The Late Models we came to see weren’t what you’d normally think of when you hear Late Models. They looked more like Pro Stocks or slightly pudgier open-wheel Modifieds. They had big sail panels, which probably didn’t do much on such a small track, but they looked awesome, and we got quite a show. We watched practice, then made our way through the pits before the heat races. We had a chance to meet and talk to a bunch of different racers in the various divisions. The Street Stocks were top-notch, and the field of cars was impressive—there wasn’t a struggle for car count in any of the classes here.
The Late Models started the night of racing with a 25-lap feature in traditional circle track fashion. It was a well-fought race, with RJ Norton III taking the win. The rest of the series followed with their features, and we were in awe of the quality of racing we got to see. But soon it was time for the main event.
Having watched a night of racing with only a handful of cautions, I was still expecting the 50-lap Figure 8 feature to be riddled with wrecks as the Late Models intersected in the infield. Once the race started, four cars piled up in the first turn, and I was sure my wreck fest theory would play out. The field was put back in order, and soon the Green Flag waved over the field. For the next 49 laps, Fish and I cringed as 10-car packs came unimaginablely close to each other as they crossed paths. “Threading the needle” would be putting what these guys did lightly. At the end of 50 laps, the title appropriately went to Mark Tunny, Phyllis Tunny’s grandson, who took the win in dominant fashion.
I left the Indianapolis Speedrome wanting more. More over, I left with a new respect for an aspect of the sport I was not familiar with. These guys drive hard. They are gritty, hard-core racers who don’t look at the dangers, but the thrill of putting on a good show. If you ever end up in Indianapolis, go to the Speedrome. You’ll regret it if you don’t!