Josh Wise won last night's 54th running of the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. For 99 laps he trailed Tony Stewart Racing teammate Levi Jones. During a series of restarts in the final laps of the race he looked low and high, ...
Josh Wise won last night's 54th running of the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. For 99 laps he trailed Tony Stewart Racing teammate Levi Jones. During a series of restarts in the final laps of the race he looked low and high, finally getting a run around the outside approaching Turn 3 on the final lap.
"Our car was an awesome car," Wise said in Victory Lane. "It got better in the middle stages, and our car just came on real good late in the race.
"He got a good restart and I didn't think I was going to get a run on him then, but he got really loose there at the end. I knew he would try to keep it low, so when he tucked it to the rail I just gassed it and got it high off the corner.
"It's tough when we've both got identical cars, and they're so good. He's a heck of a driver. It's tough to take a chance. I'm so proud of these guys - just everyone who worked so hard."
Levi Jones dominated the evening for 99 laps, sometimes leading Wise by a hair and sometimes pulling out a lead of a second or two. But in the end he had to settle for second place. "What can I say," he said. "I was pretty good on long runs, but he had the run off me there. It's a very competitive, very good team. We're a team, but he gets his paycheck and I get mine."
Bud Kaeding took third place, despite heavy smoke early in the race. He was brought into the pits for consultation during an early yellow flag, but after inspection he was cleared to continue. His finish put him into a tie with Brian Tyler for the lead in the championship standings.
Dave Darland, Russ Gamester and Tracy Hines rounded out the top six. For almost the entire race, the order at the front was Jones, Wise, Kaeding, Darland, Gamester and Hines. The main exception was, of course, the final lap when Wise finally got around Jones.
While the top six followed each other for the evening, there were two outstanding performances from deep in the field. John Heydenreich started in 20th place and finished eighth, running in seventh for a considerable time during the latter half of the event. Johnny Parsons put on an amazing drive, starting 27th and finishing 10th. Parsons earned his starting position by finishing seventh in the qualifying race.
The race was slowed for caution nine times, for a total of 35 laps. The lap count was once frozen at 98 and once reset to 98 to ensure the final two laps would run under green. The yellows kept the field together, with lapped traffic playing almost no role. Virtually all passes Heydenreich and Parsons executed during their runs up were man-to-man, on a track where passing is always hard.
The Hoosier Hundred itself was a winner last night, running on schedule despite it almost being cancelled because of safety and insurance concerns. Bob Parker, of Parker Machinery, worked with Larry Rice at K&K Insurance to make the necessary upgrades to the safety fence and cabling. Bob Sargent, of Tack Enterprises, promoter of the Silver Crown races at Illinois and DuQuoin, stepped up to promote this year's event. Their efforts, along with those of the United States Auto Club, the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the State of Indiana, and many others, resurrected this classic event from what appeared to be its demise.
The next Silver Crown race will be on the pavement at Kentucky Speedway, on June 16th.