Nolen Racing’s Hamilton Runs in Seventh for More Than Half of the Gene Nolen Classic at Anderson
ANDERSON, Ind., July 9 — The late Gene Nolen, the founder of Nolen Racing and the man whom the Gene Nolen Classic honors, knew very well that a driver’s finishing position often does not reflect the effort extended.
That was the case Saturday night at Anderson Speedway when young Nick Hamilton qualified seventh in the famous yellow Nolen Racing No. 20 in his first race ever in the 500 Sprint Car Tour Presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores, and then ran in seventh place for more than half the race. Unfortunately the Fillmore, Ind.-based driver ended up 16th with 66 laps complete in the 100-lapper after two incidents not of his doing.
Driving a Beast powered by a Tranter-prepped Chevy V6 engine and sponsored by KECO Coatings, Hamilton kept his mount firmly in seventh place for the first 51 laps around the high-banked, quarter-mile oval.
Kyle O’Gara, who ended up finishing second and set the second-fastest lap of the race despite qualifying 14th, was behind Hamilton with 51 laps down when there was contact between the pair in Turn 3 which forced Hamilton to stop, bringing out the race’s fifth yellow flag. O’Gara apologized afterwards during the podium celebration for his role in the incident.
Hamilton was able to restart, but dropped from seventh to 14th in the 22-car field. He moved into 13th position with 57 laps down by passing Tony Main.
However, with 66 laps complete the sixth yellow waved after there was contact between Hamilton and Shawn Bonar which put Hamilton into the wall in Turn 2. He was unhurt, but the No. 20 left the scene on the back of a wrecker with too much damage to continue.
Kody Swanson went on to win the race over O’Gara, fastest qualifier Tyler Roahrig, Dakoda Armstrong and Jackson Macenko.
“Our race pace was good; I was comfortable and just biding my time,” Hamilton said afterwards. “Kyle’s right front got into my left rear, and that’s what caused me to stop. But our car was still fast. I wanted to get back up with the lead pack and see what we could do.
“But then later in traffic, another car got into us and I hit the wall in Turn 2. I didn’t feel like we were pushing at all; I was just trying to save it for the second half of the race.”
“He did a phenomenal job,” said Nolen Racing owner Greg Nolen, Gene’s son, who has continued the Whiteland, Ind.-based team in his father’s honor.
Hamilton set the fifth-fastest lap of anyone in the race when he recorded a time of 11.460 seconds on lap five. He qualified seventh in the 22-car field with a time of 11.297, just 0.200 off Roahrig’s time.
The race was streamed live by MAVTV on Flo Racing.
For more information see NolenRacing.com and follow the team on Facebook and Twitter @NolenRacing.