The 50th running of the Tony Hulman Classic is expected to provide a season highlight for the Terre Haute Action Track on Wednesday evening.
Pits open at 3 p.m. with grandstands open at 4 and hot laps at 6:30pm. Tickets are on sale at usactickets.com and will also be available at the gate. The Scott’s Custom Colors DIRTcar Modifieds will also be in action. Plenty of space for social distancing is available in both the grandstands and on the infield.
AMA motorcycles raced here recently, but Wednesday night is the first card of auto racing at the track.
"We're pretty pumped up," said Adam Mackey of Track Enterprises. "It will be nice to get back to actual stock-car racing."
Few events on the United States Auto Club calendar have the history or longevity of the Tony Hulman Classic.
Just last year, Sullivan County native Chase Stockon broke through to capture his first win in the Hulman Classic.
The win gave the veteran driver the rare trifecta at Terre Haute by winning the “big three” USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car races in his career: the Don Smith Classic, the Jim Hurtubise Classic and the Hulman Classic, a feat that only he and Chris Windom have accomplished in their careers.
Stockon was fifth in the 2014 Classic, third in 2017, fifth again in 2018 and then won last summer.
Windom was second in 2015, fifth in 2016, second in 2017, fourth in 2018 and second last year. He was the youngest winner of the Classic in 2011 and leads all expected entrants with four THAT wins.
Cary Faas (1992-94-98) and Levi Jones (2005-08-09) are the only three-time winners of the Hulman Classic, but Dave Darland is among those who have two wins to their credit.
Darland earned his first of the all-time best 62 USAC wins in the 1993 Classic and won again in 2014. He's started more Hulman Classics than any other driver (24) and has 10 top-five finishes.
Kevin Thomas Jr. won the 2017 running of the Tony Hulman Classic and has had his share of front running efforts over the past decade in the event with runner-up results in both 2014 and 2018. He also won once more at Terre Haute back in 2013 during Indiana Sprint Week in a tenacious last lap battle with Darland. In the 2019 event, Thomas won his heat race and was running seventh in the feature when he suffered a mechanical failure, which forced him to drop out and finish 18th.
Brady Bacon recorded the fastest time ever by a USAC sprint car at Terre Haute in 2014, a 19.225-second lap around the half-mile. The two-time USAC National Sprint Car champion (2014 and 2016) and two-time Terre Haute USAC Sprint winner (2014 and 2018) is seeking a first Hulman Classic triumph after four career top-four runs: second (2013), third (2014) and fourth (2016-2017). He finished sixth in 2019.
C.J. Leary was the fastest qualifier at the Hulman Classic in 2019 at 19.750 seconds but has yet to record a top-five finish in his Hulman Classic career. The defending USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion knows how to get around the place as evidenced by his 2016 Silver Crown score at the Terre Haute Action Track. His ninth-place finish in last year’s Hulman Classic was a rare aberration outside the top-five all season. He was running fourth with eight laps remaining when his right rear tire went flat. After swapping it out for new rubber, Leary stormed from the back of the pack to finish just inside the top 10.
Like Leary, Justin Grant is a past Silver Crown winner at Terre Haute, capturing the headlines in a 2018 victory there. The current USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader finally broke through in a USAC Sprint Car at Terre Haute in the series’ most recent trip there in September 2019. His lone top-five in the Hulman Classic also came a year ago, a 5th in 2019.
One-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car winner Carson Short just recently became a first-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car winner on June 19 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, the same location as his USAC win as well. In last year’s Hulman Classic, Short won his heat race and started the feature from the pole position. He was running seventh in the feature nearing midway when his car stopped on the track. Once he restarted, he brought himself back to an eighth-place result at the checkered.
Shane Cottle has had a long successful career that has taken him to the pinnacle of victory lane with all three of USAC’s national divisions. His run of Hulman Classic successes has been steady and consistent over the last 14 years with four career top-fives in the event and a best of third in 2018.
Adult grandstands tickets are $25, while children 11 and under get in for free. Adult infield tickets are just $15. Pit passes for members are $30 for members and $35 for non-members.