Posted: September 17, 2018
Speedway, Indiana………Wednesday’s opening night of the Driven2SaveLives “BC39” presented by NOS Energy Drink began a new era of racing at the Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, set inside turn three of the surrounding world-famous 2.5-mile paved oval.

15-year-old Zeb Wise (#39 bc SR-11x) captured the victory in the Stoops Pursuit, a 20-lap elimination race in which you would be eliminated if you were passed.  Coming to the white flag, the Angola, Ind. native went on the offense, sliding by Alex Bright (#77 SR-11) in turn four on the penultimate lap to win the $1500 payday, plus $100 for each of the 17 cars he passed from his 18th starting position.  In doing so, he put the 39BC in victory lane at the BC39, a fitting tribute to the late, great USAC champ in which the event is named for.

In preliminary action, Tyler Courtney (#7 SR-11x) completed an IMS Dirt Track version of a spin and win to become the first official winner of a race at the quarter-mile dirt oval, sliding to halt midway through the ten-lapper while leading, but the Indianapolis, Ind. driver got up on the wheel and drove it back to the front to capture the win in heat race one.  Meanwhile, David Prickett and Tyler Nelson were involved in a tangle that resulted in a double-flip.  Both walked away.

In heat race two, Macdoel, California’s Maria Cofer, subbing for the injured Spencer Bayston, became the first female winner in the history of the Dirt Track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, getting to the point on the second lap from her outside front row starting spot.

Cullman, Alabama’s Kevin Thomas, Jr. (#63 SR-11x) shot from fifth to first by lap two and never looked back, dominating heat race three to take the victory.

Shane Cottle of Kansas, Ill. wired the field in heat race four, leading all 10 laps to score the victory.  Behind him, a torrid battle ensued as Dillon Welch ripped the fence lap after lap alongside Brian Karraker, but Karraker was able to get the spot to finish second on the final lap behind Cottle.

Tucker Klaasmeyer drove from seventh to first by halfway as the Paola, Kansas driver cruised to a two-second victory in heat race five.

An enthralling heat six saw USAC Triple Crown champ J.J. Yeley (#63 SR-11x) and Shane Golobic (#17 SR-11x) dip and dive, exchanging the front spot numerous times, with Yeley spraying the concrete with soil as he flirted with the turn two concrete each time he exited turn two in his journey to victory lane.

Jason McDougal and Steve Buckwalter banged wheels, nerf bars, you name it, in their torrid battle for the lead for the majority of heat race seven.  A wheel-to-wheel, slider fest raged on until McDougal slipped on the berm near the end.  Buckwalter, of Royersford, Pa. took control and raced on to victory.  Zach Daum walked away from a turn two flip during the heat.

When Norman, Oklahoma’s Christopher Bell starts from the pole, it’s trouble for pretty much everyone else.  The 2013 USAC National Midget champ put it to the competition, winning heat race eight handily.

It was a tale of two different lines in heat nine between Chad Boat and Tyler Thomas.  But, the difference in this one was the two repeatedly swapped the lead back and forth, exchanging slider after slider after slider before Collinsville, Oklahoma’s Thomas rode the rim in turn four to nip Boat at the line for the victory.

Foresthill, California’s Ryan Robinson controlled heat race 10 from the outset, leading every lap despite starting fifth.  Brayton Lynch followed suit, advancing from eighth to a second-place finish, rapidly closing on Robinson during the final laps as Robinson biked it on the cushion and motored on.

Alex Bright of Collegeville, Pa. was the lone winner from the back row, taking heat race 11 from the ninth starting spot after engaging in a furious battle with Davey Ray in the early going.  Bright became the night’s high-point man heading into Thursday’s finale.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. made a late rally to challenge Brady Bacon on the final lap, but Bacon, the two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ out of Broken Arrow, Okla. was perfect, leading the final nine laps to win heat race 12.