Ken de la Bastide: Indiana proves it's the racing capital of the world this week

·3 min read

Jul. 26—There is a reason Indianapolis has long been called the "racing capital of the world," but it really should carry over to the entire Hoosier State.

This is a prime week to substantiate the claim Indiana is the center of the racing world in many ways.

All this week, weather permitting, USAC has been staging the Indiana Sprint Week with races throughout the state.

Last Friday at Gas City there were 52 teams on hand, and former Lucas Oil Little 500 winner Shane Cottle scored the victory.

This weekend the 500 Sprint Car Tour will stage events at Anderson Speedway on Saturday and at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park on Monday.

Anderson Speedway is hosting the inaugural Gene Nolen Classic, which is 100 laps, for non-wing sprint cars.

Nolen's cars won the Little 500 twice with Kody Swanson at the controls.

The Kenyon Midgets are on the racing program Saturday.

The local track is hosting an event Friday night for the Radical Ford Focus Midgets and the annual Grant Fritz/Greg Dietzen Memorial for Legends cars.

A two-day ticket can be purchased for $20.

When the 500 Sprint Car Tour races at IRP on Monday, admission is free.

In addition to the non-wing sprint cars, the traditional pavement midgets are on the racing program.

NASCAR champion Kyle Larson is entered for both races at IRP along with NASCAR driver Alex Bowman competing in a midget.

The 500 Sprint Car Tour has seen four different winners in the opening four races, and it wouldn't be a shock to see two more different victors after this weekend.

The Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series are both competing a IRP on Saturday.

At Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it's Brickyard weekend.

The IndyCar Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series take to the road course Saturday and the Cup cars Sunday.

It was an interesting weekend for NASCAR as both Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch had their cars disqualified at Pocono, giving the victory to Chase Elliott.

NASCAR officials warned the teams when it introduced the new car for this year there would be a strict adherence to the rules.

The Gibbs team pushed its luck and paid the price.

Josef Newgarden crashed during the second IndyCar race at Iowa and is still awaiting medical clearance to race at IMS on Saturday.

I'm expecting Martin Truex Jr. to be in contention for the Cup win at IMS, making the 15th different winner this year and locking into the Chase.

For the IndyCar race, there is a tangle of drivers battling for the points lead, but an early favorite has to be Simon Pagenaud, who always runs strong on the IMS road course.

Oh, by the way, next Tuesday and Wednesday the USAC Midgets will be competing on a temporary track at IMS.

Does anyone really doubt Indiana is the racing capital of the world?

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