ANDERSON – Consistency allowed Randy Owen to defend his title in the Vintage Wrench Ford Division Triathlon.
During Paint the Night Pink sponsored by Meridian Health Services at Anderson Speedway, Owen finished on the podium in all three races on Saturday.
The Triathlon consisted of a regular oval race, an oval race in the opposite direction and Figure-8 race with the overall champion determined by points.
With an inversion of six following qualifying, Colt Gray and Matthew Benzenbower started on the front row for the first of the three races.
Benzenbower took the lead at the start with Gray running second followed by Rickie Tharp II.
Tharp took the lead on the second lap, but Benzenbower was back in front by the halfway point.
A caution flag waved on lap 19 when third place running Tharp tangled with Jason Pitts.
On the final lap the cars running behind Benzenbower came off the fourth corner three wide with Michael Phipps and Owen finishing in the top three.
With the field inverted for the reverse direction race the early lead was claimed by Ryan Krugler with Colson Gray and Caleb Burke batting for the top spot.
Krugler and Michael Phipps tangled on the next to last lap which set up a two-lap shoot-out.
Owen had taken the lead on lap 19 but only held off Burge by three-one hundreds of a second at the finish with Tyler Dobbs coming home in third.
Michael Phipps passed Benzenbower for the lead on the seventh lap of the Figure-8 event and appeared headed for the victory.
Phipps and Colson Gray got together in the cross-over, ending the night for both drivers on lap 14.
Josh Tharp passed Benzenbower on lap 14 and held off Rickie Tharp II for the victory with Benzenbower claiming third followed by Owen and Aaron Owen.
“I wasn’t going to press the issue,” Owen said of the Figure-8 race in the Peterman Brothers Victory Lane. “I was running for the championship.”