O’Gara Repeats as Niebel Champion; Taylor, Allison Score Opening Night Wins

For the second consecutive year, Kyle O’Gara captured the annual running of the Glen Niebel Classic at Anderson Speedway. O’Gara led all 75 laps Saturday around the high-banked quarter-mile oval, pulling into Peterman Brothers Victory Lane for the opener of the 500 Sprint Car Tour presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores.

Kody Swanson was the fastest of the 26 non-wing sprint cars, with the invert putting O’Gara and Taylor Ferns on the front row. O’Gara, looking for a repeat of his 2022 win, jumped into the lead at the start chased by Ferns, Billy Wease, Dakoda Armstrong and Swanson. The top eight cars ran in a tight bunch with the first caution flag waving on Lap 27 for a spin by Isaac Chapple. O’Gara was able to maintain the lead over Ferns, who was looking for an opportunity to make an inside pass.

The final caution flag waved on Lap 37 when Jacob McElfresh made contact with the back straight wall. O’Gara’s car got stronger as the laps continued to tick off, with Tyler Roahrig looking for a way to get around Swanson for fifth. At the checkers, it was O’Gara winning by 3.6 seconds over Ferns with Armstrong nipping Wease for third.

“We had a really good car tonight,” O’Gara said. “It showed in practice, but we didn’t get the qualifying run we wanted. I fell into the invert pretty good. “The team worked all winter on this car. We’re here to win.” O’Gara said he adjusted on the car throughout the race, and after Lap 50 “we really stepped up” and were able to make the difference.

Ferns said it was a matter of which driver got the advantage at the start. “We know how Anderson is,” she said. “I knew at the beginning it was going to be who got out front first. He kept making a bunch of mistakes, but I wasn’t able to capitalize. “Wish we could have won but to start the season strong.”

Armstrong said lapped traffic played a part in the outcome. “We were coming up to lapped traffic it seemed like every four laps,” he said. “I got a good enough run at the end to catch Billy (Wease) at the line. I think we had a car good enough to compete but just couldn’t get there.”

Justin Harper took control of the B-Main on the final lap when early leader Jim Sheets spun in Turn 2.

Defending Kenyon Midget champion Dameron Taylor opened the 2023 campaign with a repeat win in the Dick Jordan Classic. Dezi Pedregon and Tanner Tecco started on the front row following the six-car invert with Pedregon taking the early lead chased by Ryan Huggler and Taylor. Taylor moved into the second spot on the second circuit, and the race was red-flagged a lap later when Huggler’s car went up in a ball of flames and collected Tecco. Neither driver was injured. Following the restart, Taylor and fast-qualifier Ayrton Houk was able to slip inside of Pedregon on the back straight. The driver on the move was Clayton Gaines who picked up three spots between Lap 7 and 12 to be running third before the halfway point. Taylor went on to win by 1.3 seconds over Houk with Gaines, Kyle Ford and John Robbins rounding out the top five.

Fast-qualifier Noah Allison set a new track record and then worked his way through the field of the Vintage Wrench Ford Division Amateur Class, taking the lead with two laps remaining, to capture his first ever victory. Adam Lee, Rickie Tharp II, Colson Gray and TJ Moore rounded out the top five.