6 Incredible Finishes From Indiana Sprint Week

An "Indiana Sprint Week" week wouldn't be complete without a rundown of our favorite finishes from Sprint Week history. Agree, disagree? Let us know!

Don't forget to tune into Thunder Relived as we bring you even more of the best historical moments!

6. 1997 Lawrenceburg (Tyler/Rose)

1996 champion Brian Tyler was unfairly pegged as a “Pavement Guy” at the time while Bill Rose was still searching for his first career USAC National Sprint Car win after so many close calls entering the Lawrenceburg round of Indiana Sprint Week in 1997.  Rose made a valiant late push as Tyler nipped him at the line for his first series win on dirt.  Rose’s day would come exactly one week later with his first career USAC win at Paragon Speedway.

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5. 1998 Twin Cities Raceway Park (Doty/Rice)

The late Kevin Doty had turned into the dominator at Twin Cities Raceway Park in the late 1990s and the 1998 round of Indiana Sprint Week appeared similar to the outcome from the year before when Doty scored his first.  However, Robbie Rice, the son of USAC multi-time champion and ESPN Thunder commentator Larry Rice, made a valiant charge in the end.  Rice wasn’t sure of the outcome until victory lane when he was told he was about a mere one foot short of what would’ve been his first USAC National Sprint Car victory.

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4. 2017 Tri-State Speedway (Cummins/Thomas)

Kevin Thomas Jr. had dominated the Tri-State Speedway round for the entire 30-lap duration in 2017. A late caution negated a surefire victory for KTJ and resulted in just about the most daunting proposition you can receive for a restart: a green-white-checkred finish at TSS with Kyle Cummins lined up right behind you.  In the end, Cummins threw everything he had at Thomas and emerged with the victory in one of the closest finishes you’ll ever see.

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3. 2009 Kamp Motor Speedway (Darland/Whitt)

The final laps appeared to be a two-horse race between Dave Darland and Chad Boat riding the rim.  As Boat makes his move to the lead in turns one and two on the last lap, a black streak appears on the bottom of the screen in the form of Cole Whitt who finds himself in the thick of the race with a big run off turn four.  Who won it? It depends which angle you look at it from.  The side-by-side battle even continued into victory lane with Darland ultimately declared the winner.

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2. 2019 Gas City I-69 Speedway (Cottle/Leary)

It took 72 ISW feature starts for Shane Cottle to get his long-awaited first Indiana Sprint Week win, and the way it all unfolded at Gas City I-69 Speedway will be one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Starting 18th, Cottle worked the bottom to get to 2nd in the final laps as C.J. Leary operated up top. At the stripe on the final lap, Cottle surged ahead just enough to beat Leary to the stripe for the win in one of the closest finishes in USAC racing history.

A glance at the timing showed Leary on top of the leaderboard as Cottle celebrated his triumph in victory lane.  However, the transponder on the rear bumper of Leary’s car crossed the timing loop prior to the transponder on the tail of Cottle’s car, positioning Leary in front of Cottle on timing.

However, per USAC rule Part VI 9.4.C, a car will be officially credited with a lap only when its front wheels cross the start/finish line after completing one entire circuit of the course.  The USAC chief scorer and race director unanimously agreed that Cottle’s front wheels crossed the start/finish line before Leary’s.

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1. 1999 Lincoln Park Speedway (Darland/Yeley/Kruseman)

Most great finishes you’ll witness in sprint car racing involve the top-two, and the stop at Lincoln Park Speedway in 1999 appeared to be just such down the stretch as J.J. Yeley led fellow SCRA regular Cory Kruseman on the bottom through turns three and four one final time.  However, that didn’t account for a rare mistake by Yeley who got a tad too sideways at the exit of turn four.  Kruseman plowed in, slowing up both driver’s momentum.  However, Darland was ripping the top with all the momentum in the world to sneak past both and score a patented “Look what I found” victory and build upon his resume as the winningest Indiana Sprint Week driver of all-time.

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Quarantine life got you feeling like a living nightmare? We've got the cure: FloRacing Late Model Dream Week! All week long, we'll be bringing you the most memorable, the most controversial and the most exciting moments from every year of the Dirt Late Model Dream at Eldora Speedway, including all the moments from the inaugural running in 1994 to the epic photo finish in 2019, all in collaboration with DirtonDirt.com.

Binge Watch: Indiana Sprint Week 2010

All-Star Circuit of Champions Taking 'Week-to-Week' Approach to 2020

Eric Walls, the director of the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions, is as anxious to go racing as his 410 Sprint Car tour’s drivers, team members and fans. He understands, however, that he’s unlikely to hear the roar of race car engines as soon as he, and everyone else, would like due to the coronavirus pandemic that has overtaken the country.While the 410 Sprint Car series owned by former NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart hasn’t yet announced any event cancelations or postponements due to the crisis, Walls admitted this week that decisions will soon have to be made on upcoming races starting with the April 10-11 Spring Nationals doubleheader at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park. He certainly wants to remain as positive about racing as he can be, but he knows the opposite will likely be the case with the series, which in 2020 has all of its events slated for live broadcast to FloRacing subscribers.“Yeah, we’d love to race,” Walls said. “But when reality sets in, let’s be honest, we’re not gonna race till May probably.”Walls is monitoring the ever-developing landscape on a “week-to-week basis,” keeping open a sliver of hope for competition to happen if the spread of the coronavirus were to slow enough for government and health officials to relax existing stay-at-home and mass-gathering orders that are keeping racetracks shuttered. But reports of positive coronavirus cases have been escalating in recent days — including in the states of Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania that are slated to host the All Star events scheduled for April — so a quick return to normalcy seems unlikely.“We love to race, and if we get the ‘all clear’ (from government officials), we’ll go racing,” Walls said. “But just for the safety of the fans and the drivers and everybody involved (in the running of a race), we’re gonna take this one week at a time and make sure everybody’s safe and ready to go back to action here.”Walls has been in contact with the promoters of the tour’s April events that begin with Attica and go on to Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica (scheduled for April 16), Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. (April 17), Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway (April 18), Bedford (Pa.) Speedway (April 19) and Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio (April 25). All the track operators have their facilities ready for what would be an attractive and lucrative stretch of racing for the ASCoC, but the crisis supersedes all the best-laid plans.According to Walls, the response he’s giving to All Star drivers who call looking for information on upcoming races basically tells the story of the circuit’s current status.“I’ve had a few drivers reach out to me, just for their travel plans,” Walls said. “A couple of our drivers fly to different places so they wanted to book their travel.“Not that I knew what was gonna go on as far as what the government is gonna do, but it was just my opinion to them that I certainly hope that April 10 we’re racing, but I’m a realist. I can’t see the government from state-to-state lifting this ban until later on in the season.“It’s just giving them my opinion on it and they can book their travel if they want to, but at the end of the day we’ve got to use some common sense when we’re looking at this too.”Walls is already scouring the 2020 calendar to consider makeup dates for races that might fall to the coronavirus situation. That includes the April 16 stop at Virginia Motor Speedway, a $12,000-to-win special that VMS and All Star officials worked together to schedule during the NASCAR weekend at nearby Richmond International Raceway — a weekend that NASCAR has already postponed to an undermined date.“It’s just going through the schedule to where we’re thinking racing is potentially not going to happen and trying to look down through our schedule and reschedule races,” Walls said.With the kickoff of the 2020 ASCoC season in February at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., and East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla. (both tracks ran two races), Walls started his second year as the tour’s director on an uplifting note. He never could have imagined having to deal with the unprecedented crisis that has presented itself, but he remarked that some trying stretches during his rookie campaign at the helm helped prepare him for curveballs thrown at him.“If you could look into the future, I guess (Ohio Sprint) Speedweek last year really groomed me into this position this year,” said Walls, a native of Chambersburg, Pa., who now lives in Brownsburg, Ind., near the Tony Stewart Racing shop that houses the ASCoC office. “With Speedweek, it was just rain every day. We got to the point where we knew we needed to race and Speedweek was a unique opportunity (with teams in one general area), so we started reaching out to racetracks and saying, ‘Hey, it’s not gonna rain there … do you want to race?’ We just took the schedule and moved it all around and got as many races in as we could.”Calling what has come up this year “a challenging time for sure,” Walls anticipates that he will have to do some creative scheduling once again this season. Adding races at tracks that are already bringing the series back later in the season? Extending the season past the planned finale on Sept. 26 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio? Everything might have to be on the table.“It will certainly be a unique year,” Walls said. “I think from not only our series but other series as well, including USAC and the (World of) Outlaws, you’re gonna see something different that no one’s ever seen before.“Our schedule’s a little bit unique. We go to a lot of the same racetracks at different times of the year, and we can certainly throw in an extra date here or there. But just looking down through our schedule late in the season, there’s not very many open weekends. And the open weekends we have built in, they’re for bigger races so our guys can go travel to race with different series. That’s something we built in there this year for our guys to go race for some bigger money in between during the season.“To lose some big money races this early on, it’s gonna make the season rough,” he added. “But I think we’re gonna motor through it and hopefully we can get to racing by the end of April or the first of June and everything goes smooth from there on. It certainly will not just be a flip of the switch (to return to normalcy for the country), that’s for sure. If I had to guess, it’ll be a slow process of going back to full time, but we’ll be ready when it happens.”

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6 Favorite Duels From Indiana Sprint Week

The biggest stage for the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series deserves a top list of the biggest showdowns. There are no shortage of thrilling moments during the yearly Indiana journey. Sit back and enjoy the ranking of our favorite Indiana Sprint Week duels of all time!

5 Of The Strangest Moments From Indiana Sprint Week

Most moments in racing proceed in orderly fashion the majority of the time.  However, those unpredictable moments in racing are what keeps us coming back.  But even better, and more rarer, are the moments that make us crane our necks, send our mouths agape and make the ordinary moments not so ordinary in the end.  That’s the category where these particular moments fall - the ones we will always remember, but still make us scratch our heads then and now.