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Wright Claims MEP Late Model Victory; Van Alst, Poore, Hopkins Get Wins

By Ken de la Bastide

(April 29, 2012) – Visiting Illinois driver Eldon Wright said he loves racing at Anderson Speedway just minutes after claiming the McGunegill Engine Performance Late Model win on Saturday.

Wright, 59, bested Greg Van Alst at the start with the two racing side by side for the first two laps; on the third circuit Van Alst slapped the outside retaining wall on the front straight yielding the second and third spots to Terry Cater and Brandon Phillips.

Josh Poore climbed from the sixth starting spot to third after 17 laps to put himself in a position to challenge for the win. Fast qualifier Brandon Phillips brought out the first caution flag on lap 17 when he spun coming off the fourth corner.

Following a spin by Mark Livesay on the front straight, Cater challenged Wright on the restart. Cater attempted to dive low in front of Wright in turn two with the end result being Cater spinning and damaging the radiator on his mount.

That put Josh Poore into the second spot, but Ronnie Rose grabbed the spot on the restart. For the next few laps Poore and Nick Moore battled for the third spot, but on lap 24 Moore had a tire go down and he hit the outside retaining wall in turn four.

From that point on Wright survived two more restarts to win followed by Rose, Josh Cave, Poore and Allman.

“I love this track,” Wright said. “It reminds me of a little dirt track in Farmer City. I want to apologize to Terry (Cater) for that incident; I think we were both a little at fault.”

Phillips set fast time during qualifications followed by Wright, Van Alst and Brock Anderson.

Van Alst led through the entire Motion Motors Dash for Cash following by Anderson, Wright and Phillips.

The first heat got off to a slam bam start when Joe Woodring appeared to spin the rear tires on the front straight, battled for control but eventually hit the outside retaining wall. With Woodring swerving up and down the track, Jeremy Threet spun in turn one and make contact with the outside retaining wall. The incident ended both drivers’ nights.

Randy Hoppes took the lead at the start chased by Ryan Amonett, but on the third lap Fred Hopkins used the high line through turns three and four to emerge with the lead.

Amonett continued to run in the top five until he suddenly slowed on lap seven.

At the finish Hopkins recorded his second heat win of the year followed to the checkers by Moore, Rob Allman, Hoppes and Livesay.

There was plenty of excitement to finish the second heat race with Poore and Rose tangling coming off the fourth corner, both getting sideways and Poore winning the drag race to the checkered flag.

Rose had led the entire distance until that point chased by Poore. While the two front-runners ran nose to tail, Cater and Cave swapped the third position several times.

Following Poore to the checkers were Rose, Cater, Cave and Wright.