History is made at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – USAC Honda Youth .25 Series “Once in a Lifetime Experience”
(Indianapolis) – The 2015 USAC Honda .25 “Battle at the Brickyard” is in the books! There were 352 cars signed in, 107 races ran and the greatest spectacle in Quarter Midget Racing was born!
This is the 7th time that the USAC “Battle at the Brickyard” has taken place. This time it was anything but routine. USAC history was made as this was the largest car count for the USAC Honda .25 Midget series. But yet another historical moment was seen as 178 cars presented on the grid at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We are told it is the most cars ever on the 2.5 mile oval. They say the Indy 500 is the biggest spectacle in racing – we just saw the biggest spectacle to ever hit Quarter Midgets!
Young Ben Burchard, a Quarter Midget driver, 12 years old, from Indianapolis, was on the pole. Ben served as Grand Marshall of the event. “Just last year we were here racing with everyone. “Now Ben is fighting Metatastic OsteoSarcoma, a form of bone cancer. We are so thankful to USAC for giving Ben this opportunity. I hope they know how happy they have made my son,” said mom, Tammy.
Haulers entered the hallowed grounds at Indy on Thursday, July 9th at noon. Practice began at 8 am on Friday morning but rained cancelled the 2nd round. After the track was dry, heats races began. As the sun began to set, officials worked with the IMS crews to re-schedule the ‘one lap around the track’ drive for the .25 drivers. Saturday morning, heats were finished and 40 lower mains ran before drivers began to grid at IMS. Spots were marked off and every driver had a number where they would be placed. Families pulled their cars to their assigned spot and lowered them from their pit carts. Parents all loaded on pit road as photos were taken. “Just standing out here at IMS is unbelievable,” said Joe Hyland of Colorado. The IMS Chevrolet Safety Crew Trucks started the pace car led quarter midget lap and the IU ambulances brought up the rear. “We lost just a few of the cars around the track, but it really was very cool for our families,” said Kyle McCain USAC Director. “Man, I’ve been coming here since I was 7 years old,” said Joe Axsom,” father of young racer Emerson. “We live here in Indy and we are at the 500 every year. But absolutely nothing can top this. I’m kinda little jealous actually.” “It was totally awesome!” said Tanner Reif of Henderson, NV, after he jumped out of his car. “I had a lump in my throat as I saw all of the kids start coming down the front stretch,” said Kelly Yonchuk. Mom of driver’s Connor and Katie.
One of the best stories of the weekend was when one young driver just couldn’t get going as the large field passed by him. After most of the kids had returned and were out of their cars, they jumped over the wall and began pushing him so that he too could experience the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track. Quarter midget drivers are very competitive, but their camaraderie tends to build life-long friendships.
Sunday morning racing started off with Race #21 – the Hvy Honda C Main won by Will Edwards. A Mains began around noon with Grand Marshall, Ben Burchard waving the first green flag. There were 35 races to complete all of the 2015 “Battle at the Brickyard.” One of the highlights of the event is the “Race of Champions,” the inaugural event won last year by Berklee Jimenez of San Antonio, TX. Due to weather and time constraints, the event was cancelled.
Brady Johnson of Terrell, NC (Jr Honda, Briggs Jr Animal), Connor Gross of Middleton, MA (Lt ‘AA, Briggs Lt World Formula), Famous Rhodes, II of Parkland, FL (Briggs Sr Animal, Lt Mod) and Carson Hocevar of Portage, MI (Honda Hvy 160, Briggs Hvy World Formula all doubled up winning the top spot on their podium. Kolby Hannah of Great Falls, MT took his first ever USAC National win in the Briggs Un-restricted Animal class. Justin Oplinger of Mt Holly, NC won Sr Honda, Hudson Halder of Cumming, GA took Hvy Honda, Chase Burda of LaPeer, MI won Honda Lt 160 and Zeb wise captured the checkered in Hvy ‘AA. Stone Christy of Sheridan, IN won in Blue Rookie and Braden Etchison finished first in the Red Rookie #1 Main. Former USAC Champions Jerry Coons, Jr and Jeremy Sherman saw their young sons Cale and Drew battle it out in the second Red Rookie race with Cale crossing the line first.
All Rookie drivers received participation medallions and the top 3 drivers in each class received a gold, silver or bronze USAC Medallion along with an engraved special edition “Battle at the Brickyard” brick. Awards were distributed in Victory Lane while Julian Macias of Honda congratulated all of the drivers.
Special thanks to Impact Racing for their donation of a Mini Vapor Helmet won by the Spicola Family of Colorado.
For more information about the USAC Honda .25 program log on to http://www.USACRacing.com or follow us on Facebook – USAC25, USAC Developmental.