CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon will step into a time machine and return to his dirt racing roots Wednesday night, serving as the honorary starter for this year’s BC39 event at the dirt track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
To kick off the first night’s qualifying races, Gordon will also rip around the dirt track for a few exhibition laps in his Clauson Marshall Racing United States Auto Club Midget. Gordon’s midget car will display the Driven2SaveLives and Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation logos, along with his name.
“Like so many others, racing on dirt played a huge role in my driving career, so it was very special to get the opportunity to make some laps recently at the dirt track at IMS,” Gordon said. “I had forgotten how much fun it was to slide a dirt midget around a quarter-mile dirt track. With the BC39 coming up, it creates a great opportunity to come back and do it again.”
Gordon will suit up and strap in to a midget car for the first time in over 30 years. He started driving midgets in 1989 and won the USAC National Midget Series Rookie of the Year. He would go on to win the 1990 USAC National Midget Series championship and 1991 USAC Silver Crown Series championship before joining Hendrick Motorsports and the NASCAR Cup Series in 1992. Just two years later, he won the first-ever Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis oval.
“Jeff’s success on short tracks across the Midwest propelled him to a national stage, and with that he truly helped develop and bring popularity to grassroots racing across the country,” IMS president J. Douglas Boles said. “I can’t wait for him to return to his roots here at IMS for all of us to appreciate what he’s done for our local short tracks and for our fans to see one of their favorite adopted Hoosiers back in a USAC Midget car.”
After Gordon completes his laps, he will make his way to the flag stand to wave the green flag over the field and start the qualifying races. The five main races will take place the next day on Aug. 13 at the dirt track.
“I’m very thankful to everyone at IMS for making this possible, and I’m excited to be the honorary starter for night one," Gordon said. "I’m also thankful to my longtime friend Tim Clauson and Clauson Marshall Racing for providing me a great car to drive. It’s going to be a fun night!”