Roahrig Triumphs In Tony Elliott Classic

Tyler Roahrig in victory lane after winning the Tony Elliott Classic. (Randy Crist Photo)

ANDERSON, Ind. – Plymouth racer Tyler Roahrig couldn’t image standing in victory lane at Anderson Speedway after winning the third annual Tony Elliott Classic on Saturday.

Four years ago Roahrig suffered severe leg injuries while practicing at Anderson Speedway in a super late model. It kept him from racing for much of 2014.

Roahrig took the lead on lap 77 of the Tony Elliott Classic for non-wing sprint cars and then held off Caleb Armstrong over two restarts, the final one coming with just six laps remaining.

For more than half of the 125 lap feature the race was dominated by Kody Swanson, looking for his fourth win on the high banked quarter-mile oval this year, including the 70th running of the Pay Less Little 500.

Swanson set fast time during qualifying and because of the inversion started eighth in the 22-car starting field.

Jason Fuller took the early lead chased by Scotty Hampton, Roadrig, Jimmy McCune and Caleb Armstrong.

By the eighth lap Swanson was running fourth when the first caution flag waved when Joey Schmidt made contact with the outside retaining wall on the back straight.

Hampton took the lead on the restart with an outside move around Fuller entering turn three.

On lap 32 Swanson, who was using the high groove with success, passed Hampton on the back straight.

From there Swanson pulled away to a comfortable lead but disaster struck on lap 76. While attempting to pass the fifth place car of McCune, the two made contact with Swanson coming to rest against the turn two wall. It ended his night.

Roahrig took over the point chased by Armstrong, Hampton, McCune and Bobby Santos III. Santos passed McCune with an outside pass exiting the second corner and was running third with 25 laps remaining.

On lap 117 Santos made contact with the lapped car of Chase Jones coming to rest in turn one after making contact with the retaining wall.

Before the race resumed Hampton pulled in after running out of fuel with five laps remaining.

Roahrig went on to win by .25 of a second over Armstrong followed by Jerry Coons Jr., Eric Gordon and McCune.

“We had a second place car tonight,” Roahrig said in the Star Financial Winner’s Circle. “Kody (Swanson) had a rocket tonight, I felt bad for him.

“I’ve not had good luck here at Anderson,” he said. “I can’t believe I’m standing here in victory lane after winning a sprint car race.”

Armstrong said his car was missing at the finish at it also was running low on fuel.

“Our car wasn’t as good on the short runs,” he said. “The last few laps it was missing in the corners.”

Coons said he had a good car for his preferred driving line but struggled when he went to the outside.

“I tried moving around on the track,” Coons said. “But when I went to the outside it just wasn’t as fast as the line I had been running.”

The B Main race was won by Joey Schmidt leading all 15 laps with Rick Holley, Dameron Taylor and Jim Payne advancing to the 125-lap feature.

The finish:

Tyler Roahrig, Caleb Armstrong, Jerry Coons Jr., Eric Gordon, Jimmy McCune, Travis Welpott, Brian Gerster, Chase Jones, Shane Butler, Scotty Hampton, Bobby Santos III, Kyle O’Gara, Aaron Pierce, Kody Swanson, Jim Payne, Derek Bischak, Jason Fuller, Billy Wease, Dameron Taylor, Anthony McCune, Joey Schmidt, Rick Holley.