INDIANAPOLIS -- It's not often race fans make a trip out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and watch a 16-year-old from California beat the likes of Kyle Larson, Chase Briscoe, and Ryan Newman. In Wednesday night's Stoops Pursuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Dirt Track, Dominic Gorden, who'd never been to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before this week, made a name for himself beating some of the best drivers on dirt and pavement.
The fourth edition of the Stoops Pursuit, traditionally held the day before the Driven2SaveLives BC39, featured some of the biggest names in dirt and pavement racing. Kyle Larson, who swept the Stoops Pursuit and the BC39 last year, was heavily favored despite his twelfth-place starting position.
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Larson wasn't the only big name in the field Wednesday. The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion was joined in the field by fellow NASCAR competitors Chase Briscoe, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and J.J. Yeley. South Bend's Ryan Newman, who is without a ride in NASCAR this year, was also in the field.
Dirt stars such as Chris Windom, Justin Grant, Brady Bacon, Thomas Meseraull, Buddy Kofoid, Tyler Courtney, and even 10-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz completed the star-studded field.
BC39 Entry List: Check out the notable drivers entered for Thursday's BC39
"I'm always chasing those guys," said Gorden of his experienced competitors. "Those guys are where I wanna be and to be able to beat them is a whole other level."
Gorden started first and led all 25 laps, surviving the multiple restarts built-in to the race. In the Stoops Pursuit, a caution is thrown every five laps, with those who have been passed in those five laps eliminated from the race. Drivers who cause a caution are also eliminated.
Kyle Larson's attempt to defend his Stoops Pursuit title ended in the first turn of the first lap when he was collected in an accident along with Thomas Meseraull and Justin Grant. Chris Windom and J.J. Yeley were then later eliminated after being passed during the first five laps.
There was a brief rain shower earlier in the evening during the heat races for Thursday's BC39. The rain appeared to affect the track, with most drivers riding the bottom line.
As the race continued, more star drivers were eliminated. However, Gorden remained in control of the race.
"We found the bottom in our heat race after the weather," said Gorden. "We stayed down there the whole A-main and made it happen."
TK laps the BC39 track:Tony Kanaan drives a USAC midget around the IMS Dirt Track
For someone who'd never been to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before, it was a humbling experience. A dominating performance on one of midget racing's biggest stages and beating some of the biggest names in racing today will surely propel Gorden into the spotlight.
"It's surreal to say the least," said Gorden reflecting on winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "It may not be the Indy 500 or the NASCAR races here, but it's the BC39 and I think that's just as big."
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This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: BC39 race results: Dominic Gorden, 16, wins USAC's Stoops Pursuit at IMS