Madison, IL — When this weekend’s Bommarito 500 Indy Car doubleheader gets underway at Worldwide Technology Raceway, Dr. Jim Logan will be among the longtime Vintage Indy members to have a race car on display.
And like all of the other cars that once competed on the Indy Car circuit, his 1997 Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone is recorded in the history of racing. But this car can claim another piece of history — because 20 years ago its owner became the first African American with sole ownership of a team to put a car in the field of an Indy Racing event.
It happened June 9, 2000 at Texas Motor Speedway when driver Billy Roe took the checkered flag in qualifying for the Casino Magic 500 that would take place two days later.
In a piece written at that time by Dick Mittman for IndyRacing.com, Logan said that making history on top of something he loves is just a bonus.
“We’re trying to open up this sport to people who haven’t been here before — mechanics, technicians, engine builders, drivers, fans,” he said.
In talking recently with Doc, as he likes to be called, the St. Louis chiropractor pointed out that some questioned the validity of his history-making back in 2000. “But Donald Davidson [official IMS historian] thoroughly researched it and sent me a letter on IMS Museum stationery that verified the accuracy of what we achieved in June 2000 at Texas Motor Speedway.”
Doc first got involved in organized car racing in 1978 when he purchased Quarter Midgets for his two sons who competed and won their first heat race and went on to win the feature. Sprint Cars were next before he moved to the USAC Silver Crown Series beginning in 1993. In addition to working with drivers Donnie Beechler, Eric Gordon, Justin Via and David Bridges, Doc offered his cars to many first-time drivers.
After forming his Logan Racing Indy Car team in early 1999, Doc purchased a car the following year from Team Extreme and began his quest to enter the Indianapolis 500. He was at IMS that May, but critical details didn’t fall into place, so the June 11 Casino Magic race became the focus for a crew headed by David Bleke.
In that contest, Roe made steady progress through the pack until being sidelined with engine problems. Other commitment prevented him from continuing as the car’s driver, and USAC Midget Champion Stevie Reeves was hired to pilot the Logan Racing Dallara for the remainder of the season.
Reeves competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and back at TMS to give Logan Racing a 28th place finish — after only four races — out of 42 teams competing in the 2000 Indy Racing League Championship.
Although Doc was planning to turn exhibition laps at this weekend’s Vintage Indy Open Wheel Icons event, the coronavirus had other plans.
“I had the car at the Grant King Race Shop in Indianapolis to have a small block Chevy engine installed, but they’re short-handed due to the pandemic and couldn’t get the work done in time for the Bommarito event,” he said. “So we had to return it to ‘roller’ status so we could put it on static display this weekend. Once that event is complete, I’ll proceed with the work and look forward to those exhibition laps next year!”