By Richie Murray
Speedway, Indiana (September 17, 2020)………Every now and then, a driver, car, and team are absolutely hooked up at a certain track, and for a time being, that combination becomes practically unbeatable there.
Tis the case in USAC Sprint Car history. One man who became synonymous with dominance at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track nearly six decades, is a name that still resonates today, Jim Hurtubise, a man who won five in a row at the western Indiana half-mile dirt oval between 1960 and 1962, cementing a legacy that brought him fame and ultimately brought him to induction in both the National Sprint Car and USAC Halls of Fame.
It is Hurtubise’s memory we honor this Friday night, September 18, when the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars make their way to the legendary Wabash Valley Fairgrounds track at Terre Haute for the 21st running of the event, an event which has resumed its place as an annual stop on the series’ calendar over the past decade.
No driver in the six decades since has surpassed “Herk’s” mark of five consecutive USAC Sprint Car wins at a single track. However, it has been equaled once back in 1979 when Steve Chassey and the Jet Rod Roadster terrorized the high banks with five-straight at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway.
Seven more drivers have rung up four-in-a-row in USAC Sprint Car competition at one singular track. While eight of the nine drivers who won at least four-straight at a venue did so at a half-mile track, impressively, Bryan Clauson achieved the feat on the quarter-mile Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway between 2013 and 2016.
The same year as Chassey’s Winchester run, Bubby Jones had a lockdown of Terre Haute for much of 1979, winning four consecutive USAC Sprint races, and also garnered a USAC Midget victory there amidst the stretch that year in the Hut 100.
Dave Steele was a wizard of the banks of Winchester with four-straight between 1998-99 for car owner Johnny Vance’s Aristocrat Products ride. Mike Bliss hammered the competition at Indianapolis Raceway Park, sweeping all four events there in 1994 aboard Glen Niebel’s V6-powered entry. Tracy Hines did likewise at IRP over two seasons in 2000-01 for Bob Gratton.
Robert Ballou shredded the Oval Nationals field in 2014-15 at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway, which bookended a memorable USAC National Sprint Car championship season for him during the 2015 season.
At press time, there are currently two ongoing streaks of three or more that remain active, and both involve Tyler Courtney. Courtney became the first driver to win four USAC Sprint Car races consecutively at Eldora Speedway between 2018-19. He also carries a three-race winning streak in the Western World Championships at Arizona Speedway throughout the 2018-19 campaigns.
Pits open for Friday’s Jim Hurtubise Classic at Indiana’s Terre Haute Action Track at 3pm Eastern with grandstands opening at 4pm, the drivers meeting at 6pm and hot laps at 6:30pm. Adult grandstand tickets are $25 while adult infield tickets are $15. Kids 11 and under are free when accompanied by a parent. Pit passes are $30 for members, $35 for non-members.
Saturday’s Haubstadt Hustler at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind. is a 50% capacity event. Adult general admission tickets are $25, students (ages 13-18) are $20 and 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at the gates. Pit passes are $35 apiece. Pits open Saturday at 3pm Central, with grandstands opening at 4pm and cars on track at 6pm.
You can watch Friday Hurtubise Classic and Saturday’s Haubstadt Hustler LIVE on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2Zs7zFP.
CONSECUTIVE USAC SPRINT CAR WINS AT ONE TRACK:
5 IN A ROW:
Jim Hurtubise – Terre Haute Action Track (1960-1962)
Steve Chassey – Winchester Speedway (1979-1979)
4 IN A ROW:
Bryan Clauson – Bloomington Speedway (2013-2016)
Tyler Courtney – Eldora Speedway (2018-Present)
Mike Bliss – Indianapolis Raceway Park (1994-1994)
Tracy Hines – Indianapolis Raceway Park (2000-2001)
Robert Ballou – Perris Auto Speedway (2014-2015)
Bubby Jones – Terre Haute Action Track (1979-1979)
Dave Steele – Winchester Speedway (1998-1999)
3 IN A ROW:
Tyler Courtney – Arizona Speedway (2018-Present)
Eric Gordon – Berlin Raceway (1990-1992)
Parnelli Jones – Dayton Speedway (1960-1961)
Jud Larson – Eldora Speedway (1964-1965)
Bubby Jones – Eldora Speedway (1978-1979)
Jack Hewitt – Eldora Speedway (1988-1988)
Steve Butler – Eldora Speedway (1988-1989)
Jack Hewitt – Eldora Speedway (1990-1991)
Brady Bacon – Grandview Speedway (2017-2019)
Tom Bigelow – Indiana State Fairgrounds (1977-1977)
Parnelli Jones – Indianapolis Raceway Park (1961-1961)
Dave Steele – Indianapolis Raceway Park (1997-1997)
Tracy Hines – Indianapolis Raceway Park (1998-1999)
Jack Hewitt – Kokomo Speedway (1984-1989)
Dave Darland – Kokomo Speedway (2013-2014)
Bobby East – Mansfield Motorsports Speedway (2003-2007)
Tom Bigelow – Minnesota State Fair Speedway (1974-1975)
Jud Larson – New Bremen Speedway (1964-1964)
Bubby Jones – New Bremen Speedway (1979-1979)
Mario Andretti – Oswego Speedway (1966-1967)
Gary Bettenhausen – Salem Speedway (1970-1971)
Rich Vogler – Salem Speedway (1978-1978)
Roger McCluskey – Terre Haute Action Track (1966-1966)
Gary Bettenhausen – Terre Haute Action Track (1968-1969)
Levi Jones – Terre Haute Action Track (2005-2005)
Rollie Beale – Toledo Speedway (1971-1972)
J.J. Yeley – Twin Cities Raceway Park (2002-2004)
A.J. Foyt – Williams Grove Speedway (1963-1964)
Pancho Carter – Winchester Speedway (1973-1974)
Pancho Carter – Winchester Speedway (1977-1978)
Robbie Stanley – Winchester Speedway (1993-1994)
Doug Kalitta – Winchester Speedway (1994-1994)
Tracy Hines – Winchester Speedway (1999-2000)