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
  • 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

  • Track opener is facing another iffy forecast

    Two of the biggest challenges facing race organizers are the constant bouts with the always unpredictable ways of the weather and trying to please the insatiable appetites of a fickle fan base.

    July 10, 2013

  • TRACKSIDE: Crossroads Dragway hoping to build off big event

    It was a day of firsts at Crossroads Dragway this past weekend.
    No, not because the sun actually made its first all-day appearance of the season at the drag-racing facility, but for the unveiling of a new racing format that just might alter the looks of 1/8-mile member track NHRA bracket racing.

    June 26, 2013

  • SPT062013racing clauson.jpg Metro roundup: For 2nd time, Hulman Classic postponed

    Qualifying laps had concluded for the 43rd running of the Tony Hulman Classic on Friday when the weather struck for the third time this season — second time for the Classic — at the Terre Haute Action Track.

    June 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • stockon in action.jpg Hulman Classic on Friday at Action Track

    With rainouts having postponed his only two Terre Haute Action Track cards so far in 2013, promoter Bob Sargent remains optimistic about the rescheduled Tony Hulman Classic for U.S. Auto Club sprint cars taking place Friday night.

    June 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Finding best talent the key to all sports, including auto racing

    The success of any sporting franchise often rests with the ability of owners to find and mold talent into a winning combination.

    June 20, 2013

  • SPT 052613 KANAAN KISS.jpg Kanaan can: Tony Kanaan finally wins Indy 500, ends heartbreak

    Tony Kanaan had been so close so many times in the Indianapolis 500 until Sunday. Now he’s a winner.

    May 27, 2013 2 Photos

  • SPT 052613 KANAAN KNEES.jpg Crowd, competitors erupt in celebration for Brazilian driver

    Tony Kanaan has always been philosophical about his not winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    May 27, 2013 2 Photos

  • Rookies fare well in 97th running of the Indy 500

    Rookies did real well in the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    May 27, 2013

  • IndyCar Indy 500 Auto_Tayl.jpg 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.

    May 25, 2013 4 Photos

  • 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.

    May 24, 2013

  • 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.

    May 22, 2013

  • 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.

    May 19, 2013

  • 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.

    May 19, 2013

  • 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.

    May 8, 2013

  • 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.

    May 3, 2013

  • 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.

    May 1, 2013

  • 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.

    October 15, 2012

  • 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.

    October 12, 2012

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions
NDN Video
Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies
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