Remembering the Man behind the Yellow Sprint Cars
For the second consecutive year, Gene Nolen’s name bears the name of the 500 Sprint Car Tour Event at Anderson Speedway. Gene was a car owner for over four decades, owning Sprint Cars and Silver Crown Cars. His passion for engineering shined through with his commitment to the V6 engine and suspension set ups on pavement sprint cars. Nolen won his first Little 500 in 2018 with Kody Swanson. That victory had eluded him since he first entered the Little 500 with Jim Keefer in 1996.
Neck and Neck for the top spot?
Defending series champion, Kody Swanson, and multi-time winner, Tyler Roahrig, have seen many neck and neck battles on the racetrack. Now that battle comes to the championship points standing. The two are currently separated by two points with Roahrig leading the field at 603 and Swanson right behind at 601. Both drivers had some missteps during the 2022 season, but appear to be in championship form in 2023. Swanson and Roahrig are always threats to compete for victories, especially at Anderson, and the two will be ones to keep a close watch on as the championship battle continues to heat up.
Back to Back at Anderson Speedway?
When the series last visited Anderson Speedway in early April, Kyle O’Gara went to victory lane in dominating fashion to claim his second consecutive Glen Niebel Classic victory. Having taken advantage of a good qualifying draw, O’Gara piloted his #67 machine to a decisive victory, leading all 75 laps. O’Gara will be a favorite to make it two wins in a row at Anderson as he looks to rebound from an engine issue that forced him to retire early from the Father’s Day Classic at Toledo Speedway.
Nolen Employs Hamilton for first Sprint Car Start with team?
Nolen Racing, founded by Gene Nolen himself, will be fielding a car with the series for the first time this season (outside of the Little 500) with Nick Hamilton behind the wheel. Hamilton, who will be making his 500 Sprint Car Tour debut, is the brother of Little 500 Champion Kyle Hamilton. He will also be competing in the famed #4 Nolen Racing machine that Kody Swanson won two of his three Little 500’s in. This will be Hamilton’s first race with Nolen Racing and his first time at Anderson in a non-wing sprint car since 2021.
Justin Harper looking for his first top 5 in 500 SCT
Justin Harper has become a series regular for the 500 Sprint Car Tour presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores since its inception in 2022. With multiple top-10’s between the 2022 and 2023 season, Harper has inched closer and closer to breaking into the top-5 and competing for victories. Harper’s best finish came on June 18th at Toledo Speedway when he came home with a 6th place finish. With a feeling of momentum behind him, Harper will look for his first top-5 finish as a crowded field of competitors descends on Anderson Speedway this Saturday, July 8th.
Persistent Mechanical Gremlins for Tour Regulars
Mechanical issues has been the name of the game for series regulars this year. Taylor Ferns, Driver of the #55 Taylor Ferns Racing machine, has had to pull off the track for a number of mechanical issues throughout the season. Most recently, she had a spark plug failure at Toledo and a tight race car she described as “undrivable” at Berlin Raceway. She achieved her highest finish of the season at Anderson when she finished 2nd and will look to repeat that performance.
Drivers like Jake McElfresh, Kyle O’Gara, Tom Paterson, and Cory Butler have all seen mechanical issues throughout the 2023 season. Whether it be an overheating issue or a true mechanical failure, drivers find themselves in a position of debating how hard to push their equipment. With six races still on schedule for the series, drivers will be looking to find consistency in their equipment to maintain a solid position in the championship points standings.
Largest Field Expected of the Year
Since its inception in 2022, the 500 Sprint Car Tour presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores has seen consistent growth race after race. The series looks to have its largest field of the year when it travels to Anderson Speedway for the 2nd Annual CB Fabricating Gene Nolen Classic presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts. With an entry list of 27 cars, and the possibility of more cars showing on race day, the series will conduct only its second B Main feature of the season. The other also came at Anderson in early April when the series saw a similar car count for the first race of the season.
The 500 Sprint Car Tour will be joined at Anderson Speedway by the USSA Kenyon Midget Series, Thunder Roadsters, and Midwest Champ Karts. General Admission gates open at 3:30pm and rotating practice subsequently begins at 3:30pm. Qualifications are set to begin at 5:45pm with a green flag start time of 7:30pm. Tickets for the event are $16 for adults, $5 kids aged 6-12, and free for all kids aged 5 and under. The 2nd Annual CB Fabricating Gene Nolen Classic presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts will be the final feature of the night and will be a 100-lap race. The entire night of racing will be streamed live on MAVTV on FloRacing.
Watch live on FloRacing by clicking HERE.