INDIANAPOLIS – The official unveiling of the inaugural Driven2SaveLives BC39 was made official on Tuesday afternoon as the historic event will take place as a two-day show at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the week of the Brickyard 400. The dates are Sept. 5 and Sept. 6. With that press conference, most of the details for the race are now known.
At the moment, the event is planning on having all the way up to a “G-Main” which included cars 87th or higher in points. For those new to the “Main” races, they’re heat races which allow cars to advance on to the next “Main.” When you get in the letters of “G” or higher, you know you have a huge event.
With talking to Doug Boles and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on Tuesday, it sounds as if this event could be the late summer version of the Chili Bowl. The big dirt race held annually in January in Tulsa, Oklahoma boasts a large field that it takes almost an entire week to widdle the cars down to 24 starters. With how much popularity that this race has garnered, expect a similar interest level.
Also expect several of the NASCAR stars that have a USAC background to race. Add to the fact that the purse is among the largest, if not the largest, in USAC Midgets history, then you get a huge field.
Here’s the process.
How Are Lineups Determined?
The system of heats and “Mains” creates almost a race within a race just to make the A-Main feature race, guaranteeing plenty of wheel-to-wheel action at all times.
Two days of track activity will start Wednesday, Sept. 5. All cars will draw for heat race positions and hot lap with their heat race. Two rounds of hot laps will be held, starting with the final heat and snaking back to conclude with the final heat.
Heat races will be 10 laps each, with the starting lineups determined by random draw. Points for the heats will be accumulated by finishing position and total number of positions gained or lost. Cars will be positioned into qualifying races Thursday based on the points accumulated in Wednesday’s heats.
On-track action Thursday, Sept. 6 will start with hot laps, as all cars will practice with their respective qualifying races.
All cars are eligible for the qualifying races, with up to 12 cars competing per race. Qualifying races will be 10 laps each, with top-six starting positions inverted with the top point earner from Wednesday’s heat races starting sixth. Total points from the heat races and qualifying races will be added to set the feature starting lineup, along with transfers from the B-Main, C-Main and front of the D-Main races. The top 16 overall in accumulated points will start straight-up in the first eight rows of the feature.
G-Main: 10 laps. Includes cars 87th or higher in points, with the top four finishers transferring to the F-Main.
F-Main: 10 laps. Includes cars 73rd through 86th in points, plus the top four finishers from the G-Main. The top four finishers transfer to the E-Main.
E-Main: 10 laps. Includes cars 59-72 in points, plus the top four finishers from the F-Main. The top four finishers transfer to the D-Main.
D-Main: 12 laps. Includes cars 45-58 in points, plus the top four finishers from the E-Main. The top four finishers transfer to the C-Main.
C-Main: 15 laps. Includes cars 31-44 in points, plus the top four finishers from the D-Main. The top four finishers transfer to the B-Main.
B-Main (Semi-Feature): 20 laps. Includes cars ranked 17-30 in points, plus the top-four finishers from the C-Main. The top six finishers transfer to the night’s A-Main feature event.
The 39-lap A-Main feature will have 22 starters, plus two USAC provisional starters (if applicable) and two IMS options.
Right now, Boles told me that he’s expecting to have a seating capacity of 3-5k. While a lot of fans are saying that won’t be enough, Boles said that they’re aware of that possibility and as soon as last night went over to Turn 3 to see what the dirt track would look like from the permanent grandstands over there. But, before he makes any final numbers, he says the track needs to get fully built first.
“One of the challenges right now is figuring out what the capacity is,” said Boles. “As we’ve been building the track, the layouts changed a little bit from where we though it was. It’s going to be a little more D-Shaped than we originally thought. We’re waiting to finalize that which will be next week. Then, we’ll figure out the right spots to put the grandstands which right now I think we’re at around 3-5 thousand. That’s pretty traditional for a Midget event. We have to decide on if we want to open Turn 3. It’s a distance away but it’s viable.”
As Boles eluded to above, the track will be similar in nature to Kokomo. They’re expecting a .25-mile dirt track that will be progressively banked in the corners. There will be concrete walls and a fence up with portable lighting.
Will This Event Be Aired On TV?
With such a big race at such a historic track, seems like this should be on TV right? Well, that’s something Boles said is a possibility. NBC Sports will be here already to air the Brickyard weekend so maybe that’s an option. FOX airs the first part of the NASCAR schedule and may want to jump in with a race on FS1 or FS2 since so many NASCAR drivers may run. MAV TV airs the Chili Bowl and may have interest as well.
“We’re working on that right now,” said Boles.
Will This Be A 1 Time Event?
With this being run on NASCAR weekend, what about the Month of May? Boles said that the track wouldn’t be able to accommodate a dirt race in May but didn’t rule out this event returning in the future. But, at the moment, this is a one-year deal.
“I think part of the conversation is that if we’re going to do this, lets just do it for this year and evaluate it when it’s done,” Boles said on future prospects of the event. “If it makes sense, then we can have that conversation. Even if it was a multi year deal, May wouldn’t work. Operationally it’s just not feasible in May.”
Why Wednesday and Thursday Of The Week?
The dates are obvious, but with Lucas Oil Raceway hosting the ARCA Racing Series on Friday night and the USAC Silver Crown Series on Saturday night, IMS didn’t want to step on anyone’s shoes over at their neighbors residence. So, they created a true Super week in having a dirt race on Wednesday and Thursday night, XFINITY Series practice and the hauler parade on Friday, ARCA at LOR on Friday night, Brickyard 400 practice and qualifying on Saturday, XFINITY Series qualifying and race on Saturday afternoon, Silver Crown race at LOR Saturday night and Brickyard 400 wrapping it all up on Sunday.
“It helps so we don’t have to step on what’s going on out at Raceway Park,” said Boles. “Plus, Friday is XFINITY here and the hauler parade which is a big deal for our community on Friday evening.”