WHERE’S THE FULL MOON? IN ANDERSON, INDIANA By Jeremy Troiano
Landis Finally Wins At Anderson Speedway On A Wild Night
At the end of Saturday night’s CRA Super Series event at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Indiana, there were a lot of people looking skyward.
They were looking for some sign of a full moon, because after watching the last 25 laps of race, there had to be one out.
gave Lane the black flag for rough driving. Lane answered his black flag by pulling into the infield and retiring from the event.
A few laps and cautions later, all hell REALLY broke loose. Lead lap cars Tommy St. John, Eddie Van Meter, Bull Baker, Jim Crabtree Jr., Boris Jurkovic and Michael Gaier, along with the lapped car of Sondi Eden and Billy Crane found themselves the victims of a massive pileup in turns three and four, knocking several drivers out of the running and putting others several laps down with various forms of damage.
After all of that, the most controversial accident of the night happened with just three laps to go.
Eddie Hoffman, who had been working on Chris Gabehart for third much of the later portion of the event, got into the back of Gabehart’s #17. As the two raced down the backstretch, Gabehart came down the track and got into Hoffman’s #8. The contact sent Hoffman hard into the turn three and four wall, knocking him out of the event and destroying his racecar.
Luckily for Landis, he was ahead of it all.
Anderson's infield looked more like a salvage yard than a racetrack during the last 25 laps of Saturday night's CRA event. (51 photos)
“We had three-quarters of a lap lead at one point,” said Landis. “That looked like a good place to be, so we backed off until there was some pressure to come from behind. The caution was inevitable if you saw the way those guys were driving.
“We wanted to get out front. That is the place to be. A lot of the times, I don’t run the 200- or 400-lappers down here because you get back in the stuff and a lot of stuff gets torn up. You can look out here today. There is a lot of junked cars in the infield. That isn’t my way of racing. I don’t like to crash them.”
While it was a tough night for many others, it was a near perfect night for Landis. Landis was the quickest in practice, then backed it up by being the fastest qualifier. In CRA competition, there is a invert somewhere between three and eight. Landis pulled a three, putting him on the inside of the second row for the start.
Landis worked on Gabehart early in the race, while Ponstein pulled away. Finally, on lap 43, Landis moved into second place, and set his sights on the leader.
Jack Landis drove to his first ever win at Anderson Speedway.
Officially, the race was 125 laps long. Unofficially, the race was run in two halves; 100 laps of great, nose-to-tail short track action and 25 laps of pure “demo derby.”
“Some of these guys, I just wonder what they are thinking sometimes.”
Those were the words of eventual second-place finisher Andy Ponstein.
The action all happened behind the leaders. Jack Landis, the night’s quickest qualifier, took the lead from Ponstein on lap 64 and never looked back, sometimes pulling out to a near half-track lead while negotiating the lapped traffic around the quarter-mile.
It was from third on back where the real action started. First, nine cars were putting on a torrid battle for positions sixth through 14th. Nose to tail, the drivers jockeyed each and every lap, racing hard, but clean.
Then came lap 100, and all hell broke loose.
It started when two drivers got together. Under the caution, Rick Turner came around and got into defending series champion Jeff Lane. Officials black flagged Turner, who eventually parked the car. Then, officials
“Jack is a super racecar driver and he had a great racecar,” said Gabehart. “He had to pass two cars to get to the front and he did it clean. He took his time, got up there and used a great racecar and did it.”
“It was smooth sailing after getting around Chris,” said Landis. “I hate to bump-and-run, but we’re at Anderson. If you don’t like the bump, you better stay at home. I would expect the same from him, so I know he’s not mad. I just bumped him and moved on. I expect him to return the favor sometime.”
Just 20 laps later, Landis made his move on Ponstein. Once he got by, it was smooth sailing.
Surprisingly, in all of the years of racing, it was Landis’ first win at the historic Anderson track and only his second in CRA competition.
“It’s a long time coming,” added Landis. “This is my first win at Anderson. I’ve run here a lot. I’ve been here for probably 15 years, in everything, including ASA cars. This place has bit me a few times. I guess it was just meant to be today. We were fastest in practice, we got fast time and drew a three for the invert, which is the best we could do. We got in the lead early and kept it clean. It was just meant to be.
“My last win was the $20,000 to win at New Paris last year. I won two races last year; a Sunoco race and the $20,000-to-win race. I guess if you are only going to win two races, those are two good ones to win.”
Ponstein was able to hold onto second.
Once Landis (#10) made his move around Andy Ponstein (#00), it was all over. (James MacDonald photo)
“This isn’t a bad way to start the year,” said Ponstein, who finished fifth at Nashville and will take the CRA points lead going into next weekend’s race at Winchester. “My guys worked their butts off. I said it at Nashville. Just 19 days before Nashville, I bent that first piece of sheet metal for this car and its been fast ever since. We came here and were hot lapping on the tires we raced at Nashville.
“I was trying to save my stuff. I knew I was quite a bit better than the 17 (Gabehart). So I was trying to save my stuff. Eventually, you know somebody is going to come. I’ve raced with jack a long time. You can come and go at this track. I was starting to get loose, so I had to back it off. We had a couple of cautions when I didn’t really need them. That is just how it goes.”
Gabehart was third, followed by Kenny Tweedy and Van Meter.