Hines, Martz Earn Top Honors
By Michael Harker
Photos by David Sink
On a track historically difficult for any sprint car driver to pass on the
outside, Tracy Hines tuned up in style Wednesday for the 57th Pay Less / Remy
International Little 500 at the Anderson Speedway.
Hines, of New Castle, Ind., made the high line work all night, passing both
Bobby East and holding off Aaron Pierce and Marc Jessup to win the Central
Indiana Chevy Dealer 50, USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series event on the
quarter-mile track. He led the final 23 laps of the 50-lapper in the Dynamics
Inc. Kroger/Pringles/Tide/Bounty F-5/Mopar Gaerte.
“It was a good car, but we had a little luck on our side,” said Hines, who is
preparing to qualify for his first Little 500 tomorrow at Anderson. “We raced
good with Bobby and really everybody, and that’s a good thing, especially at
East, who won the event last year, had more than his hands full after sitting on
the pole. After two aborted starts, both following spins, East drove to the
front while Hines stumbled in Turn 2. Hines quickly closed on the Brownsburg,
Ind. native, and Dave Steele made it a three-way battle by closing on Lap 5.
Hines made what appeared to be a pass for the lead as the cars completed lap 10,
but the pass was disallowed when Danny Holtsclaw’s car stopped.
The restart was the start of some of the hardest fought battles for the lead in
a USAC sprint car points-paying race at Anderson in more than three years. Hines
again popped out to the top groove, and challenged lap after lap only to have
the door shut multiple times. Aaron Pierce of nearby Muncie, Ind. caught Steele
for third, and made the pass on Lap 26.
Finally, after being denied the point, Hines went high in Turn 1 on Lap 28 and
drifted past East. Pierce saw the opportunity to get by as well, and overtook
East for second nearing the end of the lap.
Pierce, who won the series opener in 2003, tried desperately on the high side,
which was where he made his move to the front. But Hines inched forward away
from the No. 26p car, and after 37 laps, held a decisive straightaway lead.
Soon after, Pierce began fading rapidly. The reason became apparent on lap 40,
when he lost his right front tire. Bud Kaeding spun in Turn 4, bringing out the
event’s second yellow flag.
Jessup, who also used the high groove to climb to the Top five, sat second when
the yellow flew, but was unable to mount a charge on Hines, as Lee Boss’s car
separated them when the green flag flew again.
Jessup quickly passed Boss on the backstretch, but Hines’ lead had already
blossomed to over a second. The final margin grew to about a second and a half
at the twin checkered flags, as Hines crossed the line first for his 55th career
USAC National victory and 30th on the sprint car scale. Jessup followed in
second, while East, Steele and fast qualifier Levi Jones rounded out the Top 5.
Patiently awaiting the chance to take second place early on in Wednesday’s
30-lap Midwest Ford Focus Midget Car Series feature, defending series champion
Tate Martz settled in, looking for bleak possibilities to take over the top
What he got when he finally made the pass for second was the opportunity to take
the lead too. He didn’t wait another second for that attempt to pass.
Martz, who battled problems during qualifications only to start sixth, jumped
from third to first on lap seven and led the final 24 laps of the event, the
second stop on the Midwest series circuit. He piloted the No. 1 Greg Steele
owned Duffy-Warble Beast/Ford Focus to his first victory of the season ahead of
a crop of Midwest veterans.
Polesitter Stephanie Mockler and Jordan Noblitt fought early. After an aborted
start – in part because the two made contact – Noblitt went from the outside of
Row 1 and slammed the door on Mockler to lead the opening lap.
While Mockler was busy pestering Noblitt for the top spot, Martz skipped from
sixth to third. He tried at first to make the pass on Mockler on the inside, but
had to get out of the throttle on Lap 5 to keep his car from making contact with
Though he lost a lot of ground after slowing, Martz made that ground up. Just
two laps later, he went to the outside and in Turn 1, drove around the
Westfield, Ind. native.
The opportunity was too good for Martz to sit back in second. With Noblitt just
a car length in front of him, Martz zipped into the lead, diving to the point in
Turn 3. He sailed away quickly, and without a caution period over the first half
of the race, built a straightaway lead over Noblitt and Mockler.
Jasiel Randolph brought out the final yellow when he spun on the white flag lap.
When the green and white came together, Martz parted ways, and led Mockler by
less than two car lengths at the twin checkered flags. Clemons came across the
line in third, followed by Oklahoma Focus points leader Dustin Morgan and
Midwest veteran Kyle Robbins.
The win was especially important for Martz, who said he just hopes to vie for
the 2005 title due to running on a tight budget.
“This win was very important to our season,” said Martz, who took only one lap
in qualifying. “I just hope we can continue the entire year. I hope tonight’s
showing will help.”
Action resumes at Anderson Speedway for the 57th Pay Less / Remy International
Little 500 with round one pole qualifications on Thursday, beginning at 1:30
On Friday, the 33-car field will be set with the second round of qualifications.
Later that night, the Families Forever / Primerica Free Night will take place.
The MAX/WLBC Friday Night Summer Series will feature Insight ThunderCars in Oval
and Figure 8 racing, Chappy’s Rent to Own Front Wheel Drives Oval and Figure 8
action and an awesome Fireworks show.
Admission is free for all events on Thursday and Friday.
On Saturday, May 28, the 57th Pay Less / Remy International Little 500 green
flag waves at 8 p.m. Thirty-three Sprint Cars in 11 rows of 3 will be featured
in the richest Sprint Car asphalt event.
Tickets are available for the legendary 57th Pay Less / Remy International
Little 500 at $25 for reserved seating. For more information, contact the
Anderson Speedway Ticket Office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For additional information contact Anderson Speedway at (765) 642-0206.