Today marked my first time experiencing the awesomeness that is midget racing. The 2nd Annual “Battle at the Brickyard” took place July 7-10 for the more than 270 USAC Mopar .25 Midget drivers and entrants. Admissions was free- Bonus!
When I arrived Saturday morning I really wasn’t sure what to expect. My heart was soon won over by the crowd, which was impressive- mostly parents, friends and family supporting their young drivers. As I approached the mini-track, set up behind the garages at Gasoline Alley, I noticed parents and coaches talking strategy to drivers waiting to race. I snapped this photo of a pep-talk, complete with umbrella.
The first heat I watched was incredible; the 40 lap race was complete with the intense racing you would expect from an IndyCar Series race. These junior drivers really have a passion for racing and it showed. In fact, the amount of pure racing enthusiasm surrounding the entire event was immense. This event marked Round #6 in the USAC “Generation NEXT” National Series. These young drivers, ages ranging from as young as 4 ½ to 16 have already competed in North Carolina, Georgia, California, at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Florida and at Kokomo, Indiana. Not a bad gig if you ask me.
A few yellow flags later and we had a winner. The winner is then given the checkered flag and takes a few victory laps- a monumental moment for a young driver.
This event was a lot of fun, seeing young athletes race in the shadow of the Pagoda at the infamous Indianapolis Motor Speedway was enough to be energized by. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was surrounded by the next generation of driving superstars.
This afternoon, Victory Lane Ceremonies will take place announcing the top 3 drivers in the 18 different classes, awarding each with a commemorative brick and championship flag. Although my youthful memories do not contain anything remotely close to being strapped in a high tech go-cart, “Battle at the Brickyard” made me somewhat nostalgic for my younger years. It also made me appreciate the dedication these young drivers and teams are showing for the sport of racing. Race on! (Be sure to check out more photos from this event on our Flickr set here.)
Want to get involved? Visit USAC for more information on midget racing.