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Despite unbeaten run, Las Vegas teenage racer can’t find support

Maybe it’s a sign of a still-recovering economy when an undefeated driver is hurting for sponsors.

But that’s the case for Ian Anderson, a 16-year-old upcoming junior at East Career & Technical Academy who is 18-0 in Thunder cars this year.

He isn’t planning a career in motor sports because he lacks the financial support, but Anderson would love to see what he could do at higher levels now that he has mastered this one.

“The only way you can have a motor sports career is if you have a lot of money behind you,” he said. “I would like to (move up), but it’s impossible.

“I have absolutely no sponsors.”

So Anderson will continue to compete in Legend and Thunder cars. He will be at Sonoma, Calif., this weekend trying to extend his streak, racing on the same road course Saturday the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will tackle Sunday.

His record includes a 7-0 on Saturday nights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring. The track doesn’t recognize Anderson’s victories on Fridays, but the U.S. Legend Cars International circuit does, and he is way out in front of the Roadsters standings for oval tracks.

He said racing Legend cars, though about 20 mph slower on average, gives him an advantage with the Thunder rides because the races are more competitive. He sent a message with his first victory this year, not only to the rest of the field but also to himself.

“I went on the track and immediately I was four-tenths of a lap faster,” Anderson said. “It was clear I was going to win a lot, but I didn’t think I would do this.”

■u2007GRADING THE TRACKS — After USA Today ranked LVMS one of the top 10 places to watch a NASCAR race, the Review-Journal asked those who cover motor sports on a national basis to rank their top five tracks based on fan experience and the racing itself.

One media member responded — Sporting News’ Bob Pockrass.

LVMS didn’t make his cut, but that doesn’t mean he was down on the local track. Not completely, anyway.

“Everything about Las Vegas is great — the location, the infield fan zone, the fan area outside of the track — except the racing for stock cars,” Pockrass said via email. “Of all the 1.5-mile tracks, the racing at Las Vegas appears to be one of the most aero-dependent and difficult for passing. That doesn’t mean the races aren’t exciting, but there needs to be late yellows and tire wear for that to happen. Fans who go to Las Vegas have a great experience, but whether they see an exciting race to the finish for a NASCAR event is hit-or-miss.”

His five tracks (in order) are Indianapolis, Bristol, Daytona, Richmond and Rockingham.

■u2007COVER GUY — Las Vegas resident Jay Beasley is on the cover of this month’s Late Model Racer, a national magazine that covers the sport.

The headline reads “Beasley Burns Up the Bullring.” He won both 35-lap races Saturday, extending his lead in the standings.

■u2007ROCKETS RED GLARE — The Bullring will have a fireworks show July 3 to celebrate Independence Day. The show will take place when the racing is finished, around 10:20 p.m.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.

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