cook led all 75 laps and held off Sterkowitz for the final 32 laps. Sterkowitz appeared to have the faster car, bumping the rear bumper of Cook’s Chevrolet in the corners, but he was unable to move the leader off the low line.

With five laps remaining fast qualifier Charlie Hanna and Mark Lambert slipped past Sterkowitz on the outside to claim the second and third spots.

Sterkowitz’s car faded at the finish and he finished seventh. Jason Atkinson grabbed the fourth spot followed by Howard Kelly Jr.

The race was slowed 11 times for caution flags including a lengthy rain delay.

Misfortune took many of the top drivers out of contention either through accidents or mechanical failures.

Early in the race Cook was chased by Steve Stacy, who spun on the eighth lap after making contact with Howard Kelly Jr. coming off the second corner. Both drivers were sent to the tail of the field.

That moved Jason Atkinson into the second spot and he remained there until 38 when he slipped high which allowed Sterkowitz to make the pass in turn three.

Prior to that action Noblesville driver Joe Beaver’s night ended as a result of an engine fire while running fourth and Rick Sullivan lost a tire while running tenth.

Anderson’s Jacob Owens recovered from an early spot after brushing the front straight wall and used both the high and low groove to move back up through the field. Owen’s night ended on lap 46 when he made heavy contact a second time with the front straight wall while running seventh.

Rob Wyman Sr. used a lapped car to keep Rob Allman at bay with five laps remaining to capture his first feature win after retiring from racing for 12 years.

The Muncie driver took the lead on lap five with an inside pass of Sam Folsom on the front straight.

With Wyman running out front chased for the first half of the WMDH ThunderCar feature by Shawn Cullen, the two drivers on the move were Allman and Rod Phipps. Allman nosed his way underneath Cullen entering turn one with eight laps remaining with Phipps making a similar move one lap later.

Allman made a charge on Wyman, but he was blocked by the lapped car of Tyler Cox on the back straight. From there Wyman went on to win by a half-second over Allman with Phipps, Cullen and Nick Warner rounding out the top five.
“I had something going out in the rear end at the finish, the car wasn’t going to last much longer,” Wyman said. “I felt one bump and then was able to pull away a little.”

The outcome of the Front Wheel Drive Figure-8 feature wasn’t determined until the front straight when leaders Donnie Ellis Jr. and Rickie Tharp made contact with the lapped car of David Powell in the crossover.

Both drivers continued to keep the power down with Tharp grabbing the lead and the altercation allowed Nick Warner and Josh Tharp to pass Ellis, who settled for fourth.

It was Rickie Tharp’s third consecutive win in Figure-8 competition.

The top four drivers staged a classic dogfight over the final nine laps running side by side and jockeying for position for the Legends feature win.

Bryan Nuckles led the entire distance to capture his second consecutive win at Anderson Speedway, but he had to hold off a determined charge by fast qualifier Tayler Webb and John Robbins to win by .139 seconds.

“I knew they were right behind me,” Nuckles said. “I knew they were faster than me, so I was fortunate to get the win.”

Webb and Robbins swapped the second spot three times over the final five laps with James Edsall II coming home fourth and Doug Dugger rounding out the top five.

The Spring Championship will take place next Saturday at Anderson Speedway as an opener to Pay Less Little 500 week. Racing action will take place in the Street Stock, Figure-8, ThunderCar, Front Wheel Drive division on the oval and Figure-8 course and for the Pure Stocks with extended feature events in all divisions. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing action starting at 8 p.m.