INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2001 - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League will sponsor the United States Auto Club-sanctioned event March 10 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Speedway and league officials announced Jan.
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2001 - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League will sponsor the United States Auto Club-sanctioned event March 10 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Speedway and league officials announced Jan. 30. The event, titled Indy Racing and Indianapolis Motor Speedway present Thunder in the Dome XVII, will feature the top drivers of USAC midget car racing on the floor of the RCA Dome in downtown Indianapolis. Drivers will compete for the $5,000 winner's share of the $28,200 event purse. "We have a very strong and historic bond with grassroots, open-wheel oval-track racing," said Bob Reif, senior vice president of sales and marketing and chief marketing officer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League. "Indy Racing and Indianapolis Motor Speedway are clearly the destination for drivers competing in events like Thunder in the Dome XVII.
"This is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment to young American drivers we want to see competing in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. Thunder in the Dome XVII provides our fans with great racing before the Northern Light Series gets underway." Over the course of its 17-year history, the invitation-only Thunder in the Dome has pitted the best drivers from around the United States against their peers from Indiana. Longtime USAC competitor Johnny Parsons won Thunder in the Dome XVI for Team Indiana in 2000. Team Indiana and Team USA each will have 24 drivers for this year's race, but the event will feature a slightly different format in 2001, providing spectators with more racing. The tentative schedule is as follows: *Public gates open at 4 p.m., with racing at 6 p.m. *The night will begin with two 25-lap quarterfinals for each team (four quarterfinals altogether). Twelve drivers will compete in each quarterfinal. *A Team Indiana 40-lap feature with all 24 of the team's drivers will follow. The top 12 finishers transfer to the main event. A similar team feature will follow for Team USA. *Last but not least, Team Indiana will race against Team USA in the 100-lap Indy Racing and Indianapolis Motor Speedway present Thunder in the Dome XVII main event. Each driver from the winning team will earn a $250 bonus, and the rookie of the race from each team feature will also be honored. The top-finishing first-year driver in the main event will earn the Gene Hartley Award and $100. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster outlets and at the RCA Dome box office.