Harley Burns Wins the Tom Bigelow Classic at Gas City

Harley Burns. (Indy Racing Images photo)

From Linda Mansfield

GAS CITY, Ind. (June 24, 2022) — Racing legend Tom Bigelow always tries to help young drivers, so it was fitting that the winner of the 25-lap non-wing sprint car feature during the Tom Bigelow Classic Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway was a 20-year-old civil engineering student at Indiana State University. Harley Burns of Stearleyville, Ind., who won a Hoosier Auto Racing Fans (HARF) award for being the most improved driver last year, led the whole way in the non-stop race and had a whopping 5.147-second advantage over runner-up Tye Mihocko of Phoenix, Ariz., at the checkered.

Alex Watson of Columbus, Ohio took the lead on lap 18 and went on to win the 20-lap USAC SpeeD2 Midwest Thunder midget feature

Both Burns, who started fourth, and Dustin Ingle of Lima, Ohio, who started second, surprised defending track champion and polesitter Scotty Weir of Marion, Ind., at the start of the sprint car feature. Ingle took the initial lead with a move to the outside in Turn 1 at the start, and then Burns passed Ingle to the inside in Turn 4 to lead the first lap while Weir was relegated to third.

Weir passed Ingle for second on lap five. Five laps later Burns had a scary moment when he almost came to a screeching halt in Turn 4 due to a lapped car. But he continued to hold the lead, and on lap 13 Weir dropped from second to fifth, giving the runner-up spot to Cole Bodine of Rossville, Ind. Mihocko passed Colten Cottle of Kansas, Ill., for third on the following lap. The top five got further shaken up on lap 16, as both Mihocko and Cottle passed Bodine, but Burns was long gone with no yellows to tighten up the field. At the line it was Burns, Mihocko, Cottle, Bodine and Weir as the top-five finishers.

The winning car is a DRC chassis owned by Stacy Bussing that is powered by a J&D Performance engine. The car is sponsored by JKR, Britaero and Youngblood Farms, and it arrived at the track inside a bus.

There were three leaders of the D2 midget feature. Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Josh Yenser of Plain City, Ohio, who started second, broke away initially and had nearly a 1-second lead over the polesitter, 14-year-old Zach Wigal of Belpre, Ohio, when the fifth-place driver, Kyla Roell of Dillsboro, Ind., flipped high in the air between Turns 1 and 2. Roell, who is also 14, got out of her Beast/Honda under her own power, but it was a disappointing end to a promising evening that saw her win the second midget heat.

Yenser led the first four laps before Michael Magic of Indianapolis took over by charging under Yenser in Turn 2. Watson, who started ninth, was fifth by that point, but two laps later Watson passed 16-year-old Bryce Massingill of Troy, Ohio and Wigal to move into third place. On the following lap, lap number eight, both Watson and Massingill passed Yenser to make the top five Magic, Watson, Massingill, Yenser and Wigal.

At the halfway point on lap 10 Magic had a 1.157-second lead over Watson, but with only two laps to go Watson passed him and went on to win by 0.743 seconds. Stratton Briggs of Anna, Ohio came on late in the race to turn a sixth-place starting spot into a third-place finish. Massingill and Wigal rounded out the top five in a race that went non-stop after the red for Roell with one lap down.

Watson’s midget is sponsored by Erwin of Troy, Ohio; FK Rod Ends; Fuelab and LST.

Gas City I-69 Speedway
Gas City, Indiana
Friday, June 24, 2022

Non-Wing 410 Sprint Cars

1. Harley Burns (4)
2. Tye Mihocko (9)
3. Colten Cottle (10)
4. Cole Bodine (6)
5. Scotty Weir (1)
6. Zack Pretorius (3)
7. Tyler Hewitt (8)
8. Collin Grissom (11)
9. Ron Dennis (12)
10. Travis Hery (15)
11. Jack Hoyer (7)
12. Jack James (13)
13. Matt Goodnight (14)
14. Brayden Clark (16)
15. Bryar Schroeter (19)
16. Dustin Ingle (2)
17. Brady Click (18)
18. Dave Darland (5)
19. Dave Gross (17)

USAC Speed2 Midwest Thunder Midget Car Series

1. Alex Watson (9)
2. Michael Magic (4)
3. Stratton Briggs (6)
4. Bryce Massingill (12)
5. Zach Wigal (1)
6. Josh Yenser (2)
7. Cory Gingrich (3)
8. Ian Creager (11)
9. Carl Peterson (17)
10. Chris Gingrich (7)
11. Thomas Bigelow (18)
12. Jim Jones (10)
13. Cody Beard (8)
14. Chett Gehrke (19)
15. Wes Pinkerton (14)
16. Jakek Boxell (13)
17. Gunnar Lucius (16)
18. Taylor Nibert (15)
19. Kayla Roell (5)
DNS: Kyle Dager
DNS: Don Bigelow