Last year, in a heads up sprint, the No. 12 rider in ITTs, Nick Torrance, beat out all the other top sprinters in the field to win the Little 500.
So perhaps ITTs isn’t the greatest indicator of who will be the fastest come lap 199. After all, there’s lots of other factors at play at that point in the race, such as how much work the rider has had to do up to that point, and how fresh their legs are at that moment.
But ITTs is still a fun spring series event just to see who can lay claim to being the fastest four lap rider around the track.
Here’s a preview of who the top returners are from last year who will be vying for the crown Wednesday.
Nick Thiery, Cutters
Last year’s ITT finish: 1
Previous ITT finishes: 6 (2014)
Last year’s returning winner is back and looks prized for another top finish. Thiery has been one of the top riders ever since he got on a Little 500 bike, as shown by his sixth place ITT finish as a rookie when he burst onto the scene. He helped Cutters to the pole position on Saturday at Qualifications. At this point, Thiery has to be the favorite to hold the crown. If he were to repeat, he’d be the first back-to-back ITT winner on the men’s side since former Cutters rider Eric Young did so when he won in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Kyle Knight, Beta Theta Pi
Last year’s ITT finish: 3
Previous ITT finishes: 7 (2014)
Beta has had a series of excellent sprinters in its recent history, from Will Kragie who passed the torch to Chris Craig. Now it is Knight’s turn to take over as the sprinter for Beta after Craig’s graduation. After a top 5 finish last year in ITTs, and a top 10 finish the season before, he certainly looks poised to be back at the top this year.
Rob Lee, Phi Delta Theta
Last year’s ITT finish: 4
Previous ITT finishes: 2 (2014), 4 (2013)
Lee is another rider who made an immediate impact as a rookie and has never slowed down. He surprised everyone, including himself, with his ITT finish in 2013. Ever since then, he’s been in the discussion as one of the favorites for both the ITT crown and race day sprints. He showed off the most swag of any rider in the 2015 race when he waved to the crowd the first time he got on the bike.
Luke Tormoehlen, Delta Tau Delta
Last year’s ITT finish: 5
Previous ITT finishes: 49 (2014)
Tormoehlen emerged as the sprinter of last year’s Delts team after the departure of Paul Smith. He made one of the biggest jumps you could make in ITTs, going from 49 his first year to 5 his second. He helped Delts make a big run in the race last year that it looked like may have been impossible for the field to bridge to, until it finally did toward the end of the race. Tormoehlen also raced two laps for Delts in the second place qualifying effort Saturday. He’s looked very fast thus far this spring. If he makes another big jump like he did from 2014 to 2015, he may be the fastest rider in the field.
Spencer Brauchla, Black Key Bulls
Last year’s ITT finish: 6
Previous ITT finishes: 4 (2014), 52 (2013), 65 (2012)
Brauchla is by far the most experienced rider in the field. This is his fifth year at IU, and his fifth year on BKB, but it will be just his third race. When you’re as deep as BKB, who had five riders in the top 25 of ITTs last year, sometimes, even if you’re a rider with top speed, you have to wait your turn. Brauchla did that, and now this is his team. He came up just short in a sprint finish in the race last year to Torrance, finishing just .024 seconds short. That’s something that has to be driving him to be the best this season. But his performance in that race also showed he has both the speed and the race instincts to make the important move come race day.
Others to watch: Andrew Krahulik (Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 8th in ITTs last year), Lucas Kalbfell (Black Key Bulls, 10th in ITTs last year), Ryan Romenesko (Phi Delta Theta, 11th in ITTs last year), Nick Hartman (Black Key Bulls, 14th in ITTs last year), Joseph Hunt (Forest, 15th in ITTs last year), Joe Laughlin (Beta Theta Pi, 18th in ITTs last year), Joe Krahulik (Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 19th in ITTs last year), Charlie Hicks (Sigma Phi Epsilon, 21st in ITTs last year).