Junior Hanley Wins The 38th Annual NationsRent 400 At Anderson Speedway Anderson, IN (July 17, 2004) -- Canadian Motorsports Hall Of Fame member Junior Hanley had collected numerous wins in his great late model racing career, but had never...
Junior Hanley Wins The 38th Annual NationsRent 400 At Anderson Speedway
Anderson, IN (July 17, 2004) -- Canadian Motorsports Hall Of Fame member Junior Hanley had collected numerous wins in his great late model racing career, but had never won the prestigious NationsRent 400 Presented By Corteco and Great Deals until Saturday night at Anderson Speedway. The Sunoco Super Series sanctioned event saw 29 cars take the green flag for one of the few multi-lap events with live pit stops on its 2004 schedule. The event was another classic that saw the veteran Hanley get his first series win of 2004, but not without a strong challenge from 2000 series champion Scott Hantz who finished second.
"That was a great race," remarked Hanley in victory lane. "We really worked hard this weekend to turn around our season and it worked. I knew when Scott pitted late for tires he would be tough to hold off, but I did everything I could to keep him behind me and it worked. There was some great racing from start to finish tonight, this track is tight and you really have to work to pass here!"
Hanley, who led 298 laps of the event, came to the famed high-banked quarter mile on a mission starting with the open practice on Thursday night were he ran over 120 laps trying to improve on the bad qualifying results that have plagued him through out the 2004 season. Hanley was fastest in series practice on Friday, but had to wait until Saturday afternoon to qualify after rain canceled Friday night's qualifying. Hanley captured the Corteco pole beating out young guns Terry Fisher Jr. and Chris Gabehart who were second and third fastest.
Hanley took off at the green from his pole starting position, relinquishing the lead just before halfway when he made his first of two pit stops during the event. Scott Hantz took over the lead when Hanley pitted, which resulted in Hantz winning the Kingen Interstate Express Halfway Leader Award. Hantz would lead for several laps until he finally pitted for the first time after a yellow on lap 295 giving the lead back to Hanley. Hantz took on only right side tires during that pit stop, Hanley had already changed all four prior to that. Hantz brought out a late caution when he spun on lap 362, Hantz took the opportunity to pit again and changed right side tires again, electing to go the distance on his left sides.
Hantz than begin a charge through the field that saw him go from seventh to knocking on Hanley's back door in the last 35 laps. Hantz tried the bottom and top to get around Hanley, who had much older right side tires, but the Canadian veteran would not leave an opening for the Angola, Indiana native to get through. Hantz's great moves to pass five cars to make a late challenge on Hanley earned him the Sweet Manufacturing Sweet Move Of The Race.
For the second straight year JR Roahrig got a third place finish in the NationsRent 400 Presented By Corteco and Great Deals. The veteran driver is trying to turn around a very dismal season that saw him not finish a Sunoco Super Series event yet in 2004 until Saturday night. Former NationsRent 400 Presented By Corteco and Great Deals winner Bull Baker came home in fourth, the former Anderson Speedway Street Stock Champion battled an ill handling car through out the event holding off fifth place finisher Terry Fisher Jr.
Veteran series competitor Jim Crabtree Jr. made numerous pit stops through out the event to repair damage from incidents on the track. Crabtree and his crews hard work netted him a sixth place finish. Former ASA Champion Mike Eddy stayed in the hunt through out the event only to have his car go away towards the end, but still managed to stay on the lead lap with a seventh place finish. Steve Moenck finished eight, two laps down to the leaders, which earned him the Backstretch Performance/Blake Carburetion/Reed Cams Rookie Of The Race Award.
Alan Troxell battled back from his twenty eighth starting position after spinning in qualifying to finish ninth. Troxell gained nineteen positions, which earned him the Lane Automotive/ISKY Racing Cams Hardcharger Award. Part-time series competitor Tom Gray finished in tenth.
With the win, Junior Hanley also takes over the Sunoco Super Series points lead over former points leader Chuck Barnes Jr., who had a tough weekend that resulted in a thirteenth place finish. Hanley won the Crown Spray Power Clean Sweep Award by winning the event and being the events Corteco Fast Qualifier. Hanley was also the Gladiator GarageWorks Crew Chief Of The Race Award winner as well as the Howe Racing Lap Leader Award winner for leading the most laps. Goodyear Performance Awards went to Bull Baker and Alan Troxell. The EMF Corp/Race-Tech Engineering "That's Racin'" Award went to Rick Turner after a hard crash on lap 208 ended his great run in the event.
The next Sunoco Super Series event will be the Goodyear 100 this Saturday, July 24th at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway. More information is available at www.sunocosuperseries.com.