Bloomington Speedway

Logan Seavey Wins The Larry Rice Classic At Bloomington Speedway
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Logan Seavey Wins The Larry Rice Classic At Bloomington Speedway

Logan Seavey Wins The Larry Rice Classic At Bloomington Speedway

5/15/2024 -
It was beautiful weather Friday night for the Usac Larry Rice Classic. 34 sprints loaded the pits and qualifying would be intense with some new names
11th Annual Josh Burton Memorial May 24, 2024

11th Annual Josh Burton Memorial May 24, 2024

5/8/2024 -
Coming up Friday, May 24th, the Josh Burton Memorial with Fireworks! Fireworks dark. Sprints will be $10,00 to win Modifieds will be 1k to win! Super
3rd Annual Kevin Huntley Memorial is part of Maverick Mayhem Week June 21, 2024

3rd Annual Kevin Huntley Memorial is part of Maverick Mayhem Week June 21, 2024

5/8/2024 -
The 3rd Annual Kevin "The Pup" Huntley Memorial will feature 305 Racesaver Sprints and 410 Maverick Winged Sprint Series. Kevin raced both Racesavers


Larry Rice
875
5/7/2024

5/7/2024

Bloomington Speedway


Larry Rice

Larry Rice was born on March 24, 1946, In Linden, Indiana. His father Bob Rice was a racing enthusiast and eventually purchased a midget known as “Old Blue” from 1953 AAA champion Leroy Warriner. It wasn’t long before he realized that his son was all in on racing as well, so he sold his midget to get Larry on his way. Rice would eventually move to what were referred to as modified midgets and would compete at places like Logansport, Indiana. There was never much thought to pursuing racing as a vocation thus Rice entered Ball State University and earned a degree. He was making his living as an elementary school teacher, but as he continued to gain experience it was clear he had the talent needed to give racing his full attention.
There was nothing brash or flamboyant about Larry Rice. He was steady, professional, and pragmatic. Above all, he was going to be sure that his owner’s car would leave the racetrack in one piece. After spending nearly a dozen years honing his craft he was ready to give USAC midget racing a go. In 1968 he made 15 starts and had a pair of tenth place finishes to show for his efforts but going against the likes of Mel Kenyon, Mike McGreevy, and Bob Tattersall was an education of a different kind.. He made it to victory lane in 1969 when he triumphed at Hales Corners, Wisconsin for hometown owner Gene Willman.
Sticking with Willman in 1970 Rice took a big step forward. He found victory lane three times and cracked the top-five in points. More importantly, he was the best at the Hut Hundred at Terre Haute. As an Indiana kid born to a father who loved midget racing it was a sweet moment. He fell back in the standings in 1971, but he reloaded the following season. He was far more active in the midget ranks in 1972 making 43 starts, and while he only scored one win, he was consistent as always. He was pleased to finish third in points, but more than anything he was thrilled to help Gene and Bob Shannon of Dayton, Ohio take the owner’s title. The Shannon brothers had been fielding cars since the 1940s and this was a long overdue reward. 1973 was his year. He would win once with the Shannon brothers, and add two more with Phoenix, Arizona owner Richard Polnau. His slash line was typical Larry Rice with 42 starts, 3 wins, and 20 top-five finishes. In the end he would fend off a mid-summer challenge by Bobby Olivero was 30 points better than Tommy Astone at the close of the year. Over the course of his midget career Rice would also race in New Zealand and Australia. His 15th and final USAC win came on April 24, 1987, at Twin Cities Raceway Park in North Vernon, Indiana.

The man once known as the racing schoolteacher was one of the most recognizable USAC stars in his time. Known for his vast assortment of hats and light personality he had more big moments to come. He would win USAC’s Silver Crown championship first in 1977, and when he took the title again in 1981 it included a victory at the Hoosier Hundred. In sprint cars he conquered the high banks of Salem and put a Joe James-Pat O’Connor Memorial win on his resume. Then, fulfilling a dream he cracked the starting field at the Indianapolis 500 twice and in 1978 was co-Rookie of the Year with Rick Mears. All told he raced for 24 years under the USAC banner making over 650 feature starts.
Then there was his second act. As a key component of the ESPN Thunder series which included Bob Jenkins, Gary Lee, Larry Nuber and Dave Despain short track open wheel racing was introduced to new households across the land. Larry’s perceptive insights as a former racer and his infectious personality were central to the production. The positive impact of these broadcasts on USAC and individual participants cannot be overstated. Outside the booth he also made his mark with K & K Insurance a less glamorous but essential element of the sport. Larry battled back for cancer once, but when it returned a second time it was too much. Rice passed on May 20, 2009, in Brownsburg, Indiana. Few in the racing business have been as beloved as Rice. Before his passing he enjoyed watching his son Robbie make his mark as a racer. As a postscript Robbie Rice was the 2021 USAC Silver Crown series entrant champion. Rice is a member of the USAC and National Midget Hall of Fame.


Article Credit: Patrick Sullivan

Submitted By: Jill Spiker

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