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Apr. 18—ANDERSON — It was a good night for three drivers with close ties to Anderson Speedway on opening night for three touring series.
Jeff Marcum is no stranger to Riley & Sons Collision Victory Lane and led 74 of the 75 laps in the Champion Racing Association's Late Model Sportsman feature event.
Paige Rogers led the opening lap of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 75 with Marcum taking the point with a traditional inside pass entering Turn 3.
Marcum had to hold off challengers Ronnie Rose, Tommy Cook and James Kirby through eight restarts.
"When the race was over, I said, 'It can't be. I want to go back for one more restart at least,'" Marcum said. "Gee whiz, how many could we have? That was a lot of fun. Eighteen cars in this field, it's a blast to race with all those guys, a real good class of drivers.
"Tommy Cook and Billy Hutson and those guys, and of course Ronnie (Rose), they always run so good and they bring so much speed."
But, during his victory lane interview, Marcum said the team struggled for most of the afternoon during the practice sessions.
"I've got to thank my guys," he said. "When we unloaded, we weren't so good, but they worked on it all the way up until race time, and they found out what our gremlin was. They really made this car fast."
With Marcum out front, fans were treated to intense racing for the second spot with Rose, Cook, Kirby and fast-qualifier Billy Hutson swapping spots on every restart.
Kirby finished second followed by Rose, Cook and Hutson.
New Castle's Jason Atkinson led 64 of the 75 laps in the CRA Street Stock feature taking the lead on Lap 11 from early leader Matt Barnes.
Once Atkinson took the lead, there was only one caution period the rest of the way with the final 49 laps run under the green.
Barnes finished second followed by Allan Williams Jr., fast-qualifier Andrew Teepe and Nathan Greene.
"We knew we had a pretty good car. We practiced on old tires all day yesterday and most of today, and it just didn't fall off," Atkinson said. "I knew it was going to be good. I've been around here a few laps."
Tom Gossar Jr. took the lead from Terry Eaton Jr. with an inside pass entering Turn 1 on Lap 16 and drove to the victory.
Eaton and Bo Hoelscher crashed on the front straight while battling for the second spot. Hoelscher's night was finished, and Eaton started on the tail of the field.
That put Trent Gossar into the second spot, and he was unable to overtake his brother. Kyle Frame, Chris Jennings and Jason Clevenger rounded out the top five.
Ayton Houk had a perfect night in the Mel Kenyon Midget Series setting fast time, winning his heat race and dominating the Dick Jordan Classic.
Houk pulled away from the field to win by 4.8 seconds over Dameron Taylor and defending series champion Colin Grissom.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.