Dsc 4927 Speedsport Bacon Usac T Haute 5 23 2023 Nearpass
Brady Bacon (David Nearpass photo)

Friday Morning Heat Race

Hot Laps: Sizzling Bacon

How many times have you read that in a SPEED SPORT headline?

Well, Brady Bacon may be having his best season yet, and the month of May has another week to go.

The four-time USAC Sprint Car champion won the Hulman Classic at the Terre Haute Action Track earlier this week. In addition, he picked up a USAC Silver Crown triumph last Saturday at the famed Belleville (Kan.) High Banks and earned his first World of Outlaws sprint car win at Tri-State Speedway.

Qualifying: A Class Act

Good things come to those who handle themselves with class.

This week’s example of that is Graham Rahal. The second-generation Indy car driver could not have been more gracious in one of the most difficult moments of his career, when he failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 last Sunday.

Rahal was the recipient of good things when he was tabbed to replace injured Stefan Wilson in the 33-car field. Way to go Graham.

First Heat: New Territory

One of the best shooters in the dirt-track industry, Paul Arch, saw his first race in the state of North Carolina this week, catching the Xtreme Outlaw Midget doubleheader at Millbridge Speedway.

Arch, who stopped by the SPEED SPORT office this week, has been photographing the best racers on dirt — and a few on asphalt — since the early 1980s. Having recently retired, he’s traveling a little bit more frequently.

After leaving the Tar Heel state, Arch planned to shoot races at Sharon Speedway, Williams Grove Speedway and Port Royal Speedway before the end of the holiday weekend.

Second Heat: Around The Globe

The top six starters in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 are from six different countries. Alex Palou (Spain), Rinus VeeKay (Netherlands), Felix (Sweden), Santino Ferrucci (United States), Pato O’Ward (Mexico) and Scott Dixon (New Zealand) will start in the top six spots.

Thirteen of the 33 starters are Americans.

Third Heat: Can Josef Do It?

Josef Newgarden is one of the most successful IndyCar Series drivers of the past decade, yet he’s hearing more and more about what he hasn’t done, and that’s win the Indianapolis 500.

Newgarden, who has won two IndyCar titles and 26 races since his first victory in 2015, has started 11 Indianapolis 500s but never won the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Newgarden has made six of those starts with Team Penske, which is the winningest team in Indy history with 19 Indy 500 triumphs.

He’ll be in the field of 33 for the 12th time on Sunday, starting 17th.

Dash: Mind-Boggling

How good was Danny Lasoski at Knoxville Raceway? Consider that Brian Brown, who just happens to be Lasoski’s nephew, just moved into second on the all-time winner’s list at the track with 61 victories.

Still, Brown is 51 wins behind Lasoski (112), who is the winningest driver at the Marion County Fairgrounds half-mile oval.

B Main: Bucket-List Races

What Memorial Day weekend race would you like to attend that you haven’t?

For me, it’s the Little 500 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. Five hundred laps of sprint car racing on a quarter-mile race track has to be sensory overload. The Monaco Grand Prix may be next on the list, but at this point, I’m probably a little too old and puffy to obtain entry to “the prettiest place” on the planet.

Feature: CheckIt4Andretti

Having read the story about Tony Stewart’s Double Duty seasons during the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 only made us miss John Andretti. John was the first driver to run both Memorial Day weekend classics in the same day when he turned the trick in 1994.

The son of the late Aldo Andretti and nephew of Mario Andretti died in January 2020 of colon cancer at the age of 56. He was one of a handful of drivers who won an Indy car and NASCAR Cup Series race during his career.

We remember fondly, how John often reminded us that he also won the 1983 USAC Speedrome Midget title.

Parting Shot: Who Wins Indy?

Scott Dixon will win the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.