The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced that four short track stars will again compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Father’s Day weekend Brickyard Invitational, June 14-17. Davey Hamilton, Johnny Parsons Jr., Jimmy Kite, and Donnie Beechler – all veterans of the Indianapolis 500 — will be on the grid at the Brickyard for the fifth running of the Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am on June 16.
“Short track racers have a special place in my heart,” said SVRA President & CEO Tony Parella. “As a young man, I raced at dirt tracks like Weedsport, Rolling Wheels, and Canandaigua Speedway. Short track racers have a deserved reputation for car control and driving with the throttle. With these guys, you have four of the best.”
Parsons, the son of 1950 Indianapolis 500 winner Johnnie Parsons, earned great success in his own right with 12 Indianapolis 500 starts and best finishes of fifth in 1977 and 1985. He is a highly decorated sprint and midget driver and was voted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1994. He has raced in all Brickyard Invitational Pro-Am races.
Hamilton, renowned for his mastery of super-modified racing, competed in 11 Indianapolis 500s with three top-10 finishes including a fourth place. He finished in the runner-up spot twice in the Indy car season championship and in 2014 raced in Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Truck Series. Hamilton is a leader both on and off the track. He was founder of the “King of the Wing” sprint car series and has been active as an Indy car owner. This year he is driver coach and consultant at the Carlin IndyCar race team who are in their first year of competing in that series. Davey has driven in three Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am races.
A five-time starter in the Indianapolis 500, Kite first qualified for the big show in 1998. He made his name driving midgets and sprint cars and really got the attention of the motorsports world in 1997 by winning one of short track racing’s biggest trophies – the USAC Silver Crown Copper World Classic. In addition to his 34 starts in Indy car competition Kite has also ventured into ARCA stock car and NASCAR truck racing. This will be Jimmy’s fourth Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am.
Beechler is a four-time starter in the Indianapolis 500 and drove for the great A.J. Foyt in his final appearance in the race. He had 36 career starts in Indy car races, finishing on the podium twice. Beechler is a long-time midget and sprint car driver competing in the USAC Silver Crown series and at prestigious events such as the Chili Bowl midget car classic. Beechler was inducted into the Springfield, Illinois Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. Like Hamilton and Kite, he will be making his fourth SVRA “Indy Legends” Pro-Am start.
The Indy Legends Pro-Am is the Saturday feature event of the Brickyard Invitational. The Indianapolis 500 veterans will be in 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of SVRA “Group 6” A and B Production. The professionals will be paired with amateur drivers, splitting their stints at the wheel. Additional Indy 500 drivers will be announced as they enter in the coming weeks.
In addition to the Pro-Am, there will be a festival of other activities at the Brickyard Invitational including the Sunday, June 17 feature race by the professional Trans Am series headed by 2017 champion and emerging superstar, 20-year-old Ernie Francis Jr. The weekend also presents the Hagerty Insurance “shine and show” car corral, vintage motorcycle racing, and 500+ vintage racers ranging over 100 years of automotive history racing in SVRA Groups 1 through 12. An oval exhibition featuring a racecar show of judged competition for the A.J. Watson and Sir Jack Brabham trophies led by track historian Donald Davidson will also take place. Also, the Pre-1920 Race Exhibition cars will be on track along with a paddock area full of in-period equipment displays. The National that finished seventh in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 will be driven at speed.
Brickyard Invitational ticket information: Fans can order Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational tickets for all or any one of the four days of the event online through the Speedway or by calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Fans can also visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at 4790 West 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information. Children 15 and under are admitted free each day when accompanied by an adult. Tent camping passes in the IMS infield start at $30 and are available all four days.