News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Auto Racing

April 4, 2012

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.

Despite the concerns of a troubled economy, signs point to a promising and exciting 2012 season for fans and racers alike.

To help make their visits to area tracks more convient, listed below is the 42nd annual Trackside tracks and schedules preview:

• Terre Haute Action Track — Following an abbrevated schedule a year ago, the future looks brighter for supporters of the half-mile clay oval this season.

With a new promotional group in 2012, the track will offer an attractive seven-event slate that features some of the best in open-wheel and stock-car racing.

Whether your choice is sprint cars, late models or UMP Modifieds, promoters Bob Sargent and Reece O’Connor have lined up a schedule that is sure to please even the most avid or casual race fan.

Terre Haute Action Track schedule

April 22 — Spring Fling-Midwest Sprint Car-King of Indiana Sprint Series sprints and UMP Modifieds

May 24 — Tony Hulman Classic USAC sprints-UMP Modifieds

June 19 — NASCAR Nite-MSCS sprints-UMP Modifieds

July 12 — UMP Late Model Summer Nationals-UMP Modifieds

July 18 — USAC Indiana Sprint Week-Don Smith Classic

Sept. 1 — Jim Hurtubise Classic USAC sprints-UMP Modifieds

Oct. 13 — Sumar Classic USAC Silver Crown cars-UMP Modifieds

• Crossroads Dragway — Offering the best in NHRA weekly ET Bracket racing, the local1⁄8-mile strip will serve up specials with the Fast 33 April 28, Fast 33 May 19, the Bernie Mann Memorial May 26, Matt Agresta Memorial June 2, Jegs S/Quick-Fast 33 June 23-24, Fast 33 July 7, Slammin’ 16 July 28, Scheid Diessel Extravaganza Drags Aug 24-26, Fast 33 Sept. 22 and Fast 33 Oct. 13. Information: (812) 229-2167

• Lincoln Park Speedway — The popular 5⁄16-mile dirt oval will offer a weekly Saturday night card of sprint, modified and stock cars with a host of specials, including the season opener Saturday, USAC sprints April 28, National Armed Forces Day May 19, USAC Indiana Midget Week June 4, USAC Indiana Sprint Week July 19, Putnamville Clash July 28, Midwest Sprint Car Series sprints Aug. 18, King of Non-Wing Sprints” Sept. 1 and ninth annual Patroit 100 Sept. 8. Information: (765) 653-3485

• Bakersfield Raceway Park  — Located east of Linton on State Road 54, the Marlin Baker Family will a weekly Friday night card of 600 opens, 600 Upright Mini Sprints, 4 Cylinder stocks, Junior sprints and 600 Non-wing Class (open) racing. Information: (812) 847-2642

• Coles County Dragway USA — Popular to Wabash Valley drag racers, the Charleston, Ill., strip will offer specials with the Saturday TNT Grudge Gamblers, Quick 32 May 19, Nostalgia Blown Altreds Match Race May 26, Hopper Family Memorial Day Classic May 27, Thunder On Prairie Hot Blue Jet Dragster June 23, Terry Luechtefeld Memorial July 21 and Jegs Quick 32 Aug. 18. Information: (217) 345-7777

• Lyons Raceway Park — NHRA-sanctioned drag racing with a full slate of specials with VP Racing Fuels Quick 32 April 20-21, Fast 8 April 27-28, Midwest-Junior Super Series May 18-19-20 NHRA Jegs Quick series June 1-2, Ohio Crankshaft No Box Nationals June 15-16-17, VP Fuels Quick 32 June 29-30, National Dragster Challenge July 28, NHRA Indiana Drag Racing State Championships Aug 3-4 and NHRA King of Track Oct 6.

• Bloomington Motor Speedway — Under new leadership, the popular quarter-mile clay oval will continue to offer a weekly Friday program of sprint stock and modified racing.

There’s a schedule loaded with special events that include King of Indiana Sprints May 4, USAC sprints Larry Rice Memorial May 8, Spring Clash June 1, USAC Indiana Midget Week June 15, Sheldon Kinser Memorial July 6, USAC Indiana Sprint Week July 20 and World of Outlaws Aug. 3. Information: (812) 824-7400

• Lucas Oil Raceway — Home of the sports biggest drag racing event of the year — the 58th MacTools U.S. Nationals, slated for the weekend of Aug. 29-Sept. 3 — the Clermont multi-facility will host its annual SpeedFest featuring USAC midgets and Silver Crown cars and ARCA stock cars on the July 26-27 weekend.

Other key oval events include the Hall of Fame Classic May 19, the Nite Before the 500 for USAC midgets May 26 and Monster Mopar Weekend Sept. 21-23. Information: (317) 291-4090

• Indianapolis Motor Speedway — Adding to its already lofty international status, the Speedway will offer a pair of new events in 2012 including a second NASCAR show and sports cars on its road course.

Of course, the 500 remains the premier event with its timetable calling for Opening Day May 12, Pole Day qualifications May 19, Bump Day May 20, Carb Day May 25 and 500 May 27.

Brickyard 400 weekend offers NASCAR Nationwide practice July 26, Grand Am sport cars July 27, Nationwide race July 28 and Crown Royal Brickyard 400 July 29.

Red Bull Grand Prix Moto GP slate lists practice Aug. 17, qualifications Aug. 18 and the 2012 Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix Aug. 19. Information: (317) 492-8500

• Paragon Speedway — Weekly Saturday night racing at the true grass-roots stage, the3⁄8-mile dirt oval also will host specials with the AMVETS Post 200 May 19, King of Indiana Sprint series June 2, third annual Chuck Amati Classic June 23 and Mike Johnson Memorial Aug. 11. Information: (765) 537-9326

• Kokomo Motor Speedway — One of the nation’s longest-running short tracks, the quarter-mile oval will host the King of Indiana Sprints April 29, Kokomo Klassic May 27, World of Outlaws June 5, USAC Midget Week June 17, USAC Indiana Sprint Week July 17, USAC sprints Aug. 23-25 and Kokomo Klash V1 Oct. 19-20. Information: (765) 459-3877

• Tri-State Speedway — One of the country’s most highly regarded short track operations will present World of Outlaws April 21, MSCS/USAC sprints May 12, Hut Hundred USAC midgets June 2, UMP Late model Summer Nationals July 8, USAC Indiana Sprint Week July 21, MSCS Hoosier sprints Aug. 4, Haubstadt Hustler Sept. 15 and the MSCS Harvest Cup Oct. 6. Information: (812) 768-5995

• Winchester Speedway — The notorious high banks will present the Jegs CRA stocks All-Star Race May 6, Must See Xtreme sprints May 20, ARCA stocks June 23-24, Old Timers weekend Aug. 18-19 and 41st annual Winchester 400 Oct. 12-14. Information: (765) 584-9701

• Greater Salem Speedway — The historic half-mile oval will stage the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 April 28, Casey General Stores Spring Fest May 19, Touchstone Energy Midwest 200 June 16, Firecracker 200 Lucas Oil Great American Stock race July 4, Summer Short Track Showdown July 15, Short-Track Sun-Fun Festival Aug. 4, 53rd annual Joey James/Pat O’Connor Memorial Aug. 11 and ARCA stocks Fall Classic Sept. 15.

Fans are reminded that all dates are subject to change and to call ahead when threatening weather conditions exist. Information: (812) 883-6504

Joe Buckles can be reached at


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Auto Racing
  • Trackside: Valley race fans should be happy

    Whether your preference is non-wing sprint cars or late-model stock cars, this is the week that Wabash Valley race fans look forward to all summer.
    The best of the best is the only way to describe what will unfold this week at Valley ovals. First comes the continuation of the popular UMP Summer National “Hell Week” tour for late models and its annual stop at Terre Haute Action Track tonight. USAC’s Indiana Sprint Week opens later this weekend with stops at Gas City on Friday night, Kokomo on Saturday and Lawrenceburg on Sunday evening.

    July 8, 2014

  • Metro sports: Pounds among winners at Crossroads Dragway

    Ron Pound was one of the winners in Crossroads Dragway racing on Saturday.

    June 30, 2014

  • Trackside: Rising costs make Valley racing more difficult than ever

    The life and times of your weekly short-track racer has long lived up to the colorful and exciting ways coveted by those in the stands who gather each weekend to watch their favorite team or driver compete.
    While the weekly trek to the race track has always presented its challenges, the task in recent times has made those trips to the many dirt ovals across the country a little more difficult to make.

    June 24, 2014

  • Metro roundup: Lady Rex take Ohio softball tournament

    The Lady Rex 18u softball team had a 5-1 record over the weekend to win the Ohio Premier tournament.

    June 23, 2014

  • Trackside: Likable Dave Darland still chalking up victories at 48

    One of short-track racing’s all-time open-wheel greats continues to add to his growing legacy.
    When veteran racer Dave Darland rolled into victory lane at Lincoln Park Speedway last week, he notched his 94th USAC career win. Add the countless number of open-competition wins over the years and it’s easy to surmise the popular driver is approaching the lofty 200-win plateau.
    His latest checkered flag came in the USAC Indiana Midget Week show at the same 5⁄16-mile dirt oval where he cut his teeth in an open-cockpit car more than 30 years ago.

    June 18, 2014

  • Groomer among Lincoln Park winners; Bell, Abreu take Indiana Midget Week races

    Ralph Groomer was a feature winner in racing on Saturday at Lincoln Park Speedway.

    June 15, 2014

  • Trackside: Thumbs up given for upcoming Indiana Midget Week

    In his many years of serving in the public relation department for the U.S. Auto Club, Dick Jordan has developed a keen sense for rating the overall health and future of dirt-track open-wheel racing.
    So when the veteran publicist voices a note of guarded optimism for the running of an upcoming series, one knows something special looms on the horizon.

    June 10, 2014

  • Metro sports: Cassell wins Lawrence County title

    Chris Cassell put together two rounds of 4-under-par 68 for a two-shot victory for his first Albright Motors Lawrence County Open championship on Sunday.

    June 9, 2014

  • Metro: White wins mile, Sebastian 5K at TH Memorial Day events

    Nolan White won the mile run and Matthew Sebastian won the 5-kilometer walk during Terre Haute Parks Memorial Day events Monday at Deming Park.

    May 28, 2014

  • IndyCar Indy 500 Heli_Tayl.jpg Six former winners chasing Indy 500 championship

    Angst, frustration and heartbreak are all part of the lore of the Indianapolis 500, but when a driver finally takes the checkered flag, all of those words are quickly relegated to the back of their mind and replaced with pure joy. That emotion keeps bringing them back, and for the 98th running of the Indy 500, six former winners will chase that passion again.

    May 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Darland wins Hulman Classic for 50th trip to USAC victory lane

    For once, the Terre Haute Action Track and the U.S. Auto Club got a weather break Wednesday night, a window amidst threatening conditions to allow the 44th Tony Hulman Classic to go off without a serious hitch.
    Some might say Dave Darland got a break too, but most would agree instead that the veteran sprint car driver has learned to make his own breaks by this time. He won the Classic for the second time in his career — the first coming in 1993 — and is a three-time USAC winner this season while no one else has won more than once.

    May 21, 2014

  • Trackside: Tony Hulman Classic set for tonight at T.H. Action Track

    Looking for a potential dark horse winner in tonight’s scheduled running of the U.S. Auto Club-sanctioned running of the Tony Hulman Classic at the Terre Haute Action Track?
    The task is indeed a challenging one. The USAC sprint circuit offers some of the most competitive forms of racing anywhere in the country and picking a potential winner out of a field that has at least eight to 10 drivers capable of making it to victory lane is very much a guessing game.

    May 21, 2014

  • Unlikely duo on Indy GP pole

    Verizon IndyCar drivers in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis showcased rooster tails Friday as the rains came down for the Firestone Fast Six qualifying. Red flag conditions briefly halted the final session as officials stopped action for safety reasons.

    May 9, 2014

  • carpenter.jpg Owner-driver Ed Carpenter getting ready for Indy run

    Before too many pages get torn off the May calendar, IndyCar team owner and driver Ed Carpenter is trying to enjoy his free time away from race tracks.
    Wednesday afternoon was an example of that.
    The Wabash Valley native — born in Paris, Ill., and lived in Marshall, Ill., until he was 8 — signed autographs and granted media interviews while the car he drove in the 2008 Indianapolis 500 sat in the parking lot of the 500 Automotive Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership in Vermillion County.

    May 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drivers give thumbs up to Indy’s new road course

    IndyCar drivers were unified Wednesday: The new road course at Indianapolis is a whole lot better than the old one.

    April 30, 2014

  • Trackside: Track promoters realize rainy weather is part of territory

    The life and times of a race-track operator or promoter is sure to test the patience and character of any individual adventurous enough to journey into such a risky profession.
    Especially if your name is Bob Sargent or Reece O’Connor and your race dates are at the Terre Haute Action Track.

    April 29, 2014

  • SPT 051712 TYLER WAMPLER.jpg Metro roundup: ISU’s Wampler makes national watch list

    Indiana State’s Tyler Wampler has been named to the watch list for the 2014 Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year award.

    April 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2014 KISS Series opener today at Terre Haute Action Track

    When the 2014 King of Indiana Sprint Series gets underway today, it will be at one of the most challenging ovals on the schedule. The Terre Haute Action Track earned its name years ago.
    The Action Track is a big half mile, with sweeping turns and high-speed straightaways that demand the best from drivers, cars and crew. This may be illustrated by mentioning previous KISS winners at the Terre Haute oval — Jon Stanbrough (three times), Levi Jones, Tony Elliott, Shane Cottle and most recently Robert Ballou.

    April 26, 2014

  • bb8991b19af8b067e44478c_.jpg VIDEO: Windom seeking strong start to USAC Silver Crown Series at Action Track

    Chris Windom has big plans.
    Sure, the 23-year-old would like to make the ascent from success in the U.S. Auto Club to the fame and fortune of the larger racing series of NASCAR.
    The Canton, Ohio, native who makes his home in West Lafayette has his sights on a big USAC season in 2014. Windom was second in Silver Crown points in 2013 and ninth in the sprint series.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • Trackside: If weather cooperates, racers are set to start their engines

    With any assistance from the weather, the Wabash Valley motorsports season is expected to shift into high gear this weekend on several fronts.

    April 2, 2014

  • Jim Nabors at Indy 500.jpg Nabors to sing ‘Indiana’ one last time at IMS

    INDIANAPOLIS — Beloved actor-entertainer and legendary Indianapolis 500 icon Jim Nabors will sing “(Back Home Again in) Indiana” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the final time prior to the start of the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25. Watch YouTube Video

    March 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • gary bettenhausen.jpg Action Track great Gary Bettenhausen dies

    Gary Bettenhausen, a legend of the Terre Haute Action Track, has died at age 72.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kurt Busch to try Indy 500, Coca-Cola 600 on same day

    It’s been 10 years since a driver last attempted running both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, a feat so grueling that only Tony Stewart has successfully completed all 1,100 miles.
    Now Kurt Busch wants to give “the double” a try and he will have cars capable of winning both races.

    March 4, 2014

  • Kurt Busch 70 percent sure he’ll run in Indy 500

    Kurt Busch put his chances at “70 percent” at running the Indianapolis 500 this year because of recent developments that have pushed a potential program along.

    January 27, 2014

  • Doctors tell Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti he can no longer race

    Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti said Thursday that doctors have told him he can no longer race because of injuries sustained in an IndyCar crash last month.

    November 14, 2013

  • Trackside: Burns, Fitzpatrick provide fun moments at Putnamville

    In a season that has generated more than its share of down moments for Wabash Valley fans and racers, last Saturday’s “King of non-wing Sprints” program at Lincoln Park Speedway served notice that there are still a few positive storylines to be found in the wild and unpredictable sport of sprint-car racing.
    One such storyline unfolded this past weekend on the rough and challenging 5⁄16-mile Putnamville dirt oval. That’s where the runs of Eric Burns and Blake Fitzpatrick sent fans home feeling that if the season has to come to a close, it couldn’t end on a happier or brighter note.

    September 25, 2013

  • SPT 083113 MODIFIED.jpg Coons Jr. wins USAC Tony Hulman/Jim Hurtubise Classic at Action Track

    For all but one race during its 2013 racing season, the Terre Haute Action Track has taken a beating from Mother Nature.

    August 31, 2013 7 Photos

  • Trackside: Stewart proves versatility is one of his strongpoints

    At a time each summer when stock-car racing takes center stage in the heart of open-wheel racing territory, it was Tony Stewart who emerged the big winner last weekend.
    No, not Tony Stewart the race driver but Tony Stewart the owner. He’s the undisputed leader on two racing fronts — the car owner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series with Ryan Newman as his driver and the owner-operator of Eldora Speedway. The popular Indiana native posted impressive showings in both ventures.

    August 1, 2013

  • MET071513 track.jpg Precipitation has been unkind to Action Track in 2013

    Bob Sargent has seen it all and done it all in 30 years of motorsports track promotion. The Terre Haute Action Track promoter isn’t going to be fazed by much, but even he had to admit there is one thing that has sent a shiver down his spine in 2013.
    The weather forecasts. He was asked if watching the weather has given him anxiety in a wet year.
    “Sometimes,” Sargent chuckled. “But doing it this long, it becomes normal. I don’t if it’s nervousness so much as it’s frustrating. Rain is a big letdown.”

    July 17, 2013 2 Photos

  • Trackside: Sprint Week is fun week for USAC fans

    With three rounds down and four to go, the 2013 version of Indiana Sprint Week is ready to take center stage at the Terre Haute Action Track tonight — weather permitting, of course.
    It’s hard not to mention the elements when talking racing at the Action Track this season.
    Race organizers Reece O’Connor and Bob Sargent have felt the sting of Mother Nature worse than most Midwest promoters this spring and summer with all five of their scheduled shows washed out.

    July 17, 2013

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