Sunoco Super Series Season in
By R.J. Scott
Photos by Brandon Wright
The Sunoco Super Series heads into the coming weeks with one of the toughest
portions of its schedule, with four races in three weeks, including the 38th
Anderson 400 presented by Corteco and Great Deals on Saturday July 17 at
Anderson Speedway. After seven scheduled races with two races rescheduled due to
rain, the series has averaged over 31 cars per event with a season high of 38 at
Indianapolis Raceway Park. In the five races that have been run, there have been
five different winners and 16 teams have recorded a top-five finish.
The 2004 season opened at Anderson Speedway, the birthplace of the series in
1997. Thirty-two cars were present when Rookie of the year contender Chris
Gabehart took fast time honors, followed by Eddie Van Meter, 2003 Rookie of the
Year Chuck Barnes Jr., 2003 Champion Bobby Parsley, and perennial home track
favorite Jeff Lane.
Through the inversion, Lane started on the pole and would never look back. The
Knightstown, Ind., driver had been ill leading up to the race, and didn’t even
practice with the rest of the teams the day before. Lane was all smiles and
feeling much better after taking his fourth career series victory and first at
his home track. He was followed to the line by Barnes, Parsley, Van Meter and
another top 2004 Rookie of the Year candidate, Wisconsin’s Frank Kreyer.
The Sunoco Super Series then moved to Indianapolis Raceway Park for a 100-lap
event on May 16. In qualifying, Chuck Barnes Jr. secured fast time honors with a
new track record of 21.628 seconds. Rounding out the top five in qualifying were
2000 Series Champion Scott Hantz, Ray Skillman, and Canadians Junior Hanley and
In the race Parsley would take the early lead, only to be overtaken by former
regular Series competitor Evan Jackson on lap 13. Throughout the race, Jackson
would have to hold off furious attempts by Hantz in route to his second career
victory with the series. In the final rundown, Jackson would be followed by
Hantz, an impressive run by Aaron Hulings, Eddie Van Meter and Junior Hanley.
Kentucky’s Chuck Barnes Jr. left the event as the point leader for the series.
Shady Bowl Speedway was next on the schedule for the teams on May 22. Qualifying
would see J.R. Roahrig set fast time followed by Jim Crabtree Jr., rookie Steve
Moenck, Scott Hantz, and another rookie, Bud Adams. When the green flag fell,
Hantz jumped to the lead and made it look like everyone else was racing for
second. Back in the pack, furious door-banging action had the fans on their feet
numerous times. Only a few laps from the end and under caution, Hantz bolted to
the pits to change a flat tire. Rookie Moenck was ready to take over and would
hold off Chuck Barnes Jr. for his first career victory. Rounding out the top
five were Jeff Lane, Junior Hanley and Kenny Tweedy.
Mother Nature was the winner of the next two events at Mansfield Speedway and
Toledo Speedway. Mansfield has been rescheduled to June 24 and Toledo to August
After the two-week break, the Sunoco Super Series teams headed off to Berlin
Raceway for its second visit to the Michigan short track. In qualifying, the
point leader set another track record, as Chuck Barnes Jr. would qualify with a
time of 16.306 seconds. He was followed in qualifying by Junior Hanley, hometown
favorite and 10-time track champion Fred Campbell, Bobby Parsley, and Campbell’s
Defending series champion Parsley took the early lead, only to be headed by his
mentor, Junior Hanley, towards the middle of the event. Hanley would later
relinquish his lead to Fred Campbell. The younger Campbell would eventually work
his way to runner-up honors, giving the Campbell family a one-two finish at
their home track.
They were followed to the line by another local, Tom Thomas, Scott Hantz, (who
came back from a spin earlier in the race), and Junior Hanley. For Fred
Campbell, the victory was his fifth in series competition. Jeff Lane would leave
the event as the series point leader.
The most recent event on the Sunoco Super Series schedule was run at Illiana
Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 27. Thirty-seven teams took to the track trying
to make the starting line-up of the Elmer Musgrave Memorial 100 honoring the
father of Craftsman Truck driver Ted Musgrave. Former Series event winner Eddie
Hoffman was the favorite going into the race, as the Northern Indiana facility
is considered one of his home tracks.
Hoffman didn’t disappoint as he set fast time in qualifying with a new track
record. He was followed by Scott Hantz, Chuck Barnes Jr., Midwest “hot-shoe”
Erik Darnell, and Fred Campbell. When the green flag dropped Barnes looked eager
to get his first series win and regain the series point lead, by dominating the
early portion of the race.
After a spirited battle for second place with Hantz, Hoffman then set his sights
on the leader and overcame Barnes for the top spot in the closing stages of the
event. He would hold of all comers for the crowd pleasing victory. In the end,
Hoffman was followed by Barnes, local John Nutley, Jeff Lane and Fred Campbell.
Barnes retook the series points lead and Campbell would run his string of
consecutive top-five finishes to and incredible 13.
The next event on the schedule is July 16-17 at Anderson Speedway, and is
considered the Crown Jewel for the Sunoco Super Series. The 38th Annual Anderson
400 presented by Corteco and Great Deals continues the tradition of great Late
Model racing action pitting some of the top names in short track racing against
some of the best east central Indiana has to offer.
Former winners of the event include Mark Martin, Alan Kulwicki, Bob Senneker and
Dick Trickle. One of the headlines for this year’s event is the return of ASA
legend and former champion Mike Eddy. Eddy is the career leader at the 400 in
pole positions and top 10 finishes. He also won the 1992 edition of the event.
Another driver to watch will be Bobby Parsley. He won this historic event last
year, as well as the season opener at Anderson. Both victories at Anderson were
critical to Parsley’s winning of the 2003 championship.
Parsley will be part of the Sunoco Super Series’ contingent of top touring
drivers including Junior Hanley and Scott Hantz. Some of the toughest
competition, however, will probably come from the great list of local drivers
expected to compete.
Jeff Lane will be going for two wins in a row at Anderson, while former 400
winners Kenny Tweedy and Bull Baker will be gunning for the top prize again.
Tweedy hails from Greenfield, Ind., and Baker is from Daleville. Local entries
are also expected from Muncie’s Jim Crabtree Jr., Mount Summit’s Alan Troxell,
Noblesville’s Joe Beaver, Yorktown’s Rick Turner, and Anderson’s Brian Rievley.