From the low-buck racers battling through the X at bullrings around the country in their beat-up racecars to the high-dollar racing machines of the Winged Outlaw Figure 8 Series, the left-and-right turns of Figure 8 racing can make for some interesting plot twists just about every race.
Saturday night in the 50-lap WOFS event at Indiana’s Anderson Speedway, one of those plot twists in particular left one driver happy to be celebrating and another driver fuming over what he called a “dirtball move.”
Chris Green dominated much of the WOFS 50-lapper and kept Ben Tunny behind him until lap 41. Green was held up by the soon-to-be-lapped car driven by longtime Midwest Late Model racer Eddie Van Meter. That allowed Tunny just enough room to get by and cruise to the victory, with Green not having enough to mount another charge.
With the decals of Edco Welding – the company owned by Van Meter, the driver of the car that held Green up and allowed the lead to change hands – on his car, Tunny celebrated in victory lane. Just a few feet away, Green was left audibly frustrated by the outcome.
“The guy that sponsors him was driving the other car. It was a dirtball move on his part,” said Green. “He should just let us race clean. Me and (Tunny) had a great race going. (Van Meter) should’ve just moved out of the way, been courteous and let us finish the race it should’ve been.
“I would’ve held (Tunny) off. I was holding a good line. (Van Meter) pretty much just waited on me to move up the track and he moved up too. It’s disappointing. I’ve let a lot of wins get away here and tonight I should’ve had it. It was pretty much taken from me, but we’ll come back next time even better.
Van Meter was a last-minute replacement in the No. 69 car after an illness sidelined RJ Norton, Jr.. Norton was fast qualifier, but it was Van Meter in the car that played a role in Tunny’s victory.
“I knew Eddie was in it and which car it was and that he was moving up to give us a break,” said Tunny. “I didn’t think Eddie was going to catch him off guard and run him up like that. I figured Eddie would’ve gotten out of the way sooner before he got there, but I guess Eddie didn’t see him or something. It just lucked into my advantage tonight and I was the fortunate guy.
“I’d be upset if I was Chris as well. If I had that happen to me I’d be very frustrated because he was fast and he drove a flawless race the whole time.”
Once out front, Tunny’s path to victory lane went far smoother than his pass for the lead.
“I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hold Chris off because I couldn’t hardly stay with him going as hard as I was before,” said Tunny. “I looked and he wasn’t quite there, so I wasn’t sure if he caught some unfortunate breaks in crossover traffic or other traffic. He didn’t really start catching up, so I started backing off because I was gaining on some other lapped cars and I didn’t want to take the risk of getting screwed up with them in the closing laps.”
Green would follow Tunny to the checkered flag, with Mike Hadley, Jr., Mike Riddle, Jr. and Jeff Shackleford rounding out the top five.
The Winged Outlaw Figure 8 Series is next in action at Kentucky Motor Speedway on August 3. The series will return to Anderson on August 9 for the 65th Annual Figure 8 National Crown.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield. Photo credit: Speed51.com