Gus Dean was one of the invitees for the Speed51 Super Select one year ago, when he was scheduled to pull double-duty at Lucas Oil Raceway that weekend with the ARCA Menards Series race the night before with Win-Tron Racing. However, Mother Nature had other plans, postponing both events. One year later, the now-NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series rookie will head back to the Brownsburg, Indiana facility with just one race in front of him.
The Bluffton, South Carolina driver has had limited starts in a Super Late Model over the past couple years with ARCA and Truck duties, having most recently competed in the CARS Super Late Model Tour portion of the Throwback 276 at Hickory Motor Speedway last month. Dean looks forward to any opportunity to get back in a Super Late Model, and he considers it an honor to do it against a star-studded field at the Super Select
“It’s an honor to be invited to it. A lot of the best-of-the-best are going to be there and I’m excited to be able to go and see how we stack up,” Dean told Speed51. “Hopefully we’ll have a good weekend for Baker Distributing. I love my Supers, I miss racing them. They’re one of the most fun cars to drive, so I’m really excited to get back on the track and get back with my team in the Supers and go out there and have some fun.”
It will not be the first time Dean will compete at the .686-mile facility located just 6.3 miles from the hallowed grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Brickyard 400 weekend. In three ARCA starts at LOR, he has a best finish of sixth in 2017. While it may be in a Super Late Model instead of a Stock Car in 2019, he says nothing compares to racing in the motorsports capital on a big race weekend.
“Indy’s obviously such a big part of the sport’s history and heritage,” he said. “LOR is such an awesome race track, it’s a lot of fun, it’s big, it’s fast, the Supers handle great there. There’s a lot of grip at the exit of corners to really get the throttle down, it really allows us to get all we can with these Super Late Model and I love it, I’m excited for it.”
The race features three separate segments that pay money or bonuses to the winner of each one, including the $10,000 given to the winner at the end of 75-laps. With the winner-take-all format and it not being a points event for the ARCA/CRA Super Series, Dean expects the racing to be a little bit harder than what can be seen at a run-of-the-mill Super Late Model race, especially at the end of the event when the big bucks are on the line.
“With it not being a points race for any particular series, I’m not sure,” he said. “The people that are going to be there know what they’re doing, I don’t think the majority of them will make too many stupid moves. At the end of the race there’s ten grand on the line and we’re all going there to win. With nobody having to worry about points or anything like that, I think towards the end of the race there it might get a little hairy.”
This weekend’s Super Select has extra meaning as he goes back to his Super Late Model team with crew members he considers family and a new car from Fury. A win in the inaugural event would be special to his team after not being able to race together on a regular basis.
“It would be awesome, the only race we’ve been able to run this year has been Speedweeks and we ended up getting wrecked there on the first night due to no fault of our own,” he stated. “We’ve been putting that back together. With the busy Truck schedule and racing a few ARCA races I haven’t got to race much more than that other than Hickory, and we ran into some troubles there. We’ve got a brand-new Fury car coming, Baker Distributing’s back on board, we’re really excited about it. These guys are like my brothers, for us to be able to put it together and go out there and win after not being able to race together for quite some time now would be really special to me.”
Each invitee from the “Select Team” that accepts their invitation will receive a guaranteed starting spot in the race held Saturday, September 7. Those who accept the invitation will also receive free entry into the race and one free set of tires to use during the race.
There will also be a 50-lap race for Super Late Model drivers who don't earn invitations to race their way into the Super Select field.
The Speed51 Super Select winner will have a chance to win a minimum of $10,000. Additional bonuses and contingency awards will be announced prior to the race.
A pair of features will be contested on September 7, one for the Super Late Models (ARCA/CRA Super Series sanctioned) and a 100-lap race for the USAC Silver Crown Series. The event is being promoted by Track Enterprises.
Those heading to Lucas Oil Raceway on September 7 can get all they need to know about the Speed51 Super Select by visiting the Super Select Central page here on Speed51.com. There you can get the latest in updated entries, the event schedule, race procedures, the latest news, video, photos and more. Click here to visit.
While there is no substitute for enjoying Indy at its finest, short track fans from all across the globe can watch the Speed51 Super Select live on Speed51 with a monthly or yearly subscription. Click here to sign up for your premium subscription today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Win-Tron Racing