2 historic Figure 8 families had intent on extending their legacies on Saturday night June 2nd, but many other talented racers had other ideas about that plan in the 2nd Annual Spring Shootout 90-minute Figure 8. The Tom Wood Group Indianapolis Speedrome Powered by Lincoln Tech had an amazing crowd on hand to bear witness to all the intersection interaction. Qualifications produced a unique and rare feat, a tie for fast time! Cousins Mark and Austin Tunny earned identical 16.241 second laps. Mark took the honors and the $300 pole award because he turned the time first.
The green flag flew, and the clock began with Austin taking the first race lead. He paced 6 circuits before Mark slipped by. The race came to its only red flag on lap 11 to check on former Stock champion Jeff Smith’s condition on the backstretch after his bell house exploded. The Tunny’s resumed battle over the next segment that also include a few minor cautions as driver tried to settle in a rhythm. The 15-minute top 10 runners were Austin, Mark, Mike Hadley Jr, Ben Tunny, Chris Harmon, Mike Riddle Jr, Jesse Tunny, Steve Durham, Donnie Murphy, and Chad Sizemore.
Then next 30-minutes saw Austin’s #7 still leading, but several top 10 contending drivers encountered issues during this period. 4th place starter Tommy St John, Steve Durham, and Nick Moore made contact in the middle altering their evening outcomes. Reigning World Figure 8 Champion Mike Hadley Jr went to the pits from 4th on lap 98. Former Stock king Corey Turner did the same on lap 112 while running 6th. Lap 125 saw Jesse Tunny’s ride spew fluid from under the hood while running 5th bringing him to the attention of his pit crew for several circuits. At halfway, lead lap cars were Austin Tunny, Chris Harmon, Mark Tunny, Chad Sizemore, and Cory Harmon.
Lap 136 saw a new face atop the leaderboard, Kentuckiana Figure 8 legend Chris Harmon took over and started creating a gap. 3rd place running and a serious contender for the win Chad Sizemore had to make a lap 148 green flag pit stop when his rear leaf-spring shackle was compromised via contact with John Conner Jr. This left 4 lead lap cars at the 1-hour mark: Chris Harmon, Austin Tunny, Mark Tunny, and Cory Harmon. Soon after, 5th place running Tommy St John had to leave the track ending his strong run in only his third-ever Figure 8 race.
The last segment of the race had more twists and turns than a New York Times bestseller. Chris lost the lead to Austin in lapped traffic on circuit 213. Two laps later, caution flies and Cory pits from 4th. Lap 229 saw Chris’s #6 machine stall on course from the second spot leaving only Austin and Mark on the primary circuit. However, Mark had a slowly deflating left front tire costing him tons of speed and put him laps down and in the clutches of Ben Tunny who was charging after getting down laps near midway.
Austin Tunny marched on to the $10,000 victory. “Damn, we did it”, proclaimed the exuberant winner. “The way the car felt early, I thought this was our race to lose. I tried to just pace myself during the race. I’m so proud of my team, they did such a great job preparing this car”. The reaming top 10 finishers were Ben Tunny, Mark Tunny, Cory Harmon, Mike Riddle Jr, Chad Sizemore, Donnie Garrigus IV, Chris Harmon, Donnie Murphy, and Donnie Garrigus III. Chris Harmon was the top Shootout rookie and Donnie Garrigus IV gained the most positions (14) from start to finish.