When ULTIMATE Super Late Model teams arrive at Natural Bridge Speedway on Friday, May 14 to kick off a doubleheader weekend, Anthony Sanders will show up as the series points leader, with a 14-point advantage over Dustin Mitchell. He will also show up on an open trailer.
Sanders took the points lead with his first career Super Late Model win Saturday, coming in thrilling fashion in the Big Chief Forty at Cherokee Speedway.
“It took me quite a while to get there, but we finally pulled it off Saturday night,” said Sanders on Speed51’s “The Bullring” Monday evening. “It was a pretty exciting way to do it, too. We were very pleased with it.”
Sanders had a strong car all race, while battles for the lead were intense featuring the likes of Chris Ferguson, Ben Watkins and Ross Bailes.
“The whole race was pretty good. The track was in really good shape. I know Ben and Chris, they swapped the lead four or five times. We had a caution with about five laps to go and I was content to run third.”
On that final restart, however, Ferguson suffered a flat tire, which opened the door for Sanders to make a three-wide move around the outside of Ferguson and Bailes while taking the white flag.
“We got two to go, and coming off turn two I saw Chris’ right-rear go down. We got down into turn three, and I really thought Ross was going to drive by him on the outside. Ross decided to go down low and try to pass him on the inside.
“They got together off of four and it left a big hole to the outside. I was right behind them when it happened, so I decided to make it three-wide and see what would happen. It worked out great.”
The win was also a redeeming one for Sanders. In September of 2019, Sanders came out on the losing end of a fierce battle with Bailes at Cherokee Speedway with the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series. This time, it was Sanders sealing the deal on the final lap.
“That was the most exciting race I’ve been a part of in a long time. About a year and a half ago, I lost a race at Gaffney to Ross Bailes on the last lap. He passed me on the inside on a green-white-checkered finish. Now I get to redeem myself there and made it pretty exciting for the fans. I know they spend their hard-earned money to watch us race. I know there’s a lot of Chris Ferguson fans out there, but it felt good to get a win at our home track.”
The ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series heads to Natural Bridge Speedway on Friday before taking on the $20,000-to-win King of the Commonwealth at Virginia Motor Speedway on Saturday. Sanders will be easy to spot in the pits at either race, as his eye-popping red race car will be clear to find when it arrives on an open trailer.
“I’ve got a 2002 dually and I’ve got an open trailer. That’s how we roll in every week. We don’t have the brand-new car or the best motors. We definitely make what we’ve got work. It doesn’t matter how you get there, it’s how you run.
When I was growing up, I always watched Ronnie Johnson pull up with a camper and an open trailer. He would unload that thing, qualify on the pole and win the race, load back up and head out the gate
Sanders has been asked plenty of time when he will upgrade to the comfort of an enclosed trailer. He insists it is not on his radar any time soon.
“Everyone’s always asking when I’m going to get an enclosed trailer or upgrade my trailer. I’m like, it’s cool to roll in on an open trailer and roll with the guys we roll with. There’s definitely a lot of money parked around us every week.
“My car is a 2016 Longhorn. We don’t buy new cars every year. We don’t have brand new motors every year. We just take what we’ve got andn run the best we can with it. This year, it seems like everything is falling into place for a good year.”
While Sanders currently leads the ULTIMATE points standings after the Cherokee victory, he knows how quickly fortunes can change in racing. He isn’t looking too far ahead to a championship run yet, instead focusing on getting through each race in hopes of adding some more trophies to his resume.
“It can change at any time. Racing is a humbling sport. You can win one week and finish dead-last the next. I’m just taking the approach of one race at a time, see how it goes. Hopefully, at the end of the year, we’ll have a shot to win the points and pick up a few more wins along the way.”
If Sanders does indeed pick up a few more wins, each one will be a celebration for underdogs of the racing world.
“Every week, we try to do it for the little guy. There’s plenty of them around. We try to make them look good and try to outmoney the big teams. It makes it more special when you outrun them every week.”
Race fans will be able to watch Saturday’s King of the Commonwealth on Speed51.TV. Click here to become a subscriber today and watch Saturday’s event from Virginia Motor Speedway.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo