Start Your Engines
Greenwood-based RocketShark Motorsports Sprint Car Driver Talks Growth of Dirt Track Racing
When it comes to competitive sports, Indiana is certainly known for its rich traditions in basketball and football statewide. However, motorsports are also alive and well in the Hoosier state, even at the local level, and these days you don’t have to wait all year until the Indy 500 to get your fill of competitive racing.
Southsider Alfred Galedrige Jr. is at the forefront of the local sprint car racing scene, having launched his own Greenwood-based team RocketShark Motorsports in 2016. Galedrige participates in the Indiana RaceSaver Sprints (IRS) series, which will hold 23 races for its 2019 season from March through October, and he says now is a great time to be involved in Indiana racing, both as a participant and a spectator.
“As much as you’re going to spend going to a basketball or a football game, for probably half of that cost you can go to your local dirt track – whether it’s the series I’m racing in or not – and there’s going to be entertainment for a minimum of five hours,” he says. “Almost every race track is family-oriented. You can make it like a picnic outing because there’s usually plenty of campgrounds or open grass areas where you can relax and then also be entertained by the sport of racing in general.”
Galedrige began competing in his local quarter midgets series at age five in his native California and has been hooked on racing culture ever since. He relocated to Indiana to enroll in IUPUI’s motorsports engineering program and subsequently got wind of the IRS, which launched in 2015. With the help of his family, he purchased his own winged sprint car and a V8 engine, and RocketShark Motorsports (a name that combines his childhood racing nickname, Shark, and his brother’s, Rocket) was born three years ago.
“The Indiana RaceSaver series has been growing,” Galedrige says. “It started with maybe 15 races a year at one race track, and in four short years it has grown to 20-plus scheduled races and we’re traveling around the state. Within an hour and a half to two hours in just about any direction you can find a dirt race track, whether it’s the series I race in or other kinds of sprint cars and dirt cars.”
Founded four years ago by Greenwood-based Dan Roberts, who also owns a sprint car that competes in the series, the IRS is officially sanctioned through the Iowa-based International Motor Contest Association. This year’s 23 IRS events, which average about 20 sprint cars per race, are spread throughout Indiana including North Vernon, Putnamville, Kokomo, Gas City, Bloomington, Haubstadt and Chandler. There are currently 18 RaceSaver groups around the U.S including Ohio, Kansas and Pennsylvania.
Galedrige says RocketShark, which is sponsored by SRI Indianapolis and Xcaliber Graphics in Mooresville, has allowed him to develop relationships with several local businesses.
“Right when I started getting on social media and stuff with RocketShark, Xcaliber in Mooresville reached out to me and wanted to get their name on my car,” he says. “My car looks great now with some really great decals. I was the first sprint car they ever put graphics on and they’ve done several since.”
Having spent most of his life around cars and racetracks of some sort or another, Galedrige feels motorsports, and the IRS in particular, provide a unique type of entertainment that all ages can enjoy.
“It’s hard to compare to other sports because the biggest motorsports here in Indiana are IndyCar and NASCAR, and those are seen as this grand, expensive outing where you don’t get to see the cars up close,” he explains. “When you go support your local dirt track it’s very personal and the sensations are more in your face. At the end of the race, most tracks also open up their pits so you get to go look at the cars and talk with the drivers. It’s a really good bang for your buck.”
For for information on the Indiana RaceSaver Sprints series, including 2019 event dates, visit facebook.com/Indianaracesaver.
For additional details on RocketShark Motorsports, visit facebook.com/RocketSharkMotorsports.