News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

September 25, 2013

Trackside: Burns, Fitzpatrick provide fun moments at Putnamville

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.

Fitzpatrick provided the large and appreciative fan turnout with a near-flawless winning drive in taking his first checkered flag of the year and Burns delivered probably the biggest upset and most popular win of the year.

Yes, Valley fans can now put behind them the countless number of rainouts and all the tragic events that plagued racing this summer and savor one good night at the race track in 2013.

While Fitzpatrick’s winning drive in the First Financial Sprinter garnered the biggest trophy and largest paycheck — and rightfully so — it was Burns’ improbable run that stole the limelight at night’s end.

If you’ve followed the area sprint-car scene over the years, you know that the pairs’ racing careers have little in common with the exception that are both proven winners.

Their route to success have taken different paths to victory lane — Fitzpatrick as the young, promising newcomer and Burns as the cagey veteran who over the years has earned the reputation of making the most out of the least of any driver to ever strap himself in a sprint car.

Burns’ latest venture in frugality just might be his best ever. The likable Clay County racer has the knack of taking second-hand parts and manufacturing them into a front-running piece of equipment, no matter what or where he might run.

The veteran Brazil racer has teamed with long-time supporter Doug Rolison to assemble his latest winning drive, one that had insiders questioning out loud how does the guy does it.

The competition was even more amazed when the pair revealed that their winning effort was put together in less than a month at a price tag of less than $2,500.

“We bought the car on Craigslist for $1,300 just for the parts,” revealed Rolison, who lives in Poland, Ind. “Eric had parts of a motor laying around, so we decided to put it together. The only thing new was probably the gaskets for the motor. We may have $2,100 total in it.

“You know 90 percent of the success in sprint-car racing is the driver. And Eric Burns can flat out drive a race car. We don’t have a lot of money, but we’re sure having a good time.”

After getting out of racing full time more than 10 years ago, Burns has made occasional track appearances to help a fellow racer dial in their race car. He hadn’t made it to victory lane in 12 years until Saturday night.

His latest approach to the sport is no different today than when he won track championships at Tri-State and Lincoln Park speedways back in 2000: Enjoy the moment and make the most out what you bring to the race track.

Surrounded by family members and many of his fellow racers, Burns took time to savor the moment minutes after his surprising win.

He conceded his feature lineup comprised mostly of many underfunded teams like his own and a number of younger drivers out to get valuable track time.

Although he had a vast amount of experience on the upstart field, the likable Brazil’s businessman wasn’t about to give back the winning trophy or winner’s check.

“I don’t care if it had been the third feature of the night. We had a blast. Probably the best part of the night — the kids [son Harley and daughter Destiny] got to see that their dad was still a guy capable of winning sprint-car races. … We went home with a winning race car, a trophy and the winner’s check. How can you ask for anything more than that?” questioned the smiling racer, who will turn 46 next month.

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

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Sports — What’s going on

    July 22, 2014

  • SPT072114 golf hug.jpg Total control: Welker posts eight birdies while dethroning 10-time city women’s golf champion Stuckey

    Rachel Welker is the 2014 Terre Haute Women’s Golf Association city champion. The former Terre Haute North standout defeated 10-time winner Cara Stuckey 5 and 4 in sunny, warm conditions Monday at Rea Park.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • SPT 061114 BROCK PITCH.jpg Game’s the same, no matter park’s name

    Maybe they should play this at Valle Field. It’s called Terre Haute Boys & Girls Club Park now, but the venerable ballpark was the site of some classic high school baseball regional games in the 1970s when coach Don Jennings and Terre Haute North’s local dynasty fought off stiff challenges from the best the rest of the Wabash Valley had to offer.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tom Reck: Brickyard 400 highlights big sports week

    It’s another busy week in sports. Two of the events on the schedule are the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the windup of the Show-Me’s/THGA men’s city golf tournament.

    July 21, 2014

  • Pacers sign Stuckey, face uphill battle

    Last week, the Indiana Pacers lost Lance Stephenson. On Monday, they replaced one of the NBA’s best young players with shooting guard Rodney Stuckey. It’s a swap that will make it a challenge for Indiana to win a third straight title in a division that might be the toughest in basketball.

    July 21, 2014

  • Metro: Former Miss Softball joins Purdue staff

    Terre Haute North graduate Megan Ciolli Bartlett, the state’s 2001 Miss Softball and a two-time All-American at Notre Dame, is joining the Purdue coaching staff.

    July 21, 2014

  • Metro Baseball: Both North Little League teams win, move on

    With their backs planted firmly against the wall, the Terre Haute North 12-year-olds kept their Little League state championship hopes alive Monday evening with a 5-1 victory over Franklin Township.

    July 21, 2014

  • Paris racing begins

    Dolly’s Girl was a first-time winner in Illinois harness racing on Monday at the Edgar County Fair.

    July 21, 2014

  • Sports — What’s going on

    July 21, 2014

  • ChadSmith.jpg Running a race against ALS

    Chad Smith carried himself with grace when racking up victories in track and field and cross country as an athlete at Sullivan High School, and later at the University of Southern Indiana.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Local Interest
High School
College
  • Metro: Former Miss Softball joins Purdue staff

    Terre Haute North graduate Megan Ciolli Bartlett, the state’s 2001 Miss Softball and a two-time All-American at Notre Dame, is joining the Purdue coaching staff.

    July 21, 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

  • ReedUK.jpg A.J. Reed makes it 5 for 5 in college baseball awards with Golden Spikes Award

    When it came down to it, college baseball’s electors agreed that there was no award Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed didn’t deserve for his remarkable 2014 season at Kentucky.
    Reed was selected Thursday as the 2014 Golden Spikes Award winner, given annually to the top amateur player in the nation by USA Baseball, making Reed a unanimous pick as the national player of the year.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • MVC to shift women's basketball tournament to Moline, Ill.

    The Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament will move 90 miles farther from Terre Haute beginning in 2016, the league announced Thursday.

    July 17, 2014

  • Metro: ISU-IU football game to be on ESPNEWS

    Indiana University announced Wednesday that the season opening game between Indiana State and IU will be played at noon on Sept. 30.

    July 16, 2014

Sports Columns
Pro Sports
Terre Haute Rex
Colts
clark.jpg

Auto Racing
AP Auto Racing News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Raw: Black Boxes of Downed Jetliner Turned Over Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Israeli Aircraft Hits Dozens of Gaza Targets Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror'
NDN Video
Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open
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
Real Estate News