Anthony Perrego had already knocked on the door of a Super DIRTcar Series win in 2024, after two runner-up finishes at DIRTcar Nationals.

On Saturday night, he kicked that door down, passing Darren Smith with three laps remaining in traffic to win Power in the Pines at New Egypt Speedway—his fourth career Series victory.

“I definitely found something off of [Turn 2], Perrego said. “That top started to go away. That obviously got me to second but it started to go away. The last race I won here, it was kind of the same deal. We got into lap traffic and we just had a better car.”

Tanner VanDoren, the pole sitter, led the field to the green flag in the 75-lap Feature, sliding ahead of Peter Britten in Turn 2. 

The 16-year-old driver dominated the first third of the race, leading the first 32 laps. However, that changed when Johnny Bangs stopped on the racetrack, bringing out the caution.

Tanner VanDoren and Darren Smith
Tanner VanDoren leads the field into Turn 1 at New Egypt Speedway/Joe Grabianowski

On the Lap 33 restart, Darren Smith used the outside lane to pull even with VanDoren in Turn 2 and held that momentum entering the track’s dog leg. But as they drove into Turn’s 3 and 4, Smith’s momentum carried him around VanDoren’s #10C, giving him the lead as they crossed the start/finish line.

Smith quickly pulled away from VanDoren, who fell back through the field before he stopped to bring out the caution on Lap 40. That yellow allowed Britten to challenge Smith for the lead.

The “Batman” drove past Smith in Turn 2. But like his pass on VanDoren, Smith drove back around Britten on the top to reclaim the lead on Lap 45.

While Smith continued to lead, Perrego moved through the field from his eighth starting position and drove around Britten to take second on Lap 59. From there, the chase was on.

Darren Smith, Anthony Perrego, and Peter Britten
Darren Smith leads Peter Britten and Anthony Perrego into Turn 1/Joe Grabianowski photo

Perrego lurked behind Smith, closing the gap on the #12 as the laps wound down. With three laps to go, Perrego made his move. 

As the two drivers powered into Turns 3 and 4, Perrego saw an opening on the inside. Then, he slid his Bicknell chassis in front of Smith as they exited Turn 4, wrestling the lead away as they completed Lap 73. 

Smith tried to reclaim the position again, but couldn’t get the spot back as Perrego held on to win the $7,500 prize.

Perrego said his car was getting better on longer runs, allowing him to find the right line as Smith battled through traffic.

“In lap traffic, Darren just started moving a little bit,” Perrego said. “His car just started shoving and he was a little loose. I had a pretty good line in [Turns] 3 and 4 where I could diamond it back down. I was trying it earlier when we were in traffic, but that was kind of the deal. He changed his lane and started to search, and the slower it got, the better we were.” 

Smith settled for second, his best Super DIRTcar Series finish. He said he needed to be more aggressive in the last few laps to win.

“Last year we came to (New Jersey) and I made a mistake with about five to go,” Smith said. “This time I didn’t think I made a mistake, I just think [Perrego] made a hell of a move. But we got to that lap car and I wasn’t aggressive enough. 

“We came down here with a great game plan. Scott (Jeffery) and the boys did a hell of a job.”

Britten, the Billy Whittaker Cars Quick Time Award winner, crossed the line third. Despite the podium finish, the Brisbane, QLD driver said he felt his car should’ve been better.

“I’ll definitely take that,” Britten said. “I didn’t think we were as good as we needed to be. It actually surprised me how long I was able to stay in the mix there. Overall, we had a pretty good race.”

Britten is tied with Perrego for the points lead after one event, after accumulating bonus points by earning the Billy Whittaker Cars Quick Time Award, and winning his Heat Race.

Defending Series champion Matt Sheppard finished fourth while defending New Egypt Speedway track champion Ryan Godown rounded out the top five.

Alex Payne, the rookie of the race, finished sixth.

UP NEXT: The Super DIRTcar Series travels to Can-Am Speedway in LaFargeville, NY for Thunder in the Thousand Islands on Saturday, April 13. 

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision, either online or with the DIRTVision app.

Power In The Pines (75 Laps): 1. 4*-Anthony Perrego[8]; 2. 12-Darren Smith[5]; 3. 21A-Peter Britten[3]; 4. 9S-Matt Sheppard[4]; 5. 26-Ryan Godown[14]; 6. 70A-Alex Payne[9]; 7. 88-Mat Williamson[10]; 8. 58-Louden Reimert[18]; 9. 27J-Danny Johnson[12]; 10. 98H-Jimmy Phelps[7]; 11. 20-David Schilling[17]; 12. 4V-Billy VanInwegen Jr[22]; 13. 111-Demetrios Drellos[13]; 14. 1J-Dan Creeden[16]; 15. 32-Brandon Grosso[19]; 16. 83X-Tim Sears Jr[24]; 17. 91-Felix Roy[27]; 18. 215-Adam Pierson[26]; 19. 35-Mike Mahaney[25]; 20. 2-Jack Lehner[11]; 21. 21M-Bob Mcgannon[6]; 22. 14-CG Morey[28]; 23. 8-Rich Scagliotta[15]; 24. 27JR-Daniel Johnson[23]; 25. 15X-Justin Stone[20]; 26. (DNF) 10-Tanner Van Doren[1]; 27. (DNF) 323-Johnny Bangs[2]; 28. (DNF) 99L-Larry Wight[21]

Contingency Awards:
JAM Performance Fastest Hot Lap Award: Anthony Perrego ($100)
Billy Whittaker Cars Quick Time Award: Peter Britten ($100)
VP Racing Fuels Award: Mat Williamson ($50)
ARP Bolts Award: Matt Sheppard ($50)
ASI Racewear Award: David Schilling ($50)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Award: Anthony Perrego ($50)
Cometic Gasket Award: Billy VanInwegen $50
Comp Cams Award: Jimmy Phelps ($50)
DIG Racing Products: Danny Johnson ($50)
MSD Award: Ryan Godown ($50)
Swift Springs Award: Alex Payne ($50)
Hoosier Racing Tire Award: Anthony Perrego (Free Tire)
SRI Performance/Stock Car Steel Pole Award: Tanner VanDoren ($100)

Post-Race Tech: Checked for Techtronics traction control device, ballast in axle tube and measured left rear axle diameter in the top 5 finishers.  All passed tech.