SPEEDWAY, Ind. — A weekly kart series is pitting "average Joes" against some of the best pros in motor sports, and anyone can sign up.
It's called Tuesday Night Thunder (TNT), and it's happening at Speedway Indoor Karting (SIK).
The 8-week series features roughly 15 professional drivers from various series including IndyCar, plus around 15 amateur drivers, along with a handful of "9-5ers".
“Been 13 days, we went from an idea at lunch to last week’s season opener,” said TNT promoter Chris Wheeler, President of Wheeler Motorsports Consulting. “That's the cool part about it, you never know who’s going to show up and run one of these things.”
The 42 racers whip around a slick circle with the hopes of winning the main event race. There are a series of heats and a scoring system, that eventually determines who moves on.
“I finished 36 out of 42, so I’m happy I’m not last," said Mark Jacobs who works for Monster.com. “I'm a sales guy. I sit behind a desk, so to get out here with these guys that do this for a living, it's an incredible experience.”
“I think a competitor is a competitor,” USAC Sprint Car driver Tyler Courtney said. “It doesn’t matter if that guy is an accountant or a high school basketball coach.”
The series is quickly growing in popularity since week one. Races are streamed live to Facebook with announcers. The first broadcast has been watched more than 80,000 times.
“Since I announced I've been doing this, I've gotten more followers than some IndyCar weekends,” IndyCar driver Kyle Kaiser said. “Go out, drive it as fast as you can, and see what happens.”
There are 10 at-large openings that become available every Wednesday at noon. You can attempt to sign up here, if space is still available for an upcoming race.
“This week's sold out in 14 minutes," Wheeler said.
“It's cool to interact with fans that don’t necessarily get to race, or ever had a chance to race," Courtney said. “Every guy here with a competitive nature is here to win.”