Several racers win on Columbus Go-Kart Racing opening night


The 2023 racing season for Columbus Speedway Go-Kart Racing teams began April 15 with several classes participating at Tony Stewart Speedway at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds in Columbus.

The division winners were Tom Krama (rookies), Jake Hudak (junior 1), Brooklyn Summers (junior 2), Conner Smith (junior 3), Chris Buchanan (medium), Robby Young (heavy), Jakob Peelman (super heavy), Colby King (pred), Travis Wilburn (sumo), Austin Ball (pro heavy) and Joe Doyll (mod lites).

Thornton wins at Brownstown

It was Castrol FloRacing Night in America Race No. 2 for 2023 at Brownstown Speedway on April 19. There were 56 top-quality Super Late Model drivers on hand for the event, all trying to take home the $23,023 top prize for winning.

Arizona native Ricky Thornton Jr., who now calls Martinsville home, jumped to the lead on Lap 1. Thornton battled Mike Marlar in the early stages of the race but eventually pulled away and led all 50 laps.

Thornton crossed the checkers ahead of Mike Marlar, Devin Moran, Hudson O’Neal and Dennis Erb Jr. Rounding out the top 10 were Kyle Larson, Bobby Pierce, Tim McCreadie, Tyler Erb and Brandon Sheppard.

There were 32 DIRTcar Modifieds also on hand for the evening. Tyler Nicely led flag to flag to score the feature victory. Kyle Steffens, Drake Troutman, Cole Falloway and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.

Marlar wins race at Eldora

Mike Marlar built a nearly 5-second lead in the April 18 Castrol FloRacing Night in America event at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, only to lose it to hard-charging Hudson O’Neal in the race’s later stages.

But a flat tire on O’Neal’s machine eventually handed the lead back to Marlar, and he went on to seal the $23,023 victory.

Tim McCreadie finished second to Marlar, followed by Tanner English, Jonathan Davenport and Brandon Sheppard.

Kyle Larson jumped in a Modified for the first time in his career and put on an impressive showing, dominating the main event. In doing so, he now has victories in seven different divisions at Eldora.

In Super Stock action, Earnie Woodard found victory lane again in his famous 01 machine.

This week in racing history

From 60 years ago in 1963, Cecil Beavers won the super modified features at Bloomington, Paragon and Mitchell Speedrome in Mitchell.

From 50 years ago, Gene Petro won the late model feature at 25th Street Speedway in Columbus over Don Hobbs, Paul Crockett, Ralph Clary and Mel Vails.

From 50 years ago this weekend in 1973, Don Hobbs won the late model feature at Brownstown over Woody Smith, John Davis, Bob Fleetwood and Teako Ray.

Also from 1973, Ron Edwards won the late model feature at Whitewater Valley Speedway in Liberty over John Mugavin, Gene Petro, Vern LeFevers and Bruce Merz. Bob Smith took the V-6 feature.

From 50 years ago, Tom Helfrich opened the 1973 racing season at Tri-State Speedway by winning the late model feature over Charlie Mounce, and Bubby Jones won the sprint car feature over Butch Wilkerson.

From 40 years ago in 1983 at I-65 Speedway in Scottsburg, Don Hobbs won the late model feature over Ray Godsey, Russ Petro, Kenny Simpson and Ernie Barrow. Justin Murphy won the street stock main event over Merrill Downey, Earl Plessinger, Don Barnett and Bill Franks.

From 30 years ago in 1993 at Bloomington Speedway, Steve Kinser won the World of Outlaws Sprint Car feature over Joe Gaerte, Kenny Jacobs, Danny Smith and Andy Hillenburg.

Also from 30 years ago, Jack Boggs won the Spring 50 at Florence Speedway over Darrell Lanigan and Troy Green.

From 1993, Troy Green won the late model feature at Twin Cities over Mike Jewell, Steve Landrum, Scott Graham and Brad Cummings. Darrell Smallwood won the street stock feature over Nelson Gingery and Don Fleetwood. Bruce Turner won the bomber division main over Don Walp and Roger Vanosdol. J.D. Largent took the modified feature over Larry Schornick and Bill Westerfield.

Also from 30 years ago, Randy Kinser won the season opener for sprints at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt over Kevin Briscoe and Joey Nash. Mike Gibbs won the late model feature over Tom Rients and Ron Fisher.

From 20 years ago in 2003 at Brownstown, Dan Sturgeon won the late model feature over Greg Johnson, Jason Setser, Mark Barber and Frankie Coomer. Jay Deckard won the super stock feature over Chris DeWeese, Chris Hillman, Mike Cawood and Randy Moore. Jason Combs took the bomber feature over Bubba Woods, Steven Godsey, Matt Cummings and Rusty Smiley.

Upcoming local racing schedule

Tonight: Columbus Speedway Go-Kart Racing at Tony Stewart Speedway, Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds – points event for all divisions.

Tonight: Paragon Speedway, Johnson Memorial – sprints, super stocks, bombers, hornets and mod lites. For information, visit

Tonight: Brownstown Speedway, Indiana Pro late models, super stocks, pure stocks, hornets and crown vics. For information, visit

Tonight: Lawrenceburg Speedway – sprints, modifieds, pure stocks and hornets. For information, visit

Tonight: Tri-State Speedway, World of Outlaws Sprint Cars, plus MMSA mini-sprints. For information, visit

Sunday: Circle City Raceway, hot laps at 1:30 p.m. – crate late models, modifieds, crown vics, pure stocks and steel-block sprints. For information, visit

Friday: Bloomington Speedway, sprints, modifieds, IMCA sprints and hornets. For information, visit

Friday: Circle City Raceway, modifieds, steel-block sprints, super stocks, pure stocks and crown vics.

Friday: Eldora Speedway, Night 1 of World of Outlaw Sprints Cars and USAC National Sprint Cars. For information, visit

May 6: Eldora Speedway, Night 2 of World of Outlaw Sprint Cars and USAC National Sprint Cars.

May 6: Brownstown Speedway, Scott Patman Memorial for super stocks, plus Indiana Pro late models, pure stocks, hornets and crown vics.

May 6: Florence Speedway, Ralph Latham Memorial for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, $15,000 towin, plus crate late models and modifieds.

May 6: Lawrenceburg Speedway, sprints, modifieds, pure stocks and hornets.

James Essex writes a motorsports notebook for The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected].

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