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The parade lap for last year’s World Figure-8 Championship at the Indianapolis Speedrome. (David Sink photo)

46th World Figure-8 Run Set For Speedrome

INDIANAPOLIS — The 46th annual World Figure-8 Championship 3-Hour Endurance race will return to the Indianapolis Speedrome this weekend.

The Late Model Figure-8 race will once again pay $20,000 to the winner.

The event is unique to say the least and draws fans and competitors from all over the county. The event features non-stop crossover action for three hours of racing in the timed event. Besides the $20,000 winners share, the right to be called a world champion in also on the line.

The event bills itself as “The Greatest Figure-8 Race on the Planet.”

The first World Figure-8 Championship took place in 1964 at the now defunct Islip (N.Y.) Speedway. A Figure-8 world champion was crowned during the event each through 1984. Many of these early events were shown live on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

The track was eventually torn down and the Indianapolis Speedrome began crowning world champions in 1985.

The race is considered by many to be the most interesting short-track event ever conceived. The fastest 28 qualifiers will start the race. The rest of the cars will be alternates standing by. Once the race begins and cars start going to the pits for various reason, alternates are sent onto the track.

This helps keep a significant number of cars on the fifth-mile flat track. It is possible to win this race without being on the track when the green flag waves, although it has never happened.

This year’s event has more than 40 entrants, with drivers from Indiana, Wisconsin, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan among the field.

There are several storylines surrounding this year’s event.

Four-time and defending champion Ben Tunny will try to score his fifth career win in this event. Another win will tie him with Kenny St. John for second on the all-time winners list. Jack Dossey Jr. currently is the all-time leader with six victories.

Newly crowned Indianapolis Speedrome late model champion Mike Riddle Jr. is seeking to become a Figure-8 world champion for the first time.

As is always the case, there will be a strong Kentuckiana contingent invading: Corey Harmon, Ronnie Basham III, Buddy Vertrees, Calvin Crain (who just became the oldest Figure-8 winner in history by winning The Mid-Western Figure-8 Championship at Sportsdrome Speedway) are looking to be crowned a World Figure-8 Champion.

Action kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 8, with an open practice and racing that night with support classes. The following night will include single-car qualifying under the lights. The weekend will conclude with the 46th running of the event Saturday night.

For those unable to attend this year’s event, all three nights will be streamed live by SPEED SPORT affiliate, Speedrome.tv.