He had to survive a few close calls driving top speed through the harrowing “X,” but R.J. Norton, Jr. took the wire-to-wire win Friday night in the Winged Outlaw Figure-8 Series 50-lap event at Anderson Speedway in Indiana.
Seventeen Figure 8 stock cars battled on the tight quarter-mile facility on Independence Day. Norton started from the outside of the front row, took the lead at the drop of the green and never looked back. Norton was able to score his 12th career win at the speedway since 1989.
Although one car led throughout the 50 laps, there was no shortage of excitement for the capacity crowd on hand. A handful of cautions repeatedly stacked the field and that kept the field close.
To Norton’s delight, a great battle was going on for the runner-up spot throughout the race between Ben Tunny and Michael Hadley, Jr. The pair ran side-by-side with neither lifting off the throttle as they raced through the “X” for several laps on multiple green flag runs. It was anyone’s guess who would take the spot right up until the checkered flag was waved. Hadly would ultimately prevail and take second over Tunny.
Another Tunny, Jesse, and Dan Stanley, Jr. started the night’s fireworks off early as they collided in the “X” to bring the fans to their feet just ten laps into the race. Stanley was unable to continue and Tunny never fully recovered. In fact, Tunny broke just past halfway and collided with a water barrel to bring bring out the red flag for big cleanup.
Jeff Shackelford, who was looking for his second straight win in the series, started just inside the top ten. After getting off to a fast start by moving all the way up to fourth at one point, Shackelford dropped back near races end to finish sixth.
With dozens of close calls and smoke filling the air from locked-up brakes, the “X” provided an elevated level of excitement and anxiety every lap around. In the end, the one car that seemed to not slow a single time through the middle would come out on top and take the win.
Following the victory lane festivities, the celebration was kicked up a notch by a spectacular fireworks display put on by the Speedway in honor of Independence Day.
The Winged Outlaw Figure-8 Series will be back at Anderson Speedway on Saturday, July 26th before heading to Whitesville, Kentucky and the Kentucky Motor Speedway on Saturday August 3rd.
By Mark Keeler – Speed51.com
For more information on the Winged Outlaw Figure-8 Series, including the complete 2013 schedule, visit www.WOFSRacing.com