65th Pay Less Little Tops Best Race of 2013

By Ken de la Bastide

 (January 9, 2014) - The past season brought plenty of good racing action to Anderson Speedwayon a weekly basis, but without question the speedway’s top event was atthe top of the list.

The best race of the year was the Pay Less Little 500 with Crawfordsville driver Jacob Wilson claiming the win in a thrilling finish with Kokomo hot shoe Shane Cottle.

Wilson grabbed the lead from Cottle on lap 335 when Chet Fillip blocked the leader as the field was coming to a restart and Fillip was trying not to fall a lap down.

Wilson and Cottle raced in lock step for the next 155 laps when things got really interesting. Cottle closed to the rear bumper of Wilson and challenged for the lead with five laps remaining. Unfortunately for Cottle his Larry Contos owned sprint car lost an engine. Instead of bringing out the caution flag, Cottle dove into the pits.

For Wilson it was his first Little 500 win. He was followed to the checkers by pole sitter JoJo Helberg, Eric Gordon and Tony Elliott, all on the lead lap. Fillip finished fifth, two laps down followed by Cottle.

I have attended most Little 500 races since 1973 and I can’t remember one where five drivers were on the lead lap with ten circuits remaining. One for the record books and makes me anticipate the 2014 race.

The Stoops Freightliner Red Bud 300 is next with Michigan driver Johnny VanDoorn passing Travis Braden on the back straight following a restart with 146 laps remaining. For VanDoorn it was a win in the second leg of the $100,000 challenge sponsored by JEGS.

He held off T.J. Reaid, Ross Kenseth, Eddie VanMeter and Braden for the victory.

Next on my list is the National Crown at Anderson Speedway for the outlaw Figure-8 cars, a race that saw several early leaders eliminated by incidents in the cross-over.

Jeff Shackleford and Jesse Tunney staged a heated battle for the victory over the final 86 laps with Robbie Loving, R.J. Norton III and Steve Durham rounding out the top five.

Jeff Marcum’s first ever win at the speedway in the McGunegill Engine Performance Late Model feature on Aug. 24.

Marcum started on the pole position thanks to the invert of the fast qualifiers and held off VanMeter for 32 laps. VanMeter was hampered by a loose race car exiting the corners and Marcum wouldn’t surrender the preferred racing line.

Other races on my list included Curtis Chapman’s bump and run pass of Johnny Magee on lap 57 to win the NASH-FM 100-lap feature on the final weekend of racing and Josh Poore’s dominating win in the CRA Street Stock 200.