Ponstein Still Rollin, A Missing Driver, Gabehart/Hoffman Tangle
ONE MISSING DRIVER
It is times like these when the racing community can step up and show what they’re made of.
CRA Super Series competitor Patrick Lawson was not in Anderson on Saturday for the Anderson 125. Lawson was forced to withdraw his entry after a devastating fire at Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool in Wright City, Missouri, where Lawson kept his racing equipment.
Lawson’s losses include three racecars, all of his pit equipment and tools, which were all in a shop that burned. The heat from the fire was so intense it melted the aluminum heads on his motor.
The cause of the fire is still not known at this time. Lawson has no idea when he will be able to race again. Anyone wanting to contact Lawson can call him on his cell phone at 618-910-2470.
GABEHART & HOFFMAN CLASH
Coming out of turn two, Hoffman used the classic “bump and run” on Gabehart. Gabehart’s car got squirrelly and Hoffman dove underneath. The two again made contact going down the backstretch of the Anderson quarter-mile. As they entered turn three, Hoffman’s car shot straight up the wall and hard into the fence, destroying his #8 ride. Gabehart was able to continue on and eventually held on to third at the end.
Needless to say, both drivers weren’t happy with the others about the incident.
“Eddie knocked me sideways 15 times or more,” said Gabehart. “I knew I didn’t have a great racecar, but I was driving the same line every lap. The 18 car (Jack Landis) passed me clean, so clearly it could be done. But the 8 car (Hoffman) jacked me sideways 15 times. Finally, he jacked me 45-degrees sideways. I can’t help it that it took me the whole back straightaway to gather it up. When I was gathering it up, I got into his door and knocked him loose. That isn’t my fault. If he wouldn’t have jacked me sideways so many times, it wouldn’t have happened. I can’t help it I hit him.
Eddie Hoffman looks over his damaged car after a late-race wreck with Chris Gabehart. (51 photos)
“I’ve got the most respect for Eddie Hoffman’s team. More respect than any short track late model team in the country. They are bad to the bone. We are friends off the track. But tonight, I think he tried to rough me up and tried to get me to lay over. I ain’t going to do it. I exercised car control and discipline. I’m sorry if his car is junk. Tonight, he got the short end of the stick. When you play like that, it is going to happen.”
Despite missing the final four laps of the race, which only counted green flag laps, Hoffman was still able to get a top-10 finish by coming home 10th.
Hoffman did not want to be interviewed by Speed51.com after the race.
SOLID OUTING GIVES PONSTEIN REASON TO SMILE
Chris Gabehart and Eddie Hoffman had on whale of a race going during the last 60 laps of Saturday night’s event at Anderson. Gabehart, who was running third, was trying to hold off Hoffman, who might have had a little bit of a faster car.
But Anderson is a tough place to pass and Gabehart was running his line, making Hoffman try and find a way around his #17. Hoffman kept nudging Gabehart, letting him know he was there. Lap after lap, the two put on a show that the fans loved to watch.
However, things between the two came to a crashing end with three laps to go in the event.
Andy Ponstein finished a solid fifth at Nashville’s CRA opener last month. It was an impressive run for a brand new car going out there against some of the best in the business from all over the country.
He backed that up and showed that he is a contender for the 2006 CRA title by leading laps and finishing a strong second to Jack Landis at Anderson on Saturday night.
“We wanted to keep ourselves out of the wrecks,” said Ponstein, who started on the pole after the three-car inversion. “There are a lot of good racecar drivers out there. You just try to stay in with those guys. If you don’t, you end up like a lot of the other guys out here. You just have to be smart.
“Jack and I were racing and I knew he was a little bit better than I was. He got under me and I could have chopped down on him. That is a good way to get tore up. I could have wrecked him, myself or the both of us. So at that point, you gotta race with what your car can do.
“It is discouraging to see all of these tore up racecars tonight. It is a great series. You just gotta think some more.”
With the second-place finish, Ponstein and Landis are now tied for the points lead in the CRA Series after two events.
LATE MAJOR WRECK
Lap after lap on Saturday night, a good portion of the CRA field put on one hell of a show for the Anderson fans. There was a nose-to-tail battle for positions sixth through 14th that lasted lap after lap.
Unfortunately, most people knew that something was going to happen. It was bound to happen. And on lap 116, it finally did happen.
Things got started when Bull Baker and Eddie Van Meter got together going into turn three. It got both cars sideways, and a number of other drivers piled into the fray, one by one.
Eventually, the accident took its toll on the cars of Tommy St. John, Van Meter, Baker, Jim Crabtree Jr., Boris Jurkovic, Michael Gaier, Sondi Eden, Steve Moenck and Billy Crane
“I knew we had a good car starting off,” said Van Meter, who was able to continue from the accident after some minor repairs and finished fifth. “I knew if we could keep the fenders on it, we’d be up there. I got into Bull there. I was underneath him. I don’t know what he was doing. Luckily, we recovered from it. I’m sorry he didn’t.”
After the accident, the infield of Anderson looked more like a junkyard than a racetrack.
Jurkovic was knocked out in the accident as well, but was more upset with Moenck following an accident between the two just a few laps before “the big one.”
“I was trying to get back by the 78 car (Baker) and I guess Steve didn’t want to wait for me. What are you going to do? That is short track racing. I’m not happy about it. I thought we were friends, but evidently we are not.
Eddie Van Meter (top) and Jim Crabtree Jr. (bottom) were two of the cars that received damage in the late multi-car accident.
“During that last accident, I must have bent a spindle pretty good. The toe is knocked out. I can hardly drive it right now. Going down the straightaway under caution is scary. So I’m parking it.”
FUN AND GAMES TURNS SOUR FOR PARSLEY
Bobby Parsley is the class clown of the CRA Super Series. He is the one that can always seem to lighten up a situation and make things brighter.
That was his plan for Saturday night as well. Before the start of the race, he put a little “bulls-eye” on the back of his buddy Jack Landis’ car, telling Landis that that is where he’d be bumping him when passing him for the lead.
Unfortunately, it never worked out for Parsley, who fell out of the event with mechanical problems after working his way back of coming through the field towards the front.
“The car was pretty good,” said Parsley. “I don’t know if we were as good as Jack. I just used my stuff coming up through to the front. It is a tight racetrack. It just seemed like tonight, everyone was so close, you just could hardly pass. I think the rear end burnt up. I don’t know. It should have burnt up last year. I guess maybe it finally did this year.
“That bulls-eye; that is just some fun and games between me and jack. We mess with each other all the time. He likes to bump me on pit road. It just makes it fun.”
This little sticker was where bobby Parsley told Jack Landis he was going to "bump him."
KUDOS TO STAFF
Kudos go out to CRA co-owners Glenn Luckett and RJ Scott and Anderson Speedway promoter Rick Dawson.
A total of 28 cars showed up to Anderson for 26 starting spots.
Initially, the plan was to continue on with the plan and start just 26 cars, which would send two home. But after qualifying, the decision was made to start all 28 cars, making it a full field.
Kenny Tweedy had maybe the most quiet race of anyone in the field. Quietly, he qualified 12th, worked his way up through the field, stayed out of all of the accidents and finished fourth.
“We weren’t too bad,” said Tweedy. “We came out here this morning and practiced a little bit with old tires. There was no need to go back out there and practice in the hot sun. We put some new tires on for qualifying and I just messed up there big time. I should have been up toward the front.
“Then, 15 to 20 laps into the race, the car got tight, tight,
Kenny Tweedy's #6 (James MacDonald Photo)
tight. We had a slow leak. Luckily, the tire stayed up. I didn’t want to see that last caution, because I knew it would go flat. She stayed up, but she is flat now.
“I don’t know how I missed all that carnage. I guess it was luck; and a real good spotter.”