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Allman Opens Season with a Win; Noel Gets First ThunderCar Win

By Ken de la Bastide

(April 5, 2011) – An emotional Rob Allman opened the 2011 season for the WMDH Thunder Cars with a strong performance scoring both a heat and feature win at Anderson Speedway last Saturday.

Larry Swinford chased by Allman, Jameson Owens, Pam Neal and Lonnie Burton took the early lead in the feature all running in a tight pack.

The first caution flag waved on lap four when Jeremy Threet, who qualified second quick, spun on the front straight, ending his night.

On the double file restart, a new wrinkle for racing in the division, Allman used the outside line to take the lead from Swinford.

The caution flag waved before a lap was completed when Neal spun on the front straight and made slight contact with the outside retaining wall. At the same time Swinford pulled off the track with a broken front suspension.

From there Allman claimed the point for the remainder of the race, but there was plenty of close racing taking place behind the leader. Burton moved into the second spot with an inside pass of Owens entering turn three on lap six and four laps later fast qualifier Hannah Lundy moved inside of Owens down the back straight.

With ten laps remaining it was Allman, Burton, Lundy, Dave McConnell and Owens in the top five. Although Allman had opened up a healthy lead, Burton was closing the gap until the front-runners came up on slower traffic.

Allman went on to win by 1.6 seconds over Burton with Lundy claiming third.

“We struggled early in practice and qualifying,” Allman said. “We got it right for the feature. This is a brand new car and we had a lot of help in building it.”

Allman also claimed the victory in the first heat race of the year by passing Owens on lap nine coming off the fourth corner. On the final lap both Burton and Neal got inside of Swinford going into turn one.

Finishing behind Allman and Owens was McConnell in third, Burton and Neal.

James Peterson took the early lead in the second heat race and stayed on the point until the halfway point. The driver on the move was Rob Noel. Noel passed Jeff Hopkins on the fourth circuit to move into the second spot and a lap later used the same move in turn three to take the lead.

It was Noel’s first ever win in the WMDH Thunder Car division after starting competing in the division last July. Allen Lambert finished second followed by Frankie Oakes, Peterson and Colby Lane.

Lundy set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 14.869-seconds with Threet and Burton right behind. Sixteen of the 19 cars that took times were within a second of each other.