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Tyler Gets Second Pay Less Little 500 Victory

By Ken de la Bastide

(May 26, 2012) – 
Deuces were wild at the 64th running of the Pay Less Little 500 as Brian Tyler recorded his second win and brought team owner Larry Contos win number two at Anderson Speedway.

Tyler took the lead on lap 342 and led the final 158 circuits winning by one lap over rookie of the year Billy Wease.

With 13 laps remaining Tyler was running in close quarters behind Wease and in front of a charging Chet Fillip. But showing the experience of a veteran he backed out of the throttle to claim the win.

Tyler drove with a lot of patience early in the race and stayed among the front-runners throughout the 500-lap grind. As problems beset other teams, Tyler used the right pit strategy to take the point from Aaron Pierce, who was battling a leaking right rear tire.

“The last three or four years we’ve had a fast car and had motor problems,” he said. “This year I was playing the numbers game, I’m 44 and I drove the 44. Everything happened to work my way for once.”

Tyler said starting back in the field (15th), he needed a lot of patience and rode for a lot of laps.

“At the end they told me no one else was on the lead lap, so I just took it easy,” he said. “This race is never over until the checkered flag waves.”

Pierce was forced to pit on lap 372, which saw his hopes of the Little 500 victory dashed. Pierce was using an air-jack similar to what is used in the IZOD IndyCar Series and a clutch to speed up his pit stops.

Tyler’s first win game in 2006 and Contos won in 2008 with Shane Cottle at the wheel.

It proved to be an exceptional night for drivers from Noblesville with Wease coming home in second and Brian Gerster driving to a third place finish after starting 29th. Chet Fillip and Pierce rounded out the top five.

“I can’t say enough about the car,” Wease said. “The car was so well prepared by Jerry Powell. We had a chance of winning it, the car was too loose at the end.”

Gerster said his car got better after each pit stop and credited his team for great stops, changing rear tires both times.

“The car was loose on the front run, but once we got new tires on it was better,” he said. “I think I passed the most cars tonight, but we had no problems.

“If you would have told me earlier in the week that I’d finish third, I would have taken it,” Gerster said.

Eric Gordon looking for his tenth Little 500 win led from lap 278 to lap 329 when he stopped for his final required pit stop. But it knocked him out of contention when the crew had problems getting the right rear tire off the car and he lost five laps to the leader.

California driver JoJo Helberg dominated the first quarter of the race, running away from the field at the start and on several restarts.

His night ended on lap 121 when Shauna Hogg got slightly airborne on the back straight, bringing out the caution for debris. As cars bunched up, Helberg made heavy contact with the back straight wall.

Chet Fillip led over 110 laps in the middle stages of the race, but a series of pit stops to repair an apparent suspension problem left him three laps behind the leaders.

Pole sitter Tony Hunt’s night ended on lap 113 with a mechanical problem and Warsaw’s Tony Elliott lost laps early in the race following a lengthy stop on lap 24 with an engine problem.

It was a tough night for drivers from Madison County with Alexandria’s Donnie Adams Jr. getting collected in a three car tangle on the back straight on lap 71. Anderson’s Jim Sheets ended the night on the turn two wall on lap 263. Travis Welpott was involved in two spins, finishing 17th.

There were 14 cautions for 151 laps, but most were caused by single car incidents. There were six lead changes among five different drivers.

Anderson Speedway returns to racing action on Saturday, June 2 with CRA Late Model Sportsman, IOFS Outlaw Figure 8’s and CRA Street Stocks.