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Perfect Anderson has sights set on road-course title

Ian Anderson can’t do better than undefeated.

He won all 12 Saturday night feature races in the Thunder Cars last season at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring to run away with the points championship.

Now the 17-year-old is chasing a different goal — winning a national road-course title in the U.S. Legend Cars International series.

That would add to his road-course state title in February as well as his state and national oval crowns in Thunder Cars last year.

“It would be very cool for me to win an oval championship and a road-course championship,” Anderson said. “This would be a lot harder because I will have more races.”

But Anderson, who attends East Career &Technical Academy, likes the idea of pushing himself.

He was thrilled at having been forced to race from near the back of the field to win both races at the Bullring this year. He also showed his driving skills by avoiding getting sent to the wall in both races to find a way to reach the start/finish line before the other competitors.

“I like the challenge of it because it’s like playing a racing game,” Anderson said. “If you do good at it, you don’t start in the front because then you drive away, and it’s boring for the fans and for you.”

Because he’s chasing the road-course championship, Anderson won’t be able to defend his Thunder Car title at the Bullring. He will miss too many races to accumulate enough points.

That’s fine with him.

Though Anderson clearly has shown the ability to win, he probably will stick with racing for only another couple of years. He plans to attend college and would like to go into marketing.

Anderson, who shares the same name as Jethro Tull’s lead singer, didn’t mention anything about a music career.

“He doesn’t really want to be a race-car driver because we don’t have the funding to do that,” said his mother, Cristy Anderson, a master sergeant at Nellis Air Force Base.

Even advancing at the Bullring isn’t easy because each higher class requires substantially more money, and the sponsors with that kind of loot haven’t been there for Anderson. He is grateful for the sponsors who stepped forward to buy him a set of tires and help on pit road.

“I’m fine where I am now,” Anderson said of racing at the lower levels. “I like trying different things while I still can.”

Anderson will try his hand at a larger car when he rents a NASCAR Grand American Modifieds ride for the Bullring’s Night of Fire on July 3.

As for the streak, Anderson said he felt pressure to keep it going last year.

Not this year.

“Honestly, if someone beats me, I’ll be happy for them,” he said. “I’m not going to give my wins away, but if they have the stuff to beat me in a race, then more power to them.”

His focus on winning the road-course title lessens the importance of the streak.

“He has a very good attitude about it,” Cristy Anderson said. “It will be very hard to top what he accomplished last year.”

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

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