It took 5 days, but in the end “the Marksman” Mark Tunny won a heart-pounding Shelby Materials World Figure 8 Championship on Monday night September 10th. 49 teams from 5 states were on hand for this 42nd annual 3-Hour Endurance Race held at the Tom Wood Group Indianapolis Speedrome Powered by Lincoln Tech with $20,000 going to the winner. The track is so thankful for the support of everyone involved in dealing with the hardships from the unprecedented hand Mother Nature and the remnants of hurricane Gordon dealt us over a long weekend.
The first hour of the race began with pole winning rookie Tommy St John leading the way. The action was extremely wild over the initial 50 circuits with 7 different drivers leading the pack. Tunny brothers Ben, Jesse, and Austin as well as cousin Mark all held P1 along with St John, Mike Hadley Jr, and Chris Harmon. Austin Tunny and Nick Moore made contact at the intersection on lap 49 concluding their day. A turn 3 incident with multiple cars ended with Brandon White, Chris Green, and Tim Logue tangled up. The 60-minute top five were Hadley, Mark, Chris Harmon, Jesse, and Cory Harmon.
The second hour began with a massive hit at the crossover between rookie Jeffrey Shackelford and 6th place running White bringing out the red flag. The leading battle emerged during this time frame between 2013 winner Mark Tunny and reigning champ Hadley. The “big one” came on lap 159 when around 10 cars were involved around the X. Getting the worst of this were early leader Steve Durham, Mike Riddle Jr, Dennis Whisman, and Jeff Smith. The halfway top five runners were Mark, Chris Harmon, Hadley, Matt Smith, and Cory. Chris Harmon and Jeff Armour clipped at the intersection 20 circuits later. Several made their pit stop just before the two-thirds mark putting Smith as the leader when the clock hit 2 hours. Hadley and Mark were also on the primary lap.
Hadley went back into first place on lap 244 with “the Marksman” in tow. Heavy lapped traffic gave Mark the opportunity to go 3-wide to regain the top position on the 272th orbit. Smith was able to stay on the lead lap until orbit 351. The top two would remain bumper-to-bumper slicing and dicing their way to the checkers. Mark crossed the line first to capture his second career World Figure 8 Championship, just 1 shy of his father Bruce’s 3. Hadley was runner-up by only .736 of a second. Smith took third and rookie of the race honors. Rounding out the top ten were Cory Harmon, Jesse Tunny, Artie Ware, Tommy St John, Buddy Vertrees, Eugene Worden, and Donnie Garrigus III.