Going Home-A Small Step Back to Racing’s Roots

I was heading home after a long time away. The first race I ever saw was a dirt track race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The short tracks hooked me on racing. I had focused so much on attending Indycar races lately that there was little time for other racing.  Thursday night, I at last had the opportunity to finally go to a short track for the Rich Vogler Classic, a USAC Silver Crown race, at Lucas Oil Raceway.

The program had constant on-track action.  The Silver crown cars practiced,  the thunder roadsters had qualifying heats, then ARCA had a brief practice for their Friday race. Silver Crown qualifying followed, then the thunder roadster race. After that race, vintage sprint cars took laps. The prelude to the feature race concluded with the USAC Hall of Fame induction.  While Tony Stewart was the most prominent inductee, Pat O’Connor, Tommy Hinnerschitz, and Dick King also were a part of this year’s class.

Thunder roadsters are old 60s era Indy roadsters with modified bodywork.  They somewhat resemble sports cars. The back end of one had the appearance of a Corvette. Some were still open wheel, while most had full fenders. It is an interesting concept.

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Three of the thunder roadsters in line for qualifying. The number 18 won the race.

The Silver Crown race, 100 laps around the 5/8 mile oval, included NASCAR driver Ryan Newman in the 19 car field.I have heard of the other drivers in the field. I saw some of them race at Iowa Speedway when Indycar had a program with them in 2012. I wish they would come back there. It would be better than the current preliminary at Iowa.  These guys love to race. They race several times a week. for little reward. Many know this is as high as they’re going. in their careers. They do it because they love what they do.

Kody Swanson led all the way and edged his brother Tanner at the finish in a two lap shootout after a late caution. While Swanson led by large margins throughout the race, there was plenty of action deep in the field. I learned after the race that it was the first time Kody had beaten his brother in a  Silver Crown race.

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Kody Swanson (left) talks to the crowd after winning the Rich Vogler Classic Thursday night.

I really enjoyed the evening’s program. There was minimal down time. Hearing some of the great names from the past called out during the Hall of Fame induction brought back some great memories. I need to become more familiar with the drivers in this series so that I can have an easier time tacking who is in which car.

This evening whetted my appetite for more short tracks. I hope to get to one next month.  The last time I saw a race on dirt was probably the 1969 Hoosier 100. It’s been awhile, but I’m coming back to where I started.