It’s a question that will linger for years and only add to the folklore of the Indianapolis 500.
It was disappointing to see Bryan Clauson suffer through a long afternoon. Despite his lowly 30th-place finish, the frequent Terre Haute Action Track competitor handled himself well on and off the track during the month of May.
Early risers Sunday morning were given the opportunity to see a rare sight in Formula One racing — a Grand Prix that generated its sixth different winner in as many races this season.
On a circuit that rarely produces more than four or five different victors during the year, Mark Webber become winner No. 6 at Monaco.
On the subject of competition, didn’t NASCAR serve up yet another yawner at Charlotte Sunday evening? Maybe fans have become too fickle in their expectations of close finishes and drama in NASCAR these days.
Closer to home, the 42nd running of the Tony Hulman Sprint Car Classic served up an excellent evening of racing in front of one the biggest fan turnouts in a number of years at the local half-mile clay oval.
Bud Kaeding displayed why he is an eight-time winner at Terre Haute. Of course, it took the misfortunes of early-race leader Jon Stanbrough to open the door for Kaeding’s well-deserved win.
Few remember how close Kaeding came to losing his life in a frightening accident here a few seasons back. He was quick to recall that fateful evening and how the Hulman-George family came to his aid in what was a long and difficult recovery period.
In taking the checkered flag, Kaeding became the 25th different winner of the sprint-car classic.
The night didn’t go quite as well for the local contingent of Blake Fitzpatrick, Chase Stockon and Brandon Mattox. All three had their share of problems.
What started on a promising note for Fitzpatrick after setting the fast time in qualifying went array in the main event when overheating problems curtailed his efforts.
“We spent most of the night trying to figure it out. It [engine temperatures] got up to 260 [degrees]. We were holding our own, but we didn’t want to take a chance on hurting the motor,” related Fitzpatrick.
Stockon won his heat but ran afoul with tire issues.
“The name of the game out there tonight was new tires. If you didn’t have them, it made for a long night,” voiced the disappointed Stockon.
His disappointing 19th-place finish dropped him out of the top 10 in USAC points costing him a spot on the lucrative USAC incentive program that offers the top points leaders travel pay.
With the Eastern Swing next on the USAC sprint schedule, the $600-per-race show-up money would have been a big plus for Stockon’s low-budgeted operation.
It was a big weekend of racing at Crossroads Dragway, with Eric Bowling taking the top prize in the Bernie Mann Memorial and Paul Emmons, Alan Grayless III, Clayton Patrick and Adam Price winning their respective classes.
Action continues this weekend with the third annual Matt Agresta Sportsman Challenge on Saturday. Fun Night and Pink Ladies racing are slated for Friday evening.
Joe Buckles can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s a question that will linger for years and only add to the folklore of the Indianapolis 500.
- Auto Racing
Top guns, again
For the sixth time in his Indy career Friday, three-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves won the Pit Stop Challenge on Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Looking for Indy breakthrough, Kanaan enjoying role as team mentor
Ask any IZOD IndyCar series champion and he’d say he would gladly give up that championship to win one Indianapolis 500.
TRACKSIDE: Local drivers, owners looking to have strong night at Tony Hulman Classic
In its rich 43-year history, the Tony Hulman Sprint Car Classic has long carried on a strong local racing tradition.
From its early beginnings starting in 1971, the U.S. Auto Club-sanctioned event has been the annual centerpiece of the racing calendar at the Terre Haute Action Track as well as a key stop on the USAC sprint schedule and one of the most sought after wins in big league sprint-car racing.
Carpenter arrives as Indy 500 threat
And the crowd went wild.
Not only did Ed Carpenter win the pole for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500, he is the hometown son. Carpenter, the stepson of Tony George, completed his rookie orientation in 2004 and has spent the last several years, proving he deserved to be the IZOD IndyCar Series. There is no questioning his credentials now.
Carpenter wins Indy 500 pole
Ed Carpenter is on the pole for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The native of Marshall, Ill., earned the No. 1 spot for the May 26 race with a strong run in the Fast Nine competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday. He is the first American driver on the pole since 2006.
TRACKSIDE: Rain still a pain for Wabash Valley racing organizers
Soggy weather conditions, which have rightfully drawn the ire of Wabash Valley race fans and crews in recent days, continue to plague promoters where it hurts the most — their pocketbooks.
TRACKSIDE: Tough to rise from sprint-car racing, especially in challenging financial times
Open-wheel sprint-car racing, whether it be at the national or local level, has earned a reputation over the years of generating its share of thrills and excitement for its fans and a valuable training ground for drivers seeking to hone their skills that someday might elevate them to the “major leagues” of their sport.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose baseball wins another thriller
Rose-Hulman earned its third victory in its last at-bat in the last five days with a 6-5 win over Franklin in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball Tuesday night at Art Nehf Field.
East gets jump at SUMAR Classic
In his relatively brief but successful racing career, young Bobby East has at times unfairly been labeled as a driver who could master the pavement ovals but one who was still a work in progress on the dirt.
Hurtubise, Sumar races on Action Track slate this weekend
Championship racing is scheduled this weekend at the Terre Haute Action Track with U.S. Auto Club features set for today and Saturday.
One USAC championship will be decided and the spread in the other division could widen or tighten up as a result of the races.
The Jim Hurtubise Classic for sprint cars is today. Only 26 points separate three drivers in the point totals.
TRACKSIDE: Chase Stockon hopes momentum stays with him in Terre Haute
Momentum, an element that can be as elusive to a race driver as that perfect setup, can spell the difference in winning or running at the rear of the pack.
It’s a force difficult to achieve and maybe even harder to maintain. One learns quickly to make the most of the opportunity when it comes his way.
It’s something Chase Stockon will carry with him coming into today’s Jim Hurtubise Classic at the Terre Haute Action Track.
Only days following the biggest victory of his young and promising career, the $10,000-to-win USAC feature at Lawrenceburg, Stockon followed that up with another rich payday this past weekend at Tri-State Speedway.
IndyCar celebrates return to Pocono
IndyCar driver Ed Carpenter had the chance to take a drive around Pocono Raceway, and promptly handed the car keys to racing great Mario Andretti.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rain forces postponement of Jim Hurtubise Classic
Rain and the chance of inclement weather forced postponement of the Jim Hurtubise Classic scheduled for Saturday evening at the Terre Haute Action Track.
METRO ROUNDUP: USAC points leader Levi Jones out for season
Levi Jones, the five-time and reigning United States Auto Club (USAC) National Sprint Car champion, will undergo season-ending surgery on Tuesday to repair two herniated discs in his neck. While a full recovery is expected, the 12-week rehabilitation period will not allow for Jones to finish out the 2012 season, where he has competed in the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car and TRAXXAS Silver Crown divisions for Tony Stewart Racing (TSR).
TRACKSIDE: Stockon takes giant step forward in USAC
One of the more impressive and welcomed storylines of the recently completed Indiana Sprint Week was the emergence of area driver Chase Stockon on the national sprint car scene.
JJ joins hero Mears among four-time winners of Brickyard
Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Jimmie Johnson is a master at the Brickyard.
Hamlin wins Brickyard 400 pole position
Denny Hamlin captured his first ever pole for the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Keselowski gives Penske first stock-car win at IMS
Brad Keselowski made history Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he took the checkered flag at the inaugural Indy 250 NASCAR Nationwide race.
Bordais, Popow take checkered flag after downpour
While it never rained a drop during the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Super Weekend at the Brickyard certainly saw its share Friday as both the inaugural Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the Rolex Sports Car Series met with the wet stuff.
TRACKSIDE: Indiana Sprint Week rises above heat, rain, poor economy
The 25th annual version of Indiana Sprint Week is now officially in the record books and the latest chapter will go down as one of the most successful in recent years.
Red-hot Hunter-Reay goes for fourth straight at Edmonton
Ryan Hunter-Reay goes for his fourth straight victory Sunday in IZOD IndyCar Series action in Canada.
Clayton wins at Don Smith Classic
They call Daron Clayton, “The Modern Day Cowboy.”
The King of Speed
Born in Terre Haute, Roger Curtis grew up on Franklin Street, moved to Riley with his family when he was in sixth grade and attended Thornton Elementary School and Honey Creek Junior High before graduating from Terre Haute South High School in 1985.
Jones occupies driver’s seat: Six-time THAT winner leads Sprint Week series
When you think of USAC’s Indiana Sprint Week, thoughts of Levi Jones shouldn’t be far behind.
TRACKSIDE: Late models may have no long-term future in Indiana
Reflecting on what was billed as the biggest week of the summer for dirt-track stock-car racing … while preparing to shift gears for the busiest week of the year for non-wing sprint-car racing in the Wabash Valley.
Kenny Wallace realizes Action Track dream
Kenny Wallace won the UMP modified feature, leading flag-to-flag for the victory on Thursday night at the Terre Haute Action Track.
Wallace, a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver from 1990-2008, couldn’t have more thrilled to become part of a racing revival at the venerable dirt oval.
TRACKSIDE: Summer heat has made this ‘The Hell Tour’
It is fittingly billed as “The Hell Tour” for many of the Midwest’s leading late model stock car drivers and their crews.
Franchitti mired in post-Indy 500 slump
Dario Franchitti hopes to get back on track in IndyCar Series action Sunday in Canada.
TRACKSIDE: Retired driver LaJoie spreads the word of safety
In his roles as past driving champion and television analyst, Randy LaJoie has rightfully earned the reputation as a major contributor to the sport of auto racing.
Trackside: Stanbrough on track at midseason
When veteran driver Jon Stanbrough ushered in a new season in Florida back in February, he found himself facing a pair of unfamiliar challenges.
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