ANDERSON, IN – For the second consecutive year Kyle O'Gara captured the annual running of the Glen Niebel Classic at Anderson Speedway. O'Gara led all 75 laps Saturday around the high banked quarter-mile oval pulling into the Peterman Brother's Victory Lane for the opener of the 500 Sprint Car Tour presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores.
Kody Swanson was the fastest of the 26 non-wing sprint cars with the invert putting O'Gara and Taylor Ferns on the front row.
O'Gara, looking for a repeat of his 2022 win in the Niebel Classic, jumped into the lead at the start, chased by Ferns, Billy Wease, Dakoda Armstrong and Swanson. The top eight cars ran in a tight bunch with the first caution flag waving on lap 27 for a spin by Isaac Chapple.
O'Gara was able to maintain the lead over Ferns who was looking for an opportunity to make an inside pass.
The final caution flag waved on lap 37 when Jacob McElfresh made contact with the back straight wall. O'Gara's car got stronger as the laps continued to tick off with Tyler Roahrig looking for a way to get around Swanson for fifth. At the checkers it was O'Gara winning by 3.6-seconds over Ferns with Armstrong nipping Wease for third.
“We had a really good car tonight,” O'Gara said. “It showed in practice but we didn't get the qualifying run we wanted. “I fell into the invert pretty good,” he laughed. “The team worked all winter on this car. We're here to win.” O'Gara said he adjusted on the car throughout the race and after lap 50 “we really stepped up” and was able to make the difference.
Ferns said it was a matter of which driver got the advantage at the start. “We know how Anderson is,” she said. “I knew at the beginning it was going to be who got out front first. “He kept making a bunch of mistakes but I wasn't able to capitalize,” she said. “Wish we could have won, but to start the season strong.”
Dakota Armstrong said lapped traffic played a part in the outcome of the race. “We were coming up to lapped traffic, it seemed like every four laps,” he said. “I got a good enough run at the end to catch Billy (Wease) at the line. I think we had a car good enough to compete, but just couldn't get there.” Justin Harper took control of the B-Main on the final lap when early leader Jim Sheets spun in turn two.
Story - Ken de la Bastide
Photo - Jack Kessler