INDIANAPOLIS – USAC announced Tuesday that the Hoosier Hundred event scheduled to be held May 27 will move to Terre Haute Action Track and has been renamed the Sumar Classic.
The Indiana State Fair Commission is converting the State Fairgrounds Mile from a dirt surface to an all-weather track made of crushed limestone, which allows for year-round harness training and racing and a more efficient parking plan for the Indiana State Fair and other events held at the Fairgrounds year round.
The resulting effect of the surface conversion is that auto racing event will no longer be held at the track, and thus, signals the moving of the 66th running of the Hoosier Hundred, originally scheduled to be held on Thursday night, May 27.
However, USAC Silver Crown racing will be in competition on Thursday night, May 27, at western Indiana’s Terre Haute Action Track with the 19th edition of the Sumar Classic, a 100-lap event at one of the most iconic half-mile dirt tracks in auto racing.
“While we were informed this time would eventually come, it is a tough pill to swallow the news of the track’s conversion, ending auto racing at the historic fairgrounds,” USAC Executive Vice President Levi Jones explained. “However, we’re excited to be racing the Silver Crown cars now at Terre Haute and the preceding night there with Sprint Cars. You can’t pass up two-straight nights of USAC racing at Terre Haute.”
The Sumar Classic arrives as part of one of the marquee weeks of activity for USAC at the Terre Haute Action Track with the 51st Tony Hulman Classic for the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars on Wednesday night, May 26, followed by the 19th Sumar Classic for the USAC Silver Crown series on Thursday night, May 27.
Opened in 1952, the Terre Haute Action Track has long possessed a foothold in the lexicon of motorsports history and has played a major role in producing many of the greatest names in racing throughout the 20th and 21st centuries who’ve won there. The Sumar Classic began in 1995 and introduced the return of champ car racing at Terre Haute following a lengthy hiatus. The tradition has carried on ever since with a traditional date on the USAC Silver Crown calendar. Justin Grant won the most recent running of the Sumar Classic in 2018 while 2019 was rained out and the 2020 race was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The history of the Indiana State Fairgrounds dates back well over a century. On June 20, 1903, Barney Oldfield drove a Henry Ford-designed “999” to the first sub-one-minute lap ever on a one-mile racetrack at 59.6 seconds. In 1917, Oldfield, the 1905 AAA National Champion, prevailed in a match race versus 1915 Indianapolis 500 winner Ralph DePalma.
In 1946, under the AAA National Championship banner, the one and only Indianapolis 100 was held, with Rex Mays taking the victory. Seven years later, in 1953, a new, long-lasting tradition began with the inaugural running of the Hoosier Hundred won by Bob Sweikert.
The Hoosier Hundred had been scheduled annually since 1953, with only a handful of interruptions due to inclement weather. It was one of the oldest, most tradition-rich racing events on the planet. Many of its winners have gone to achieve legendary status in auto racing with a list that includes A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti who are among the seven drivers to have won both the Hoosier Hundred and the Indianapolis 500 in their careers along with Bob Sweikert, Jimmy Bryan, Rodger Ward, Parnelli Jones and Al Unser.
In 2020, Kyle Larson put on a stirring drive as he raced to his first victory in the Hoosier Hundred after starting all the way back in 22nd on the grid.
The 2019 edition of the Hoosier Hundred was originally scheduled to be the final USAC event at the Indy Mile, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed construction plans, allowing for the Hoosier Hundred to return last fall.
Over the years, the Indy Mile has been home to a myriad of USAC racing events, including Sprint Car, Midget and Stock Car races. In the early-1980s, the Hulman Hundred for Silver Crown cars was created, which was added to the schedule as a second annual race for the series at the track each year from 1981-1995.