Two significant announcements were finalized today regarding the 2015 AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car schedule, honoring two of the most storied names in the sport’s history.
Jim Hurtubise, who will be posthumously inducted into USAC’s Hall of Fame July 25, will be remembered once again at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track on September 18 with the running of the “Jim Hurtubise Classic.”
The April 26 “Weld Racing Spring Classic” marks a return for the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Cars to fabled Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kans. for the first time in 14 years. It’s the final leg of a three-race swing through the nation’s heartland that starts with races at Eagle, Neb. April 24 and McCool Junction, Neb. April 25. The last Lakeside USAC Sprint races in 2001 were won by Tony Elliott and J.J. Yeley.
Hurtubise, whose legend is nationwide, accomplished something no other driver ever did, winning five consecutive USAC Sprint races at Terre Haute between 1960 and 1962. Bubby Jones came close, winning four in a row in 1979, and Roger McCluskey, Gary Bettenhausen and Levi Jones all put three in a row together but Hurtubise, who was never able to claim a USAC title, stands alone.
Hurtubise, who failed to crack the “top-10” despite 10 starts in the Indianapolis 500, earned 18 USAC Sprint car wins during his career and is remembered for his spectacular “rookie” qualifying run at Indy in 1960 when he became the first driver to flirt with the magic 150-mph mark at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He passed away in 1989.
Former winners of the “Jim Hurtubise Classic” are Jack Hewitt (1990-91 and 1995), Rusty McClure (1992), Robbie Stanley (1993), Tray House (1994), Kevin Thomas (1996), J.J. Yeley (1997), Tony Elliott (1998), Jon Stanbrough (2010), Chris Windom (2011), Chase Stockon (2012), Jerry Coons Jr. (2013) and Brady Bacon (2014).
Weld Racing has long been a supporter of USAC activities and remains an integral part of American short-track motorsports. In addition to its title sponsorship of the April 26 race Weld Racing will host the racing fraternity at a special pre-race appreciation party, with more details to be released soon.
Greg Weld, USAC’s 1967 National Sprint Car Champion who won a race at Lakeside during his championship season, passed away in 2008. He was the last driver to drive the famed Novi at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in 1966. His brother Kenny, who passed away in 1997, is also listed among USAC’s National Sprint Car winners. Both were also champions at the prestigious Knoxville Nationals Sprint race in Iowa.
USAC’s AMSOIL National Sprint Car series resumes this Saturday night at the famed Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.