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Armstrong dominates Glen Niebel Classic

Apr. 14—ANDERSON — Dakoda Armstrong took advantage of lapped traffic to climb from third to the lead during the 500 Sprint Car Tour season opener Sunday.

Armstrong claimed the 24th running of the Glen Niebel Classic in a dominant performance by leading the final 65 laps.

Kody Swanson set the pace during qualifying and drew a one lining up the 21 car field at Anderson Speedway based on time.

Swanson jumped into the lead at the start chased by Tyler Roahrig, Dakoda Armstrong, Caleb Armstrong and Bobby Santos III.

The running order remained unchanged until Lap 35 when Swanson closed on lapped traffic on the back straight, which allowed Armstrong to vault into the lead.

Once on the point, Armstrong pulled away from the rest of the field and survived two restarts in the final 32 laps caused by the spins of Billy Wease and Shane Butler.

He avoided disaster with five laps remaining when two lapped cars slowed in front of Dakoda Armstrong coming off the second corner.

It was Dakoda Armstrong's second consecutive 500 Sprint Car Tour win, having won the season-ending event last year at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Dakoda Armstrong won by 3.9 seconds over Swanson with Caleb Armstrong, Kyle O'Gara and Taylor Ferns rounding out the top five.

O'Gara, looking for a third consecutive win in the Glen Niebel Classic, had fuel-pump issues during practice and started 14th in the field. He claimed the fourth spot with six laps remaining with an inside pass of Ferns entering Turn 3.

"That first win kind of got the monkey off our back," Dakoda Armstrong said in the Riley & Sons Victory Lane. "We've been so fast here. We came here and tested a couple of times to get the car right.

"I was just kind of hanging around, and this new tire made the outside kind of tough," he said of the pass for the lead. "They were having problems rotating through the lapped traffic."

Swanson said he was trying to anticipate the traffic and didn't guess right.

"At some point he (Dakoda Armstrong) was going to pass us," he said. "We'll work hard and try to get better. First time out for the season and coming out of an injury that was more serious than I wanted to let on, to come out of here with a second-place finish."

Caleb Armstrong said his car was a little bit free, and he was able to make some adjustments during a caution.

"With this new tire, it's hard to charge into the corner," he said. "I like to drive it hard into the corners, so I had to back off a little."

Defending series champion Roahrig ran in the top five until pulling out of the race on Lap 71.

KENYON MIDGETS

Alexandria's Clayton Gaines led all 30 laps, holding off a closing Dameron Taylor, to claim victory in the Dick Jordan Classic for the Kenyon Midget Series.

Gaines qualified second and scored a heat win which, with no inversion, put him on the pole position.

He jumped into the lead ahead of Ryan Huggler and Evan Hammond.

The driver on the move was Taylor, looking for his third consecutive win in the Dick Jordan Classic.

He passed Jase Petty with an inside move entering Turn 1 to move into the fourth spot and five laps later took advantage of traffic to get around Hammond for third.

Taylor took the second spot at the halfway mark with an inside move under Huggler exiting the fourth corner.

For the final 15 laps Taylor closed on Gaines but came up a half-second short followed by Hammond, Petty and Kyle Sheard.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.