INDIANAPOLIS – Dirt-track racing fans had reason to breathe a sigh of relief on Thursday afternoon following a media teleconference with Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles.
During the roughly half-hour session – which addressed the postponement of the GMR Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 to July 4 and Aug. 23, respectively – Boles fielded a question from veteran journalist Robin Miller about the status of the BC39 midget race.
The BC39 has, for the past two years, served as the lead-in to the NASCAR Cup Series Brickyard 400 race weekend, held on the quarter-mile IMS Dirt Track nestled inside turn three of the 2.5-mile oval.
Boles confirmed that yes, the BC39 will still be held despite the mass schedule shifts by both IMS and the NTT IndyCar Series in recent weeks due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
It will appear in its usual slot, on the Wednesday and Thursday leading into the Brickyard 400. This year’s BC39 is slated for July 1-2 and teenage sensation Zeb Wise is the defending event winner.
“Right now, the BC39 is scheduled for that week. We’ve had preliminary conversations with USAC, but that has been the plan all along,” said IMS President Doug Boles. “We are still planning to run that as part of that week.
“The BC39 will be Wednesday and Thursday, Friday will be practice for the Xfinity Series and IndyCar Series, they’ll qualify on Saturday morning and race Saturday afternoon, and then the Cup race will be on Sunday,” Boles continued, outlining the full week’s schedule.
This year’s schedule alterations mean that as part of Independence Week at IMS, four distinct series will compete on the legendary speedway grounds in a span of five days.
The USAC National Midget Series, NTT IndyCar Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series will all race at IMS in some capacity between July 1 and July 5, meaning a diverse driver would have a veritable field day if they wanted to compete in multiple races.
Boles actually had one specific person in mind for that type of scenario, and recounted to the media his conversation with said driver later in Wednesday’s teleconference.
“In fact, I just sent a text to a certain race car driver in Columbus, Ind. (Tony Stewart), and I said ‘Hey, there’s one driver on the face of the Earth that could compete in all four of the races that will be happening at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in one week … and I got a text back from him with a thumbs up,” Boles noted with a smile.
“He said, ‘You get me the good rides, and maybe I’ll consider it.”
Stewart won an Indy car championship under the Indy Racing League banner in 1997, as well as NASCAR Cup Series titles in 2002, 2005 and 2001.
He’s one of two drivers to win the USAC Triple Crown by securing all three national division titles in the same year, sweeping the gamut in 1995, and has won numerous major midget car events in his illustrious career, including the 2000 Turkey Night Grand Prix and the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in 2002 and 2007.
Stewart is already scheduled to run the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard on the IMS road course during July 4th weekend, in a second entry for the team he co-owns, Stewart-Haas Racing.
Should he elect to compete in the BC39, it would be his first USAC national midget appearance since the 2006 Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, where he finished 24th at the half-mile paved oval.
The Driven2SaveLives BC39 will feature a heat-race draft on Tuesday, June 30, before preliminary action begins with heat races and the wildly-popular Stoops Pursuit on Wednesday, July 1.
Action at The Dirt Track at IMS culminates Thursday, July 2 with the conclusion of preliminary action and alphabet soup leading up to the 39-lap, $15,000-to-win feature.