I’ll be the first to admit it—I don’t really know anything about Figure 8 racing. If you take a technical look at it, the cars have to turn in both directions, so the setup should be neutral. Beyond that, I was sort of clueless. To be fair, it isn’t something I’m around much—or ever. In fact, I’ve only seen it once on TV, and that was School Bus Figure 8 racing!

On a recent trip to Indianapolis, we had a free night on Saturday, and the nice people at the Indianapolis Speedrome were kind enough to invite us over to take in the Phyllis Tunny Memorial Late Model Figure 8 Race. I had some preconceived notions about Figure 8 racing. I honestly expected a demolition derby, and when we pulled in, I was looking forward to a wreck fest. Editor-in-Chief Rob Fisher and I were sitting in our rental car in the parking lot of the track and I was having a jovial discussion with Dennis Pittsenbarger live on the Circle Track Live radio show. I’m not going to lie—I wasn’t taking this seriously. I mean think about it. Who in their right mind would Figure 8 race? Especially in a Late Model of all things!

Now before you get mad and say, “those guys just need to learn how to drive,” let me assure you—these guys can throw down!

As we walked through the gate, Hornets were on track for practice. These were little front-wheel-drive four-cylinder beaters with the windows knocked out of them and that was about it. As we made out way to the grandstands to get a better look, the size (or lack there of) of the 1/5-mile oval really set in. This little track was cool! In reality there were no straights. By the time the drivers unwound the wheel, they were back to twisting it and setting the car into the next set of turns. Even the slowest cars on the property never really went straight. There was essentially one groove, and I think the size of the track is what dictated that. To put it into perspective, throughout the entire night of racing, I can remember one car making a pass on the outside. Now before you get mad and say, “those guys just need to learn how to drive,” let me assure you—these guys can throw down! It was impressive to watch clean, aggressive racing on such a small track.

I say clean, but respectful is a better word. It was knock down, drag out, wheel to wheel, short track action at its finest. There was contact and cars out of shape all over the place, but none of it was dirty. It was good, hard racing!

I mean think about it. Who in their right mind would Figure 8 race?