Zeb Wise rode the top cushion to victory in the BC39 USAC midget race at IMS last night. He led 17 laps in the feature race. it was an emotional win for Wise and his team, Clauson-Marshall Racing,. The late Bryan Clauson’s father Tim had picked Wise to drive for the team after seeing him drive in the Batt;le of the Brickyard quarter midge race in 2014. . Clauson is the inspiration for this event. For his team to win it is a bonus.
It was a complete team victory for Clauson-Marshall Racing. Tyler Courtney finished second and Chris Windom was third.
Pole sitter Thomas Meseraull led the first 18 laps. the first of several halts to the action happened. Wise took the lead on the restart. Wednesday’s stoops pursuit winner Kyle Larson charged into second, but could not quite get by Wise. The two chased each other on the high cushion for several laps. They made contact in turn 2, then again in turn 4 when Wise bounced off the wall after getting too high in the dirt. The contact cut Larson’s left rear tire. He was able to return to the race, but Larson was out of contention for the win. He finished ninth.
Last year’s BC39 winner Brady Bacon took the lead on lap 29. He later collided with teammate C. J. McDougall and both cars came to a stop on the front stretch. Wise regained the lead on lap 32 and held it to the end.
My impressions as someone who doesn’t get to enough of these short dirt track shows:
These guys can race and race hard. I was impressed by the action both nights. I wish more of these drivers had Indycar aspirations.
The fans are just as, if not more passionate than fans of the major series. Last night I talked to a couple from Illinois who travel to follow the USAC races. They were very knowledgeable about the series and gave me some good information about some races I want to attend.
Kudos to Conor Daly for his improvement from night to night. conor admits he is still learning how to drive a midget. I though he held his own last night in the qualifying race. I wish more Indycar drivers would try this.
It was hardly a shock to see IMS President Doug Boles go to each car before the feature and shake hands with every driver.
Attendance again was great for this event. With the NASCAR race moving to Jly 4 weekend in 2020, does this event move as well? I’d prefer it stay where it is on the schedule.
back next week to catch up on some Indycar news that I am woefully behind on.
Simon Pagenaud jumped to the top of the pylon with his last lap, jumping ahead of teammate Josef Newgarden. His fast lap was 228.441. The Team Penske drivers nudged ahead of three Honda cars that had led most of the two hour practice. James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, and Alexander Rossi each had the fast time for awhile. Hondas seemed more competitive in race trim than they did in qualifying.
Pagenaud said Rossi will be a force to be reckoned with on race day. He also mentioned that Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot will also be contenders. Pagenaud said the warmer temperatures predicted for race day will change the way the cars act.
Tony Kanaan said the times today are insignificant because no one knows what tire or fuel combinations anyone was running.
I have heard from a reliable, non-team related source that Juncos will have a sponsor on the car by race day. I will share all information when Juncos announces it.
Kudos to Clauson-Marshall and Pippa Mann
While everyone was talking about the efforts of Dragonspeed and Ben Hanley and Juncos and Kyle Kaiser, it seems Clauson Marshall Racing and Pippa Mann have been forgotten. This team came together in The team owners are new to Indycar, which is always an issue. Their alliance with A. J. Foyt Racing helped, but still it was a great achievement to get the car in the race.
I will have more later tonight.
Pippa Mann will get another shot at driving in the Indianapolis 500. Clauson-Marshall Racing, one of the most successful dirt car teams at the moment, announced their entry for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. Tim Clauson, father of the late Brian Clauson, said he and partner Richard Marshall are continuing Brian’s legacy of short track drivers racing in the 500.
The team has a technical alliance with A. J. Foyt Racing. The Foyt team did have speed at IMS last year. Tony Kanaan qualified 10th and Matheus Leist started 11th. Kanaan led 19 laps and was a contender for the win until a tire issue put him toward the rear of the field. He eventually crashed. Leist finished 13th.
Driven2 Save Lives will be the primary name on the car. Mann said several of her sponsors from last year will be back as well as at least three new backers. Mann was one of two drivers bumped from the field in 2018. Mann has participated in six Indy 500s, debuting in 2011. Her best starting spot is 22nd in 2014 and her best finish is 17th in 2017.
Pippa Mann speaks at the Clauson-Marshall announcement.
The car will carry number 39, Brian Clauson’s number. Clauson and Mann were teammates at Dale Coyne Racing in 2016.
The car has similar colors as last year’s Driven2SaveLives entry.
Despite the partnership with Foyt, who did find some speed last year, the team faces long odds of making the race. With 36-38 entires expected, the one off teams could have a difficult time cracking the fastest 33.
I like Pippa. She is a great ambassador for the sport and works tirelessly on behalf of health causes and to help women in racing. She adds a lot to the paddock. However, I think a new team would want a more seasoned driver to have a realistic chance at lining up race morning. It will be great if she drives on May 26, but I fear the same result she had last year.
It’s always great to have a new team and more entries at Indy.