AMSOIL Sprints
Monday, 20 May 2019


#7BC Tyler Courtney was victorious in last year's "Tony Hulman Classic" #7BC Tyler Courtney was victorious in last year's "Tony Hulman Classic" Gene Crucean Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Terre Haute, Indiana (May 20, 2019)………In the long, storied history of “Tony Hulman Classic,” only three drivers have previously won the race in consecutive years: Steve Butler (1987-88), Levi Jones (2008-09) and Robert Ballou (2015-16).

This coming Wednesday, May 22, at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track, Tyler Courtney aims to become the next USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car driver to join that list as a back-to-back winner of the race which began on the half-mile dirt oval in 1971, and is the longest continually-running event on the schedule.

For a racer, there’s not much better hardware you can add to your trophy collection than a “Tony Hulman Classic” rifle.  Ask any driver that and they’ll let you know.

Last year, Courtney became a first-time gun owner following a flawless late-race restart in which he slid past leader Chase Stockon to lead the final nine laps in his Clauson/Marshall/Newman Racing No. 7BC.  For Indianapolis, Indiana’s Courtney, it was a dream that became a reality and one that had an extra special meaning to him, at that.

“To win here at Terre Haute is unreal,” Courtney exclaimed.  “It’s something I dreamed about as a kid.  (Former Terre Haute Action Track promoter) Don Smith had a big impact on getting my career going, so this one ranks right up there.  I’ve watched Dave (Darland) and Jerry (Coons, Jr.) and all the greats that have raced before us here and they seemed to dominate.  At this race, you want to be the one taking the rifle home and we get to do it this time.”

The unique, traditional trophy awarded to the winner of the “Hulman Classic” dates to the early days of the Terre Haute Action Track.  Courtney, not a hunter by trade, now gets to carry one of these pieces home with him with pride.

“The funny thing is I’m not a gun guy at all,” Courtney admitted.  “Somebody was asking me if I had ever gone hunting before, but I had to tell them that I’ve actually never held a gun.  It’s kind of ironic that I get to hold one tonight on the front straight at Terre Haute.”

Courtney started the 30-lapper from the outside of the front row and was able to get the jump on pole sitter Shane Cottle to grab the lead on the opening lap.  His run at the front would be short-lived, however, as inside second row starter Stockon burst to the front with a turn one slider on lap two and would hold down the spot for the first two-thirds of the event.

The top-two of Stockon and Courtney separated themselves from the rest of the field, a half-straightaway ahead of their nearest competition and only three car-lengths separating themselves.  At times, the pair had to thread the needle through lap traffic, with Stockon tight-roping between Brandon Mattox and Nate McMillin on the back straight to escape briefly at the halfway mark, but Courtney kept the walls from closing in on him, slipping between the 7/10 split of cars into turn three to stay within a puncher’s chance of Stockon as he searched to find his zone of comfort entering the second half of the race.

“We were just a little tight,” Courtney remembered.  “I knew there were spots on the track where he was better than me.  I was just trying to make myself a little better at the spots he was running, but I couldn’t run exactly where he was running, so I just tried to find the best spot for mine.”

On lap 22, series Rookie Jadon Rogers tagged the outside wall between turns three and four and flipped wildly right in front of the leaders.  Stockon avoided contact, but Courtney could not escape completely unscathed, bouncing his right rear tire off Rogers’ damaged racecar before continuing with just a bent wheel cover.

That set up a nine-lap shootout for the race win between Stockon and Courtney.  At Terre Haute, the leader is often left as a sitting duck on restarts and the follower has the upper hand to make a patented turn one slider.  Courtney took advantage of that fact, diving to the bottom and clearing Stockon by the time both got to turn two.

“I knew it was going to be my only shot,” Courtney thought.  “The track was tricky up top and it was tough to slide someone.  I tried it once early in the race and couldn’t clear him and spent the rest of the time trying to catch back up to him.  I didn’t think it was going to stick as well as it did when I tried it again.”

“I protected myself in (turns) three and four thinking he was going to slide me,” Courtney continued.  “After that, once I couldn’t really hear him, I ran my own race, counted the laps down, clicked them off and tried to make nine perfect laps.”

Courtney executed to perfection down the stretch, extending his lead to more than two seconds by race’s end to capture his first career victory at the Terre Haute Action Track over Kevin Thomas, Jr., Shane Cottle, Chris Windom and Stockon.

The only previous USAC Sprint Car action on a half-mile dirt oval this season was captured by Courtney, on May 10, at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, one of 12 half-mile events on the schedule this year.  In 12 half-mile USAC Sprint Car races in 2018, Courtney led all drivers with four wins, while Chris Windom had three, Brady Bacon and Justin Grant two and Kevin Thomas, Jr. with one.

“Tony Hulman Classic” activities get underway with pits opening at 3pm eastern, drivers meeting at 6pm and cars on track at 6:30pm, with qualifications and racing to immediately follow.  Tickets are $25 for adult general admission and $15 adult infield tickets.  Children 11 and under are FREE!  Pit passes are $30 for members and $35 for non-members.

A great deal is available for those who don't want to miss a single lap of "The Week of Indy.”  A Superticket is being sold for a savings of 25% off of the regular three-day prices for the Wednesday, May 22 “Tony Hulman Classic” for USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars at the Terre Haute Action Track, the Thursday, May 23 “Hoosier Hundred” for USAC Silver Crown at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and on Friday, May 24 for the Dave Steele “Carb Night Classic” Silver Crown race at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

For just $60, a savings of $20, a fan will receive general admission at Terre Haute and Lucas Oil Raceway as well as a reserved seat for the Hoosier Hundred.  To purchase a Superticket, visit

For more information on any of the events, visit,, or call the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.

The Terre Haute Action Track is located at 3901 South US Hwy 41, Terre Haute, IN 47807.  You can reach the promoter, Track Enterprises, by phone at (217) 764-3200 and on race day at (812) 232-4040.

Watch the race live and on-demand at  Listen live on the USAC app.  Follow along with live updates on and, plus live timing and scoring on the Race Monitor app.