46th World Figure-8 Run Set for Speedrome
The parade lap of last year’s World Figure 8 Championship at the Speedrome in Indianapolis. (photo by David Sink)
INDIANAPOLIS — The 46th annual World Figure 8 Championship 3-hour endurance race returns to the Indianapolis Speedrome this weekend.
The Late Model Figure-8 race will again pay $20,000 to the winner.
The event is unique to say the least and attracts fans and competitors from across the county. The event features non-stop cross action for three hours of racing in the timed event. Along with the $20,000 winners’ share, the right to be called world champion is also at stake.
The event bills itself as “The Biggest Figure 8 Race on the Planet”.
The first Figure 8 World Championship was held in 1964 at the old Islip (NY) Speedway. A world figure 8 champion was crowned at the event through 1984. Many of these early events were broadcast live on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
The track was eventually torn down and the Indianapolis Speedrome began crowning world champions in 1985.
The race is considered by many to be the most interesting short track event ever devised. The 28 fastest qualifiers will start the race. The rest of the cars will be standby alternates. Once the race begins and cars start pitting for various reasons, replacements are sent to the track.
This helps keep a significant number of cars on the flat fifth mile track. It is possible to win this race without being on the track when the green flag is flying, even if this has never happened.
This year’s event has more than 40 participants, including drivers from Indiana, Wisconsin, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan.
There are several storylines surrounding this year’s event.
Four-time defending champion Ben Tunny will be looking for his fifth career victory in this event. Another win will tie him with Kenny St. John for second place on the all-time winners list. Jack Dossey Jr. is currently the all-time leader with six wins.
Mike Riddle Jr., new champion of the latest Indianapolis Speedrome model, is looking to become the figure 8 world champion for the first time.
As always, there will be a strong contingent from Kentuckiana invading: Corey Harmon, Ronnie Basham III, Buddy Vertrees, Calvin Crain (who just became the oldest figure 8 winner in history by winning the Mid-Western Figure-8 Championship at Sportsdrome Speedway) are looking to be crowned the World Figure-8 Champion.
The action kicks off on Thursday, September 8, with open practice and a race that evening with support lessons. The following night will feature single-seater qualifying under the floodlights. The weekend will end with the 46th edition of the event on Saturday evening.
For those unable to attend this year’s event, all three evenings will be broadcast live by affiliate SPEED SPORT, Speedrome.tv.