David Steele Wins Glen Niebel Classic On Sunday

By Tom Hammond

Displaying an act of patience and skillful thinking, Dave Steele led all 50 laps in Sunday’s caution-marred USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series season opener, winning the “Glen Niebel Classic” at Anderson Speedway.

The Tampa, Fla. native, in the No. 02 Nicholas Motorsports Northside Propane/Sun Welding Beast/Mopar, took the lead from the pole and led Aaron Pierce, Aaron Fike, Bobby East and Jay Drake across the start/finish line.

“We just had a good starting spot,” said Steele, now the winner of 25 USAC sprint car points-paying features. “We didn’t have a great car, but we’ll take whatever we can get.”

The opening quarter of the 50-lap affair wasn’t easy for Steele though. After sweeping into the lead on the opening lap, he failed to pull far away from Pierce, with whom he shared the front row of the feature.

Pierce, the 2003 race winner, attempted to pry the point away by making moves on the outer groove of the quarter-mile. A trio of cautions – two of which included track favorite Eric Gordon – bunched the field up after the eventual top four finishers battled for the lead.

When the final of those three cautions – which all occurred on lap 14 – ended, Steele, who admitted his car was best on short runs, pulled away. Over the remainder of the final 35 laps, four cautions involving six cars helped Steele. He got good jumps on all four restarts, including one with less than a handful of laps to go, to beat Pierce by .622 seconds.

East, the event’s final qualifier, set fast time for the event with a lap of 11.452 seconds. He also won the 12-lap semi-feature. Gordon joined Mat Neely, Josh Ford and Darren Hagen as a winner of the 10-lap heats.

In other racing action at Anderson Speedway on Sunday afternoon, Paris Swallows Jr. took the lead on the 10th lap of the Insight ThunderCar Figure 8 feature after misfortune struck race leader James Peterson and the second-place car of Terry Malone Jr. The two collided coming towards turn four, allowing Swallows to surge ahead. Both Malone’s and Peterson’s cars suffered terminal damage, allowing Swallows to cruise to victory.

Swallows was able to bounce back despite mechanical troubles in the heat race. Mike Peters, Robert Brumback, Roy Ellis and Darryl Rogers rounded out the top five in the feature rundown with Peters taking the checkered flag in the Figure 8 heat race.

Sam Folsom ended a two-year drought by winning the Chappy’s Rent to Own Front Wheel Drive Oval feature in exciting fashion. The Anderson competitor surged to the top of the leader board on the 15th and final lap when race leader Travis Erhart got caught up in traffic.

“To finally win one in two years is great,” Folsom said. Jeremy Wilber finished second with Dustin Burge grabbing third-place honors. The remainder of the top five included Travis Erhart and Nick Warner finished fifth to round out the top five.

Muncie’s Dustin Burge took the checkered in the first Chappy’s Rent to Own Front Wheel Drive Oval heat, while Keith Morris of Mt. Summit taking top honors in the second heat.

Anderson Speedway returns to racing action on Saturday, April, 16, with the first appearance of the CRA Super Series Late Models. They will be joined on the schedule by the Terry’s RV Sales & Service Street Stocks and the Boss Hogg Catering & Jerky Figure 8’s

For additional information contact Anderson Speedway at (765) 642-0206.