News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

May 26, 2009

Trackside: Weather, quick race make for great 38th Hulman Classic

TERRE HAUTE — Over its storied 38-year history, the Tony Hulman Classic has had its share of losing bouts with the weatherman. Not so with the event’s latest running which played before a large crowd last week.

Making the strong spectator turnout even more surprising was the timing — a rare mid-week show that didn’t seem to deter those facing next day work or school schedules. The smoothly run show had the checkered flag waving at an accommodating 10:31 p.m.

The quick feature made for a great night for all involved, especially for Hulman Classic victor Levi Jones, winner of the race for the third time.

His near flawless performance notched him his sixth feature win at the local half-mile dirt oval. Of current day drivers that compete here regularly, only Jon Stanbrough’s seven wins ranks higher.

Fans fortunate enough to have followed the blossoming career of Jones over the years can quickly attest to the modesty of the Olney, Ill., hot shoe.

Although the 27-year-old has enjoyed his share of success in recent years Jones still appears more at ease behind the wheel of a race car than in front of a camera.

Over the rich history of the Classic, no driver sped to victory in a more impressive or dominating fashion than Jones did en route to becoming the first driver to post back-to-back Classic wins at Terre Haute.

Modesty aside, even Jones couldn’t conceal how well things went in the 30-lap feature. Those kind of nights don’t come around that often in the highly competitive ways of sprint car racing.

“That was a pretty nice race car out there tonight. You definitely had to hold on there at the end. This is how Terre Haute is supposed to be. Some ruts, some holes and slick spots. Thank goodness I’ve been working out a lot,” said a slimmed-down Jones moments following his win.

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