Thursday, June 14, 2012
Tony Stewart Interested in Speedrome Return for World Figure 8 Championship
INDIANAPOLIS -- Those were some of the sentiments echoed just a few weeks ago by reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart. The Hoosier motorsports hero was being interviewed on ESPN by racing analyst Mike Massaro. During the 5-minute segment the topic went to talk about his annual charity racing event at Stewart's Eldora Speedway in Ohio. Massaro asked, 'I heard a rumor that you were going to turn the event into a Figure 8 race'. Stewart chuckled before commenting, 'Maybe not for this year. It is too late to change the format, but I like the idea'. Tony continued on the subject, 'I've always wanted to run a Figure 8 race. They run the World Championships at the Indianapolis Speedrome. I hopefully get to do that (race Figure sometime before my career is over and add it to my resume'.
While Stewart's current class of stockcar competition aims at the Daytona 500 or the Brickyard 400, the parallel in the sport of Figure 8 is the World Figure 8 Championship Three Hour Endurance Race. The 36th Annual event will be held September 6-8, 2012 at the Bryant Heating and Cooling Indianapolis Speedrome, a place very familiar to Tony. He captured his very first USAC Midget feature win at the Speedrome on his way to the tracks rookie-of-the-year honor in 1991. It was just one of his victories at the 71-year-old historic facility before conquering the open-wheel triple crown, the IRL, and of course NASCAR. Several top Speedrome Late Model Figure 8 teams have already offered championship caliber cars, race equipment, a pit crew, and expertise for Stewart to drive.
For those of you new to the sport, we start with the basic question, what is the World Figure 8 Championship' It is the largest and best gathering of crossover competitors in the United States. Top drivers journey from their home tracks to vie for the prestigious title and incredible amounts of prize money. This year pays $20,036 to the winner. Racers have traveled far distances that include the countries four corners: California, Washington, New York, and Florida. In told, 10 different states have been represented in the over 500 drivers that have attempted the grueling 180-minute race.
The weekend festivities get underway on Thursday with test and tune time for the World Figure 8 Cars. Friday is a cool day. It starts with a parade of the cars through the streets of Indianapolis. Then that night, a series of six 25-lap qualifying races are ahead for the racers. Round one has drivers drawing for starting spots in one of four races. The top 4 finishers out of each secure a coveted slot in Saturday's main event. Racers who do not get locked-in will have another opportunity in a pair of second chance contests, one for Speedrome drivers and one for out-of-town competitors.
Saturday afternoon brings three continuous hours of unlimited time trial attempts. The 24 transfer position drivers will seed themselves inside that first 24 with the quickest earning the coveted pole award. The remainder of the over 50 car assembly will push the clock looking for the final 8 starting spots. The final 32-machine grid is set near 5pm. But, the cars not making it in are by no means done making this event unique. They will be lined up as alternates. This roster will serve as 'replacement' cars for when someone leaves the track with damage or even a flat tire. The kicker is that the pitting driver can return without removing the alternate making this the only race that can grow in size as the laps wind on.
This gets us to the distance of the World Figure 8 Championship sanctioned by the World Figure 8 Tour. Time is the first factor, a Speedrome derived short track concept born in 1977. The clock winds for three hours while laps are scored by the drivers. After the checkered flag falls, each car has their tally totaled up and the one with the most circuits completed wins. This brings up another uniqueness of this race. A driver can win without taking the start or even be running at the finish. No racer has won yet in this circumstance, but two have finished runner-up while sitting motionless.
There is also plenty of pageantry during Saturday afternoon's run up to the green flag. The 32 starters will push their cars to the infield. Pit crews will place the well-prepared, high-performance, custom-built machines on the grid. Drivers will be paraded around the facility in convertibles for fans to show their support for the brave gladiators. Various dignitaries will grace the grid as drivers are introduced to the crowd while a list of their accomplishments are read aloud on the public address system and World Figure 8 Network. A sparkling rendition of America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner will be sang bringing the anticipation to a high level just before the famous command to start engines is given. It is an event that you need to witness to believe, join us for the World Figure 8 Championship.
Next on the Speedrome event calendar
Friday June 15, 2012
UAW & HARF Night, Roadrunners plus
Hornets, Hornet Figure 8, Junior Hornets, INEX Legends, Junior Faskarts, USSA Mel Kenyon Midgets
Spectator gates open at 5pm, racing starts at 7pm
Saturday June 16, 2012
12th Annual Jake's 150-Lap Late Model Figure 8 plus
Stocks, Roadrunners, Hornets, Junior Hornets, Pepsi Big Wheel races for kids 5 & under
Spectator gates open at 5pm, the first green flag waves at 7pm
The Bryant Heating and Cooling Indianapolis Speedrome is located at 802 South Kitley Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana 46219 and proudly in the community and the historical district of Irvington. To view more, log on to our web site www.speedrome.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The track hotline is (317) 353-8206 or you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.