By Richie Murray
Terre Haute, Indiana (September 9, 2019)………Friday’s Jim Hurtubise Classic begins a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car doubleheader weekend in the Hoosier state this Friday, September 13, at one of USAC’s longest-tenured venues, the Terre Haute Action Track, which hosted its first USAC Sprint Car event more than six decades ago, in 1957.
Friday’s race honors the most successful USAC Sprint Car driver in those early years at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds half-mile, Jim Hurtubise, who won five-straight between 1960 and 1962. “Herk,” a 1993 inductee into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, first had an event in his name at the Terre Haute Action Track in 1990, less than a year following his passing, a race won by Jack Hewitt.
This year, the event enters its 20th running with two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion Brady Bacon scoring the most recent victory at the Hurtubise Classic last September. Bacon has had a notable run of success in the event as one of three drivers to win the Hurtubise Classic on multiple occasions, first winning in the Fall of 2014 aboard the Dynamics, Inc. No. 69. The Terre Haute USAC one-lap track record holder from Broken Arrow, Okla. aims to become the first driver to pilot the Dynamics, Inc. to victory lane at Terre Haute twice following previous singular victories by Robbie Stanley (1993), Tracy Hines (2003) and Jerry Coons, Jr. (2010).
Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) is one of the three multiple-time Hurtubise Classic winners alongside Hewitt and Bacon, capturing three in 2011-2016-2017. With one more victory on Friday, he would surpass Hewitt as the winningest Hurtubise Classic driver of all-time. Windom has won four times overall in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car competition at Terre Haute and once in Silver Crown, plus his latest triumph there at the western Indiana dirt oval, scoring an MSCS win in August.
The very first win of Chase Stockon’s USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car career came right at Terre Haute during the 2012 Jim Hurtubise Classic. The current Fort Branch, Ind. resident who grew up in nearby Sullivan, Ind., has three USAC Sprint wins overall at Terre Haute, including the Tony Hulman Classic in May of this year. This Friday, he hopes to become USAC’s ultimate ironman. One more start would be his 285th consecutive with the USAC National Sprint Car division, surpassing Levi Jones for the longest such streak in series history.
Tyler Courtney was the victor in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car division’s most recent visit to Terre Haute in July during Indiana Sprint Week where he led the final nine laps for the victory. In fact, the Indianapolis, Ind. native swept the event, earning quick time in qualifying, winning his heat and pulling off the trifecta in the A-Main. Courtney has won three of the last five at Terre Haute and is the most recent winner in the series, in August at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway.
The last driver to win at Terre Haute before Courtney began his run of three out of five at the beginning of the 2018 season is Kevin Thomas, Jr. Thomas (Cullman, Ala.) has won twice at the Action Track in USAC National Sprint competition. He emerged victorious after a scintillating battle with Dave Darland during the final laps of the ISW round in 2013, then reigned supreme near the end of 2017. Like Courtney, he’s gunning for his first Hurtubise Classic win, where he finished 5th a year ago.
So is C.J. Leary, who’s stood in victory lane once before with USAC at Terre Haute after scoring his first career National series win in a Silver Crown car at the Sumar Classic in 2016. Leary was 9th and 6th in his two Terre Haute starts this year en route to the 121-point lead in the series standings he holds entering Friday’s race. The Greenfield, Ind. driver was quick time in qualifying at Terre Haute in May, one of his series-leading eight this year. He led the first five laps and finished 4th in the 2018 Hurtubise Classic.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) led 21 laps and finished 2nd in the series appearance at Terre Haute in July. He took 5th in May and is 4th in the series standings entering Friday’s event at Terre Haute where he has not yet won at in USAC competition. He owns two USAC National Sprint points-paying wins this season as well as a special event at Kokomo in August.
Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.), a winner in both USAC’s National Sprint Car and Midget series in 2019, earned a 7th place finish in his Terre Haute USAC Sprint Car debut in 2018. He was 10th in his first Hurtubise Classic appearance last Fall and took 7th again in his return to Terre Haute this past May.
Isaac Chapple (Willow Branch, Ind.) took 13th in his most recent Hurtubise Classic ride last September. The 2016 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year was the hard charger at Terre Haute back in May, finishing 10th. He was 12th during the series return in July and resides 10th in the series standings.
The 163rd USAC Sprint Car event at the Terre Haute Action Track will also have the DIRTcar Modifieds on hand. Pits open at 3pm Eastern, grandstands at 4pm and cars on track at 6:30pm. Adult grandstand tickets are $25 while adult infield tickets are $15. Kids 11 and under are free. Pit passes are $35 apiece.
The Jim Hurtubise Classic will have live, flag-to-flag coverage on FloRacing. You can listen to live audio of the broadcast for free on the USAC app or follow along with live updates
on https://www.facebook.com/usacracing/ and https://twitter.com/USACNation/ with live timing and scoring available on both the USAC and Race-Monitor apps.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-C.J. Leary-1,702, 2-Tyler Courtney-1,581, 3-Brady Bacon-1,564, 4-Justin Grant-1,525, 5-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-1,524, 6-Chris Windom-1,495, 7-Chase Stockon-1,472, 8-Jason McDougal-1,294, 9-Carson Short-1,273, 10-Isaac Chapple-991.
JIM HURTUBISE CLASSIC WINS:
1. (3) Jack Hewitt (1990-91-95) & Chris Windom (2011-16-17)
3. (2) Brady Bacon (2014-18)
4. (1) Robert Ballou (2015), Jerry Coons, Jr. (2013), Tony Elliott (1998), Tray House (1994), Tony Jones (1999), Rusty McClure (1992), Jon Stanbrough (2010), Robbie Stanley (1993), Chase Stockon (2012), Kevin Thomas (1996) & J.J. Yeley (1997)
TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINS:
(161 Points Races)
1. (8) Gary Bettenhausen & Jack Hewitt
3. (6) Bubby Jones, Sheldon Kinser & J.J. Yeley
6. (5) Jim Hurtubise, Levi Jones, Jon Stanbrough & Rich Vogler
10. (4) Bud Kaeding, Roger McCluskey & Chris Windom
13. (3) Don Branson, Steve Butler, Pancho Carter, Daron Clayton, Jerry Coons, Jr, Tyler Courtney, Jay Drake, Cary Faas, Tracy Hines, Rick Hood, Joe Saldana & Chase Stockon
25. (2) Brady Bacon, Robert Ballou, Rollie Beale, Tom Bigelow, Dave Darland, Cory Kruseman, Johnny Rutherford, Dick Tobias, Kevin Thomas, Jr., Bruce Walkup & Greg Weld
36. (1) Billy Cassella, Steve Chassey, Bryan Clauson, Mel Cornett, Larry Dickson, Ed Elisian, Tony Elliott, Aaron Farney, A.J. Foyt, Richard Griffin, Chuck Gurney, Tommy Hinnershitz, Tray House, Chet Johnson, Tony Jones, Doug Kalitta, Frankie Kerr, Steve Kinser, Eddie Leavitt, Andy Linden, Bobby Marshman, Charlie Masters, Rusty McClure, James McElreath, Jim McElreath, Jim McWithey, Jan Opperman, Terry Pletch, Larry Rice, Eddie Sachs, Sam Sessions, Ron Shuman, George Snider, Robbie Stanley, Brad Sweet, Kevin Thomas & Bobby Unser
**J.J. Yeley = 1 Non-Points Special Event Win