By Richie Murray
Indianapolis, Indiana (August 16, 2021)………We’ve seen the highlights. We’ve watched in awe. We’ve watched the highlights again and again and again.
The Stoops Pursuit race returns this Wednesday night, August 18, at The Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the unique 24-car, 25-lap race will conclude night one’s festivities for the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship’s Driven2SaveLives BC39 Powered By NOS Energy Drink at the quarter-mile dirt oval.
Back in 2019, Kyle Larson literally became the last man standing on the final lap of the Stoops Pursuit during the opening night of the BC39, surviving and thriving during the final five-lap stint in which just three drivers remained in contention: Larson, Justin Grant and Michael Pickens.
The trio entered the back straightaway on the final lap off turn two under a proverbial blanket. Pickens dove underneath Larson entering turn three on the final lap. As both went for the same piece of real estate at the entrance of turn three, Pickens’ right rear tire climbed Larson’s left front, sending Pickens flipping wildly and Larson into a 360 spin at the edge of the infield.
Moments later, Grant seemed to have a clear path to victory on the top side, but instead, banged his right rear tire off the turn three wall, sending himself into a series of barrel rolls against the concrete.
With a cloud of dirt kicked up from the infield and his car’s camber askew, Larson pointed his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian/Curb Records/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota in the right direction, tip-toed around the bottom of the fourth turn and gassed his way back to the finish line as the winner.
Now two years removed from that race, some highlight viewers still comment, “Why were there only three cars,” and so forth and so on.
The basic reasoning is that this is an event unlike any other in midget racing. The details are that it is a 25-lap race split into five 5-lap segments. The field will include 24 starters consisting of Wednesday night’s heat race winners plus the highest point earner from each heat, with promoter’s options starting at the rear.
The starting lineup is inverted by fastest heat race time. Every five laps, a competition yellow will be displayed. When the yellow flag is flown, all cars with a net loss in position, or that were stopped on track after being involved in an accident, will be eliminated from the event and called upon to pull to the infield.
A checkered flag ends the final segment, with the winner earning $1,500 plus $100 for each position gained.
Zeb Wise won the inaugural Stoops Pursuit in 2018 while Kyle Larson was victorious in the most recent edition in 2019.
The USAC Driven2SaveLives BC39 powered by NOS Energy Drink gets amped up on Tuesday, August 17, with the BC39 Draft Party where drivers will choose their heat race positions for the opening night of the BC39. The Draft Party will be held at the Brickyard Crossing located at 4400 W. 16th Street in Indianapolis, Ind. from 6-9pm ET. FloRacing will have live coverage of the draft beginning at 7pm.
On track action for the BC39 begins Wednesday, August 18, starting with pits/registration opening at 10am Eastern, followed by the drivers meeting in the IMS Media Room at 2pm Eastern. Public gates open at 3pm with cars hitting the track for practice at 5pm and opening ceremonies at 6:30pm. Heat races will begin at 7:30pm and the incredibly exciting Stoops Pursuit feature race will conclude the night’s racing action at 9pm.
The finale, on Thursday, August 19, will have pits/registration opening at 10am Eastern, public gates opening at 3pm and cars on track for practice at 4:30pm, with qualifying races to follow at 5:30pm. Opening ceremonies are slated for 7pm and immediately followed by the main feature events, starting with multiple 12-lap D-Mains, the 15-lap C-Main, the 20-lap semi-feature and the 39-lap main event.
Spectator tickets can be purchased directly at https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/events/usac/buy-tickets. Spectators are to enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway via 30th Street.