News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Trackside

May 12, 2010

Trackside: Rolling with Jon Stanbrough in Action Track’s season opener

TERRE HAUTE — If you’re looking to pick a winner for Saturday night’s season opener at the Terre Haute Action Track, look no farther than the familiar No. 53 Foxco Sprinter driven by Jon Stanbrough.

It’s a combination that has practically dominated the non-wing competition at the local half-mile clay in recent years — a winning trend that Stanbrough hopes to continue in the upcoming Don Smith Classic.

The Brownsburg-based operation is the defending race winner of the Midwest Sprint Car Series-sanctioned event and appears primed to continue its successful ways.

Stanbrough is already off to a fast start in 2010, having notched a pair of feature wins, including last weekend’s Mike Johnson Memorial at Paragon Speedway.

With nine Action Track feature wins to his credit, one would think Stanbrough is dialed into the track surface. That’s not totally true, according to one of open-wheel racing’s hottest drivers.

“Dirt tracks are never really the same,” explained Stanbrough, a two-time Hulman Classic victor. “They are constantly changing, even during an event. So it’s always a guessing game to a point.

“I drive the race track the way it is prepared. I don’t set myself as a one-style driver. I go to every race track with a good attitude. I try not to get involved emotionally if the track is hard-slick or heavy and rough.”

As for his success here, Stanbrough says it makes it easier pulling into Terre Haute knowing that on most nights his team is the one to beat.

“Obviously we enjoy coming here, what with the success we’ve had,” he noted. “It doesn’t hurt going in knowing that you might have the upper hand. You expect to win and that’s a big plus.”

What few fans don’t know is that Stanbrough first race locally was not in sprint but a stock car, a SAC stock car. “It had to be in ‘86 or ‘87,” he said of his Action Track debut.

“I think the first time in a sprint car was in the early ’90s. It’s a place I’ve enjoyed running at, what with all its tradition,” he added.

His first win here came in 2000.

“I don’t know what the success rate is for the guys down here [Terre Haute],” Stanbrough said, “but I’d like to come and add to my record. If I don’t have it [most wins, held by the late Rich Vogler with 13], I’d like add to what I have.”

Few, including the competition, will be betting against him.

• • •

• Hut 100 update —The weather was less than ideal, but from all indications last Saturday’s Hut Hundred midget classic run at Tri-State Speedway came off without a hitch.

Promoter Tom Helfrich couldn’t be happier with the way the night went. While the race was a little nippy weather-wise, it featured a full field of cars and some great racing.

“I can’t remember having a show that cold or windy over the past 20 years, but things went well. It was a great start to an event we want to build on,” offered the second-generation promoter.

Building for the future of the event weighs heavily on the future of midgets, something that is of major concern for promoters and fans alike.

Helfrich is encouraged with the cooperation shown by co-sanctioning bodies USAC and POWRi in keeping the Hut alive.

“I was really impressed with the continuity and cooperation there was between USAC and POWRi,” he said. “It was good to see both sides working together.

“With that continuity, we’re going to make this thing work. It was a great start. I was tickled with the great amount of interest shown after the race. We are already building for next year.”

• Car show success — A big tip of the hat goes to Terre Haute North High School for putting on yet another outstanding motorsports show.

Last week’s show may have been the last for its founder and longtime organizer Chuck Boehler, who will be retiring after 37 years of teaching at North.

The latest version of the show drew more than 70 entries. That’s a far cry from the meager six entries that showed for North’s first show 16 years ago.

While some expressed concern about the future of the show — with Boehler’s impending retirement — those close to the likable and hard-working educator know he isn’t about to totally abandon his prize project anytime soon.

One of the many drivers on hand was Terre Haute racer Daren Krockenberger. His sprinter was carrying the Dad Old Fashion Root Beer sponsorship livery.

His visit at North was one of a 15-stop Dads promotional tour that also included an Indy car machine.

It was nice to see Chuck Wallen at the show. It was his second day out after a lengthy and uncertain hospital stay over the past couple months.

Joe Buckles can be reached at jbuckles4@verizon.net.

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Trackside
  • Trackside: Valley race fans should be happy

    Whether your preference is non-wing sprint cars or late-model stock cars, this is the week that Wabash Valley race fans look forward to all summer.
    The best of the best is the only way to describe what will unfold this week at Valley ovals. First comes the continuation of the popular UMP Summer National “Hell Week” tour for late models and its annual stop at Terre Haute Action Track tonight. USAC’s Indiana Sprint Week opens later this weekend with stops at Gas City on Friday night, Kokomo on Saturday and Lawrenceburg on Sunday evening.

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  • Trackside: Rising costs make Valley racing more difficult than ever

    The life and times of your weekly short-track racer has long lived up to the colorful and exciting ways coveted by those in the stands who gather each weekend to watch their favorite team or driver compete.
    While the weekly trek to the race track has always presented its challenges, the task in recent times has made those trips to the many dirt ovals across the country a little more difficult to make.

    June 24, 2014

  • Trackside: Likable Dave Darland still chalking up victories at 48

    One of short-track racing’s all-time open-wheel greats continues to add to his growing legacy.
    When veteran racer Dave Darland rolled into victory lane at Lincoln Park Speedway last week, he notched his 94th USAC career win. Add the countless number of open-competition wins over the years and it’s easy to surmise the popular driver is approaching the lofty 200-win plateau.
    His latest checkered flag came in the USAC Indiana Midget Week show at the same 5⁄16-mile dirt oval where he cut his teeth in an open-cockpit car more than 30 years ago.

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  • Trackside: Thumbs up given for upcoming Indiana Midget Week

    In his many years of serving in the public relation department for the U.S. Auto Club, Dick Jordan has developed a keen sense for rating the overall health and future of dirt-track open-wheel racing.
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    The eyes of the racing world may have been focused on Indianapolis, Charlotte and Monte Carlo this past weekend. But for Terre Haute area fans and racers, the attention was directed at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds.
    That’s where activities at the Terre Haute Action Track and Crossroads Dragway took center stage. News and results surrounding shows at the two venues offered some encouraging news for the future of racing at the southside facilities.

    May 27, 2014

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    Looking for a potential dark horse winner in tonight’s scheduled running of the U.S. Auto Club-sanctioned running of the Tony Hulman Classic at the Terre Haute Action Track?
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    May 21, 2014

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    The life and times of a race-track operator or promoter is sure to test the patience and character of any individual adventurous enough to journey into such a risky profession.
    Especially if your name is Bob Sargent or Reece O’Connor and your race dates are at the Terre Haute Action Track.

    April 29, 2014

  • 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

  • bucklesphoto.jpg Joe Buckles: Fitzpatrick back on track, returns to winning ways

    Following a self-imposed hiatus from the Wabash Valley sprint-car scene for most of the summer, Fitzpatrick Racing out of West Terre Haute has returned to action and the results over the past two weekends have been nothing shy of spectacular.

    October 2, 2013 1 Photo

  • 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

  • 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.
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    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

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    June 20, 2013

  • Trackside: Midgets could be on rise in Wabash Valley

    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.

    June 13, 2013

  • TRACKSIDE: Bad weather gives time to reflect

    With weather-related issues continuing to plague the Wabash Valley racing scene, the lack of on-track activity presents an opportunity to offer an overall assessment of the 2013 campaign to date.

    June 6, 2013

  • TRACKSIDE: Burton’s death shows tragic side of racing

    The tragic chain of events that had unfolded the previous night at Bloomington Speedway had cast a pall over what should have been an enjoyable night of racing at LPS.

    Word had circulated the Putnam County racing facility that earlier in the day that young Josh Burton had succumbed to injuries from an accident the night before at Bloomington.

    May 29, 2013

  • TRACKSIDE: Chase Stockon hopes momentum stays with him in Terre Haute

    Momentum, an element that can be as elusive to a race driver as that perfect setup, can spell the difference in winning or running at the rear of the pack.
    It’s a force difficult to achieve and maybe even harder to maintain. One learns quickly to make the most of the opportunity when it comes his way.
    It’s something Chase Stockon will carry with him coming into today’s Jim Hurtubise Classic at the Terre Haute Action Track.
    Only days following the biggest victory of his young and promising career, the $10,000-to-win USAC feature at Lawrenceburg, Stockon followed that up with another rich payday this past weekend at Tri-State Speedway.

    October 12, 2012

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    Veteran sprint car driver Jon Stanbrough has never been one to hide his distaste for chasing point championships. It simply doesn’t bode well with his style of racing.

    August 30, 2012

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    The recent announcement from NASCAR regarding the approved body styles for the 2013 Sprint Cup Series follows extensive wind-tunnel testing that was a year in the making.

    August 17, 2012

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    One of the more impressive and welcomed storylines of the recently completed Indiana Sprint Week was the emergence of area driver Chase Stockon on the national sprint car scene.

    August 1, 2012

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    The 25th annual version of Indiana Sprint Week is now officially in the record books and the latest chapter will go down as one of the most successful in recent years.

    July 25, 2012

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    July 18, 2012

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    It is fittingly billed as “The Hell Tour” for many of the Midwest’s leading late model stock car drivers and their crews.

    July 12, 2012

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    In his roles as past driving champion and television analyst, Randy LaJoie has rightfully earned the reputation as a major contributor to the sport of auto racing.

    July 4, 2012

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    June 27, 2012

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    June 21, 2012

  • TRACKSIDE: USAC Midget Classic not nearly as revered as it once was

    It might be three years removed from its birthplace but the Hut Hundred USAC Midget Classic still holds a special place in the hearts of Wabash Valley racing buffs.

    June 6, 2012

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    May 31, 2012

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