For the past 40 years I have been traveling the Hoosier State watching auto racing at numerous venues, but the 2013 season will be one that is long remembered.
Indiana racing fans were treated to outstanding racing on both pavement and dirt ovals during the year, with open wheel pavement events taking the top two spots.
The best race of the year was the Pay Less Little 500 with Crawfordsville driver Jacob Wilson claiming the win in a thrilling finish with Kokomo hot shoe Shane Cottle.
Wilson grabbed the lead from Cottle on lap 335 when Chet Fillip blocked the leader as the field was coming to a restart and Fillip was trying not to fall a lap down.
Wilson and Cottle raced in lock step for the next 155 laps when things got really interesting. Cottle closed to the rear bumper of Wilson and challenged for the lead with five laps remaining. Unfortunately for Cottle his Larry Contos owned sprint car lost an engine. Instead of bringing out the caution flag, Cottle dove into the pits.
For Wilson it was his first Little 500 win. He was followed to the checkers by pole sitter JoJo Helberg, Eric Gordon and Tony Elliott, all on the lead lap. Fillip finished fifth, two laps down followed by Cottle.
The second best race of the year was the record setting Indianapolis 500 won by fan favorite Tony Kanaan.
Kanaan passed Ryan Hunter-Reay in the waning laps of the spring classic, winning under caution when Dario Franchitti made contact with the outside wall entering turn one.
The race featured a record 68 lead changes among 14 different drivers and Kanaan’s winning speed of 187.433 miles per hour set another record.
Third on the list is the Winchester 400 for the ARCA/CRA super late models with Erik Jones taking the lead from Chase Elliott on lap 352 during the final round of pit stops.