National Dirt
Wednesday, 28 August 2019


#39BC Zeb Wise #39BC Zeb Wise IMS Photo


August 27, 2019 | By Zach Horrall, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

There’s something about Pennsylvania in August that just works for Zeb Wise, the youngest-ever USAC Midget feature winner. It could be seen as a launching point to his most successful USAC Midget season to date.

When the calendar rolled around to August, Wise put the pedal to the metal and snagged some wins that drove him into the spotlight. Nearly one year after his breakthrough win at age 15 during the 2018 Pennsylvania Midget Week, Wise found himself battling NASCAR star Kyle Larson at Action Track USA in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, during the 2019 edition of the week-long schedule of dirt races.

Wise and Larson battled hard for the win, and eventually the 16-year-old prevailed over the seasoned 27-year-old. Wise even got the attention of NBC Sports, which posted his epic late race battle on Twitter.

That win was just the beginning of a big month for Wise, a native of Angola, Indiana. Two days later, he beat Clauson-Marshall Racing teammate Tyler Courtney at Linda’s Speedway in Jonestown, Pennsylvania, to add to a memorable week. He also added two POWRi dirt wins in the weeks since his Pennsylvania victories.

Wise noted that Pennsylvania tracks suit him, and the wins prove he and his Clauson-Marshall team have honed their setups.

“I don’t really know what clicked,” he said. “A lot of the Pennsylvania tracks are my style. They’re all small little bullrings, so when I went out there, I figured this might be the time that I finally find something this year. It was. We hit on something, and here lately we just came off two wins in Illinois. I’m not real sure what we clicked on, but whatever it is, we’ve got something rolling.”

All of this makes Wise one of the hottest dirt racers in the country as the series heads into the massive event that is the Driven2SaveLives BC39 Powered by NOS Energy Drink on Sept. 4-5 at The Dirt Track at IMS. He made a name for himself last year by winning the Stoops Pursuit on night one of the two-night event inside Turn 3 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A hot streak heading into the BC39 combined with a load of confidence and a preference for the small, bullring-type tracks like The Dirt Track at IMS should make Wise one of the leading contenders to win the 39-lap feature Thursday night, Sept. 5.

“All these wins have come at a great time,” he said. “That gives me a lot of confidence and a big boost going into one of the biggest midget races of the year.”

Wise said his confidence doesn’t just stem from his recent success on track. He feels extra confident upon returning to The Racing Capital of the World because of his success last year. Along with the Stoops Pursuit win, Wise made the feature event and finished 14th, which is impressive considering over 100 drivers attempted to qualify for the event.

Not to mention this is a special event for Clauson-Marshall Racing, co-owned by Tim Clauson. The race is in honor of Tim’s son, the late Bryan Clauson, and Wise drives the No. 39BC car, which combines Clauson’s number and initials and is sponsored by the race’s sponsor, Driven2SaveLives.

“When you’ve won at a track, that boosts your confidence no matter what track you’re at,” Wise said. “We made the show last year, and obviously Tyler was up front, so we know our cars can run around here really good. We’ll see what we can do when it comes that time.”

Wise has more than 170 career wins between quarter-midgets, micro-sprints and USAC Midgets. He has won prestigious races like the Tulsa Shootout and two quarter-midget races at IMS. Still, he said as a native Hoosier, he takes pride racing at the historic racetrack. If he finds himself in Victory Lane after the 39-lap feature event, it would rank near the top as one of the biggest wins of his career.

“Anywhere in the world, I think they know what IMS is,” he said. “Being a Hoosier and coming to your home state and being at the Racing Capital of the World, it’s pretty cool just to be able to race here. It’s pretty special.”

Teams can file their entry for the event at until midnight, Thursday, Aug. 29, where they may also purchase pit and parking passes for the two-night USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship event.

There are three options for viewing the racing action and also having pit pass access.  You can purchase a competitor pit pass only where no seat is included with limited viewing of the track.  Secondly, you can purchase a competitor pit pass with reserved seating included, which are available in the lower level of the main grandstands.  Both options are available on

Competitor/crew seating has been added as a special general admission-only section in the main grandstand for the upcoming Driven2SaveLives BC39 powered by NOS Energy Drink at The Dirt Track at IMS on September 4-5.  Pits are located outside turns three and four this year, giving competitors and crews direct access to the grandstands.

Parking will also be available on both ends of the track for those with infield parking passes.  Each entry filed will come with two VIP parking passes for inside parking at IMS.  All others must either purchase inside parking or park outside of turns three and four of the 2.5-mile paved oval track.

Spectator tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at

The BC39 officially gets underway on Tuesday, Sept. 3 with team parking at noon.  From 4-6pm, catch five USAC icons at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum’s USAC Stars: From the Dirt Track to the Brickyard series.  The event will feature legends Don and Mel Kenyon, and current drivers Michael Pickens, Chris Windom and Chad Boat.  Pat Sullivan, longtime USAC public address announcer, historian, and author, will emcee this evening of entertaining banter and thrilling stories.

Tickets are available to Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum members for $15 and non-members for $20.  Limited seating.  Tickets must be purchased in advance.  For more information or to buy tickets, contact Kelly Hartman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Following the event, make your way to USAC headquarters, just across the street from the IMS Administration office at 4910 W. 16th Street, for the BC39 Draft Party from 5:30pm to 8:30pm Eastern where drivers will draw for their heat race positions.  All cars entered will be randomized into a draft order for the heat race draft.  Teams will be able to pick their heat race spot, either in person with a representative, or remotely through USAC officials.  Any unrepresented team will be given the first available spot.  The heat race position draft is open to the public with team members getting priority into the new USAC worldwide headquarters.  Food and beverages will be available.

On track action begins Wednesday, Sept. 4, beginning with the drivers meeting in the IMS Media Room at 2pm.  Public gates open at 3pm with cars hitting the track for practice at 5pm, followed by opening ceremonies at 6:30pm.  Heat races and the Stoops Pursuit race will conclude the night’s racing action.

The finale, on Thursday, Sept. 5, will have the public gates opening at 3pm and cars on track for practice at 4:30pm, with qualifying races to follow at 5:30pm.  Opening ceremonies are slated for 7pm and immediately followed by the main feature events, starting with multiple D-Mains, C-Main, the semi-feature and the 39-lap main event.