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 but tickets will also be available at the gate on raceday.
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.
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Terre Haute PR