Ken de la Bastide: A fitting partnership for the future

Nov. 8—There was encouraging news last week for open-wheel racing in Indiana and the surrounding states.

Coming off a successful inaugural season, the 500 Sprint Car Tour has already announced five dates for the 2023 season.

The series returns to Anderson Speedway for three events starting in April, and of course the biggest event of the year will be the 75th running of the Lucas Oil Little 500 in May.

What was encouraging is the 500 Sprint Car Tour is teaming up with the revitalized Kenyon Midget Series.

The announcement has the Kenyon Midgets competing with the sprint cars at the three events at Anderson Speedway and two at Berlin Raceway in Michigan.

It only makes sense for the two series to work together. That will allow the Kenyon Midget Series competitors the opportunity to take the next step up the racing ladder.

During the Kenyon Midget Series banquet last weekend, it was announced 2022 champion Dameron Taylor received $2,000 to apply toward possibly racing a sprint car with the 500 Sprint Car Tour in the future.

Taylor has raced a sprint car in the past and has attempted to make the Little 500 starting field.

Brad Hayes, the owner of the Kenyon Midget Series, said the $2,000 will be awarded on an annual basis for the champion to further their racing career.

At the banquet, it was announced the Kenyon Midget Series will be returning to the Indianapolis Speedrome for one or two races and is adding the Paragon Speedway dirt oval to the schedule.

Hayes is predicting up to 15 races next year with an attempt to have the events split between pavement and dirt tracks in 2023.

The Kenyon Midget Series took a big leap forward in 2022 with increased car counts and 30 drivers making at least one start, which included 19 rookies.

Hayes is hoping to have an average of 20 competitors at each event in 2023.


It was a bittersweet weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing.

In somewhat of a surprise, Ty Gibbs captured the Xfinity Series championship when many people expected him to be taken out of competition following his aggressive move at Martinsville the week before.

Gibbs was competing for the title with three drivers in the Dale Earnhardt Jr. stable.

But, before the race, Earnhardt said none of his drivers would intentionally wreck Gibbs to win the championship.

Unfortunately, that evening Ty's father, Coy, passed away.

Joey Logano won his second NASCAR Cup championship Sunday, capping the season with a victory at Phoenix to claim the title.

Penske Racing also took home the IndyCar Series championship with driver Will Power claiming the honors.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.