Winning isn’t new for Steve Anderson. It’s just been a while since he’s tasted victory.
The 53-year-old road-racing champion won for the first time since 2004 in a stock car on Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring in the NASCAR All-American Series.
Anderson took the lead from Taylor Barton with a pass through the third turn halfway through the 40-lap Super Late Models race. He survived two caution periods to outdistance Barton, 22, by nearly half a second at the finish line.
“I never thought I’d be the old fart on the racetrack,” Anderson said.
He’s the first winner in the division this year other than Justin Johnson (five wins) and Tom Lovelady (two wins). Johnson is 21 and Lovelady 17.
It wasn’t a good night for points leader Johnson, who finished sixth, and Lovelady, who limped to a 10th-place finish after getting caught in a first lap crash.
Anderson, who builds his own engines, has seen improvement with his car since cutting back to a one-car team several weeks ago. The past few years he also fielded one for son David, who is now running Thunder Roadsters.
“It became too hard to keep two cars running competitively,” Steve Anderson said. “It’s been a long time since I won here, but there were many nights I was in position to win and got spun out.”
The slump has not been easy for Anderson. He is a six-time championship road-course driver, competing in several major SCCA Trans-Am type series in the 1990s. He was part of a winning team in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1977.
“It’s hard for me to believe now, but then I was getting bored with (winning),” he said.
He moved to Las Vegas in 1982 and in the late ’90s accepted an offer from former Bullring champion Dick Cobb to join him as a driving instructor at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
“It was an adrenaline rush,” Anderson said.
Once he started at the Bullring, he realized it was not the gentlemanly style of racing he had experienced on road courses.
“My wife (Jane) says sports car racing is like playing chess and stock car racing is more like playing checkers,” he said.
It also was a good night for an older Masters division driver from Austin, Texas, in the Legends Cars feature when Scott Anderson held off challenges from 15-year-old Bear Rzesnowiecky, Lovelady and Nick Parmelee, 22.
Domination by Doug Hamm continued as the Southern Nevadan won his third straight and fifth Late Models race.
Other winners were: Mike Heck in Chargers; Charlie Wahl for the fourth time in Thunder Roadsters; Wayne Morris Jr. in IMCA Modifieds; and Jonathan Eakin (Bandits) and Cheyanne Schindler (Young Guns) in Bandoleros.Auto Racing in Las VegasMore information