TONY HULMAN CLASSIC CELEBRATES 50 YEARS JULY 1ST AT TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Terre Haute, Indiana (June 25, 2020)………Few events on the USAC calendar have a history as rich or has the longevity of the Tony Hulman Classic at western Indiana’s legendary Terre Haute Action Track.

The milestone 50th annual running of the Scott’s Custom Colors Tony Hulman Classic arrives at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds half-mile on Wednesday night, July 1 with the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship.  It’s an event that boasts a venerable cast of characters who’ve held the coveted rifle in victory lane each year since 1971. The Scott’s Custom Colors DIRTcar Modifieds will also be in action.

Just last year, the ultimate ironman of the series, Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.), broke through to capture his first win in the Tony Hulman Classic.

The win gave the veteran driver, who grew up in nearby Sullivan, Ind., the rare trifecta at Terre Haute by winning the “big three” USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car races in his career: the Don Smith Classic, the Jim Hurtubise Classic and the Hulman Classic, an exemplary feat that only he and Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) have accomplished in their careers.

Stockon has been consistently consistent, so to speak, at the Hulman Classic in recent years with a 5th in 2014, then stringing together a current run of top-five finishes in each of his past three starts in the event: a 3rd in 2017, a 5th in 2018 and a victory in 2019.   Again, he and Windom are the only two drivers in that club as well with Windom notching five top-fives in a row: a 2nd in 2015, a 5th in 2016, 2nd again in 2017, 4th in 2018 and another 2nd in 2019 at the Hulman Classic.

Windom (Canton, Ill.) leads all expected entrants with four career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature wins at Terre Haute.  The 2017 USAC National Sprint Car champ has also tasted victory with the USAC Silver Crown division at Terre Haute in the 2017 Sumar Classic.  At the Hulman, though, his prowess dates back more than a decade with a 5th place run in 2009.  In 2011, he became the youngest ever Hulman Classic winner at the age of 20, a record still stands to this day.

Cary Faas (1992-94-98) and Levi Jones (2005-08-09) are the only three-time winners of the Hulman Classic.  Dave Darland (Lincoln, Ind.) is among those who have two wins to their credit.  His first Hulman Classic win in 1993 proved to be monumental as it was the first career USAC victory for the Triple Crown champ who’d ultimately become the series’ winningest driver with 62.  He’d win again 21 years later in 2014.  He’s started more Hulman Classics than any other driver (24) and has finished nearly half of them (10) inside the top-five: 1st (1993 & 2014), 2nd (1992), 3rd (1997-2010-2015), 4th (1996) and 5th (1995-2013-2017).

Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) won the 2017 running of the Tony Hulman Classic and has had his share of front running efforts over the past decade in the event with runner-up results in both 2014 and 2018.  He also won once more at Terre Haute back in 2013 during Indiana Sprint Week in a tenacious last lap battle with Darland.  In the 2019 event, KTJ won his heat race and was running seventh in the feature when he suffered a mechanical failure, which forced him to drop out and finish 18th.

Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) recorded the fastest time ever by a USAC Sprint Car at Terre Haute in 2014, a 19.225 second lap around the half-mile.  The two-time USAC National Sprint Car champion (2014 & 2016) and two-time Terre Haute USAC Sprint winner (2014 & 2018) is also seeking a first Hulman Classic triumph after four career top-four runs: 2nd (2013), 3rd (2014) and 4th (2016-2017).  He finished 6th in 2019.

C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) was the fastest qualifier at the Hulman Classic in 2019 at 19.750 sec. but has yet to record a top-five finish in his Hulman Classic career.  The defending USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion knows how to get around the place as evidenced by his 2016 Silver Crown score at the Terre Haute Action Track.  His ninth-place finish in last year’s Hulman Classic was a rare aberration outside the top-five all season.  He was running fourth with eight laps remaining when his right rear tire went flat.  After swapping it out for new rubber, Leary stormed from the back of the pack to finish just inside the top-ten.

Like Leary, Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) is a past Silver Crown winner at Terre Haute, capturing the headlines in a 2018 victory there.  The current USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader finally broke through in a USAC Sprint Car at Terre Haute in the series’ most recent trip there in September 2019.  His lone top-five in the Hulman Classic also came a year ago, a 5th in 2019.

One-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car winner Carson Short (Marion, Ill.) just recently became a first-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car winner on June 19 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., the same location as his USAC win as well.  In last year’s Hulman Classic, Short won his heat race and started the feature from the pole position.  He was running 7th in the feature nearing midway when his car stopped on the track.  Once he restarted, he brought himself back to an 8th place result at the checkered.

Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) has had a long successful career that has taken him to the pinnacle of victory lane with all three of USAC’s National divisions.  His run of Hulman Classic successes has been steady and consistent over the last 14 years with four career top-fives in the event: a best of 3rd in 2018 came following a pair of 4th place finishes (2006 & 2012), plus a 5th (2011).

Pits open at 3pm Eastern, grandstands at 4pm and hot laps at 6:30pm.  Tickets are on sale now exclusively at www.usactickets.com.  Adult grandstands tickets are $25 while children age 11 and under are free.  Adult infield tickets are just $15.  Pit passes for members are $30 for members and $35 for non-members.  The Scott’s Custom Colors DIRTcar Modifieds are also on agenda for the evening.

All USAC National events can be seen LIVE exclusively on FloRacing.

USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS:

1-Justin Grant-368, 2-Chris Windom-353, 3-Brady Bacon-344, 4-C.J. Leary-320, 5-Kevin Thomas Jr.-291, 6-Chase Stockon-283, 7-Carson Short-270, 8-Logan Seavey-253, 9-Dave Darland-234, 10-Robert Ballou-207.

2019 TONY HULMAN CLASSIC RESULTS:

FAST QUALIFIER: 1. C.J. Leary, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-19.750

HEAT RACE WINNERS: Robert Ballou, Kevin Thomas Jr. & Carson Short

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Chase Stockon (2), 2. Chris Windom (5), 3. Tyler Courtney (4), 4. Robert Ballou (7), 5. Justin Grant (10), 6. Brady Bacon (3), 7. Jason McDougal (11), 8. Carson Short (1), 9. C.J. Leary (6), 10. Isaac Chapple (16), 11. Bill Balog (9), 12. Chad Boespflug (14), 13. Brandon Mattox (13), 14. Brian VanMeveren (15), 15. Steve Thomas (18), 16. Paul May (17), 17. Nate McMillin (12), 18. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (8), 19. Eric Perrott (19), 20. Tye Mihocko (20). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Chase Stockon

TONY HULMAN CLASSIC WINNERS:

1971: George Snider

1972: Bruce Walkup

1973: Joe Saldana

1974: Gary Bettenhausen

1975: Pancho Carter

1976: Jan Opperman

1977: James McElreath

1978: Dick Tobias

1979: Pancho Carter

1980: Eddie Leavitt

1981: Sheldon Kinser

1982: Chet Johnson

1983: Jack Hewitt

1984: Rick Hood

1985: Ron Shuman

1986: Rich Vogler

1987: Steve Butler

1988: Steve Butler

1989: Rich Vogler

1990: Jeff Bloom

1991: Eric Gordon

1992: Cary Faas

1993: Dave Darland

1994: Cary Faas

1995: Jack Hewitt

1996: Doug Kalitta

1997: J.J. Yeley

1998: Cary Faas

1999: Terry Pletch

2000: Jay Drake

2001: Tracy Hines

2002: Jon Stanbrough

2003: J.J. Yeley

2004: Cory Kruseman

2005: Levi Jones

2006: Daron Clayton

2007: Jon Stanbrough

2008: Levi Jones

2009: Levi Jones

2010: Jerry Coons Jr.

2011: Chris Windom

2012: Bud Kaeding

2013: Jerry Coons Jr.

2014: Dave Darland

2015: Robert Ballou

2016: Robert Ballou

2017: Kevin Thomas Jr.

2018: Tyler Courtney

2019: Chase Stockon

TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK USAC SPRINT CAR WINS: (162 Points Races & 1 Special Event)

  1. (8) Gary Bettenhausen & Jack Hewitt
  1. (6) Bubby Jones, Sheldon Kinser & J.J. Yeley
  1. (5) Jim Hurtubise, Levi Jones, Jon Stanbrough & Rich Vogler
  1. (4) Bud Kaeding, Roger McCluskey & Chris Windom
  1. (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
  1. (2) Brady Bacon, Robert Ballou, Rollie Beale, Tom Bigelow, Dave Darland, Cory Kruseman, Johnny Rutherford, Dick Tobias, Kevin Thomas, Jr., Bruce Walkup & Greg Weld
  1. (1) Billy Cassella, Steve Chassey, Bryan Clauson, Mel Cornett, Larry Dickson, Ed Elisian, Tony Elliott, Aaron Farney, A.J. Foyt, Justin Grant, 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

TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK USAC SPRINT CAR WINNERS:

1957: Ed Elisian (6/16) & Andy Linden (8/18)

1958: Eddie Sachs (6/22) & Tommy Hinnershitz (8/17)

1959: Don Branson (6/21) & Jim McWithey (8/16)

1960: Don Branson (6/12) & Jim Hurtubise (8/21)

1961: Jim Hurtubise (6/11) & Jim Hurtubise (8/13)

1962: Jim Hurtubise (6/17) & Jim Hurtubise (8/12)

1963: Roger McCluskey (6/16) & Bobby Marshman (8/11)

1964: A.J. Foyt (6/14) & Don Branson (8/9)

1965: Johnny Rutherford (6/13) & Johnny Rutherford (8/15)

1966: Roger McCluskey (6/19), Roger McCluskey (6/19) & Roger McCluskey (9/14)

1967: Bobby Unser (6/11), Greg Weld (6/11), Rollie Beale (8/13) & Greg Weld (9/10)

1968: Gary Bettenhausen (6/16), Larry Dickson (8/11) & Gary Bettenhausen (9/8)

1969: Gary Bettenhausen (8/10) & Gary Bettenhausen (10/19)

1970: Jim McElreath (6/21), Dick Tobias (8/9) & Bruce Walkup (9/13)

1971: George Snider (5/1) & Gary Bettenhausen (8/8)

1972: Bruce Walkup (4/30), Charlie Masters (6/11) & Rollie Beale (8/19)

1973: Joe Saldana (5/5), Mel Cornett (6/9) 7 Sammy Sessions (8/5)

1974: Gary Bettenhausen (4/14) & Sheldon Kinser (8/4)

1975: Pancho Carter (5/4), Joe Saldana (6/1), Gary Bettenhausen (8/3) & Tom Bigelow (9/21)

1976: Jan Opperman (5/1), Tom Bigelow (6/6), Gary Bettenhausen (8/1) & Chuck Gurney (10/31)

1977: James McElreath (5/7), Sheldon Kinser (6/5), Bubby Jones (7/31) & Pancho Carter (9/25)

1978: Dick Tobias (5/6), Billy Cassella (6/4) & Bubby Jones (9/24)

1979: Pancho Carter (5/5), Bubby Jones (5/6), Bubby Jones (6/3), Bubby Jones (8/5) & Bubby Jones (9/23)

1980: Eddie Leavitt (5/3), Steve Chassey (5/4), Joe Saldana (6/29), Rich Vogler (8/3) & Rich Vogler (9/21)

1981: Sheldon Kinser (5/3), Rich Vogler (8/9) & Sheldon Kinser (9/7)

1982: Chet Johnson (5/9), Sheldon Kinser (6/20), Steve Kinser (8/8) & Larry Rice (9/5)

1983: Jack Hewitt (5/8), Rich Vogler (6/19) & Jack Hewitt (8/28)

1984: Rick Hood (6/10) & Steve Butler (8/26)

1985: Ron Shuman (5/5), Rick Hood (6/9) & Rick Hood (8/25)

1986: Rich Vogler (5/4) & Sheldon Kinser (8/3)

1987: Steve Butler (5/3) & Steve Butler (5/23)

1990: Jack Hewitt (7/8)

1991: Jack Hewitt (7/7)

1992: Rusty McClure (7/12) & Cary Faas (10/11)

1993: Dave Darland (5/2) & Robbie Stanley (7/11)

1994: Cary Faas (5/1) & Tray House (7/17)

1995: Jack Hewitt (4/30) & Jack Hewitt (7/16)

1996: Doug Kalitta (5/12), Kevin Thomas (7/12) & Jack Hewitt (10/5)

1997: J.J. Yeley (6/27), J.J. Yeley (7/23) & Jack Hewitt (10/4)

1998: Cary Faas (5/29) & Tony Elliott (8/14)

1999: Tracy Hines (5/8), Tony Jones (6/17), Jerry Coons, Jr. (6/18), Frankie Kerr (6/19) & Terry Pletch (7/21)

2000: Jay Drake (6/15), Richard Griffin (6/16), Jay Drake (6/18) & Jay Drake (7/28)

2001: Tracy Hines (5/19), Bud Kaeding (10/20) & Bud Kaeding (10/20)

2002: Jon Stanbrough (5/11), Cory Kruseman (7/27) & J.J. Yeley (10/5)

2003: J.J. Yeley (5/17), Tracy Hines (7/26), J.J. Yeley (8/14 Special Event) & J.J. Yeley (10/4)

2004: Cory Kruseman (5/22), J.J. Yeley (7/24) & Bud Kaeding (9/4)

2005: Levi Jones (7/22), Levi Jones (9/30) & Levi Jones (10/1)

2006: Daron Clayton (10/6) & Daron Clayton (10/7)

2007: Jon Stanbrough (5/19)

2008: Levi Jones (5/22)

2009: Levi Jones (5/21), Brad Sweet (7/15) & Jon Stanbrough (9/12)

2010: Jerry Coons, Jr. (5/27), Jon Stanbrough (7/14) & Jon Stanbrough (9/11)

2011: Chris Windom (7/13) & Chris Windom (9/10)

2012: Bud Kaeding (5/24), Daron Clayton (7/18) & Chase Stockon (10/12)

2013: Kevin Thomas, Jr. (7/17) & Jerry Coons, Jr. (8/31)

2014: Dave Darland (5/21), Bryan Clauson (7/16) & Brady Bacon (9/18)

2015: Aaron Farney (7/15) & Robert Ballou (9/18)

2016: Robert Ballou (5/25), Chase Stockon (7/17) & Chris Windom (10/15)

2017: Chris Windom (9/15) & Kevin Thomas, Jr. (10/14)

2018: Tyler Courtney (5/23), Tyler Courtney (7/25) & Brady Bacon (9/14)

2019: Chase Stockon (5/22), Tyler Courtney (7/24) & Justin Grant (9/13)

TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR TRACK RECORDS:

1 Lap: 5/21/2014 – Brady Bacon – 19.225- 93.628 mph

4 Laps: 5/4/1986 – Larry Gates – 1:36.18 – 74.860 mph

6 Laps: 5/17/2003 – Kurt Gross – 2:07.21 – 84.899 mph

8 Laps: 10/12/2012 – Hunter Schuerenberg – 2:39.40 – 90.339 mph

10 Laps: 6/17/2000 – Jon Stanbrough – 3:29.13 – 86.071 mph

12 Laps: 9/10/2011 – Jon Stanbrough – 4:02.90 – 88.925 mph

30 Laps: 5/29/1998 – Cary Faas – 10:56.90 – 82.204 mph

40 Laps: 5/4/1975 – Pancho Carter – 15:52.96 – 75.554 mph

50 Laps: 8/13/1967 – Rollie Beale – 22:41.72 – 66.093 mph