News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

June 13, 2013

Trackside: Midgets could be on rise in Wabash Valley

TERRE HAUTE — With Indiana Midget Week taking center stage this week at Wabash Valley ovals, it’s time to talk midget racing.

More specifically, it’s time to examine its status in the Hoosier State and what the future might hold for one of open wheel’s most competitive but yet overlooked forms of racing.

It’s no secret the mighty, little midgets have suffered from hard times in recent years. Spiraling engine costs and resulting smaller car counts have led to a sharp reduction in the number of races for the midgets.

Terre Haute Action Track supporters of the midgets know first hand. They lost their popular Hut Hundred a few seasons back and hope of them returning to the local half-mile clay oval remains a question mark.

That’s the bad news.

Now the good news: There remains a glimmer of hope that the midgets just might make a resurgence. The ninth annual version of USAC Indiana Midget Week is bringing the small cars back to where they belong — the Indiana short tracks.

The series was slated to open up Wednesday night at Gas City, then go to Lincoln Park tonight, Bloomington on Friday, Lawrenceburg on Saturday and closes out at Kokomo on Sunday.

The midgets haven’t appeared at the Action Track since 2008 and there aren’t any immediate plans to bring them back any time soon according to promoter Bob Sargent. Although the veteran promoter is leaving the door open for a possible return.

“I’d like to say yes that we’ll have the midgets here in the future, but I can’t say that at this point. We’re only into our second year with the track,” Sargent voiced earlier this week.

“We try to give the fans what they want. We’ll just wait and see. It could happen,” he said.

The seasoned race organizer says there appears to be a rebirth of sorts for the midgets.

“We had 55 cars for our PowrI show this past weekend at our track in Macon [Ill.] as part of the Illinois Powrl Midget Week,” noted Sargent. “There were three races and from what I’ve been told, all three tracks had strong car counts and good fan turnouts.”

“I think we’ve seen sign of growth over the past five years for the midgets, USAC and PowrI are working close together to bring them [midgets] back. There’s still plenty of problems to work out, but I think we might be headed in the right direction.”

One of those problems is engine costs. Today’s midget powerplants can easy go for $35,000.

“They are very, very expensive. That can be a major concern, even for the bigger and better supported teams. It’s something that has to be addressed if we want to get it back to the way it used to be,” voiced the concerned Sargent.

The safety issue for the midgets at the bigger tracks also has been brought up in some circles. Sargent downplays that part of the problem.

“Racing can be dangerous no matter what you run or where you run. It’s just part of the sport. They [midgets] certainly run at tracks as fast or faster than what they would at the [Wabash Valley] Fairgrounds,” he mentioned.

The fan appeal or the lack thereof for the small cars has always been puzzling for promoters — how the bigger sprints can draw so well yet how the small but similar appearing midgets fail to get a fan crossover.

It goes the same for late models, which thrive in Illinois, but lack drawing power in Indiana. It can be the same scenario for the sprints versus the midgets.

“I think that all goes back to what the tracks run on a weekly basis. If they run the sprints like they do in Indiana, then sprint specials are going to draw better. It’s that way no matter what you run,” Sargent explained.

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

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
SPT071114  LL BB team.jpg

Tribune-Star/Jim Avelis Team effort: The North Terre Haute Little League All-Starts won the District 4 championship by beating Clinton 4-0 Friday evening.

  • Bradley’s stellar pitching helps TH North win District 4 title

    Jordan Bradley didn’t walk a batter until the sixth inning, scattering three hits in a shutout pitching performance to lead Terre Haute North to the District 4 championship with a 4-0 victory over a tough Clinton team.

    July 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Andy Amey: Just a small trip to talk about this time

    To paraphrase Carl Spackler, the heavy stuff’s not going to come for quite awhile. So while it’s true that I’m back from a week’s vacation, it’s not time — yet — for the big vacation column. Trips to Noblesville, Brunswick and Reelsville, while providing some nice family time, don’t really have the cachet to fill newspaper space.

    July 11, 2014

  • Pacers sign three free agents

    The Pacers couldn’t keep waiting around for Lance Stephenson to make up his mind. So on Friday, they went to work. The two-time Eastern Conference runner-ups announced they had signed three free agents — backup big man Lavoy Allen, swingman C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez, a sharp-shooting forward from Europe.

    July 11, 2014

  • Odum heads for Vegas with Kings summer team

    Terre Haute native Jake Odum scored three points in the Indiana Pacers’ 84-74 victory on Thursday over the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.

    July 11, 2014

  • Metro sports: Rosselli, Biechler capture Prospect League honors

    The Terre Haute Rex swept the Prospect League Player of the Week honors this week.

    July 11, 2014

  • Thoroughbreds complete race card at Martinsville

    Thoroughbred races were on Friday’s card to wind up four days of Illinois racing at the Martinsville Agricultural Fair. Horses owned by Bart Baird and Lance and Stacey Holsapple won all six of the thoroughbred races on the card with two other features run for ponies and mules.

    July 11, 2014

  • LeBron James says he’s returning to Cavaliers

    LeBron James is going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
    James told Sports Illustrated Friday that he’s decided to go home. It’s a move that would have seemed unfathomable four years ago, after the venomous fallout that followed his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat.

    July 11, 2014

  • Sports: What’s going on today

    July 11, 2014

  • SPT 071014 RAMER TROPHY.jpg Ramer, Kuppler claim junior city golf titles

    Megan Ramer and Colton Kuppler were two winners in the junior city golf tournament concluded Thursday in sunny, warm conditions at Rea Park.
    Both golfers claimed titles in the 15-17 age division for the first time while Ramer and Andrew Granda were two of the winners in the 2013 tournament.

    July 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rex return from All-Star break with a win at Danville

    The Terre Haute Rex returned to action on Thursday in winning fashion as they defeated Danville 4-1.

    July 11, 2014

Local Interest
High School
College
Sports Columns
Pro Sports
Terre Haute Rex
Colts
clark.jpg

Auto Racing
AP Auto Racing News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Raw: Militants, Israelis Exchange Rocket Fire Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Israel Widens Attack As Gaza Death Toll Rises Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
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