On Dec. 11, just a day before the start of the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis, Must See Racing issued a statement that a big announcement was coming from the series the following afternoon.
The release gave very little indication as to what it could be, and rumors began to circulate. Many believed a return to the legendary Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway could be in the works.
Must See Racing has firmly established itself as the premier winged pavement sprint car series in the nation. After USAC withdrew itself from pavement sprint car racing following the 2011 season, MSR took the torch and ran with it.
In its 10-year history, MSR has sanctioned winged 410 pavement sprint car racing in 12 states in the Midwest and southeast. In addition, the series has had a national television package since day one. The series currently has a partnership with SPEED SPORT that sees select MSR events showcased on MAVTV.
The following afternoon the announcement came. MSR announced that the series is sanctioning a non-winged sprint car event at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Ind., with a purse in excess of $24,800.
The event will also be televised on a tape-delayed basis for MAVTV.
This announcement was huge, not to mention the fact that this would instantly be the biggest pavement sprint car event outside of the annual Little 500 in 2020.
MSR has been the official sanctioning body of the Little 500 since 2010. Also, the fact that non-winged pavement sprint car racing is making a comeback across the country would have surly enticed MSR to dabble in non-winged racing at some point anyway.
MSR President Jim Hanks made the announcement with Ralph Sheheen of SPEED SPORT during an interview at PRI. “For the first time Must See Racing will have an event that is non-points and no wings. The Must See Racing stars and the cars without the wings,” stated Hanks.
On the heels of the announcement, numerous non-winged pavement drivers from across the Midwest and Florida have stated that they will be there to compete in the event. This Michael Moore-promoted event will also feature three days of drag racing on the adjacent quarter-mile drag strip as part of the “Indy Summer Nationals.” The final day of racing will conclude on the .686 semi-banked oval and will also feature the winged supermodifieds of the Midwest Supermodified Series, giving fans a unique open-wheel doubleheader on June 20, 2020.
The origins of the event began when Moore reached out to Hanks about bringing the MSR winged series to LOR for another similar three-day event he was promoting May 7-9, 2020. A deal was quickly reached to add LOR to the 2020 MSR schedule. Moore had briefly mentioned to Hanks his idea to bring non-winged sprint cars back to LOR for the first time since 2011.
Hanks initially declined the offer, as he had no interest in non-winged racing outside of the Little 500. However, after carefully weighing the pros and cons, he eventually accepted Moore’s offer to be the sanctioning body of the June 20, 2020 non-winged event.
“Michael Moore and I connected,” Hanks explained. “We put together a winged event at Lucas Oil Raceway for May 9. While we were working out the logistics of this event, he asked me flat out if I would do a second Must See Racing event at Lucas Oil Raceway as part of his Indy Summer Nationals event June 18-20. My first reaction was, ‘No, it’s too much for our standard schedule for a couple of reasons. You don’t wanna wear the market out and you don’t wanna wear the teams out with motors and so on.’
“But an idea struck me that because there is an inventory of good non-winged sprint cars in the Indianapolis area it might not be a bad idea to have an event at Lucas Oil Raceway. It is a well-known, famous facility and there is a lot of cars, as evident by the inventory list. I thought this would be a good place to have a non-point, non-wing race. It will be good for the fans, teams, race track, and the event. It will be good for our partners Engine Pro, SPEED SPORT, and MAVTV. That’s how I made the decision.”