USAC Sprint Car schedule boasts 50 races coast to coast

2021 USAC Sprint schedule
Brandon Murray

The USAC Sprint Car schedule showcases 50 races in 2021 with racing from coast-to-coast. There will be plenty of sprint car action over the three major series: The World of Outlaws have already announced a 90-race slate of racing. Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions will host 59 races.

Along with the Outlaws and ASCOC, USAC’s schedule features increased purses in a number of events, new venues and a return to racing at several tracks that have not been visited by the series in quite some while.

USAC Sprints kick off their season with the 12th edition of the Winter Dirt Games at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. on Feb 11 – 13. The payout for this race has been increased to $10,000-to-win. Some other notable paydays include the $20,000-to-win Corn Belt Nationals at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway in July and the $12,000-to-win Haubstadt Hustler in September at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.

Three new tracks will host the USAC Sprints in 2021 for the first time. Path Valley Speedway Park in Spring Run, Pa. joins the schedule in April, Bloomsburg (Pa.) Fairgrounds in June and Indianapolis’ Circle City Raceway in September will each have inaugural events.

Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway rejoins the schedule for the first time since 1971. Paragon Speedway has not hosted a USAC race since 1998 and Big Diamond since 2012.

USAC will also have races that have become synonymous with the series such as the Eastern Storm tour through Pennsylvania and New Jersey in June, Indiana’s Sprint Car Week in July, #LetsRaceTwo at Stewart’s Eldora (Ohio) Speedway in May, and the Western World Championship that traditionally ends of the season. The event that is now run at Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley has not yet announced its dates.

Eldora will also host the 39th running of the 4-Crown Nationals on Sept. 25 that features Sprint Cars, Midgets, and Silver Crown cars on the same night.

2021 USAC Sprint Car Schedule

Thursday, February 11: Bubba Raceway Park – Ocala, FL
Friday, February 12: Bubba Raceway Park – Ocala, FL
Saturday, February 13: Bubba Raceway Park – Ocala, FL
Saturday, April 3: Lawrenceburg Speedway – Lawrenceburg, IN
Friday, April 16: Bloomington Speedway – Bloomington, IN
Saturday, April 17: Tri-State Speedway – Haubstadt, IN
Sunday, April 18: Paragon Speedway – Paragon, IN
Thursday, April 22: Grandview Speedway – Bechtelsville, PA
Friday, April 23: Big Diamond Speedway – Pottsville, PA
Saturday, April 24: BAPS Motor Speedway – York Haven, PA
Sunday, April 25: Path Valley Speedway Park – Spring Run, PA
Friday, May 7: Eldora Speedway – Rossburg, OH
Saturday, May 8: Eldora Speedway – Rossburg, OH
Friday, May 21: Lakeside Speedway – Kansas City, KS
Saturday, May 22: Lakeside Speedway – Kansas City, KS
Wednesday, May 26: Terre Haute Action Track – Terre Haute, IN
Tuesday, June 15: Grandview Speedway – Bechtelsville, PA
Wednesday, June 16: Bridgeport Speedway – Swedesboro, NJ
Thursday, June 17: Selinsgrove Speedway – Selinsgrove, PA
Saturday, June 19: Port Royal Speedway – Port Royal, PA
Sunday, June 20: Bloomsburg Fairgrounds – Bloomsburg, PA
Thursday, July 1: Plymouth Speedway – Plymouth, IN
Friday, July 2: Lincoln Park Speedway – Putnamville, IN
Saturday, July 3: Lincoln Park Speedway – Putnamville, IN
Friday, July 9: TBA – TBA
Saturday, July 10: Knoxville Raceway – Knoxville, IA
Friday, July 23: Gas City I-69 Speedway – Gas City, IN
Saturday, July 24: Kokomo Speedway – Kokomo, IN
Sunday, July 25: Lawrenceburg Speedway – Lawrenceburg, IN
Wednesday, July 28: Terre Haute Action Track – Terre Haute, IN
Thursday, July 29: Lincoln Park Speedway – Putnamville, IN
Friday, July 30: Bloomington Speedway – Bloomington, IN
Saturday, July 31: Tri-State Speedway – Haubstadt, IN
Thursday, August 26: Kokomo Speedway – Kokomo, IN
Friday, August 27: Kokomo Speedway – Kokomo, IN
Saturday, August 28: Kokomo Speedway – Kokomo, IN
Thursday, September 9: TBA – TBA
Friday, September 10: TBA – TBA
Saturday, September 11: TBA – TBA
Friday, September 17: Circle City Raceway – Indianapolis, IN
Saturday, September 18: Tri-State Speedway – Haubstadt, IN
Thursday, September 23: Gas City I-69 Speedway – Gas City, IN
Saturday, September 25: Eldora Speedway – Rossburg, OH
Friday, October 1: Terre Haute Action Track – Terre Haute, IN
Saturday, October 2: Lawrenceburg Speedway – Lawrenceburg, IN
TBA: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
TBA: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
TBA: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
TBA: Arizona Speedway – San Tan Valley, AZ
TBA: Arizona Speedway – San Tan Valley, AZ

World of Outlaws Sprint Car schedule
All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car schedule

IndyCar’s ‘Phoenix’ flying into 2023 season: Romain Grosjean enjoying the pilot’s life

IndyCar Romain Grosjean pilot
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – The IndyCar driver known as “The Phoenix” already has taken flight before the 2023 season, and newly licensed pilot Romain Grosjean also got a head start on the opener.

Fulfilling a dream several years in the making, the Andretti Autosport plunged into aviation training over the offseason. Since beginning with online studying last August, Grosjean quickly progressed to earning his licenses for multiengine planes and instrument ratings while completing 115 hours of flight time.

He has landed twice at Albert Whitted Airport, whose primary runway also doubles as the front straightaway on the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg street course.

“Just to land on the start-finish line, that was pretty cool,” Grosjean said during IndyCar Preseason Content Days ahead of the Feb. 2-3 test at The Thermal Club. “The air traffic control guy was like, “Yeah, left on Acre Five, turn, and then back. I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s the last corner of the racetrack, I’ll take it and go back to the pit lane. He was like, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s true.’ So it was quite funny.”

Grosjean, 36, said he had wanted to become a pilot since he was 30 but was discouraged by Europe’s complicated and time-consuming licensing process (“to go to ground school twice a week, and with our life, it’s impossible”). He was inspired again last year by (now former) teammate Alexander Rossi, who flew to some 2022 races after earning his license a couple of years ago.

“I thought that was pretty cool,” said Grosjean, who had grown “bored of waiting in the airports.”

He plans to fly to nearly all the races this year (“if the weather is good enough, I’ll be flying”) and jokes about being “commercial by the end of the year, so then I can take Roger (Penske). Roger can pay me to fly him around to races if things go bad with racing.”

Grosjean’s social media has been filled with posts about his new hobby, which afforded him the opportunity recently to take his wife to Key West for lunch from their home in the Miami area.

The trip took 37 minutes there and 41 minutes on return and highlighted why Grosjean loves flying: “Freedom. Freedom to go anywhere you want, anytime you want. It’s the beauty of it. We can go to the Bahamas for a day if we want to. Anywhere. I think that’s just great to know that you can do whatever you want.”

It’s reminiscent of the cross-country trip across the Midwest in an RV that Grosjean took with his family during the summer of his 2021 rookie season.

“There’s one thing that I told my kids, and I told my friend about America, and for me, that’s the biggest difference between Europe and here, is here everything is possible,” said Grosjean (whose “Phoenix” nickname was derived from a brush with death in his final Formula One start). “If you have the wish, if you give yourself the possibility of doing it, everything is possible. It is different in Europe. Much more boundaries on the way. Much more steps that you need to do in a certain order. But if you want to be extraordinary (in the United States), if you want to do something different, you don’t need to do those steps because you can work through.

“Yeah, I like doing things, and when I do them, I like doing them well. But here I think just the opportunity of driving the RV, flying planes, for my kids to do whatever they want to do, we love that here. Yeah, it’s been the best discovery for us.”

The Swiss-born Frenchman already has flown himself to a race this year, jetting up the Florida coast for his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut last month. It was his debut as a Lamborghini factory driver, and his new deal will continue with the Twelve Hours of Sebring and possibly the Petit Le Mans while he also helps develop the automaker’s new hybrid prototype (LMDh) for next year.

Grosjean finished a disappointing 13th in the 2022 points standings with one podium for Andretti in his first full IndyCar season. The team showed improvement at Thermal, and Grosjean (who was fourth fastest on Day 1) said IndyCar will remain his priority in 2024.

But he hopes the IndyCar schedule will afford racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance races and perhaps his longest plane flight yet — a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I’ll keep my fingers crossed like that we get the weekend off from IndyCar,” said Grosjean, noting that 10 IndyCar drivers were in the Rolex 24. “I think it would make a lot of sense. I think for both series it’s amazing. If we can get Le Mans, it’s also amazing because it’s just cool.

“I remember Mario flying across the Atlantic doing Monaco and the Indy 500, and those guys, they were racing everywhere, Formula 3, Formula 2, Formula 1. They were doing the races in opening of the Formula 1 race, and I think that’s very cool for us. So yeah, looking forward to the project. There’s going to be a lot of development coming on. By the time we finish the IndyCar season, the LMDh will be here in the States, and that’s when I’m going to spend a lot of time on it.”