By Richie Murray
Brownsburg, Indiana (August 12, 2021)………The highest-paying Sprint Car race ever held at Lucas Oil Raceway is set to hit this Saturday night, August 14, as part of the inaugural Hoosier Classic tripleheader at the .686-mile paved oval in Brownsburg, Ind.
The Sprint Car portion of the show is a non-points paying evening for USAC. But what it doesn’t pay in points will certainly be made up in terms of money with $10,000 going to the winner of the 50-lap feature.
The 82nd Sprint Car event held at Lucas Oil Raceway under the USAC banner will be just the third such feature that is 50 laps in length, and the first in more than a half century.
Parnelli Jones won the first 50-lap USAC Sprint Car feature at Lucas Oil Raceway, then known as Indianapolis Raceway Park, in 1961. A.J. Foyt followed Parnelli with a 50-lap score in 1962 while Gary Bettenhausen won the most recent in 1970.
Bobby Santos (Franklin, Mass.) owns four sprint car victories at LOR in 2006, 2007, 2011 and again in June of 2021. He led all 40 laps after earning fast qualifying time back in June and owns 11 all-time USAC victories at LOR with four each coming in the Sprint Car and Silver Crown cars, and three in the midget.
Kody, meanwhile, shares the same amount of victories as Santos at LOR with 11 in his career. Swanson (Kingsburg, Calif.) swept the night in 2020 with the sprint car at LOR, setting quick time and winning the feature, then finished 2nd to Santos in June of this year. Among Swanson’s 11 LOR wins are six in Silver Crown, three in midgets and twice in a sprint car, the first of which came in 2011.
Tanner Swanson (Kingsburg, Calif.) has won at LOR seven times overall – six in Silver Crown and once in midgets – but never before in a sprint car. He’s finished 2nd and 3rd in USAC National Sprint Car competition at LOR in 2011 and was 5th there in 2020. His Nolen Racing ride was victorious with his older brother Kody at the controls in 2020.
Russ Gamester (Peru, Ind.) has been a winner at LOR in a USAC Silver Crown car on a sun-drenched afternoon back in August of 2000. In his latest sprint car appearance at LOR in 2020, he was 19th.
USAC Triple Crown champion Jerry Coons Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) has knocked on the door for quite awhile to break through for a first LOR victory, finishing as the runner-up on two occasions with the USAC Sprint Cars there in 2010. Likewise for Aaron Pierce (Muncie, Ind.) who took 2nd in the 2020 Sprint Car race.
The Little 500’s 2021 winner at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway, Tyler Roahrig (Plymouth, Ind.), has made two sprint car starts at LOR, finishing 4th in 2020 and 10th in 2021. Billy Wease (Noblesville, Ind.) scored a podium with a 3rd in June of this year and also garnered a 7th in 2020.
Derek Bischak (Angola, Ind.) and Dakoda Armstrong (New Castle, Ind.) were both top-five finishers back in June with Bischak earning a 4th and Armstrong 5th. Finishing just behind them in order of June’s feature finish who are also returning for Saturday’s race, are Shirley, Indiana’s Brian Vaughn (6th) and Beech Grove, Indiana’s Kyle O’Gara (7th). Meanwhile, Travis Welpott (Pendleton, Ind.) was 10th in 2020 while last year’s USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year Bryan Gossel (Fort Collins, Colo.) was 11th.
Returning to the lineup for a shot at another Sprint Car start Saturday at LOR are June starters, Shelby Township, Michigan’s Taylor Ferns (11th), Denver, Indiana’s Justin Harper (14th) and Elwood, Indiana’s Jake McElfresh (15th), plus 2020 starters, Tampa, Florida’s Joe Liguori (12th), Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Teddy Alberts (14th), Warsaw, Indiana’s Chris Jagger (17th), New Haven, Indiana’s Chris Neuenschwander (21st) and Danville, Indiana’s Nick Hamilton (22nd).
Aiming for first LOR Sprint Car starts are Kyle Robbins (New Castle, Ind.) and Caleb Armstrong (New Castle, Ind.), both of whom are past USAC Silver Crown Rookies of the Year, Robbins in 2018 and Armstrong in 2014. Tony Main (Farmland, Ind.) and Mark Hall (Frankton, Ind.) are both Little 500 veterans with extensive pavement experience and are both charging after their first start at LOR.
The inaugural Hoosier Classic will feature all three open wheel divisions back-to-back-to-back under the Saturday night lights, concluding with a $10,000-to-win 50-lap Championship Sprint Car feature, followed by a $10,000-to-win 50-lap Browns Oil Champion Midget feature and the grand finale, a 100-lap USAC Silver Crown race paying $12,000-to-win.
Saturday’s schedule will have the gates opening at 11am Eastern, followed by the drivers meeting at 2:50pm; stands opening at 3pm; sprint car practice at 3:30pm; midget practice at 4:20pm; USAC Silver Crown practice at 5:10pm; sprint car qualifying at 6pm; midget qualifying at 6:45pm; Silver Crown qualifying at 7:30pm; and opening ceremonies at 8:05pm.
Main events get underway at 8:30pm Eastern, leading off with the sprint car feature followed by the midget feature at 9:15pm and the USAC Silver Crown feature at 10pm.
The 2021 Hoosier Classic trifecta will also feature drivers competing on The Oval at Lucas Oil Raceway for their shot at taking home a staggering $100,000.
The Fatheadz $100K Challenge is up for grabs to anyone that can win all three of the Hoosier Classic races (Sprint, Midget and USAC Silver Crown). If a driver and team can win two of those three events, they will collect $50,000.
The addition of these prizes instantly elevates what was going to be the biggest payday in grassroots pavement open-wheel racing to now another stratosphere with a potential winner taking home a total of $132,000 for winning three big races over the course of one night.
Hoosier Classic tickets are now on sale at www.bit.ly/HoosierClassic. General admission tickets are $25, with children age 12 and under free. Pit passes are $35.
Friday’s Hoosier Classic tickets will be honored for Saturday admission, and original ticketholders will be contacted by the Lucas Oil Raceway ticketing team. Camping will still open on Thursday, August 12.
The Hoosier Classic will be aired live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2ZpafUr.
HOOSIER CLASSIC SPRINT CAR ENTRY LIST:
1 DAKODA ARMSTRONG/New Castle, IN (Armstrong)
4 TANNER SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA (Nolen)
5 TYLER ROAHRIG/Plymouth, IN (Klatt)
6G BRYAN GOSSEL/Fort Collins, CO (Gossel)
7 KYLE ROBBINS/New Castle, IN (KR)
7c CALEB ARMSTRONG/New Castle, IN (Neal)
10 CHRIS NEUENSCHWANDER/New Haven, IN (Neuenschwander)
12 JAKE McELFRESH/Elwood, IN (Powell)
12w BILLY WEASE/Noblesville, IN (Wease)
13 JOE LIGUORI/Tampa, FL (Liguori)
18 TRAVIS WELPOTT/Pendleton, IN (Welpott)
22 BOBBY SANTOS/Franklin, MA (DJ)
26 AARON PIERCE/Muncie, IN (Pierce)
27J CHRIS JAGGER/Warsaw, IN (Jagger)
31 DEREK BISCHAK/Angola, IN (Bischak)
32 NICK HAMILTON/Danville, IN (Hamilton)
44 TEDDY ALBERTS/Grand Rapids, MI (Alberts)
45 MARK HALL/Frankton, IN (Hall)
51 RUSS GAMESTER/Peru, IN (Gamester)
53 JUSTIN HARPER/Denver, IN (TCJ)
55 TAYLOR FERNS/Shelby Township, MI (Ferns)
64 JERRY COONS JR./Tucson, AZ (Brewer)
67 KYLE O’GARA/Beech Grove, IN (SFHR)
71 BRIAN VAUGHN/Shirley, IN (Vaughn)
74 TONY MAIN/Farmland, IN (Main)
77 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA (Doran)
ALL-TIME LUCAS OIL RACEWAY USAC SPRINT CAR WINS:
4-Parnelli Jones & Bobby Santos
3-Tom Bigelow, Pancho Carter, Eric Gordon, Tony Stewart & Rich Vogler
2-Steve Butler, A.J. Foyt, Shane Hmiel, Kenny Irwin Jr., Gene Lee Gibson, Jason McCord, Andy Michner & Kody Swanson
1-Rollie Beale, Gary Bettenhausen, Jeff Bloom, Don Branson, Dana Carter, Billy Cassella, Steve Chassey, Bobby East, Bob Frey, Jeff Gordon, Wayne Hammond, Bubby Jones, Jim Keeker, Sheldon Kinser, Lee Kunzman, Jim Mahoney, Roger McCluskey, Lee Osborne, Sammy Sessions, Greg Staab, Brian Tyler, Greg Weld & J.J. Yeley