News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Auto Racing

October 5, 2011

It was a frigid ending to oval dirt track season

PUTNAMVILLE — The oval dirt track part of the 2011 Wabash Valley racing season came to a highly successful and climactic end over the weekend at Lincoln Park Speedway.

In a campaign that was surrounded in a season-long bout with near-record heat, the season finale came to an end late Saturday in cold and blustery conditions.

For those gathered, the conditions offered only a slight distraction to the heated on-track competition .

The 2011 season at LPS will rightfully go down as yet another highly successful year in the Putnam County facility’s climb back to respectability and popularity among the racers, fans and a visibly relieved and optimistic track operator Joe Spiker.

In his second year at the helm of the dirt oval, Spiker spoke in terms of optimism and appreciation for those who he says helped contribute to another successful chapter in the track’s continuing rejuvenation.

“I think we’re back on the map. I couldn’t be happier with the way the year has played out,” offered the elated Greencastle businessman.

When Spiker took over promotion rights to the track two years ago, he faced an uphill struggle to regain the confidence and support of the fans and competitors who had abandoned the track after years of neglect under previous management.

Spiker would be the first to admit that he and his wife Jill faced an uncertain future in their attempts to restore the track to its once popular status.

“There were many who had written Putnamville off.  People who said they would never come back. When you looked at the place it was easy to see why many felt that way,” conceded Spiker.

The task to get the weekly Saturday show back in favor with the racers hasn’t come without its moments. The season got off to a shaky start with the weather and deteriorating track conditions.

“Those first couple nights the track was terrible. Fortunately [the racers] had enough faith in us to keep coming back. Things are progressing. It’s encouraging to have the support we’ve had,” said Spiker.

With the roar of engines blaring in the background from the first portion of a hectic night of racing, Spiker offered his thoughts to what 2012 might have to offer to his loyal band of supporters.

A tentative 2012 schedule that he says will look much the same with possibility of an addition of few new specials.

“I like what I see with the USAC midget week. We’d like to get a Sprint Weeks show but I don’t know what’s going to happen there. I’m hoping to get some POWRi [midgets] and work with the MSCS again next year.”

“I’m just grateful for the way the people have come out. It’s something to build on for next year,” he added.

Shuman shines — If there was any driver happier and more appreciative of the rebounding fortunes of LPS, it is West Coast sprint car driver Casey Shuman.

Shuman was nearly untouchable at LPS over the summer, winning six features in a highly-competitive season that produced 13 different victors. What made Shuman’s effort even more noteworthy was that he drove to victory in five different cars.

Quite a remarkable feat in a time when the sport has become so specialized.

You won’t find a tougher competitor than Shuman. The son of legendary driver Ron Shuman is a born racer who will find a way to go racing. His resume of different rides over the past couple years bears this out.

“I’ve been lucky. I’ve probably had eight or nine rides this year. Kinda doing what I have to do to go racing. It’s so expensive not many [car owners] can do it full time anymore,” offered Shuman.

His bid to stay active has taken him all over the country. He returned home to run in Arizona last week and has traveled from  Pennsylvania to Florida throughout the year.

Jumping from ride to ride can provide its interesting, if not challenging moments. Something as simple as getting comfortable in a car can be a task.

“Sometimes you have to stuff pillows, blankets, whatever you’ve got to do to go racing,” confided Shuman.

More importantly the ride swapping means adjusting to ever-changing car setups and crew chiefs.

 “You really have to be versatile,” Shuman said. “Every car feels different. Every crew chief sets his car up different. We’ve pretty much been all over the spectrum with car setups.”

He’ll make 75 to 80 races over the long season. Not surprisingly, Lincoln Park has become one of his favorite stops.

“I really like this place. I think my first race here was in 1998. It’s always been one of my favorites. It was one of my dad’s favorites when he raced back here,” Shuman said.

Speaking of following in the footsteps of his father, considered one of the finest of his time, the second-generation racer says having a famous last name can have its pluses and minuses. It’s what one makes of it.

“Any pressure I had with the last name was what I put on myself. He’s Ron Shuman. I’m Casey. I just hope I can win a couple of those big races that he did. I’d be happy with that,” he said.

He says the racing at LPS can be as competitive as anywhere in the country. “Sometimes when you pull into this place it looks like a USAC show. That’s a credit to Joe Spiker and what he’s done for this place. It’s a credit to his work to get the guys back here.”

Joe Buckles can be reached at jbuckles4@frontier.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Auto Racing
  • Metro roundup: Post 346 rallies past Rockville

    Wayne Newton Post 346 scored a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to get past Rockville 6-3 in an American Legion baseball regional at Terre Haute North on Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Bigelow part of Action Track’s lifeblood

    Many things have changed since the Terre Haute Action Track opened in 1952, but the one constant is dirt.

    July 18, 2014

  • Metro: ISU graduate Johnson sixth in shot at Monaco

    Indiana State graduate Felisha Johnson competed in her first International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League track and field meeting Friday, placing sixth in a shot put competition that featured six of the top seven throwers in the world for 2014.

    July 18, 2014

  • SPT071614sprints clauson.jpg Clauson breaks Action Track drought in Don Smith Classic

    Bryan Clauson wins the Don Smith Classic at the Terre Haute Action Track.

    July 17, 2014 4 Photos

  • schrader.jpg Joe Buckles: New alliance features powerful figures trying to lower costs

    Possibly no off track developments involving NASCAR racing  over the past 20 to 30 years has generated as much interest and speculation as last week’s announcement regarding the formation of the new Race Team Alliance organization.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Riley 10s go 4-1, place second in state tourney

    Riley’s 10-and-under all-star team finished as runner-up over the weekend at the Cal Ripken baseball Central Indiana tournament.

    July 14, 2014

  • 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

Latest News
AP Auto Racing News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast Today in History for July 29th Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Fish Oil Plant Blast Kills One
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity