Indy IRP: Race report

TYLER TAKES "J.D. BYRIDER 100," POINT LEAD AT O'REILLY RACEWAY PARK INDIANAPOLIS -- Brian Tyler doesn't worry about points. With nearly half the season left, he doesn't need to. But as long as he's winning races, he's closing in on his first...

TYLER TAKES "J.D. BYRIDER 100," POINT LEAD AT O'REILLY RACEWAY PARK

INDIANAPOLIS -- Brian Tyler doesn't worry about points. With nearly half the season left, he doesn't need to.

But as long as he's winning races, he's closing in on his first USAC Silver Crown Series title. His latest win came Thursday at O'Reilly Raceway Park in the "J.D. Byrider 100," as he beat NASCAR Nextel Cup star Carl Edwards to pick up his second series victory of the season and the point lead for the first time since May.

"It's not time to worry about points," said Tyler, driving the No. 21 Kroger/Bounty Tide/Pringles C&R/Chevy to the win. "I'm out to win races. The points take care of themselves. If we keep doing what we did tonight, we'll be on top at the end."

Tyler picked up the lead on Lap 39 when light contact between him and polesitter Josh Wise sent Wise into first a spin and then the wall, leaving Tyler to the lead, one which he wouldn't relinquish the rest of the way.

But that didn't mean he wasn't pressured.

With the second of two yellows -- caused by rain from Laps 62 thru 67 -- bunching up the field, Tyler and Edwards were separated by only the lapped car of Bryn Gohn. For the next 20 laps, the battle ensued, arguably the best race on the track of the evening.

Both drivers used a different line -- Tyler using the bottom and Edwards the higher and preferred stock car groove -- with Edwards' line allowing him to reel Tyler in considerably.

By Lap 76, the pair was separated by only five car lengths, and about 10 laps later, Edwards began making his move. He dropped low and ran side-by-side with Tyler through Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 87, then slid in behind the next lap to try to gather momentum.

Edwards got another run on Tyler, but got his arm restraint caught on his seat, causing him to start spinning in Turn 4. With the front of his car pointed toward the inside Turn 4 wall, Edwards steered the car to the right, then nearly spun again before gathering the car up and running the remainder of the way. However, his shot of winning, without a caution or misfortune with Tyler's car, was gone.

Nothing happened to Tyler though. He kept his foot on the gas and cruised to more than a straightaway lead over Edwards, who earned his best career finish of second and tied a team best second for him and R.E. Technologies.

Dave Steele, Aaron Pierce and Bryn Gohn rounded out the Top 5.

Tyler was never worried about Edwards' pressure, even when the two ran side-by-side thru the turns.

"I knew Carl wasn't going to run into me or do anything crazy," Tyler said after averaging 96.345 mph. "It was good to race with him."

Said Edwards: "That was a lot of fun running with him (Tyler) tonight. This series is really getting good. We just need some more cars, and once that happens, this racing will really be good."

Wise was a rocket early, establishing a lead of 2.5 seconds over Tyler before slower traffic allowed Tyler to catch up. Tyler shadowed Wise for nearly six laps before trying the low side, then another six laps later tried the outside as the two crossed under the flag stand.

As the two approached the turn, light contact between their two wheels caused Wise to spin, then hit the outside wall with the tail tank. He was uninjured in the incident, the first of two for cars on the track.

Tyler left the track with a 32-point lead over Bud Kaeding, who fell out of competition due to ignition problems. The series continues Saturday at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track. The "Sumar Classic" is the second dirt Silver Crown race of the season and first since May, ending a streak of four straight pavement races.

- USAC -

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Series USAC
Drivers Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Bud Kaeding , Carl Edwards , Aaron Pierce , Josh Wise , Bryn Gohn