By Dick Jordan
Sunshine in a USAC victory lane ceremony at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track has been absent for 18 years. That should be revived July 3 when the “Sumar Classic 100” TRAXXAS USAC Silver Crown presented by First Financial Bank race unfolds on one of America’s most storied half-mile dirt ovals.
The first daytime USAC race at Terre Haute since 1993 also affords spectators a bit of déjà vu, with cars pitting in the infield, a tradition which helped popularize the famed Terre Haute oval. Fans will be able to get up-close to the drivers and machines during the activities with infield access.
USAC Silver Crown racing at Terre Haute actually pre-dates the “Sumar Classic 100,” with Gary Bettenhausen winning a 100-lapper there in 1980.
The Terre Haute oval has played host to 224 USAC races since 1956. Earl Motter won the 100-lap Midget race that day and Gary’s father, Tony Bettenhausen, won the “Hut Hundred” seven weeks later.
Bettenhausen ranks third on the all-time Terre Haute winner’s list, with 10 victories. Rich Vogler posted 13 and Jack Hewitt 11. Levi Jones leads active drivers with six total wins, including last year’s “Sumar Classic 100.”
Tony Stewart was the last USAC driver to pull into Terre Haute’s victory lane in daylight, winning the 1993 “Hut Hundred” in car owner Rollie Helmling’s Midget. The 12 previous runnings of the “Sumar Classic 100” have all been conducted under the lights.
Former winners of the “Sumar Classic 100” are Donnie Beechler (1995 and 1997), Kevin Thomas (1996), Tony Elliott (1998 and 2002), Jack Hewitt (1999), J.J. Yeley (2003), Brian Tyler (2004), Josh Wise (2005), Bud Kaeding (2006), Dave Darland (2008) and Jones.
Bobby East of Brownsburg, Ind. repeated his dominance of USAC’s TRAXXAS Silver Crown Championship Series with another virtuoso performance in Friday night’s 100-lap Casey’s General Stores USAC Triple Crown” race at Iowa Speedway presented by Pioneer Hi-Bred First Class Credit Union & Boyer Petroleum. East started third but caught Tanner Swanson on lap 33 and motored away from the field.
After winning last week’s race at Milwaukee, Wisc. by a half-lap, he won this race by three-quarters of a lap in his Klatt Motorsports/East Enterprises Beast/Ford. Bobby Santos III came from 16th starting spot to take second ahead of Kyle Larson, Swanson and Bud Kaeding.
The victory leaves East 11 points behind Jerry Coons Jr. in the new series standings going into Sunday’s “Sumar Classic 100” at Terre Haute, Ind. Coons finished seventh in Friday’s race. Brad Sweet won the pole for Friday’s race at 144.039 mph. and East averaged 135.220 mph for the 100 laps which were run without a caution flag! Sweet finished 10th after leading the first 24 laps.
USAC TRAXXAS SILVER CROWN POINT STANDINGS
1-Jerry Coons Jr.-159; 2-Bobby East-148; 3-Tanner Swanson-147; 4-Bud Kaeding-144; 5-Levi Jones-141; 6-Kyle Larson-125; 7-Brian Tyler-111; 8-Bobby Santos III-108; 9-Tracy Hines-92; 10-Zach Daum-87.