Tunny Claims 65th National Crown

Story By Ken de la Bastide

Ben Tunny is no stranger to winning at Anderson Speedway adding the 65th running of the National Crown to his resume on Saturday.

Tunny set fast time and led all 100 laps to record his sixth career win at Anderson Speedway. Tunney becomes the first driver to win the National Crown and the three-hour Figure-8 championship at the Indianapolis Speedrome.

But it was not an easy win for Tunny with Mike Hadley Jr. never more than a couple of car lengths off the back of the leader’s car.

In the waning laps the two leaders had to take evasive action in the crossover.

Hadley kept waiting for Tunny to make a mistake, a mistake the veteran campaigner never made.

R.J. Norton Jr. came home in third followed by defending race winner Jeff Shackleford and Mike Riddle Jr. rounding out the top five.

“I was running at 85 or 90 percent for most of the race,” Tunny said. “At the finish I gave it 100 percent.  “I had nothing left to give.”

Tunny said Hadley raced him hard but clean for the entire 100-lap distance.

“Mike (Hadley) did a good job, he raced my hard but never touched me,” he said.

Hadley making his first appearance in the National Crown said Tunny had a good car and has turned a lot of laps at Anderson Speedway.

“This is a long race,” he said. “I was trying to pass myself.”

Tunny jumped into the lead at the start with Hadley in close pursuit. The two front-runners would weave their way through traffic for most of the race. They were followed the start by Norton, Shackleford and Riddle.

The race was red-flagged twice in the first 25 laps for incidents in the crossover. The first took place on lap 15 when Randy Pence hit the back of the car of Jedi Cluxton.

Riddle got around Norton on the restart going down the back straight when the second red-flag waved.

On lap 25 Curtis Chapman and Danny Turner had hard contact in the crossover.

Chapman’s car came to a stop against the front straight wall and Turner’s came to a halt on the front straight. Turner was city from his car and transported to a local hospital. Turner waved to the large crowd before being placed in the ambulance.

Norton regained the third spot on the restart from Riddle and a lap later Shackleford moved into fourth when Riddle’s car pushed high in turn three.