Defending Anderson Speedway late model champion Jeff Marcum kicked off the new season with an exciting win on Saturday.
Fans were treated to exciting racing as the high banked quarter-mile oval kicked off its 71st year of action.
Marcum took advantage of a slip in turn one by Alexandria’s Kent Baledge to lead the final three laps for the victory.
Up until the only caution period of the McGunegill Engine Performance Late Model feature Baledge was in control of the race.
He took the point at the start from Dustin Burge and opened up a slight lead while Burge, Marcum, Danny Trent and fast qualifier Billy VanMeter battled for second.
The complexion of the race changed on lap 27 when Rich Segvich spun on the back straight, bunching up the leaders for a much anticipated restart.
Marcum slipped inside of Burdge on the restart entering turn three and stayed in close contact with Baledge. When Baledge drifted high entering the first turn, Marcum got underneath and completed the pass in turn three.
VanMeter came home in second followed by Trent, Baledge and Burge.
The top six drivers all qualified with in half-second of each other with VanMeter claiming the honors.
Greenfield’s Doug Dugger made the move of the night to go from the third starting spot to the lead before half of the first lap was completed in Thunder Roadsters competition.
Dugger got beneath both Jed Cotterman and Brandon Whetsel with a three-wide pass coming off the second corner.
The only yellow flag waved on lap seven when Whetsel spun on the back straight. Dugger was able to maintain the lead with defending champion Dave Osborn gaining two spots on the restart.
As the laps started to wind down Jed Cotterman made a run at Dugger, but was unable to get close enough to challenge for the lead. Marty Griffin came home in third.
Anderson’s Ronnie Rose made the right move by taking the outside line as the leaders approached a lap car to win the Thunder Car feature.
Alexandria’s Tyler DeHart led the first seven laps of the event when Rose was able to claim the point as the two leaders dealt with a lapped car on the front straight.
Kyle Allmond pressed Rose in the later stages of the race but had to settle for second with Earl Adams II rounding out the top three.
In other racing action: Randy Owens led the entire distance to win the Marcum Welding & Steel Front Wheel Drive feature holding off Jerry Loy early in the race. After the two made slight contact in turn one, Owen pulled away to a comfortable lead. Loy finished second followed by Nick Warner.
Ronnie Phipps led wire to wire to win the Hart’s Auto Figure 8 feature followed by Jared Keller and Bruce McFall.