AMSOIL Sprints
Tuesday, 17 March 2020


#10 Blake Fitzpatrick #10 Blake Fitzpatrick John Mahoney Photo


Speedway, Indiana (March 17, 2020)………On this, the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day, it got us to thinking about USAC drivers, car owners and notable personalities named Patrick, Pat, or some variation of the primary patron saint of Ireland, the fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop known as the "Apostle of Ireland," St. Patrick.

Although Ueal Eugene Patrick happens to be his birth name, three-time Indianapolis 500 winning car owner Pat Patrick has double the Irish luck with his moniker.  His teams captured Indy wins in 1973 and 1982 with driver Gordon Johncock, and in 1989 with Emerson Fittipaldi.  In 1974, his team won its only career USAC Silver Crown Dirt Championship race in an upset victory with driver Jackie Howerton at the Hoosier Hundred.

Blake Fitzpatrick captured his one and only USAC National Sprint Car feature in the 2010 Indiana Sprint Week finale at Tri-State Speedway.  Younger brother Braylon established a new one-lap track record at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track during qualifying for a USAC National Sprint Car event in 2012.

Pavement specialist Pat Abold scored a pair of USAC Silver Crown wins for Hoffman Auto Racing during the 1997 season at both Indianapolis Raceway Park during the spring as well as the first ever race held at the Gateway Motorsports Park oval late in the season.

Jack Fitzpatrick owned cars won three USAC National Midget feature events, first with Pancho Carter in 1972 at Santa Fe Speedway in Hinsdale, Illinois as well as with Rich Vogler on consecutive nights at Colorado National Speedway in 1979.

Pat Bartils put three tallies in the win column during the 1978 USAC National Midget season with Pancho Carter at Indianapolis Raceway Park and Rodger Ward’s Owosso Speedway in Michigan while Billy Cassella won for the team at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway.

Of all drivers named Patrick, none have more career Silver Crown starts than Patrick Lawson with 38.  Patrick Bruns has made 13 starts in the Silver Crown cars, plus one USAC National Sprint Car start and a victory with the USAC Midwest SpeeD2 Midget series as recently as 2019.  Patrick Quinn’s one career Silver Crown start was a relative success, winning the Qualifying Race and taking home an 11th place finish in 1999 at California’s Irwindale Speedway.

Patrick Budde has made nine career USAC National Sprint Car starts and was active with the series during the 2019 season.  Larry Kirkpatrick made all four career USAC National Sprint Car starts in 1976 with a 12th at Terre Haute serving as his best.  Patrick Sallaway made a single career USAC National Sprint Car start for famed car owner Steve Stapp in 1997 at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway.  Pat York made one career start with the series at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1994, finishing 17th.

The late Patrick Wilda from Illinois made two career USAC National Midget starts, both in 2013, with a 10th place result at Grundy County Speedway in Morris, Ill. serving as his best.

Hall of Fame announcer, writer, author and racing historian Pat Sullivan may very well have announced more USAC races than any other individual, a career which continues into the 2020 season.

In the history of USAC National racing, only three events have taken place on St. Patrick’s Day, all of which have taken place in the state of Arizona.  Merle Bettenhausen won the first, in a midget, at Phoenix’s Manzanita Speedway in 1972.  Michael Lewis captured a dramatic late-race win at Phoenix International Raceway in 2001.  Dave Steele won a Silver Crown main event on St. Patrick’s Day in 2002 at Phoenix International Raceway.