Dustin and Travis Burge, Smith, Shell and Cullen Earn MAX/WLBC Friday Night Victories

Story By Tom Hammond
Photos by David and Aaron Sink

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In one of the cleanest nights of feature racing in recent memory, five different drivers picked up wins during the MAX/WLBC Friday Night Summer Series at Anderson Speedway on June 9. Only one yellow flag marred 92 laps of feature racing in the five divisions.

Rodney Smith of Indianapolis scored his first feature win of 2006 after three straight runner-up finishes in the American Awards Legends. Smith passed fellow Indy driver James Edsall III on the sixth of 25 laps and then held off season points leader John Robbins of Frankton for the win. Robbins returned a week after a hard crash severely damaged his machine. Albany’s Daniel Russell emerged from traffic mid-way through the race to finish third. Edsall and Greenfield’s Paul Holden rounded out the top five.

Smith also took top honors in the first Legends heat, while Plainfield’s Eric Black scored the win in the second heat. Robbins earned his fourth consecutive fast time with a lap of 14.137 seconds.

The same car won both the Chappy’s Rent to Own Front Wheel Drive Oval and Figure 8 features with two different drivers behind the wheel. In the Oval feature, car owner and rookie driver Eric Shell passed fellow Anderson driver Jerry Smith on the second of 15 laps and surged to a comfortable win, the first of his career. Smith maintained the second spot despite a late challenge from Mt. Summit’s Keith Morris. Arcadia’s Jerry Small and Anderson’s Randy Owen completed the top five.

Anderson’s Travis Burge won the first heat by 0.034 seconds over Owen. Alexandria’s Kevin Harmon took top honors in the second heat. Keith Morris was the top qualifier at 16.415 seconds.

Burge piloted the machine Shell drove to the Front Wheel Drive Oval win during the Figure 8 feature. He took the lead from Morris on the fifth of 12 laps and then held off Fellow Anderson competitors Donnie Ellis Jr. and Nick Warner. The remainder of the top five included Owen and Anderson’s Jon Conklin. In qualifying, Donnie Ellis Jr. led the way with a lap of 21.440 seconds.

Dustin Burge pulled away late in the 20-lap Insight ThunderCar feature to pick up his second victory of 2006. Burge and Anderson’s Brad Stevens staged an early battle as they quickly pulled away from the rest of the field. Burge then built a comfortable advantage as the race evolved. Stevens, Alexandria’s Darryl Rogers, Noblesville’s Katie Beaver and Alexandria’s Alice Riall completed the top five.

Fortville’s Lonny Burton was victorious in the first ThunderCar heat. Anderson’s Tom Tacket took the checkered flag in the second heat. In qualifying, Dustin Burge recorded the best time with an official clocking of 15.419 seconds.

Anderson’s Shane Cullen made it two straight feature victories in the Insight Thunder Pro division. Cullen passed Anderson’s Jason Bliss on the second of 20 laps and drove to a comfortable victory. Anderson drivers Chris Bair Sr. and Rod Phipps joined Chesterfield’s Brandon Leisure and Wilkinson’s Herb Rose in the top five.

Phipps scored the victory in the Thunder Pro heat race with Rose turning the best qualifying lap at 15.242 seconds, just 0.003 seconds quicker than Phipps.

Anderson Speedway returns to racing action on Saturday, June 10, with The Star Press Saturday Night Series showcasing the debut of the X2RA Midgets. Ed Martin Auto Group SuperTrucks, Boss Hogg Catering & Jerky Figure 8’s and Lampco Federal Credit Union Street Stocks will also appear on Saturday Night.

On Saturday Night, spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with the racing beginning at 8. Admission is $12 for adults and $4 for kids ages 6-12. Children five and under get in free.

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