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Atkinson Wins Wild CRA Late Model Sportsman Race; Myers Scores Three-Peat

By Ken de la Bastide

(May 14, 2012) – 
New Castle’s Jason Atkinson took advantage of a restart with three laps remaining to get outside of Greg VanAlst to win the Champion Racing Association Sportsman feature at Anderson Speedway on Saturday.

Tommy Cook took the lead on lap 26 when early leader John Heck spun on the front straight. From that point Cook was chased by KC Spillers, VanAlst and Atkinson.

Heck took the lead at the start and swapped the lead following the first caution on lap five for debris on the track. Heck took command on lap eight and led until he spun entering turn one following contact with Cook.

VanAlst made the move of the race on lap 56 when Spillers and Atkinson went high on the front straight and VanAlst dived to the low side to claim the second spot.

VanAlst closed on the rear bumper of Cook with Atkinson and Eldon Wright closing on the leaders. Just when it looked like Cook was going to make it two Sportsman wins in a row, VanAlst tapped his rear bumper on the front straight.

With Cook cutting through the infield that gave VanAlst the lead followed by Atkinson on lap 73. At the same time the sixth and final caution flag waved for a multiple car incident in turn three.

On the final restart Atkinson got the jump on the front straight and completed the pass in turn one. Wright was able to get around Cook in the final laps.

Following Atkinson to the checkers was VanAlst, Wright, Cook and Terry Jones. There were six lead changes among four drivers.

Atkinson started 11th in the 18-car starting field. It was his third CRA win at Anderson Speedway and the second of the 2012 season, winning the opener at Plymouth Speedway.

“I was trying to save the tires for the end,” Atkinson said.

Anderson’s Josh “Country” Myers started eighth in the 28-car starting field for the CRA Street Stock 75-lap feature, but it only took him 22 laps to move to the front.

Myers used the high groove following a restart on lap 20 to race side-by-side with early leader Rickie Tharp and then took control of the race.

It was Myers third straight win at Anderson Speedway in the Street Stock Division.

Although he led the final 53 laps, Myers was not able to shake a determined effort from Tharp, who closed within striking distance with eight laps remaining as the front-runners encountered lapped traffic.

Tharp and pole sitter Eddie Wolf swapped the lead three times over the first 16 laps with the driver on the outside line having the advantage.

After being passed by Tharp and Myers, Wolf was battling with Josh Poore for the third spot on lap 40, getting loose on the front straight and regaining control in turn one after losing several positions.

Following Myers and Tharp to the checkers were Poore, Ronnie Rose and J.J. Schafer.

“The car was on a rail,” Myers said. “I’ve gotten off to a good start to the season, guess I’ll have to try and win another next week.”

Fast qualifier Calvin Parham only made it to lap seven before a mechanical problem sent him to the sidelines. Local favorite Jimmy Kirby was taken out in a four-car incident in turn three on the second lap.

Mike Alley inherited the lead on the next to last lap in G.W. Pierce Front Wheel Drive Figure-8 action when Elliott McKinney made contact with leader Donnie Ellis Jr. coming to the crossover. Ellis spun toward the front straight wall. Following the caution both Ellis and McKinney were sent to the rear of the field.

But that was only the start of the action.

On the restart Alley went high in turn two which gave the lead temporarily to Trevon Henson. Entering turn three Henson went three-wide in turn three with McKinney and Ellis. The three cars bounced off each other with McKinney hitting the turn four wall.

Ellis recovered to pass Henson on the back straight to record the victory followed by Henson and Alley.

Early in the race Ellis opened a sizeable lead over Alley, but when McKinney had a problem in turn three on lap seven it brought out the first of the caution flags.

Anderson Speedway returns to racing action on Saturday, May 19 with Hoosier Park Spring Championships. Featured divisions include McGunegill Engine Performance Late Models, EDCO Welding Street Stocks, WMDH ThunderCars along with G.W. Pierce Front Wheel Drives (Oval and Figure 8’s).