Sneak Peek: Indoor Auto Racing 600cc Micro Sprints

It’s winter which means that pretty much every major racing series in the Northern Hemisphere has shut down for the year (even Formula 1 is finally in their increasingly short off-season).  It’s too cold outside and most tracks are closed down because it’s snowing, the ground is too hard, and nobody wants to freeze their ass to a bleacher seat on a Saturday night.  If only there was a way of bringing racing indoors…

Turns out, there is!  The Indoor Auto Racing (IAR) series is a winter oval racing series based in the Northeast that hosts races in local stadiums.  This means racing can be run no matter how snowy, rainy, or cold it is outside.  It also helps drivers and teams keep sharp for the upcoming season by getting in some real world practice, testing, and racing.  IAR races on both pavement and dirt which makes for a unique competition.

Indoor Auto Racing Allentown Pit Party
Full Disclosure: I was invited to photograph and report on the entire 2023 IAR season. While I attended the season opener in Allentown, I spent most of my time in the medical office puking my guts out so I got almost no good content (I ended up sick with the flu the entire following week. The above photo of the pit party is one of the few I took before I started feeling crappy). I was unable to attend Atlantic City but was able to get to Trenton. Unfortunately, I had to deal with a few life situations after the race and never got around to finishing my coverage. But I really want to go back, so here is a preview of some of the cool stuff you can see in 2024:
Cure Arena Insurance Circuit
The Trenton race is known as the Dirt Nationals East. It is currently the only race the IAR hosts on dirt. It is also the season finale. The race is held on a 1/10 mile oval constructed inside the Cure Insurance Arena.
Cure Insurance Arena Garage Overview
The Trenton pits were under the bleachers of the stadium. This meant really tight working quarters for the crews. There was room for the cars, a toolbox or two, and not much else.
Tire shaving and truing was done outside
Tire shaving and truing was done outside. It should be noted this event was held at the end of February and it was around 30 degrees outside.
The cars for the Dirt Nationals are all 600cc Micro Sprints.
The cars for the Dirt Nationals are all 600cc Micro Sprints. Micro Sprints are a relatively new oval class but they are incredibly popular. Designed to slot in below Dirt Midgets, these cars are very cost-effective and simple. While Midgets use full size car engines and direct drives, Micro Sprints use motorcycle engines and gearboxes to keep costs down.

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