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VanMeter Ends Two-Year Layoff with Win

By Ken de la Bastide

(May 7, 2012) – 
It had been two years since Eddie VanMeter competed in an International Outlaw Figure-8 Series event, but on Saturday he didn’t miss a beat in his return to action.

With the entire field inverted for the start from qualifying, VanMeter had to come from the back of the pack to have a chance to win the 30-lap regional feature.

Josh Tharp took the lead at the start chased by Jeff Hizer and Kenny Boggs. After five laps VanMeter was running fifth, but spun on the next circuit coming off the fourth corner. Series officials returned VanMeter to his spot and sent Gary Bedell to the tail for causing the caution.

From the restart VanMeter got inside of Ronnie Rose in turn four to move into fourth corner, based Johnny Hargraves and Hizer on lap nine entering turn one and set his sights on second place running Shawn Cullen.

The final caution flag waved on lap 11 when Hargraves stopped on the track with a flat tire. That allowed VanMeter to power around Tharp for the lead.

The driver on the move was Bedell who passed Cullen on lap 11 and Tharp on lap 16 to move into the second spot. VanMeter has a comfortable lead, but with ten laps remaining he encountered slower traffic.

That traffic allowed Bedell to close on the leader, but with three laps remaining it was Bedell having problems getting around slower traffic and allowed VanMeter to pull away to a 2-second win.

Chris Green finished third followed by Tharp and Hizer.

VanMeter recorded the win in the first of the two heat races when he passed Hargraves on the front straight on lap four. Hargraves held on for second followed by Green, Bedell and Cullen.

Jeff Shackelford led the entire distance to win the second heat race. He was challenged early by Tharp, who surrendered the second spot on lap five to Ronnie Rose. A lap later Tharp slowed and stopped with a mechanical problem.

Shackelford claimed the victory followed by Rose, Hizer and Boggs.