Random thoughts, observations and questions surround what is racing’s biggest weekend of the year.
From Monaco to Indianapolis and Charlotte, racing buffs had a smorgasbord of action to select from.
Racing couldn’t have a better ambassador than newly crowned Indianapolis 500 victor Dario Franchitti, a class act both on and off the track, win or lose.
What would a Memorial Day weekend be without a Mears in victory lane? It may not have been at Indy but one would be hard-pressed to find a more elated winner than Casey Mears at Charlotte.
While viewing the closing laps of the Monaco Grand Prix one still marvels at the prospects of Formula One being a fixture on the area racing scene. Bernie’s boys will be here in just three weeks.
Can than there be any more loyal, patient and forgiving fans in all of sports than those in racing? The marathon affairs at Indianapolis and Mansfield, Ohio, tend to bear this out.
Hopefully the F-1 contingent can provide a better start than Sunday’s 500. What ever happened to the trademark three abreast start at the Speedway?
Diehard sprint and midget fans still have a difficult task accepting the fact that the biggest open-wheel show of the year doesn’t have the likes of a Steve Kinser, Dave Steele, Mike Bliss, Brian Tyler or Eric Gordon in the starting lineup.
Sadly, only two drivers in Sunday’s starting field at Indy, John Andretti and Ed Carpenter, have ever turned a competitive lap at the Action Track. So much for the road to Indy.
Even all the hype surrounding Indy can’t erase the fallout of the debacle of the Hulman Classic run a week earlier.
The future of racing and under present management continues to be a hot topic in racing circles. Rumors are running rampant the Hulman Classic would be the one and only race of the year at Wabash Valley Fairgrounds this summer.
The track’s new Director of Competition, Tim Wolfe, says that’s not the case at all. In fact he’s hard at work trying to find a makeup date for the UMP modifieds, who lost a feature at the Hulman Classic when the show was halted because of curfew.
The purse was divided equally among those slated to run the modified feature. The makeup race, if one can be arranged, would help drivers get valuable UMP points which they never had a chance to run for because of the cancellation.
It is now known that USAC has pulled the plug on racing at the Action Track. Their relationship soured to the point they refuse to run here or at Lincoln Park. This means two Indiana Sprint Week dates lost.
In talking with USAC President Rollie Helmling earlier this week, he said the organization is working with adjustments to the Sprint Week schedule.
Joe Buckles can be reached at email@example.com.
Random thoughts, observations and questions surround what is racing’s biggest weekend of the year.
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.
TRACKSIDE: Stanbrough continues points chase after recent skirmish with rival
Veteran sprint car driver Jon Stanbrough has never been one to hide his distaste for chasing point championships. It simply doesn’t bode well with his style of racing.
TRACKSIDE: Brett Andrew plays role in developing NASCAR's new body styles
The recent announcement from NASCAR regarding the approved body styles for the 2013 Sprint Cup Series follows extensive wind-tunnel testing that was a year in the making.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TRACKSIDE: Clauson bucks the IndyCar trend
On the surface, the distance from the dirt oval at Lincoln Park Speedway to the massive, paved Indianapolis Motor Speedway may appear only a few miles apart.
TRACKSIDE: USAC Midget Classic not nearly as revered as it once was
It might be three years removed from its birthplace but the Hut Hundred USAC Midget Classic still holds a special place in the hearts of Wabash Valley racing buffs.
TRACKSIDE: What could have been: Indy’s folklore got richer this week
It’s a question that will linger for years and only add to the folklore of the Indianapolis 500.
TRACKSIDE: Sprint car event could generate close racing
One of the hottest and most competitive weekends of the 2012 motorsports season gets under way tonight at the Terre Haute Action Track with the scheduled running of the Tony Hulman Sprint Car Classic.
TRACKSIDE: Mulling over the biggest weekend in motorsports
We’re approaching what has traditionally become one of the busiest and most prestigious weekends in all of motorsports.
TRACKSIDE: Helfrich: Short-track racing has good future
When questions arise regarding the current state of sprint car racing, whether they be at the local or national level, one doesn’t have to search much further for the answer than veteran promoter Tom Helfrich.
TRACKSIDE: Near-capacity crowd turns out for opening night of racing
Opening night at one of the midwest’s premier short track operations can be like no other time of the year.
TRACKSIDE: Racing season has promise
With several “test and tunes” sessions and season openers having already taken the green flag, it’s a sure sign the Wabash Valley racing campaign is shifting into high gear.
TRACKSIDE: Valley racing showed best, worst of times in 2011
A look back on the 2011 Wabash Valley auto racing season reveals the best and worst of times the sport has to offer.
TRACKSIDE: Menard's victory at Brickyard momentous for family, race fans
Who says one of those familiar bright fluorescent-colored Menards race cars can’t find its way to victory lane at Indianapolis?
TRACKSIDE: After a delayed start, the Terre Haute Action Track gets season cranked up
Its arrival may have been delayed by several months — for a host of reasons — but the 2011 Terre Haute Action Track season is finally out of the blocks.
TRACKSIDE: Changes come up on Indiana racing scene
With the highly anticipated USAC Indiana Sprint Week sprint card on tap at the Terre Haute Action Track tonight and the Tony Hulman/Don Smith Classic and a host of events leading up to the Brickyard 400 looming on the horizon, it would appear that it’s the best of times for Wabash Valley racing buffs.
TRACKSIDE: Fortunes of dirt track racing at Action Track can be written in the dust
In the 40 plus years of covering motorsports, it would appear the process of writing this weekly race column would come together rather routinely.
TRACKSIDE: Auto racing in May in Indiana runs on history and tradition
Possibly nowhere in the sports world does history and tradition play such a key role in an event’s success and future as that found in auto racing.
TRACKSIDE: Wabash Valley racing ready to take green flag — even Action Track
Despite having already lost several bouts to the elements, the 2011 Wabash Valley motorsports season has taken the green flag and will soon be shifting into high gear on several fronts.
TRACKSIDE: Fitzpatrick on track to continue impressive start to racing career
One of the top stories on the Wabash Valley motorsports stage last season was the emergence of Blake Fitzpatrick as a legitimate front-runner on the national sprint-car scene.
Frightening finish to season at Terre Haute Action Track
The 2010 Terre Haute Action Track season came to a climactic close over the weekend. Unfortunately, the campaign closed on a near-tragic note for the second consecutive year.
Trackside: Attractive USAC sprint car card this weekend
With the area circle track season rapidly drawing to a close, fans will have a pair of attractive USAC sprint car cards to attend this weekend. Back-to-back shows at Lincoln Park Speedway and Terre Haute Action Track not only offer fans a final opportunity to see the sprints in action one final time, but they also serve as pivotal stops in the chase for the USAC sprint car drivers championship.
Trackside: Sadler’s wreck brings up memories for Terre Haute racer Sizemore
One of the many fans that viewed Elliott Sadler’s wild crash at Pocono over the weekend with more than casual interest was former Terre Haute racer Paul Sizemore.
Trackside: Talented young racer Blake Fitzpatrick savoring USAC success
The dust has long settled. The congratulatory phone calls and handshakes are becoming less frequent but that first taste of victory remains as fresh and sweet as ever for the U.S. Auto Club’s newest first-time sprint car feature winner.
Trackside: Positive story lines in USAC
Reflections on events surrounding a highly successful USAC Indiana Sprint Weeks while looking forward to a crowded schedule of events leading up to this weekend’s Brickyard 400.
- More Trackside Headlines
- TRACKSIDE: Chase Stockon hopes momentum stays with him in Terre Haute