Sumar Classic makes auto racing history
with Neoteric hovercraft as Pace Car
24 May 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
As the USAC Silver Crown Sumar Classic returns to the Terre Haute Action Track this year, new ideas are the name of the game. One of those new ideas is a pace car with no wheels!
Action Track and World Hovercraft Championship officials have joined forces to use a hovercraft as the "Pace Craft" in the June 1 Sumar Classic at the Terre Haute Action Track. The hovercraft is the Official Pace Craft for the 2002 World Hovercraft Championship, coming to Terre Haute this September.
According to Don Smith, CEO of First Financial Services, "This is the first time in the history of auto racing that a non-wheeled vehicle has been used as a pace car." Smith teamed with Chapman Root to form the Sumar Racing Team in the 1950s. He is serving as Honorary Chief Marshal for the World Hovercraft Championship.
A hovercraft is a flying machine, and piloting one is more closely compared to flying a helicopter than to driving a car. To work out the logistics of using this innovative Pace Craft in an auto race, Action Track and World Hovercraft Championship officials conducted a trial run Friday, May 24 at the Action Track.
Bill Zang, President of Universal Hovercraft, is the Pace Craft pilot. After circling the track, Zang must maneuver the hovercraft at an odd angle through a 46-foot-wide opening in the steel crash barrier, without slowing down. World Hovercraft Championship Chairman, Chris Fitzgerald, explains, "It's dangerous. That's why we're practicing ... so Bill doesn't skewer the craft on the rail and cause a dramatic ending to the start of the race!"
The USAC Silver Crown Sumar Classic will run Saturday, June 1 at the Terre Haute Action Track, located at the Vigo County Fairgrounds, 1/2 mile south of I-70 (exit 7) on US 41 South. Tickets are available at the Action Track, or by calling (812) 234-6868.
The 2002 World Hovercraft Championship will take place September 15-22 at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center and other Terre Haute locations. Participants and spectators from more than 30 nations are expected to attend. For more information, visit www.whc2002.com.
Chris Fitzgerald, President
Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.