EASLEY, SC :: Greenville Pickens Speedway and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National points leader Anthony Anders have found themselves at the center of a controversy once again following twin races on the 1/2 mile speedplant.
Anders used a bump and run to get by Randy Porter in the first of twin races on Saturday, August 2nd. The cool down lap and a subsequent ejection of Porter for race two is where the story begins. However the story ends with Anders and another Greenville area driver in tech shed following the second race of the night.
The winner’s share of the purse was paid to Anders following the nights racing events for both events despite the fact that Jeremy Burns crossed the finish line first at the checkered flag. Burns is listed as disqualified from both races on the official results page on Greenville Pickens Speedway’s website while Anders is listed as having won both races. The fact that Anders started 10th or worse in both races further impacts the NWAAS National points standings.
So you understand where we’re at, let’s go back to the beginning and explain how everything happened.
Anders is in a tightly contested NWAAS National Championship battle with fellow Late Model Stock Car driver Lee Pulliam and Northern Modified ace Keith Rocco. Rocco has been using NASCAR’s new passing points to his advantage as he tries to climb out of a points deficit. NASCAR awards two bonus points for any driver who wins from a 10th or worse starting position in any race. While Anders has been leading the points all season his lead is decreasing as Rocco and Pulliam close in but now he’s attempting to take advantage of the passing points opportunity as well.
Anders knows that in order to ensure that he can win the National title, he’ll have to start 10th or worse in every race. After starting 10th in the first race he chased down leader Randy Porter who started on the pole and with the aid of a late caution used what Anders referred to as an ‘Earnhardt move’ to get the lead and win the race. That’s where the first issue of controversy came in to play.
On the cool down lap Porter came up and got into Anders door. Anders then turned him around on the backstretch and made his way to victory lane. The two drivers versions of what happened are totally opposite.
“He started 10th and I started on the pole,” said Randy Porter. “I knew he’d be coming and I knew we’d see a caution or two. One of the guys who hangs out with him (Anders) car 41 (Tim Crowe) stopped on the track to bring the caution out when I had a 15 car length lead. He moved to second after the restart and I had him by three or four car lengths until his son (Brandon Fox) brought out a caution with a slow spin.
“I cleared him on the restart and then in turn one with two to go he boots me up the track and uses me for brakes. I would have got back to him but me and Jeremy (Burns) made contact and Anthony got the win. I rubbed his door after the race to show my displeasure with him, which is standard and he hits the brakes and turns left and gases up and spins me down the back.
“That was it until I got to the tech shed when Kevin (Whitaker, the track owner) comes in my window and says, ‘I can’t believe you just did that’. I was still heated, I mean he turns into me and spins me and here’s the track owner telling me he can’t believe I just did that? So I told him a few choice words about what I couldn’t believe he’s doing. I mean they (Anders and Whitaker) have a common goal. I knew what it was going to be like when I went there, Kevin lets it happen and they’re in it together. He told me I couldn’t run the second one and I wasn’t going to anyways.”
Anders on the other hand offered a different version.
“I started 10th because I’m trying to get maximum points,” said Anders. “I worked my way up to third and we had a caution. Then I got by Burns and was chasing down Randy (Porter) when the caution came out again. We had three laps to go and I used an old Earnhardt move and got by him and won the race. Then he wants to door slam me, so I wasn’t taking it and I hit the brakes and turned left and spun him. He got into with Kevin (Whitaker) and he wasn’t allowed to run the second race.”
Whitaker said that he followed their normal race procedures in not allowing Porter to run the second race.
“He hit Anthony under caution, after the race and we don’t tolerate that at all at Greenville Pickens,” said Whitaker. “Normally we’d set him out for two weeks, so we went easy on him this time.”
Anders also offered his opinion on the two cautions that aided his win.
“I was under Porter when he (Fox) wrecked, so it cost me more than it did Randy,” commented Anders about the final caution when his son spun with just a couple laps to go. Then offered his opinion on the first caution which Porter said was a member of Anders gang saying, “He hangs out with Porter more than he does me so I don’t what he’s talking about.”
And that was just one race. With Porter on the sidelines it was Burns who would be the man to beat while Anders again started from the tenth position. Burns looked to have the race completely under control until Anders caught him with just a couple laps to go and tried to get by him but had to settle for second. Burns victory was much to the pleasure of the crowd in attendance who have grown tired of seeing one driver win every race.
Burns was celebrating in victory lane but Anders was ready for the next step to ensure he received maximum points for this race as well as the first one. Anders would file a protest on Burns’ GM Crate Engine right away and this is where the story begins to have blurry lines. Anders protest was on Burns’ cam and heads. Burns was officially disqualified for refusing to tear down.
However it didn’t take long for people who were around in the pit area following the race to begin posting on Facebook that Anders would get the win and points while Burns got the trophy and the money. We were able to speak with Anders, Burns, Whitaker, Porter and Mike Burns (Jeremy’s dad) as well as several sources who wish to remain anonymous. Here’s how the story goes according to each one of them beginning with Anders.
“We caught him there late in the race and I could have dumped him off turn two there on the last lap but I didn’t,” said Anders. “Even though we didn’t win on the track, I didn’t come here and start tenth not to get maximum points. The Burns’ are my friends but I need maximum points. So we protested the cam and the heads on this car because we knew he was pulling us down the straightaway.
“Once Mike (Burns) was notified of the protest he asked me to just let them have the win and not protest. I told him I couldn’t do it. I wanted to you know but we’ve got to get all the points we can right now. He told me they we’re wrong and said they hadn’t won a race in a long time. He really only wanted the trophy so I gave it to him. I give away all my trophies, I have all season.”
Jeremy Burns saw things differently.
“Anthony got some damage and I blocked him like crazy the last lap,” said Burns. “We were excited to beat him and the fans loved it. He tore us down and we didn’t tear down. He got the win and the points and I got the trophy and the money. I’m sure it’ll say we were disqualified since he got the win. We finished in front of him and the fans saw it so I don’t care what the results say.”
Burns seemed to be a little confused as to what happened after the race.
“Me and Anthony have never had problems before and we walked away with no issues after the race. I honestly expected it (to be protested). He’s trying to win a national title and he needs all the points he can get. I don’t know how it all works but we got the trophy and the money.”
When asked about his refusal to tear down Burns thinks his engine would have passed but didn’t want to tear down when they plan to race again next week.
“I wasn’t even running tonight,” continued Burns. “I was on the way to Charlotte when they called and said Wil (his brother) had bumped his head and they needed me to drive the car. It turned out great and I think our engine is on the edge but it should have passed. But since we’re not running for points it’s not worth it to tear down.”
Whitaker didn’t know of any deal that took place and said that it didn’t matter because Mike Burns had sealed their fate.
“Anthony protested Jeremy,” stated Whitaker. “I went and found Mike to tell him it was happening. He said “my cam is wrong” and there was no use in tearing it down. Mike went to talk to Anthony to try and get him not to protest but Anthony wasn’t going to do that. And once he told me his cam was wrong he was being disqualified no matter what. That’s the way it went down. I’ve known Mike forever and he’s a friend. It wasn’t a good situation.”
After talking with Jeremy Burns I wanted to give Anders a chance at rebuttal. Anders was furious at Burns’ version of the story.
“That is not the way it happened,” said Anders. “Payout is made out to me, I’ve got the checks I can send you a photo of now. Mike told me they were wrong and told me he’d give me the winnings if I didn’t protest. I couldn’t do that. It wasn’t about the money, it wasn’t that I don’t like them, it’s just about the points for this national title. The conversation was only with Mike Burns, you need to talk to him.”
So I did.
“We refused to tear down,” said Mike Burns. “Naturally they’re going to disqualify you. We got paid last place money; I’ve got the checks to show for it. There was no buying anyone off or buying of any races or anything like that. They protested and we refused.”
Asked about getting the trophy the elder Burns said that Anthony gave it to them.
“Anthony said, ‘Hey you won the race in front of the crowd and you can have the trophy.’ I didn’t know if the cam would pass or not and I didn’t feel like tearing it down when we have to race again. I refused to tear down and they put us at the back of the field, that’s just the way it is.”
So what we have is either a complete misunderstanding of the way things went down or a completely botched attempt to cover up a scandal to get Anders more points. You can draw your own conclusion from here but we have presented you with the facts as they were stated by the people involved.
In the process of writing this story, we were able to get a lot more quotes and information from some of the members involved especially Randy Porter who held nothing back.
“Kevin lets it all happen and he and Anthony are in on this together,” continued Porter. “A few races back Marty Ward had a race won and another car stops on the track and Anthony wins. They want to win that thing. They want it so bad and a lot of things are just not right. They’ll change rules for Anthony like they did the night that Anders came letting him take 100 pounds off the car. Mystery cautions, rubbing after the race and arguing and then told you can’t run the second race.
“It’s got to the point to where I haven’t gone over there much and I’m five minutes from the track. Marty (Ward) only comes periodically and Burns doesn’t run much. He’s only got to beat his car most of the time. He doesn’t have any competition and he can win from tenth every week. If we come we’ll be tore down or protested and he’ll still get the win. It’s so unlike anything that I’ve ever seen down here. You go back and say maybe it ain’t but it is.
“Anthony, Lee McCall and those guys have a fast car. The start and parks don’t bother me, they do that everywhere. The part that bothers me is how involved the track has been to make everything happen. It’s just not right and I probably won’t go back over there this year and Marty won’t run much and neither will Burns. They’ve got the track to themselves.”
The question of Super Late Models, Street Stocks, Super Trucks and Ride-along Cars came up in the course of the research for this article and we went right to the source.
“Every car that has run a race with us this season has been legal,” said Anders. “The truck division fell apart and they let them run with us to allow some of the guys who couldn’t travel and still wanted to race, a chance to race. They weigh less and have a good chance to win, so it’s not like they’re just there for car count. And any car associated with us is a legal Late Model Stock Car and was approved by Lynn Carroll before the season started.”
Anders said that the Super Late Models(straight-rail) cars meet the same rules as the straight rail cars had to at Daytona when the divisions were combined a couple seasons ago giving them no advantage. As far as the two-seat ride-a-long cars that start and park at Southern National Motorsports Park, we asked track owner Mike Diaz to explain.
“We own three cars, one of them got totaled,” said Diaz. “Everyone thinks we do it for Lee Pulliam but we do it for everyone so that they get maximum points. As far as running the two-seaters, as long as NASCAR allows other tracks to start and park cars, we’re going to do that for our racers too. I haven’t seen a rule where a car couldn’t have a second seat. Every driver deserves the same opportunity to get points. If other tracks are allowed to start and park then I will too.”
Diaz also stated that he doesn’t pay start and park cars.
“There’s no compensation for them to start and park at all,” continued Diaz. “I’m over the hype of the National title. When we first bought the track we were all for getting maximum car count and helping to be part of the National title but now we let them start and park and we’ll allow someone to start and park our cars but they don’t get anything for it but points.”