It wasn’t very long ago that racing fans huddled around television sets tuned to “Thursday Night Thunder” to watch the USAC sprint cars compete on paved ovals in Indiana.
Racing was telecast from Winchester, Salem and Lucas Oil Raceway to watch the thunder and lightning division of USAC to compete in wheel-to-wheel action.
After an attempt to pump some life into the division with a separate pavement sprint car schedule, USAC has decided that there will be no racing on asphalt for the division.
“It’s tough to run a series on pavement with much success,” Dick Jordan with USAC said. “One-off events like the Little 500 can be successful.”
Jordan said the USAC midgets will be competing on asphalt in North Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, Illinois, California and at Plymouth Speedway and Lucas Oil Raceway.
I can still remember the first time I watched the sprint cars at Anderson Speedway for the Pay Less Little 500 and my first visit to Winchester Speedway for sprint car action.
The days of non-wing sprint cars on pavement sanctioned by USAC appear to be a thing of the past. The winged sprint series will continue to visit Anderson, Winchester and Salem speedways to bring their unique brand of high speed action to fans.
Anderson Speedway will be hosting a 100-lap non-wing sprint car feature on the lightning fast oval on April 29 in an event sanctioned by the United States Speed Association.
The “Glen Niebel Classic” will use the same rules as the Pay Less Little 500 on May 26 and will be a good tune-up for the Little 500. I hope there is a healthy car count as teams prepare for the richest pavement sprint car race in the world.
Glen Niebel-owned cars won six Pay Less Little 500s with Bob Frey and Bentley Warren piloting the V6 yellow sprint cars. Niebel cars also finished second a total of six times.
For fans of non-wing sprint cars on pavement, circle the April 29 date. Also in action will be the Mel Kenyon Midget Series.
In other racing news
• Kyle Busch won the Champion Racing Association super late model event last Sunday in Georgia after taking the lead from Bubba Pollard with 16 laps remaining. As he did a year ago Chase Elliott won the 150-lap crate late model event. Brent Downey of Brownsburg finished in the top ten on the lead lap.
• The Rolex 24 for the Grand Am cars at Daytona International Speedway turned out to be an excellent race with Sprint Cup driver AJ. Allmendinger driving the final three-hour shift to bring Ohio-based Michael Shank Racing the victory. Ryan Dalziel and Felipe Nasr rounded out the top three finishers, all in cars powered by a Ford engine.
After 24 hours of racing and more than 750 laps the top three cars all were running on the lead lap and the victory margin was under 10 seconds.
• Ken de la Bastide may be reached at email@example.com or 765-454-8580.