GAS CITY, Ind. – Many can resonate with the following words uttered by James Dean.
”Racing is the only time I feel whole.”
Dean will be honored Thursday night at Gas City (Ind.) I-69 Speedway, 15 minutes northeast of Dean’s hometown in Fairmount, in a USAC doubleheader featuring the series’ national midgets and sprint cars.
All three past James Dean Classic winners are set to compete in the sprint cars this Thursday at the quarter-mile dirt oval, which will host its 37th USAC National Sprint Car event.
Justin Grant is the reigning James Dean Classic winner. Chris Windom is one of two drivers to finish all three features inside the top-five, winning in 2019 and finishing fourth in both ‘18 and ‘20. Kevin Thomas Jr. scored the inaugural James Dean Classic win in 2018.
Shane Cottle has three career USAC National Sprint Car wins at Gas City since 2006.
Logan Seavey has won two of the past three USAC National Sprint Car features at Gas City, but he finished 21st in his only James Dean appearance last year. The 2018 USAC National Midget champion captured Indiana Sprint Week feature wins at Gas City in ‘20 and this year.
Three-time champ and current USAC National Sprint Car point leader Brady Bacon won with USAC at Gas City in 2015 and has been a top-10 finisher at the James Dean Classic the past two years.
Tyler Courtney makes his return to Gas City where he scored his first career USAC National Sprint Car victory in 2016 after spinning out on the opening lap, restarting on the tail, then driving by everyone. He finished as the runner-up at the James Dean Classic in a sprint car in 2019.
Other entrants include Chase Stockon, C.J. Leary, Scotty Weir, Thomas Meseraull, Davey Ray, Tanner Thorson, Robert Ballou, Jacon McDougal and Matt Westfall.
In the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series, Cannon McIntosh returns as the defending James Dean Classic winner, though it will be a full calendar year since his last victory with the series. He won last year at Gas City by a 1.8-second margin over Daison Pursley.
McIntosh is one of five past Gas City midget winners in the field Thursday. Thorson, Spencer Bayston, Grant and Buddy Kofoid are the others.
Kofoid won at Gas City in June after leading all 30 laps in the Indiana Midget Week contest. As for Thorson, he won his first USAC National Midget Series feature at Gas City in 2015.
Grant, meanwhile, is both a winner in a midget and sprint car at Gas City. The reigning USAC Silver Crown champion netted an Indiana Midget Week win at the track in 2019 in addition to the sprint car portion of the James Dean last year.
Making his first Gas City USAC National Midget appearance since 2017 is Bayston in a second CB Industries car alongside Windom. The 2017 USAC National Midget champion won his first series race at Gas City in ‘16.
Thomas has captured his share of James Dean Classic glory. He won the inaugural race in the sprint car in 2018. Seavey prevailed in the most recent USAC National Sprint Car race held at Gas City during Indiana Sprint Week in July.
Courtney, meanwhile, returns to the USAC National Midget ranks for the second time this season. He finished in the James Dean Classic his championship year in 2019.
Worth noting, Meseraull and Chance Crum both possess USAC Midwest Regional Midget wins at Gas City this year.