News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 17, 2012

TRACKSIDE: Successful season concludes at Terre Haute Action Track

Joe Buckles
Tribune-Star Correspondent

TERRE HAUTE — Another season of racing at the Terre Haute Action Track is now in the record books and from all indications it was a highly successful one.

This was according to those overseeing operations of the racing programs at the half-mile dirt facility.

Despite a troubled economy, fans turned out in adequate numbers to make the campaign a profitable one for Trackside Enterprises, which has promotional rights for the oval part of racing at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds.

With the final race hauler exiting the darkening pit area late Saturday night, track spokesperson Reece O’Connor took time to offer his assessment of the just-competed season and offer a glimpse at what 2013 might hold for the Action Track and its many fans.

“I’m happy with the way the year turned out. I’d like to have had more people here tonight and last night, but we knew were going up against football, the weather and a festival. But the racing was excellent both nights and I am happy with that,” O’Connor said.

“Overall, if I had to rate the way things went, I‘d give it a 10 out 10. The race fans and the businesses in this community gave us great support, so I’m really happy,” added O’Connor.

The veteran promoter who has drawn high praise throughout the racing community for the way all facets of his programs have gone here over the past two years.

Looking ahead, O’Connor says local fans can look forward to a carbon copy schedule-wise for what they saw in 2012.

“I’d say things will look pretty similar to what they were this year. The late models will be back and of course the non-wing sprints will continue to be a big part of what we do here,” noted O’Connor, who also promotes and operates the quarter-mile Kokomo Speedway.

With that said, O’Connor closed with a bit of potential good news for winged sprint car fans. He acknowledged that he and co-promoter Bob Sargent are currently in negotiations with World of Outlaws officials about getting a date for Terre Haute in 2013.

“We’ve talked. We’d like to have them here. They want to be here. Right now, we’re just talking. Nothing official. We’ll just see how things play out,” he cautioned.


n Pit notes — There’s nothing better than to see proud parents sharing the rewards and achievements of their sons who have chosen to make racing so much a part of their lives.

One didn’t have to look far to see several enjoying the moments in both the Jim Hurtubise Classic on Friday night and Sumar Classic the following evening.

It all started with the sprint-car qualifying session when young Braylon Fitzpatrick turned more than a few heads with his record-breaking run of 19.280 seconds that erased the mark set by J.J. Yeley back in 2003.

In between making final adjustments on his son’s sprinter just prior to the first heat, John Fitzpatrick took a moment to express pride for what his son had accomplished only moments earlier.

“This [Terre Haute] is where we always want to do our best. We’ve struggled here in the past, so it was certainly a good way to start the night. Not bad for a kid from West Terre Haute. There’s a lot of pride to go with this,” offered the obviously elated senior Fitzpatrick.

Swarmed by those offering well-deserved congratulations, Sam Stockon reflected on his son Chase’s near-flawless drive in winning the Hurtubise Classic. He’s watched his son mature as an all-around race driver while having to deal with his mother Laura’s death in August.

“In the middle of the year when Laura was sick, I stayed at home. Since then, he [Chase] has picked up the wrenches and now he knows what adjustments to make to the race car. He’s an all-around driver/mechanic now. We know Laura is looking over him and that helps a bunch,” confided the second-generation racer.

Bob East was equally proud of the way his son Bobby overwhelmed the Sumar Classic field in winning not only the 100-lap feature but the USAC Silver Crown driving title all in the same night.

“I’m really, really happy for him. He’s had a tough year. Now he can say he’s won on the dirt in the big cars, sprints and midgets. A great night. We couldn’t be happier with how the night went,” Bob East mentioned.


 Joe Buckles can be reached by e-mail at