Morris, Smith, Warner, Owen and Bair Earn Friday Night Wins

Story By Tom Hammond
Photos by Aaron and David Sink

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A wild night of racing during the MAX/WLBC Friday Night Summer Series got the Boss Hogg Pitt BBQ & Catering Hogg Wild Fun weekend off to a big start at Anderson Speedway on June 16.

Indianapolis’s Rodney Smith picked up his second straight American Awards Legends feature win in a race that featured six green lead changes in 25 laps. There was also a major incident in turn 3 when six cars were involved in a melee on the eighth circuit that included the car of Paul Holden bursting into flames. Fortunately no one was injured.

Racing resumed after a lengthy cleanup with a great battle for the lead between four cars. Smith took the lead from Albany’s Daniel Russell with an inside move on the 20th circuit in turn four and on the front stretch. Keaton Feller of Altus, Okla., also passed Russell to end up second. Russell, Frankton’s John Robbins and Greenfield’s Tony Holden completed the top five.

Robbins made his way through traffic to take the first Legends heat, while Tony Holden picked up his first heat victory of the season in the second preliminary event. Feller was the top qualifier at 13.990 seconds.

Anderson’s Nick Warner scored his second feature win of 2006 in the Insight ThunderCar feature. Warner led qualifying with a time of 15.316 seconds and then started at the back of the pack due to a full inversion of the field. Fortville’s Lonny Burton, Alexandria’s Alice Riall and Warner began to separate from the rest of the field in the second half of the 20-lap feature.

Riall spun in turn 2 after suffering a flat tire from contact with Warner on the 16th circuit and was unable to continue. That opened the door for Warner to take the lead from Burton with an inside move on the backstretch. Warner then cruised to the win, with Burton placing second and Noblesville’s Katie Beaver in third position. The remainder of the top five included Jeff Eytchison and Anderson’s Dustin Burge.

The first Insight ThunderCar heat went to Burton, with Riall bolting from the back of the pack to take the second heat after Shirley’s David McConnell was disqualified for exceeding his qualifying time.

If Anderson’s Randy Owen was a fighter pilot he would now be an ace as he scored his fifth win of 2006 in the Chappy’s Rent to Own Front Wheel Drive Oval feature. Owen took the lead two laps from the end of the 15-lap event. He passed fellow Anderson driver David Baker was the fifth lead change of the action packed event.

Muncie’s Bruce McGill and Mt. Summit’s Keith Morris were battling for the lead on when McGill went low and Morris went high to get around slower traffic in the first turn. Both drivers then tried for the same piece of real estate, only to make contact. The crash sent Morris into the wall and McGill to the apron, opening the door for Baker to take the lead. Baker’s advantage didn’t last, as Owen took over two laps from the end. Baker held on for second followed by Anderson’s Jeff Wright, McGill and Gaston’s Tony Crum.

Travis Burge took top honors in the first Chappy’s Rent to Own Front Wheel Drive Oval heat, while Brian Lewis of Indianapolis scored the victory in the second heat. McGill recorded the fastest qualifying time at 16.424 seconds.

The Chappy’s’ Rent to Own Front Wheel Drive Figure 8 feature had a little bit of everything, a huge crossover crash and an attempted pass for the lead that ended another driver’s night. Morris managed to avoid the carnage to capture the win. The first incident involved Travis Burge. He was leading the race when the slower car of Dennis Farver Sr., who was making his debut on the Figure 8, entered the crossover directly in Burge’s path. Burge’s car hit Farver’s machine squarely in the driver’s side, ending the night for both drivers.

Morris then inherited the lead and engaged in a spirited battle with Anderson’s Nick Warner. The two collided in the third turn of the Figure 8 course. Morris’s car got sideways but somehow he straightened out his machine. Things weren’t as good for Warner as he suffered a flat tire on the right front. He then failed to obey a black flag and was disqualified. Morris went on to the win, followed by Owen, Allen Wagner, Scott Vail and Johnny Burge.

Anderson’s Chris Bair Sr. scored his first feature win in the Insight ThunderCar Pro division. Bair and Middletown’s Elliott McKinney staged a spirited battle for the lead during the first half of the 20-lap feature. Bair then managed to pull away by the 10th lap to score a comfortable victory.

Point’s leader Rod Phipps also passed McKinney to end up second. McKinney, Chesterfield’s Jack Taylor and Anderson’s Shane Cullen, who won the previous two ThunderCar Pro features, rounded out the top five.

Cullen won the ThunderCar Pro heat race while Bair was the fastest qualifier with a best lap of 15.306 seconds.

On Saturday, June 17, The Boss Hogg Pitt BBQ & Catering Hogg Wild Fun Weekend concludes with The Star Press Saturday Night Series featuring Ed Martin Auto Group SuperTrucks, Boss Hogg Catering & Jerky Figure 8’s and Lampco Federal Credit Union Street Stocks.

Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with the racing program beginning at 8. Admission is $10 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.