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
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
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
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
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
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.