Terre Haute’s Don Smith Classic Restarts Sprint Week

Terre Haute's Don
The Don Smith Classic will take center stage at Terre Haute Action Track Wednesday night. (Mark Funderburk photo)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. –¬†One of the most tenured and treasured stops on the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series calendar greets the tour Wednesday night.

The Dorsett Automotive Don Smith Classic will be the 164th points race in series history at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds half-mile known as the Terre Haute Action Track, also the resumption of the 33rd annual NOS Energy Drink Indiana Sprint Week schedule.

Terre Haute has held 17 previous Indiana Sprint Week races since its debut on the slate in 1997.

Three drivers who’ve won the event in recent years are entered for Wednesday’s edition, including Chris Windom (2011), Kevin Thomas Jr. (2013) and Chase Stockon (2016).

Windom comes in eighth overall in the current ISW standings, but his prowess at the Action Track shows no bounds, with a Silver Crown victory and five overall USAC National Sprint Car feature wins there, including July 1 during the 50th annual Tony Hulman Classic.

In ISW competition there, following his win in 2011, Windom garnered additional fifth-place runs in 2014 and 2019, plus a sixth in both 2016 and 2018, a ninth in 2013 and a 10th in 2012.

Stockon, along with Windom, has won each of the big three USAC National Sprint Car events at Terre Haute, including the Tony Hulman Classic, Jim Hurtubise Classic and the Don Smith Classic during ISW in 2016.

Among Stockon’s ISW runs at Terre Haute are, in addition to his triumph, a fifth in both 2013 and 2015, plus a ninth in 2019 and a 10th all the way back in 2010.

The series’ Ironman, now with 308 consecutive series starts, is third in this year’s ISW points and was the fastest qualifier during ISW at Terre Haute in 2018.

Thomas has twice been a USAC sprint car winner at Terre Haute. The now 27-time winner’s first such score came amidst a three-race winning streak during the 2013 Indiana Sprint Week event in which he emerged as the victor in a last-lap battle with Dave Darland.

Thomas also scored a third in 2019 and a fifth in 2018, to go along with the 2013 victory at the place in which he also won a USAC sprint car race in late 2017.

One driver has a chance to become the first individual since Thomas to win three-in-a-row during ISW. That’s C.J. Leary, who’s won the past two ISW events over the weekend at Kokomo and Lawrenceburg.

Leary, thus far, has a pair of top-10 Terre Haute ISW performances – a 10th in 2016 and a sixth in 2019. It was during the 2016 season, however, that Leary won his first career USAC Silver Crown race during the Sumar Classic at Terre Haute.

He rides in fourth in the ISW standings, 17 behind point leader Brady Bacon.

Terre Haute’s USAC sprint car one-lap track record holder at 19.225, Bacon was the 2016 ISW champion, but hasn’t won yet this week, though his consistency has been the key with finishes of eighth, second and third through the first three.

The same type of consistency has rung true throughout the two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion’s ISW career at Terre Haute, with third-place results in 2013 and 2014, fourth-place finishes in 2016, 2018 and 2019, and a seventh in 2015.

He’s won twice at Terre Haute in his career during late season runs in both 2014 and 2018.

Darland leads practically every single statistical category of ISW. He’s made an appearance in every single Indiana Sprint Week event at Terre Haute since 1997, a night where he finished third.

The 1999 USAC National Sprint Car champ possesses two series wins at Terre Haute, in 1993 and 2014, but has come oh-so-close a number of times throughout his career at the track during ISW. He finished second in 2010, was third in 1997, 2005, 2009 and 2015, as well as fifth in 2004 among his six top-fives and 11 top-tens in the event.

The same has been the case with Robert Ballou, a two-time USAC sprint car winner at Terre Haute in late 2015 and early 2016, but none as of yet during ISW.

He’s surrounded victory of Terre Haute’s ISW race annually over the past decade and is looking to make the next step to the pinnacle. The 2015 ISW champ has been the ISW Terre Haute runner-up during the last four times he’s entered the event.

The event was rained out in 2017 and he was absent in 2019 while recuperating from a serious arm injury.

Justin Grant leads the overall USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car standings coming in, but at the moment, he sits just five points behind Bacon in pursuit of the ISW championship with four races remaining.

Grant captured his first Terre Haute USAC Sprint win last fall and has also won in Silver Crown competition there during the 2018 Sumar Classic.

Current ISW ProSource Passing Master point leader, Shane Cottle, topped off with a runner-up finish during the 2005 Terre Haute ISW round, adding another top-five with a fifth in 2011.

Bill Rose, whose lone Indiana Sprint Week victory came during the summer of 1997, has entered for Terre Haute’s ISW round on Wednesday night. The Plainfield, Ind. native was the fastest qualifier in the event in 2000.

Likewise, Mitch Wissmiller was the top dog in time trials there during the event in 2015.

Arizona’s Charles Davis Jr., making his first Indiana Sprint Week run in several years, was a 10th place ISW Terre Haute finisher in 2003.

Other combatants who’ve raced their way top-tens at Terre Haute in the busiest week of USAC sprint car racing all year long in the Hoosier state include Matt Westfall (seventh in 2004), Carson Short (seventh in 2019), Max Adams (eighth in 2019) as well as Kyle Cummins (ninth in 2019), who’s fifth in the ISW standings coming in.

The Terre Haute pits open at 3 p.m. ET, as does advance ticket entry for spectators. Walk-up entry begins at 4 p.m.

Hot laps are scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start, with racing to immediately follow.