Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla., who passed his Indianapolis 500 "rookie test" Thursday in preparation for this year's "500," stole Sunday afternoon's Pepsi Cola "Rich Vogler Classic" at the Winchester (Ind.) Speedway, taking the lead from Indy Racing League veteran Brian Tyler on a restart three laps from the finish. Steele trailed Tyler through the latter part of the 30-lapper until fast qualifier Brian Gerster and Brad Armstrong tangled and Gerster spun to a stop against the wall at the head of the backstretch. On the restart, Steele, driving the Aristocrat Products Special, caught Tyler entering turn one and never looked back. Tyler slid up to the wall on the last lap trying to catch him but had to settle for second at the checkered flag. Armstrong recovered from the tangle to take third and was followed by Ryan Newman and Derek Davidson. Tyler emerged from the race with the series point lead over Davidson going into the April 30 race at Attica, Ohio. "I was glad to see the yellow," commented Steele after the victory. "I don't know if I could have passed him or not, but we got a good restart and were able to get him. I guess I was just on my toes when I needed to be." Sunday's heat races were won by Eric Gordon, Steele, Tyler and Jason McCord. Gordon led the first 11 laps before yielding to Tyler, then slipped to 13th in the closing laps. Gerster became the first driver in USAC Sprint car history to tour the 1/2-mile oval at a speed of over 125 mph when he broke Brian Tyler's track record during qualifying. The new record is 14.391 seconds (125.078 mph).


1. Brian Tyler 134 2. Derek Davidson 122 3. Dave Darland 89 4. Tony Elliott 86 5. Dave Steele 66 6. Brad Armstrong 64 7. Matt Jewell 63 8. Tracy Hines 60 9. Jack Hewitt 58 10. Ryan Newman 57