Zeb Wise takes the High Road to Victory in BC 39

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.

BC39: Larson Wins Stoops Pursuit; Feature Race Tonight

Kyle Larson won the Stoops Pursuit last night as the BC39 Drive to Save Lives opened its two day show at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The final 5 laps segment began with just three drivers, Larson, Michael Pickens, and Justin Grant. the race format eliminated drivers who lost positions  at the end of each  5 lap segment.

On the final lap of the last segment, Pickens flipped and Grant hit the wall and flipped. Larson drove to the checkered flag alone. Beither driver was injured.

Larson, who drives for Chip Ganassi racing in NASCAR, will also compete in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. He did not enter the BC 39 last year.

The evening featured great racing in the twelve heats which set the qualifying races for tonight’s event. Drivers received points for passing cars.  The format led to aggressive driving which didn’t always work out.  Brady bacon set the tone for the night in heat 1 with a pass just before the line for the win.

Heat winners:

  1. Brady Bacon
  2.  Kevin Thomas, Jr.
  3. Zeb Wise
  4. Dillon Welch
  5. Gio Scelzi
  6. Zach Daum
  7. Jake Neuman
  8. Chad Boat
  9. Spencer Bayson
  10. Thomas Meseraull

Today’s schedule:

3 pm Gates open

5 pm Hot laps (8 groups)

6 pm Qualifying races (8 races)

7:45 Main races (5 races)

9:30 BC 39 (39 laps)

Tickets $35-$75; no general admission

Some more photos of last night’s action

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BC39 Returns to IMS

The BC 39 returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway tonight for the first of two evenings of midget racing. The event was a great success last year. 90 drivers, including Conor Daly, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., will compete.

Today’s schedule:

3 pm- Gates open

5pm – Hot laps- 12 groups

7:15- Heat races – 12 races , 10 laps each

Stoops Pursuit Race- 25 laps

Heat line-ups were set Tuesday night for tonight’s return of the BC39 midget race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Tonight’s heats will set the groups for tomorrow’s qualifying races. Drivers gain points for their finishing positions and for the number of positions gained during their heat.  For full details on tonight’s action, click this link to the IMS website.


Midgets and sprint cars used to be the roots of Indycar racing.  While most of these drivers gravitate to Nascar these days, it is still a fun time watching cars on dirt.

BC39- IMS Gets Down in the Dirt and Mud- A Fan’s Review

It had been a long time. The last dirt track race I remember attending was the 1970 Hoosier Hundred. It was an event on what was then the USAC Indycar schedule. As for midgets or sprint cars, it had been a much longer time. After watching the BC39 Drive to Save Lives event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week, I have to ask myself, “Why have you waited so long?” This was quite a show and a refreshing change of pace from Indycar.

There is no pit strategy, fuel saving, tire management, or push to pass. All there is is pure, full out hard racing. Cars appear out of control through the turns, but it’s how they need to be driven. The 110 entries provided  non- stop action over the two nights.

As usual, IMS did things in a first class way. The track was beautifully done, well prepared, and the surface held up well each night. The grandstands were about 80% full Wednesday and completely full Thursday night. Opening night was great. I loved watching the dirt fly around. But Thursday night the flying mud was even better. The track dried out some as the evening progressed.

The crowd on Thursday was particularly impressive considering it had rained most of the day and the program didn’t start until nearly 9 pm. These are some of the most dedicated fans I’ve seen. Hardly anyone left their seat during the track action and not many got up when there was an extended break in the proceedings.

The race was a great way to honor three time Indy 500 starter Brian Clauson and it also paid homage to the original feeder series that helped prepare drivers for the 500. Sadly, the skills required for midgets and sprints today translate more to stock cars than Indycars.

An Annual Event?

The big question is whether this will become an annual event. There is no answer at the moment. The track will to revert to a parking area for the 500. The infrastructure is in place to reassemble the track, however. I think it can be a staple on the IMS calendar.

Some have suggested the race move to pole night. I think May is a more appropriate time for it and qualifying weekend would be great. I have also seen a suggestion that it become a part of Indiana Sprint/Midget week.  It’s a nice idea, but I would hate to see one of the small tracks lose their spot. If it were an addition to the week, that would be fine.


I have just a couple things the Speedway could improve here. There is no signage on the outside of the grandstands indicating section locations. It would have been nice to know which walkway to enter to be close to where I sat.

The rows were not well marked. There was not a designation for every row. In my section everyone in two rows were one row too high.

Shuttle stops for infield parking were not clearly marked. I ended up walking to turn 3. I didn’t have a problem doing that, but others may need transportation.

My Favorite Car

If you were there and you know me, you can guess which one it was. It is pictured here:

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I think that should this event return, more cars should adopt old Indy 500 liveries. A heat race with the cars in tribute liveries would be fantastic.

It was great to be a part of something special. I plan to get to more dirt short track races the rest of this year and next summer. These were two fun nights and helped bridge the two week gap between Indycar races.