By Linda Mansfield
GAS CITY, Ind., Sept. 23 — To commemorate the second annual “James Dean Classic” at Gas City I-69 Speedway on Thursday, a new, collectible event T-shirt has been produced to celebrate the iconic actor’s love of speed and passion for motorsports.
Last year’s inaugural event T-shirt sold out in 45 minutes.
Designed and produced by Charlotte-based SMI Properties, which produces all event souvenirs for Speedway Motorsports, Inc. and its eight NASCAR-sanctioned motorsports facilities, the T-shirt showcases a photo of Dean next to a pair of non-wing sprint cars with one carrying Dean’s last racing number, 130. It also includes a line “Dirt Track Rebels” and the speedway logo.
In addition to a sprint car, the back of the shirt features candid, family-provided photos of Dean, including one seated atop one of his early motorcycles and one of him driving his Porsche 550 Spyder, which was nicknamed “The Little Bastard.” Dean was killed in the car in a highway accident enroute to a sports car race in Salinas, Calif. on Sept. 30, 1955.
The “James Dean Classic” features the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series making their final appearance at the quarter-mile clay oval this season. The event is part of the annual James Dean Festival celebrated in the area. Dean was born in nearby Marion and raised approximately 15 miles from the speedway in Fairmount.
A limited run of the shirts will be available at the speedway’s gift shop on Thursday. If inventory is available, mail orders will be taken on Monday, Sept. 30. The shirt comes in black or heather blue in short- and long-sleeve versions, from small to 4XL. Black crewneck sweatshirts are also available.
Short-sleeve shirts from small to extra large sell for $20, while long-sleeve versions are priced at $25. An additional $2 is charged for sizes XXL to 4XL. Crewneck sweatshirts are priced at $35 for small through extra large with an additional $2 for 2XL-4XL.
Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Fairmount Historical Museum to preserve the history and artifacts of Dean’s life.
Tickets for the “James Dean Classic” are available at the speedway ticket office. Adult general admission is $25. Children 12 and under are admitted free. The speedway also offers free parking and camping for fans.
Spectator gates open at 4:30 p.m. and racing begins at 7:30 p.m.
Fans can get additional information on the track’s website at GasCityI69Speedway.com. Fans can also follow it on Facebook (@GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas), Twitter (@GasCitySpeedway) and Instagram (@GasCitySpeedway).