Bobby Santos III played the waiting game before assuming the lead with 56 laps remaining to win the 7th running of the Tony Elliott Classic. It was Santos’s second Elliott Classic win and his first with the 500 Sprint Car Tour presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Part Stores.
Tyler Roahrig set fast time during qualifying Thursday at Anderson Speedway presented by CB Fabricating and Crown Powder Coating, but started tenth as a result of the invert. Chris Neuenschwander took the lead at the start chased by Derek Bischak and Santos. Santos moved into the second spot on lap 15 with an inside move entering the third corner and five laps later Dakota Armstrong moved into the third spot.
On lap 56 Santos, Kyle O’Gara and Emerson Axsom moved inside of Neuenschwander. With 40 laps remaining Kody Swanson and Roahrig moved into the top five for the first time. For the final laps O’Gara pressured Santos for the point but was never able to make the pass finishing .192-seconds back followed by Axsom, Swanson and Roahrig. With Swanson’s fourth place finish and Dakoda Armstrong coming home in seventh, Swanson took over the point lead for the inaugural championship with one race remaining.
“We benefited from the invert,” Santos said in Riley & Sons Victory Lane. “We lost drive off the corners at the end, but we had a enough to get the job done.”
O’Gara said he felt his car was better than Santos at the end, despite losing the brakes on lap 40. “I worked him as hard as I could,” O’Gara said “Bobby (Santos) has always raced me clean and I wanted to race him clean in return.”
Axsom said his car was really good and might have been the best at the end of the 100-lap feature. “It was tough to pass,” he said. “There was a narrow groove on the track tonight, not like running 500 laps here.”
Roahrig said after his qualifying run that he knew with the invert there was a lot of work to do. “There are a lot of good cars here,” he said.