Archive for USAC Silver Crown

Tyler Courtney won his first career USAC Silver Crown race Saturday night
in the 36th '4-Crown Nationals' at Eldora Speedway. (Vince Vellella Photo)

COURTNEY CAPS SILVER CROWN SEASON WITH FIRST SERIES WIN AT THE 4-CROWN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio.........In a year of firsts for Tyler Courtney, the pickings continue to get sweeter as the Indianapolis, Indiana driver led all 50 laps to win his first career USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series presented by TRAXXAS main event in Saturday night's 36th "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora Speedway.

Earlier this season, Courtney won his first USAC National Midget feature at Montpelier (Ind.) Motor Speedway. In August, he won his first ever Sprint Car feature at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway and backed it up a night later with a big payday victory at Kokomo again in "Sprint Car Smackdown VI."

This time around, it was in the Silver Crown car where, by the letter of the law, he was still considered a series rookie this season. But a "4-Crown" Silver Crown rookie he was not. In 2016, he set ProSource quick time and finished 3rd. In 2017, he returned as a true contender despite not having seen the results he and car owner Hans Lein had anticipated when the team made its initial foray into the series this season.

"Hans called me in May and said he's putting a Crown car together," Courtney recalls. "We got rained out at the 'Hoosier Hundred,' then went to Williams Grove and had some mechanical problems there, then went to Springfield and was going to have a top-three finish and had something else go wrong. We finally had everything go our way tonight. (Crew Chief) Greg Nelson really had this thing on point all night."

On the start, Courtney ripped the top around pole sitter Kody Swanson to snare the lead as the 50-lap race got underway with the night's USAC Sprint Car feature winner C.J. Leary and Dave Darland fighting for second just behind.

Courtney led a five-car breakaway that separated itself from the rest of the field by the tenth lap. By lap 20, Courtney himself had created his own separation as he navigated through the lap traffic.

Meanwhile, third-running Leary saw a chance to take second back away from Darland on lap 23 when Darland found himself hung up behind the lapped car of Aaron Pierce entering turn three. Like a bulldog on a porkchop, Leary saw an opportunity and went on the attack. As Leary tried to slide both Darland and Pierce in one fell swoop, contact was made between he and Pierce. The end result was Pierce tagging the outside wall hard while Darland and Leary continued on.

The lineup on the next restart had multiple lapped cars between leader Courtney and second-running Darland, allowing Courtney a clean getaway.

On lap 32, Swanson tagged the turn two wall while running sixth, sending him into a wild series of flips through turn one - a sight not usually seen by the three-time series champion whose feats were celebrated earlier in the night on a front straightaway presentation for clinching the 2017 title.
Once again on the restart, Courtney scooted away from defending race winner and series champ Chris Windom who took second from Darland and now had only Courtney in his sights as Cottle disposed of Darland for third off turn four.

Soon after, with 15 laps remaining, Leary entered turn three running fourth when his right rear tire went flat, sending him hard into the outside wall. Leary was okay, but would not return to action.

Down the stretch, Courtney maintained about an eight car-length lead, but with a couple to go, Windom began to close rapidly to present a challenge for the lead as Cottle blanketed Windom just behind.

On the final lap, Courtney got a bit sideways at the exit of turn two, resulting in Windom's rapid charge that saw him close to within just a couple car lengths entering turn three and four with Cottle in tow. Courtney gathered it up, put all four wheels back in the groove to finish off a wire-to-wire performance to join Justin Grant as the second driver to win USAC National features in all three divisions in 2017. Windom was second ahead of Cottle, Darland and Brady Bacon, who finished in the top-five of all four "4-Crown" features Saturday night.

Courtney rewarded car owner Hans Lein with his first USAC National win since a 2007 Midget event at Angell Park Speedway, won by Michael Pickens. It was also Lein's second career "4-Crown" triumph following a 2005 Midget win with Danny Stratton.

"The tires started going away a little bit at the end," Courtney admits. "I knew if I could gap myself on the starts and restarts and give myself a little cushion to be able to run hard on the start, then save a little bit, we'd have something at the end there. It held together. I could see Chris (Windom) there behind me on the (video board) screen. I'm just trying to hit my marks, but it was pretty tricky down in (turns) one and two to hit the same spot on the wall twice to get you going down the back straight. But, everything went our way tonight."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Eldora Speedway included Kody Swanson (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Brady Bacon (KSE Racing Products/Larry Rice High Performance Hard Charger) and Joe Liguori (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS Presented by TRAXXAS: September 23, 2017 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 36th "4-Crown Nationals" - Presented by NKT.TV

PROSOURCE QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-19.570; 2. Tyler Courtney, 97, Lein-19.611; 3. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-19.816; 4. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-19.876; 5. Hunter Schuerenberg, 120, Nolen-19.903; 6. Chris Windom, 92, Kazmark-19.955; 7. Dave Darland, 27, Phillips-19.985; 8. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-19.985; 9. Justin Grant, 91, Carli/Hemelgarn-20.109; 10. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-20.118; 11. Robert Ballou, 6, Klatt-20.257; 12. Mark Smith, 54, Lane-20.283; 13. Joe Liguori, 4, Liguori-20.302; 14. Dakota Jackson, 201, Nolen-20.434; 15. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-20.495; 16. Steve Buckwalter, 53, SET-20.678; 17. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-20.712; 18. Brady Bacon, 199, RPM/Gormly-20.891; 19. Johnny Petrozelle, 08, Cornell/Petrozelle-21.116; 20. Chris Fetter, 89, Fetter-21.452; 21. Joss Moffatt, 32, Williams & Wright-NT; 22. Austin Nemire, 16, Lesko-NT; 23. Patrick Bruns, 95, Full Throttle-NT.

FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Tyler Courtney, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Shane Cottle, 4. Dave Darland, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Justin Grant, 7. Hunter Schuerenberg, 8. David Byrne, 9. Robert Ballou, 10. Jerry Coons, Jr., 11. Matt Goodnight, 12. Steve Buckwalter, 13. Joe Liguori, 14. Dakota Jackson, 15. Joss Moffatt, 16. Austin Nemire, 17. Mark Smith, 18. Chris Fetter, 19. C.J. Leary, 20. Kody Swanson, 21. Aaron Pierce, 22. Johnny Petrozelle. NT
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**Bruns flipped during qualifying. Swanson flipped on lap 32 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-50 Courtney.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/LARRY RICE HIGH PERFORMANCE HARD CHARGER AWARD: Brady Bacon (18th to 5th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Joe Liguori

FINAL USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP (Presented by TRAXXAS) POINTS: 1-Swanson-650, 2-Coons-562, 3-Windom-525, 4-Grant-470, 5-Byrne-436, 6-Pierce-402, 7-Bobby Santos-350, 8-Moffatt-302, 9-Liguori-295, 10-Damion Gardner-248.

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C.J. Leary won his fourth USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature of the season, and his first at Eldora Speedway, in Saturday's 36th '4-Crown Nationals.' (Vince Vellella Photo)

LEARY LOCKS UP 4TH SPRINT WIN OF SEASON AT ELDORA'S 4-CROWN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio.........On a night when temperatures were more akin to the sweltering summer than a cool, crisp fall September evening, perhaps it came as no surprise that the hottest driver, in terms of USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car wins since the month of July, would feel right his comfort zone.

Yet, he would have to get the job done in circumstances that were all too familiar this season - with Brady Bacon's black No. 63 draped all over his tail tank during the final laps.

But, for the fourth time this season, Leary stood his ground to capture the victory Saturday night in the 36th "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora Speedway, a track that had been cruel to him on occasion over the past few years, including being denied on the final lap for the win in May of 2015.

The driver who passed him that very night was Justin Grant, who, on this night, wasted no time getting to the front on the opening lap as he raced from his outside second row position to split between both Robert Ballou and Chase Stockon on the start to snag the lead. One lap later, fellow second row starter Leary made his surge, sliding by Grant for the lead in turn two.

After getting by Stockon for third, Bacon worked on Grant where they swapped the second spot back and forth until Bacon secured the position with a turn two slider on the 11th lap.

At that point, Leary had begun to gap the field, but as soon as Bacon moved into second, that gap routinely shrunk. With ten to go, Bacon searched high and low in turns three and four while Leary stuck to his guns on the top. However, Leary's lead soon shrunk to a mere car-length in the ensuing laps with a pod of lappers on the not-so-distant horizon.

With two laps remaining, it was gut-check time and thoughts of previous Leary v. Bacon battles from Grandview, Lawrenceburg and Kokomo came rushing back to the mind as both encountered the lapped car of Tyler Thomas in the first turn. Both slid Thomas without hesitation, yet Leary was unrattled in his maneuver and maintained his distance from Bacon as they cleared Thomas, thus preventing the best shot Bacon had at tacking on a second-career "4-Crown" win.

Leary finished strong in the caution-free affair to defeat Bacon by half a second while Ballou, Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Grant rounded out the top-five.

"This place has been escaping me for three years now," Leary exclaimed. "I've run second here it seems like every year. It feels good to finally park this thing down here in victory lane. I can't thank (crew chief) Donnie Gentry, my dad and everybody whose helped us put this operation together."
"These races are tough, especially when you don't really know where the second-place guy is," Leary continued. "I was on cruise control there and, luckily, I had a little bit left in the tank. I had a really good racecar. This is a new DRC. We just built the car this week and, man, is it fast!"

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Eldora Speedway included Brady Bacon (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Brady Bacon (Simpson Race Products Heat 1 Winner), Tyler Courtney (Competition Suspension, Inc. Heat 2 Winner), Thomas Meseraull (Chalk Stix Heat 3 Winner), Chris Windom (Indy Race Parts Heat 4 Winner), Matt Westfall (KSE Racing Products/Larry Rice High Performance Hard Charger) and Nick Bilbee (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 23, 2017 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 36th "4-Crown Nationals" - Presented by NKT.TV

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-16.893; 2. Dave Darland, 40, Hery-16.932; 3. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-17.097; 4. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-17.221; 5. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-17.269; 6. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-17.349; 7. Kyle Cummins, 3c, Cummins-17.440; 8. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-17.554; 9. Scotty Weir, 22s, Simon-17.558; 10. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9k, KT-17.636; 11. Shane Cottle, 57, Hazen-17.663; 12. Tyler Thomas, 17GP, Dutcher-17,667; 13. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-17.733; 14. Nick Bilbee, 17N, Bilbee-17.754; 15. Dallas Hewitt, 18, Keen-17.767; 16. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-17.779; 17. Aric Gentry, 10, Gentry-17.820; 18. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-17.831; 19. Thomas Meseraull, 9x, SC-17.854; 20. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-17.939; 21. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-17.946; 22. Gage Etgen, 99, Etgen-18.002; 23. Matt Westfall, 54, Westfall-18.033; 24. Bill Rose, 320, Kissel-18.118; 25. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-18.250; 26. Cooper Clouse, 14, Clouse-18.361; 27. Chad Wilson, 14x, Wilson-18.535; 28. Jake Scott, 4, Scott-18.569; 29. Kirk Jeffries, 59J, Jeffries-18.601; 30. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Yager-18.618; 31. Riley VanHise, 96, VanHise-18.663; 32. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-18.687; 33. Dustin Smith, 77, Gagliardi-18.699; 34. Michael Fischesser, 44s, Fischesser/Owen-18.742; 35. Ty Tilton, 42, Tilton-18.812; 36. Brandon Moore, 1m, Moore-19.109.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Chapple, 3. Gentry, 4. Stockon, 5. Weir, 6. Hodges, 7. Fischesser, 8. Jeffries, 9. Goodnight. 2:27.46

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Courtney, 2. K. Thomas, 3. Ballou, 4. Darland, 5. Bilbee, 6. Nemire, 7. Clouse, 8. Etgen, 9. Tilton. 2:29.78

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Meseraull, 2. Cottle, 3. Hewitt, 4. Grant, 5. Wilson, 6. Westfall, 7. Cummins, 8. VanHise, 9. Moore. 2:32.78

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Windom, 2. Leary, 3. Boespflug, 4. Rose, 5. T. Thomas, 6. Bell, 7. Swanson, 8. Scott. 2:37.20

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Weir, 2. Swanson, 3. Bilbee, 4. Westfall, 5. Cummins, 6. T. Thomas, 7. Hodges, 8. Fischesser, 9. Clouse, 10. VanHise, 11. Jeffries, 12. Tilton, 13. Etgen, 14. Moore, 15. Goodnight, 16. Scott, 17. Nemire, 18. Bell.

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. C.J. Leary, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 5. Justin Grant, 6. Scotty Weir, 7. Chris Windom, 8. Thomas Meseraull, 9. Chase Stockon, 10. Matt Westfall, 11. Shane Cottle, 12. Tyler Courtney, 13. Nick Bilbee, 14. Josh Hodges, 15. Tyler Thomas, 16. Kyle Cummins, 17. Chad Boespflug, 18. Isaac Chapple, 19. Bill Rose, 20. Kody Swanson, 21. Aric Gentry, 22. Dave Darland, 23. Dallas Hewitt. NT
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Grant, Laps 2-30 Leary.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/LARRY RICE HIGH PERFORMANCE HARD CHARGER AWARD: Matt Westfall (21st to 10th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Nick Bilbee

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Grant-1842, 2-Windom-1765, 3-Courtney-1669, 4-Thomas Jr.-1655; 5-Boespflug-1628, 6-Stockon-1568, 7-Leary-1465, 8-Bacon-1410, 9-Ballou-1337, 10-Darland-1191.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 29 - Montpelier (IN) Motor Speedway

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Saturday night at Eldora Speedway, Spencer Bayston became the first driver since Kasey Kahne in 2000 to win the 'Bellvelle Midget Nationals' and the '4-Crown Nationals' midget race in the same season. (Ryan Sellers Photo)

BAYSTON ADDS ANOTHER CROWN JEWEL WITH USAC MIDGET WIN AT ELDORA

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio.........Spencer Bayston's banner year reached a new zenith Saturday night at Eldora Speedway after wiring all 25 laps to win the USAC Midget National Championship portion of the 36th "4-Crown Nationals" presented by NKT.TV.

A day following his 19th birthday, the Lebanon, Indiana resident celebrated in grand style by becoming the first driver to win the "Belleville Midget Nationals" and the Midget feature at the "4-Crown" in the same season since Kasey Kahne in 2000.

After being "high-point man" in his heat race, Bayston earned a spot on the pole position for the main event. On the opening lap, Bayston emerged from a brief four-wide fray in turn one to secure the lead.

Quickly, though, action was halted when fifth-starting Tyler Courtney slowed with an apparent electrical issue to bring out the caution. Courtney attempted to restart, but returned to the pit area moments later just prior to the field taking the green flag with one lap in the books.

On the ensuing restart, Bayston appeared as comfy as could be running the high line that so many had experienced issues without throughout the night. Similar to Belleville, the outside wall served as the cushion and Bayston ran it to within a hair of a whisker's distance from the edge.

Bayston's nearest pursuant just before the midway point was Justin Grant. That is, until he encountered the turn one concrete, climbing up the wall before rotating and landing back on the track's surface. Grant climbed out of the wreckage uninjured, but finished for the event.

The restart saw Bayston break away from second-running Dave Darland who was overtaken by both Shane Golobic, then Brady Bacon who made a valiant charge on the inner rail, getting past Darland exiting turn four to scale his way into the top-three.

Bacon continued to claw on his low-side crawl while Golobic maintained a higher line. Despite roping in Golobic little-by-little over the last several laps and even taking a glimpse at second in turn two on the final lap, Golobic was able to nail down the second position for good.

Yet, up front, nobody else was game for Bayston's flawless rim-riding performance for 25 consecutive laps, taking the victory in front of a massive crowd over Golobic, Bacon, Darland and Tanner Thorson.

With the knocking down of a few key pins on his quest to a possible first series title, Bayston swiftly extended his lead in the championship race to 66 over Bacon with just three races remaining in Wayne City, Ill., Bakersfield, Cal. and Ventura, Cal. On Saturday night, it was all a showcase for Bayston as he dominated from start to finish for his third series victory of the year.

"It makes it easy when you have a good group of guys working behind you. They know what they're doing and it definitely shows," Bayston praises. "I felt so comfortable. We raced here last night in the wing car and didn't do that great, but I really think it helped me. Coming here tonight in the midget, it felt like everything was in slow motion for me."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Eldora Speedway included Dave Darland (Simpson Race Products/Competition Suspension, Inc. Heat 1 Winner), Shane Golobic (Chalk Stix/Indy Race Parts Heat 2 Winner), Holly Shelton (KSE Racing Products/Larry Rice High Performance Hard Charger) and Adam Pierson (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 23, 2017 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 36th "4-Crown Nationals" - Presented by NKT.TV

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS/COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Dave Darland (#91BT Thomas), 2. Tyler Courtney (#7BC Clauson/Marshall), 3. Justin Grant (#39BC Clauson/Marshall), 4. Brady Bacon (#76m FMR), 5. Tanner Thorson (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Chase Jones (#22 Petry/Goff), 7. Tanner Carrick (#71k Kunz/Clauson/Marshall), 8. Brayton Lynch (#1k RKR), 9. Adam Pierson (#76E Mancini). 2:29.81

CHALK STIX/INDY RACE PARTS SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Shane Golobic (#17w Clauson/Marshall/Wood), 2. Spencer Bayston (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Chad Boat (#84 Tucker/Boat), 4. Tyler Thomas (#91T Thomas), 5. Jerry Coons Jr. (#25 Petry/Goff), 6. Holly Shelton (#67k Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 7. Alex Bright (#77 Bright), 8. Bear Wood (#8jr LW), 9. Rico Abreu (#97k Kunz/Curb-Agajanian).

FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Spencer Bayston, 2. Shane Golobic, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Dave Darland, 5. Tanner Thorson, 6. Holly Shelton, 7. Chad Boat, 8. Tanner Carrick, 9. Tyler Thomas, 10. Alex Bright, 11. Jerry Coons Jr., 12. Brayton Lynch, 13. Adam Pierson, 14. Bear Wood, 15. Chase Jones, 16. Justin Grant, 17. Tyler Courtney. NT
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**Abreu flipped at the start of the second heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-25 Bayston.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/LARRY RICE HIGH PERFORMANCE HARD CHARGER AWARD: Holly Shelton (13th to 6th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Adam Pierson

NEW USAC NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Bayston-1363, 2-Bacon-1297, 3-Golobic-1286, 4-Thorson-1256, 5-Courtney-1200, 6-Grant-1198, 7-Boat-1084, 8-Shelton-988, 9-Carrick-906, 10-Coons-846.

NEXT USAC NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: October 22 - Wayne City, IL - Wayne County Speedway - "Jason Leffler Memorial"

Rico Abreu returns to Eldora Speedway this Saturday night to defend
his '4-Crown Nationals' USAC National Midget victory. (Rich Forman Photo)



A USAC RACING FEAST: 36TH 4-CROWN NATIONALS ARRIVE AT ELDORA SATURDAY

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Only one event brings together USAC's best of the best from a variety of disciplines. Only one event brings all three of USAC's national divisions together at one venue. Only one event showcases what race fans could only dream of: a racer's delight featuring a pit overflowing with the baddest racing machines on planet earth.

All converge on Eldora Speedway this Saturday night, September 23rd for the 36th running of the "4-Crown Nationals" - a grand event that's seen its share of heroes instantly become legends at this fabled dirt track stadium. You could say to win one of these is a feather in a driver's cap or, in this case, a prong on their crown.

At press time, the only one anticipated to go for all four crowns is Brady Bacon. The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma native picked up a sprint car win on this weekend under the sunshine on his way to the series title in 2014.

Among his arsenal this weekend is the Fred Gormly/RPM Auto Enterprise No. 199, the very same team that's won the last three 4-Crown Silver Crown events with drivers Jerry Coons, Jr. in 2014, Christopher Bell in 2015 and Chris Windom in 2016. Bacon is still seeking career Silver Crown victory number one.

4-Crown weekend last year was the beginning of Justin Grant and Sam McGhee Motorsports' winning ways. After capturing the victory in the 2016 sprint portion, the team has carried the momentum into 2017 where they won at Eldora earlier this May and have been at the top of the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car standings since day one.

Chris Windom trails Grant by 70, but Eldora and, specifically the 4-Crown, have been kind to him over the years. The Canton, Illinois driver picked off both the Sprint Car and Silver Crown features in 2013, the most recent driver to win both of those particular features in the same night.

Rocklin, California's Robert Ballou followed up Grant's victory in May at Eldora with a win the next night in the series' last visit to the Big E. Five of Ballou's 28 career USAC National Sprint Car victories have come at Eldora, including his first three as well as the 4-Crown a decade ago back in 2007.

Fellow Californian Thomas Meseraull finally broke through for his first USAC National Sprint Car win at the 2015 "4-Crown." Since then, he's become one of the series' most spectacular, highly-acclaimed drivers. This Saturday, he's aboard the SC Racing No. 9x, which he started last year's event in from the front row.

Only Jack Hewitt owns more 4-Crown victories than Dave Darland's 14, half of which have come at the 4-Crown. The "People's Champ" from Lincoln, Indiana aims to make this weekend's stop the place to extend his record streak of consecutive seasons with a USAC National win from 24 to 25.

Like Darland, the versatile Jerry Coons, Jr. has also won his fair share at the 4-Crown with four victories in the midget, sprint and Silver Crown divisions and currently runs second in the Silver Crown standings aboard Gene Nolen's #20 behind Kody Swanson.

Swanson has yet to win a USAC race at Eldora, last scoring a pair of runner-up finishes during the 2015 4-Crown in both DePalma Motorsports' sprint car and Silver Crown car. This Saturday, he makes his USAC debut under the Nolen Racing banner behind the wheel of the team's new Maxim Sprint Car with which he recorded a victory with in a non-sanctioned event at Lawrenceburg Speedway last weekend.

As the Kingsburg, California native closes out another banner season by wrapping up his third Silver Crown title in a four-year span, another past USAC champ and two-time 4-Crown winner makes his 4-Crown return in Keith Kunz's top-notch midget as well as his own sprinter in the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions portion of the program.

The always-exciting Rutherford, California native swept last year's midget program with fast time, a heat win and a stirring drive in the feature to back up his victory in 2013.

Spectator gates open Saturday at noon. An autograph session featuring USAC's drivers will begin in the fan zone located between turns three and four. The drivers meeting will take place at 4pm with cars hitting the track at 4:30pm. Racing is scheduled to start at 8pm.

Adult general admission tickets are $30. General admission for children age 12 and under is FREE! Reserved seating for adults is $34 with reserved tickets for children age 12 and under just $14.

All drivers competing in the 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway this Saturday must fill out a membership. NO COST! Please fill out the driver info portion of the sheet, print off and bring with you to the track. The form can be found at www.eldoraspeedway.com/forms/competitor-membership-app.pdf.

The United States Auto Club.

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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

SWANSON A SHOE-IN WITH TED HORN 100 WIN AT Du QUOIN

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois...September 3, 2017-Over the past eight seasons, Kody Swanson has steadily climbed the ranks to become the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car presented by TRAXXAS division’s second winningest driver. The foundation for the Kingsburg, California native’s remarkable run of success in the decade of the 2010s was laid at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds where he notched victory number one back in 2010.

Since then, Swanson had picked up 17 additional series victories, including seven more on one-mile dirt ovals. Yet, another win at Du Quoin had eluded him until Sunday night when the two-time series champ flipped on the figurative switch in his patented style with less than ten laps remaining, passing Jeff Swindell in traffic to win his second career “Ted Horn 100” in his DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital – Hampshire Racing Engines/Maxim/Hampshire Chevy.

“To have a chance to win any Silver Crown race is a neat opportunity. To drive this car and win for this team is special no matter where it is. We’ve been fast here a number of times, but just couldn’t catch the breaks,” Swanson recalls. “There’s a lot that can happen that can take you out of a Silver Crown race. That’s why they’re so special when you do get them. Tonight, it was a battle. There’s so many good cars nowadays, you don’t get to rest or ride to save your tires.”

Among those good cars running up front early on was C.J. Leary who led the opening seven laps from the outside of the front row before Swanson ripped the top spot away briefly on lap eight with an inside pass coming out of turn four. Leary immediately responded by snatching the lead back away from Swanson on the outside into turn one where he would lead through the 22nd circuit.

As opposed to starting 28th such as he did at Springfield, Swindell didn’t have as much traffic to wade his way through this time around following a solid sixth-place qualifying effort. Just shy of a quarter-way through the 100-miler, Swindell rode the inner rail inside turn two past Leary to capture the lead and, by lap 30, had built up a half-straightaway cushion.

After halfway, Swanson put a charge on Leary just as Swindell did earlier, getting underneath in turn two to grab the second spot where he would remain until the final restart brought out by the slowing car of Robert Ballou in turn three, which bunched up the field and erased Swindell’s sizable advantage.

On the lap 77 restart, Swindell shot away just as he had done time-and-time again, slamming the screen door shut behind him before his followers even had a chance to react. Third-running Chris Windom did react though when Swanson stumbled in second. Windom dove inside on the front straightaway to take second and began his pursuit on Swindell for the race lead.

A repeat of last year’s epic duel between Swindell and Windom commenced, but a bid for a second consecutive Windom victory at the “Magic Mile” ended abruptly just four laps later, on lap 81, when he began to slow coming off turn four before pulling into the infield, sidelining him for the night. Swanson inherited second with 19 laps remaining, but had a half-straightaway of ground to erase to catch up with Swindell, plus the issue he encountered on the restart that he couldn’t immediately identify.

“I didn’t know if we had a bleeder stick or what,” Swanson explains. “As we were coming to green, I came over the radio and said ‘hey, you got to keep an eye out because something’s wrong.’ I don’t know what happened to the car, but it felt like it was down on the left side. I didn’t know if we had a torsion bar stop or something going funny. With us being so loose with the tire situation we had, I didn’t think we were ever going to see Windom again. I still don’t know if we would’ve if he hadn’t had that trouble.”

“After the race, I saw the left rear go flat,” Swanson added. “We were loose, way worse than we had been all race long. The longer we ran, the better we got, but we were still not the same as we had been throughout the middle of the race. I just had my fingers crossed that we wouldn’t have another caution.”

Swanson’s wish would be granted as the race would continue without a yellow, but it did force he and Swindell to maneuver through the throes of heavy lapped traffic in the final ten-lap run which was to Swanson’s advantage and Swindell’s disadvantage.

On the 91st lap, Swindell had trouble negotiating the lapped car of Aaron Pierce in turn three. As he stepped to the outside of Pierce, that opened the door for Swanson to capitalize on the bottom to snare the lead away with nine laps remaining. Swindell didn’t go away lightly as he came back a lap later to avenge his turn three defeat to no avail.

“It was tough trying to track down Jeff,” Swanson said. “Those guys were really good all day. Yeah, we run for the championship, but I want to win races. I said ‘it’s time to lay it down. I don’t know if the tires are going to last or not, but I want to try to win.’ It took everything we had to try to catch up. As we got loose, I had to keep moving, keep changing my line a little bit and try to figure how you can help your racecar. We got a little better just in time. I got a little bit of a run on him and closed enough to where if something happened, hopefully we could capitalize and we did.”

A lap later, Swanson knew if he didn’t get through the lappers in a timely manner, he could envision Swindell doing the same thing that just occurred to him. Swanson went on the aggressive heading into turn three, splitting through the middle between David Shain and Joey Moughan to escape Swindell who saw access to the opening close in a hurry.

“Lapped traffic is so tough on these miles,” Swanson said. “The way the racetrack is, as narrow as it gets, makes it hard to predict. We were able to capitalize on a moment there in lapped traffic and get to the lead. I got stuck a few laps later and was worried if I didn’t make the right decisions, Jeff would return the favor. I had to make a pretty big move down the backstretch by splitting between two lapped cars. I don’t know if that was a good idea or not, but tonight, it worked out. Maybe that was what sealed the deal.”

That move and the clearing of J.C. Bland - the final car in the pack - provided Swanson a road paved in gold toward the finish line where he finished off his fourth win of the season by five seconds over Shane Cockrum, who got by Swindell for second with four laps remaining. Swindell took third ahead of C.J. Leary and ProSource pole winner Jerry Coons, Jr.

Local favorite Shane Cockrum of Benton, Illinois, finished a season-best second in his Hardy Boys Motorsports/Financial Transportation Services – Infinity Shocks/Maxim/Claxton Chevy. Top-tier finishes have become commonplace for Cockrum at Du Quoin in recent years, but the two-time “Ted Horn 100” winner’s bid to even compete on Sunday was up in the air until recently after brake and engine issues at Springfield gave the team a major setback. The team loaned an engine from Carli Motorsports that had previously been used by Justin Grant to sit on the pole at Syracuse and Springfield in recent years and was the powerplant of choice for Tracy Hines’ final Silver Crown on the Belleville (Kans.) High Banks in 2013.

“I want to thank the Carli bunch again,” Cockrum praised. “To loan a motor out that may potentially outrun them, hats off to them. If it wouldn’t have been for them, we wouldn’t even be out here.”

Annually, there is no louder cheer for anyone than there is for Cockrum at Du Quoin as a large throng of fans certainly had something to cheer about this night with a runner-up finish.

“I go to all the miles and I don’t think there’s anybody that cheers any louder for anybody at any track than they do here for me. We’re pretty tickled,” Cockrum beamed. “I want to get half my hometown here. We’re 15 minutes away and I think we keep getting a few more every year, which is really cool.”

A number of records and milestones were on the line Sunday night if Germantown, Tennessee’s Jeff Swindell could’ve brought home his Swanson Racing/Jet Star – Rosewood Machine & Tool – Jeff Freel/Maxim/Toyota to victory lane at Du Quoin, such as he did in 1990. It’s been 24 years since his most recent series victory and he would’ve become the series’ oldest ever race winner. Yet, after borrowing a pair of shoes from Kody Swanson (that were too small for his feet), leading 68 laps and earning his third-straight podium finish with a third-place run, Swindell came up just short of getting the only record he wanted on this night: 2017 “Ted Horn 100” winner.

“We gave it away,” Swindell point blanked. “We had the dominant car the whole feature. We kept pulling away on all the restarts and my crew kept giving me the ‘wide open’ hand signals. We lost the radio about 25 laps in and, once we got to lapped traffic, I couldn’t tell where we were. I didn’t know (Kody) was that close. I tried to sneak around one of those lapped cars going into (turn) three. When I did, he slid out and about sent me out to the wall. That cost me dearly and left a hole open for Kody to come through. If I had known he was that close behind, I probably would’ve just sat behind the guy and waited. We got back around Kody on the outside there, then he split two lap cars going into three, but they closed up on me and that was the end of it. He got a good lead after that. It’s really sad because I think we definitely had the car to win.”

Contingency award winners Sunday night at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds include Jerry Coons, Jr. (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Casey Shuman (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Dakota Jackson (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES (presented by TRAXXAS) RACE RESULTS: September 3, 2017 – Du Quoin, Illinois – Du Quoin State Fairgrounds – “Ted Horn 100”

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-31.216; 2. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-31.514; 3. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-31.670; 4. Chris Windom, 92, Kazmark-31.722; 5. Joey Moughan, 29, Moughan-31.808; 6. Jeff Swindell, 21, Swanson-31.836; 7. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy-31.935; 8. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-31.962; 9. Hunter Schuerenberg, 120, Nolen-32.024; 10. Justin Grant, 91, Carli/Hemelgarn-32.077; 11. Mark Smith, 54, Lane-32.207; 12. Dave Darland, 97, Lein-32.238; 13. Brian Tyler, 12, Galas-32.283; 14. Austin Nemire, 16, Lesko-32.392; 15. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-32.405; 16. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-32.423; 17. David Shain, 7, Hardy-32.436; 18. Dakota Jackson, 201, Nolen-32.511; 19. Patrick Bruns, 95, Full Throttle-32.841; 20. Joss Moffatt, 32, Williams & Wright-33.198; 21. Ken Schrader, 14, McQuinn-33.282; 22. Steve Buckwalter, 53, SET-33.286; 23. J.C. Bland, 5, Bland-33.309; 24. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-33.341; 25. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-33.547; 26. Chris Urish, 77, Urish-33.644; 27. Johnny Petrozelle, 08, Cornell/Petrozelle-33.871; 28. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-34.235; 29. Terry Babb, 42, Babb-34.261; 30. Bill Rose, 75, Rose-34.328; 31. Keith Burch, 24, Burch-34.629; 32. Danny Long, 44, Long-35.368; 33. Robert Ballou, 6, Klatt-NT; 34. Korey Weyant, 99, Weyant-NT; 35. Chris Fetter, 88, Fetter-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Kody Swanson, 2. Shane Cockrum, 3. Jeff Swindell, 4. C.J. Leary, 5. Jerry Coons, Jr. 6. Justin Grant, 7. Shane Cottle, 8. Brian Tyler, 9. Mark Smith, 10. Casey Shuman, 11. Hunter Schuerenberg, 12. Dave Darland, 13. Dakota Jackson, 14. David Shain, 15. Joey Moughan, 16. Aaron Pierce, 17. Chris Urish, 18. Joss Moffatt, 19. Ken Schrader, 20. J.C. Bland, 21. Matt Goodnight, 22. Austin Nemire, 23. Danny Long, 24. Chris Windom, 25. Patrick Bruns, 26. Robert Ballou, 27. Terry Babb, 28. David Byrne, 29. Keith Burch, 30. Johnny Petrozelle, 31. Steve Buckwalter, 32. Patrick Lawson. NT

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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Leary, Lap 8 Swanson, Laps 9-22 Leary, Laps 23-90 Swindell, Laps 91-100 Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Casey Shuman (24th to 10th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Dakota Jackson

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR POINTS: 1-Swanson-624, 2-Coons-519, 3-Windom-458, 4-Grant-415, 5-Byrne-387, 6-Pierce-380, 7-Bobby Santos-350, 8-Moffatt-269, 9-Joe Liguori-258, 10-Damion Gardner-248.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR RACE: September 23 – Rossburg, OH – Eldora Speedway – 36th “4-Crown Nationals”

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

Justin Grant enjoys the spoils of victory with wife Ashley and their twins after winning Saturday's 'Bettenhausen 100' at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. (Brendon Bauman Photo)

GRANT GETS IT; WINS BETTENHAUSEN 100 FOR FIRST SILVER CROWN WIN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Springfield, Illinois....August 19, 2017 - Justin Grant was fully aware of the situation at hand on the final restart of Saturday's "Bettenhausen 100" at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

The Ione, California native had the nose of the white No. 63 driven by the two-time USAC Silver Crown champ and winner of the last two "Bettenhausen 100" races right on his tail for the final 25 laps after Swanson had put on one of his patented late-race clinics down the stretch.

Intimidation was not in Grant's vocabulary on this day as he was able to stave off Swanson's charges in the final laps, including a green-white-checkered finish to capture his first career USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series presented by TRAXXAS victory in his Carli-Hemelgarn Racing/Carli Motorsports - Hemelgarn Enterprises/DRC/Speedway Ford. In the process, he became the first driver to get his first series win at the Springfield Mile since fellow Californian Cole Whitt in 2009.

"With Kody behind you, you want to start running the thing harder because you know he's so good," Grant explained. "At the same time, that's what he's so good at. He gets you to run your car harder, miss your marks and burn your stuff up. I just knew we had to keep doing what we were doing without making a mistake. I couldn't leave anything out there. I had to run it hard, but I still had to hit my marks. The guys on the radio were telling me to just keep doing what I was doing and I'd be fine."

Grant began his race from the outside of the front row, using a big run on the outside to snare the lead from ProSource pole winner Jerry Coons, Jr. on the opening lap heading into turn one, instantly building a four-car-length lead by the time the field hit the back straight.

Meanwhile, three-time "Bettenhausen 100" winner Brian Tyler had clicked his way from 10th to 5th by the opening lap. Notorious for his steadfast movement through the field throughout his career, Tyler's three Springfield wins had come from starting positions of 21st, 16th and 14th!

On the lap 20 restart, third-running Chris Windom's car didn't get up to speed when the green flag fell. As the rest of the field scrambled to avoid him, Keith Burch, making his Silver Crown debut, made hard contact with the outside turn one wall. He was able to climb out of the car under his own power, but was done for the day.

By lap 36, Tyler had climbed to second and sized up Grant to make his move for the lead to the outside entering turn three where he took charge and instantly pulled away to a 10-car-length advantage.

Grant had settled into his groove in second and used the strategy of following Tyler instead of engaging in a cat and mouse game that could wear out his tires. Even though that was the plan and he was going to stick to it, Grant admits his relative lack of experience in Silver Crown compared to Tyler (most starts in series history at 192) didn't give him complete confidence until he saw the condition of the right rear rubber on Tyler's car past the halfway mark.

"I haven't done this long enough to say there's no question that I'd get back by him," Grant said. "That was the thought. It's a long race and my crew said Tyler was running pretty hard to get by us. We just had to let him do his thing. From my view, it looked like his tire was flapping around like it was blistered. That made me a little more confident and I knew I just had to keep the thing straight and not try to catch him. I just needed to run behind him and let him use his stuff up."

Opportunities to gain positions are abundant on restarts, and on the lap 57 edition, a scramble assumed in the middle of the pack, sending Zach Daum helicoptering down the front straightaway upside down before coming to a rest up against the turn one wall. He would walk away from the frightening accident unscathed.

Under the open red flag, several teams made adjustments to their cars, but not Grant's crew. However, it gave the team a chance to inspect their car, mainly the tires, where they determined that changes were unnecessary. They liked what they saw and had full intentions to ride it out to the finish.

"We didn't make any changes during the red. We just left it alone," Grant said. "It was nice for confidence because our guys got to look at the tires and saw we had a ton of tire left. Starting up front sure helps that a lot because you don't have to race your way through. You can go into conservation mode earlier and keep the tires under it. The plan for the last 44 laps was to keep conserving. At around 40 laps, it's basically a sprint car race - a long, abrasive sprint car race."

On the lap 57 restart (part deux), it was déjà vu for Grant who mimicked the same move used on the original start to blast around the outside of Tyler to take the lead. Lurking in the shadows, though, was Swanson after methodically picking his way from ninth.

Swanson peered around the outside of Coons for third entering turn one on lap 69. A lap later, he used a run down the front straight, swapping to the inside of Coons to beat him to the inner rail for the position in turn one with 30 to go. Five laps later, Tyler was within Swanson's range. Swanson pulled the trigger and fired off around the outside of the two-time USAC National Sprint Car champ in turn one for second with only a quarter of the race remaining.

From there, Swanson gnashed the loudpedal with his right foot, erasing three-tenths of a second per lap as he put the chase on Grant for the lead. By lap 80, though, Grant gapped Swanson slightly, rebuilding his lead to just a tick over a second with just 20 laps remaining, almost as if it were by design.

"Once we get inside 20 to go, that's when we turn it loose," Grant explained. "That's about the same time Swanson started to turn his loose too. Once we get inside 10 to go, you got to hustle it for all she's worth."

With 17 laps to go, third-running Tyler's magnificent run came to an end as he slowed to a stop on the high side of turn four to bring out the yellow, ending his bid for a fourth "Bettenhausen" win. He finished 21st.

On the restart with 14 laps to go, it became a two-horse race as the two jockeys - Grant and Swanson - separated themselves from the rest of the pack by a half-straightaway. Grant maintained a three to four-car length lead over Swanson when Leary's day came to end while running fourth, slowing to a stop at the entrance of turn one, thus necessitating a yellow. That set up a green-white-checkered finish, providing Swanson one last shot at Grant.

"You have to use the racetrack to make your car better if you're going to try to win," Swanson said. "I found something with the racetrack to try to help put us up there. I felt like we gained on him a lot in those two laps before the caution from where I had been. When the caution came out, I thought, if I do it right, I have a chance. I can't say I thought I was going to win. The best I could hope for was a chance. These restarts in Silver Crown are tough. If you're struggling taking off, you're a sitting duck. That's something that's been tough for us at times."

And, that's exactly what happened. When the green flag fell, Grant scooted away while Swanson's car didn't get up to speed right away. That gave fourth-running Jeff Swindell exactly what he needed and he jumped at the chance, roaring to the outside of both Swanson and Coons to move from fourth to second. Swanson maintained his composure and used a drive on the bottom of turn two to get back by Swindell for the runner-up spot.

Justin Grant leads Kody Swanson to the finish line to win Saturday's 'Bettenhausen 100' at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. (Brendon Bauman Photo)

However, Grant was too far gone at that point as he flashed out front to an eight-car-length lead where he'd finish off his masterful drive to win by just under seven tenths of a second over Swanson, Swindell, Coons and Dave Darland.

After an arduous season that began with high expectations, Grant's team has been plagued with a myriad of issues that produced zero top-five finishes in seven series starts this season. It's enough to shake one's confidence, but the effort and the speed were there. Lady luck just needed to fall on their side.

"For a while, I thought this win was coming," Grant believed. "Then, I started wondering if I was ever going to win one. This year has been tough. We've had a lot of gremlins through nobody's fault. I've made some mistakes and we've just had some weird things going on with the car, just stuff that you wouldn't expect to go wrong. We had speed all year. It just felt like everything was working against us. To finally get a win for (car owners) Chris Carli and Ron Hemelgarn means a lot. Those guys have put a lot of effort and money into this deal and it feels great to get them one."

After two-straight "Bettenhausen 100" wins in 2014 and 2015, Kingsburg, California's Swanson had to settle for second in his DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital - Hampshire Racing Engines/Maxim/Hampshire Chevy. With that said, it was a hard-fought, honorable effort. It was a day that began with one issue after another on the car, but the team stuck with it and, as they do more often than not, they ended up in a position to win at the end of a 100-mile race.

"The only thing I could do is drive in harder and make sure Justin had to earn it," Swanson said. "I couldn't roll the center or get off the corner as good as he could. I pressured him to make a mistake and he didn't. He earned it today."

"I knew early our only chance to win was if we could save better than everyone," Swanson explains. "A lot of good cars were starting in front of us. We had issues in practice and qualifying. Afterward, we changed the steering gear and the pump hoping to help it. Unfortunately, that wasn't it. But, that's why I love these 100-mile races. It gives you time to figure it out. I was trying to save my tires as best as I could and when it came time to go, we had to make some pretty bold moves to get up through there. We did everything we could to put us in a position to win. We don't quit. That's what makes us strong in these long races.

Swanson makes due with what he has and what he has is a great combination that has worked highly-successfully over the past four years and, this year, has allowed him to extend his series point lead to 96 heading into the "Ted Horn 100" at the Du Quoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds on Sept. 3.

"A lot of guys will have cockpit adjustable shocks, weight jackers and all of that," Swanson begins. "Of all the races I've driven the No. 63 dirt car, all I've had is a brake, a throttle and a steering wheel. You drive it, you use the racetrack and figure it out. The track will change. Maybe the rubber will lay a little differently. Maybe you use the brake a little differently. Maybe you do something with your steering and your timing with how you use the pedals to make the car work for you. They set it up and I drive it to try to get the most I can out of it. Sometimes you have to drive smarter than those guys to put yourself in a position to win. Sometimes you just want it more. You just drive it into the corner harder than the other guy. We made up a lot of ground that way today."

"I feel like racing's a relay," Swanson continued. "It's a team sport. Everyone on the crew does a great job, but then the baton is handed to the driver last. When the green drops, it's up to me to figure it out, good bad or indifferent. Whether it's minimizing mistakes or trying to make something happen, it's your job to go out there and give everything you have to win for your team. today. Today, we just came up one short."

Another Swanson who had a solid day is car owner Mark Swanson whose driver, Jeff Swindell of Germantown, Tennessee, drove to his second-straight podium finish with the Silver Crown Series after finishing runner-up at Du Quoin in September of 2016 in his Swanson Racing/Jet Star - Rosewood Machine & Tool - Jeff Freel/Maxim/Toyota. Swindell, the longtime, versatile racing veteran, has Indiana State Fairgrounds and Du Quoin State Fairgrounds victories on his great resume, but will have to wait another year to pick up a first Springfield victory following an incredible charge from 28th to 3rd to pick up KSE Racing Products Hard Charger honors for the afternoon. Swindell explains the process of running a successful 100-lap on a dirt mile.

"Here at Springfield, it's really a tire burner," Swindell said. "You have to pace yourself for the first half of the thing and just put yourself in a position to take a spot when somebody messes up in front of you. You try to get a feel on the starts before falling into line and waiting on somebody to give you the spot. You don't want to press it too much. When you see a hole open, you got to jump in it. You just don't want to lean on the power too much because you have to make it last. I kind of overdid it and that made the tire worse than what I wanted it to be at the end. It went down on us a little bit. I think it had a little hole in it, which had some effect on it.

"On the restarts, the little Toyota took off pretty good," Swindell credits. "It stutters for about 30 feet, then it cleans up and really drives on. We passed cars on the restarts all day. I really didn't think we'd be able to do that once we got into fourth. I thought all those guys would take off on me. That thing jumped up and took off every time. I thought we were going to have a shot at them on the last laps. I ran up close to him going into three, made up a little ground and figured what the hell, I jumped into a podium. I can give it away or try going for the win. I drove it in a little too hard, but it was a good comeback from 28th to 3rd."

Contingency awards Saturday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds included Jerry Coons, Jr. (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Jeff Swindell (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and David Shain (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES (presented by TRAXXAS) RACE RESULTS: August 19, 2017 - Springfield, Illinois - Illinois State Fairgrounds - "Bettenhausen 100"

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-29.988; 2. Justin Grant, 91, Carli/Hemelgarn-30.220; 3. J.C. Bland, 5, BBE-30.375; 4. Keith Burch, 24, Burch-30.464; 5. Chris Windom, 92, Kazmark-30.501; 6. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-30.539; 7. Dakota Jackson, 201, Nolen-30.540; 8. Joey Moughan, 29, Moughan-30.542; 9. David Shain, 7, Hardy-30.619; 10. Tyler Courtney, 97, Lein-30.704; 11. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-30.706; 12. Brian Tyler, 12, Galas-30.789; 13. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-30.824; 14. Dave Darland, 27, Phillips-30.846; 15. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-30.849; 16. Steve Buckwalter, 53, SET-30.911; 17. Zach Daum, 14, McQuinn-30.975; 18. Damion Gardner, 6, Klatt-31.004; 19. Patrick Bruns, 95, Full Throttle-31.010; 20. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-31.064; 21. Terry Babb, 42, Babb-31.141; 22. Russ Gamester, 51, Gamester-31.148; 23. Joss Moffatt, 32, Williams & Wright-31.311; 24. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-31.489; 25. Korey Weyant, 99, Weyant-31.503; 26. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-31.530; 27. Chris Urish, 77, Urish-31.575; 28. Jeff Swindell, 21, Swanson-31.771; 29. Joe Liguori, 4, Liguori-31.852; 30. Danny Long, 44, Long-31.976; 31. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-31.991; 32. Chris Fetter, 88, Fetter-32.659; 33. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-33.510; 34. Hunter Schuerenberg, 120, Nolen-NT; 35. Kenny Gentry, 18, Gentry-NT; 36. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-NT; 37. Brady Bacon, 48, Martens-NT; 38. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy-NT; 39. A.J. Fike, 3, RFMS-NT; 40. Austin Nemire, 16, Lesko-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Kody Swanson, 3. Jeff Swindell, 4. Jerry Coons Jr., 5. Dave Darland, 6. Shane Cottle, 7. Aaron Pierce, 8. David Byrne, 9. Joe Liguori, 10. Steve Buckwalter, 11. Jacob Wilson, 12. Patrick Lawson, 13. David Shain, 14. Matt Goodnight, 15. Joss Moffatt, 16. Chris Fetter, 17. Damion Gardner, 18. Chris Urish, 19. C.J. Leary, 20. Tyler Courtney, 21. Brian Tyler, 22. Korey Weyant, 23. Casey Shuman, 24. J.C. Bland, 25. Chris Windom, 26. Zach Daum, 27. Austin Nemire, 28. Joey Moughan, 29. Keith Burch, 30. Dakota Jackson, 31. Terry Babb, 32. Patrick Bruns, 33. Russ Gamester, 34. Danny Long. NT
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**Daum flipped on lap 57 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-35 Grant, Laps 36-56 Tyler, Laps 57-100 Grant.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER AWARD: Jeff Swindell (28th to 3rd)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: David Shain

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP (presented by TRAXXAS) POINTS: 1-K.Swanson-554, 2-Coons-458, 3-Windom-439, 4-Byrne-372, 5-Grant-360, 6-Bobby Santos-350, 7-Pierce-349, 8-Liguori-258, 9-Gardner-248, 10-Moffatt-242.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR RACE (presented by TRAXXAS): September 3 - Du Quoin, IL - Du Quoin State Fairgrounds - "Ted Horn 100"

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

SUPERSIZED SILVER CROWN CAR COUNT EXPECTED AT SPRINGFIELD SATURDAY

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Five past "Bettenhausen 100" winners headline the expected list of entrants for this Saturday's 81st appearance of champ car racing at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

#3 A.J. Fike and #81 Shane Cottle battle at Springfield in 2015.

Kody Swanson leads the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series presented by TRAXXAS standings coming into the Springfield Mile August 19. Swanson arrives as the winner of the two most recent editions of the "Bettenhausen 100" in 2014 and 2015. Swanson picked up his third win of the season last Saturday night on the Salem (Ind.) Speedway high-banked paved oval. His 18th win moved the Kingsburg, Calif. native into sole possession of second on the series' all-time win list ahead of Brian Tyler.

Four of Tyler's 17 career Silver Crown victories came at the "Bettenhausen 100" in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2011. The Pleasant Garden, North Carolina resident will wheel a car for Illinois owner Robert Galas.

Three-time "Bettenhausen 100" winner Dave Darland is sixth on USAC's Silver Crown win list with 14 wins, three of which came at Springfield in 1997, 1999 and 2003 for car owner Galen Fox. This Saturday, he and Phillips Motorsports, who've scored 17 USAC National Sprint Car wins together, shoot for their first Silver Crown victory as a team.

Darland's potential three-race win streak at Springfield was denied in 1998 by Peru, Indiana's Russ Gamester who, at 190 Silver Crown starts, is second all-time - one behind leader Tyler and one ahead of Darland. The 1989 USAC National Midget champ owns victories in all three USAC national divisions throughout his decorated racing career as he guns for Springfield win number two in the familiar red No. 51.

Among the Illini contingent is two-time "Bettenhausen 100" winner A.J. Fike, who won in back-to-back years in 2012 and 2013. The Galesburg driver will be pulling double-duty this weekend at Springfield aboard the RFMS Racing No. 3 Silver Crown car on Saturday and his ARCA Stock Car ride on Sunday.

Fike is among 11 Illinois natives expected to compete Saturday on the Mile, including defending Silver Crown champion Chris Windom of Canton, Illinois and northern Illinois car owner Gene Kazmark, who are both looking for their first triumphs at Springfield. Windom won the last series race held in Illinois on Labor Day Weekend 2016 at the Du Quoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds, but has yet to win at Springfield.

The same story goes for Elkhart's Chris Urish and Benton's Shane Cockrum as well. Urish (2013) and Cockrum (2014 & 2015) have both won at the one-mile neighbor to the south in Du Quoin, but seek their firsts at Springfield. Shane Cottle, originally from Illinois, but now residing in Kokomo, Ind., has a Du Quoin win on his resume, but Springfield has eluded him thus far.

Though, not hailing from Illinois, Germantown, Tennessee's Jeff Swindell has won on both the Indy and Du Quoin one-mile dirt ovals in his career. The third jewel of a Triple Crown of sorts awaits the veteran driver of Mark Swanson's No. 21.

Additional Illinois entries include series veterans Terry Babb (Decatur), J.C. Bland (Springfield), Patrick Bruns (Champaign), Zach Daum (Pocahontas), Patrick Lawson (Edwardsville), Joey Moughan (Springfield), David Shain (Sullivan) and Korey Weyant (Springfield).

USAC champions taking their shot at a first Springfield win this Saturday are Tucson, Arizona's Jerry Coons, Jr., a 2008 Silver Crown titlist; five-time USAC/CRA AMSOIL Sprint Car champ Damion Gardner of Concord, California and two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion Brady Bacon.

Ione, California's Justin Grant very well could follow Bacon as the next USAC National Sprint Car champ this season, but the current points leader still eyes his first Silver Crown win of any kind on Saturday.

The "Bettenhausen 100" schedule begins at 7am when pit gates open. Grandstands open at 9am, drivers meeting at 9:30am, Silver Crown practice at 10am-11:10am, ProSource Qualifying at 11:30am, Silver Crown Qualifying Race at 12:30pm and the 100-lap main event at 2pm.

Advanced adult tickets are $25. Day of Race Adult 12 and older tickets are $30. Children 11 and under are $10. Pit passes are $35. Children pit passes (11 and under) are $20. Infield tickets for adults are $20.00. Children 6-11 are $5. Children under 5 are FREE!

Watch flag-to-flag coverage of the "Bettenhausen 100" beginning a day after the event on http://www.Loudpedal.TV/.

"BETTENHAUSEN 100" EXPECTED DRIVER ENTRANTS

CAR # DRIVER / HOMETOWN / ENTRANT / SPONSOR / CHASSIS / ENGINE

07 JACOB WILSON/Crawfordsville, IN
Wilson Brothers Racing/Wilson's Towing - D.D. Eyes/Beast/Claxton Toyota

2 PATRICK LAWSON/Edwardsville, IL
Patrick Lawson/Mittler Brothers - Rebel Smokers/DRC/Chevy

3 A.J. FIKE/Galesburg, IL
RFMS Racing/Liberty Village - Office Specialists/Beast/Foxco

4 JOE LIGUORI/Tampa, FL
Liguori Racing/Sunshine Trailer Park - Kercher Engines/DRC/Kercher Chevy

5 ®J.C. BLAND/Springfield, IL
Bland Brothers Enterprises/Sam's Speed Shop - Bland Brothers Enterprises/Drinan/BBE Chevy

6 ®DAMION GARDNER/Concord, CA
Klatt Enterprises/Beast - Klatt Enterprises/Beast/Ford

7 ®DAVID SHAIN/Sullivan, IL
Hardy Boys Motorsports/Financial Transportation Services - Central Roofing//Maxim/Brown Chevy

12 BRIAN TYLER/Mount Pleasant, NC
Galas Motorsports/Magnum Rotating & Pumps/Beast/Galas Chevy

14 ZACH DAUM/Pocahontas, IL
Dennis & Dave McQuinn/McQuinn Motorsports - Cashless Racing/JR-1/Brown Chevy

16 AUSTIN NEMIRE/Sylvania, OH
Bob Lesko/Wayne Subaru - Bell Helmets/Beast/Chevy

18 KENNY GENTRY/Henderson, KY
Kenny Gentry/Engler Machine & Tool - KVKK Racing/Beast/Chevy

20 JERRY COONS, JR./Tucson, AZ
Gene Nolen/KECO - Indy Race Parts/Maxim/Tranter Chevy

21 JEFF SWINDELL/Germantown, TN
Swanson Racing/Jet Star - Rosewood Machine & Tool/Beast/Chevy

24 ®KEITH BURCH/Farmington, MO
Keith Burch/Drain Buster Plumbing Service - Boen's Signs/Beast/Kistler

26 AARON PIERCE/Muncie, IN
Sam Pierce/Tom Cherry Mufflers - Midwest Matt/Beast/Chevy

27 DAVE DARLAND/Lincoln, IN
Carla & Steve Phillips/Frank Daigh - Lucas Oil/Phillips/Foxco Chevy

29 JOEY MOUGHAN/Springfield, IL
Joey Moughan/Modern Paving & Scrap - Conaway Handyman Service/Maxim/Claxton Mopar

30 C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN
Chuck & Tammi Leary/Leary Construction - Gray Auto/DRC/1-Way Toyota

31 ®DAVE BERKHEIMER/Mechanicsburg, PA
Dave Berkheimer/Subway Auto Body - Macri Concrete/Drinan/Chevy

32 ®JOSS MOFFATT/Columbus, IN
Williams & Wright Racing/E3 Sparkplugs - Lucas Oil/Maxim/Williams

39 ®MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN
Goodnight Racing/Lumber & Things - Beale Enterprises/Maxim/Claxton

40 DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI
Byrne Racing/Stoops Freightliner Truck Country- Bytec Resource Management/Maxim/J & D Chevy

42 TERRY BABB/Decatur, IL
Terry Babb/Illini Aerofab - APT Powder Coating/Beast/Babb Chevy

44 DANNY LONG/Bonne Terre, MO
Danny Long/Farmington Auto Plaza - DMR Motorsports/Beast/Chevy

48 BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK
Paul Martens/Martens Machine Shop/Maxim/Kistler Chevy

51 RUSS GAMESTER/Peru, IN
Gamester Racing/Gamester Green Gable Village/GRP/Toyota

53 STEVE BUCKWALTER/Royersford, PA
SET Racing/Heroes West Sports Grill/Beast/Brown Chevy

55 CASEY SHUMAN/Tempe, AZ
Patty Bateman/Chance's Chassis Repair/Beast/Foxco Chevy

63 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA
DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital - Hampshire Racing Engines/Maxim/Hampshire Chevy

71 SHANE COCKRUM/Benton, IL
Hardy Boys Motorsports/Financial Transportation Services - Infinity Shocks/Maxim/Brown Chevy

75 BILL ROSE/Plainfield, IN
Bill Rose Racing/Reliable Laser Screeding/Beast/Chevy

77 CHRIS URISH/Elkhart, IL
Chris Urish/Elkhart Fertilizer - Pacesetter Solutions/Beast/Foxco Chevy

81 SHANE COTTLE/Kokomo, IN
Curtis Williams/Jack's Auto Body - Roger Williams Precision Engines/Maxim/Williams Chevy

88 CHRIS FETTER/Troy, MO
Chris Fetter/Fetter Tile - F & S Collision/Beast/Foxco

91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA
Carli-Hemelgarn Racing/Carli Motorsports - Hemelgarn Enterprises/DRC/Speedway Ford

92 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL
Gene Kazmark/Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing - Remin Kart-A-Bag/Maxim/Wallace Mopar

95 PATRICK BRUNS/Champaign, IL
Full Throttle Racing/Mobil 1 - Cain's Marine Welding/Beast/Speedway Toyota

97 ®TYLER COURTNEY/Indianapolis, IN
Hans Lein/Lein Acres/DRC/Stanton Mopar

99 ®KOREY WEYANT/Springfield, IL
Scott Weyant/Weebles Bar & Grill - Ealey Transportation/Beast/Automotive Machine

120 ®HUNTER SCHUERENBERG/Sikeston, MO
Gene Nolen/Roof Bolt Xpress - Wesco Trailers/Maxim/Tranter Chevy

201 ®DAKOTA JACKSON/Elizabethtown, IN
Gene Nolen Racing/The Cure Starts Now Foundation - KECO Coatings/Twister/Tranter

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

SWANSON'S SALEM REPEAT MOVES HIM TO 2ND ALL-TIME ON SILVER CROWN WIN LIST

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Salem, Indiana.....August 12, 2017 - After a two-race "winless" streak, Kody Swanson admits it's hard to say that he and the DePalma Motorsports team were struggling.

Yet, for a team so accustomed to winning over the past four seasons, the results were bound to change soon as he, chief wrench Bob Hampshire and the crew went back to the books and did their homework over the last two weeks to return to victory lane for the second consecutive year in the "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial" Saturday night at Salem Speedway.

Swanson's 18th career victory in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series presented by TRAXXAS has him walking in high cotton as he moved into sole possession of second-place on the all-time series win list while his second-straight "James/O'Connor" triumph made him the fourth to accomplish the feat, joining Parnelli Jones (1960-61), Pancho Carter (1974-75-76-77) and Brian Gerster (2014-15).

To put his name on a list with those individuals and reach that kind of comfort level on Salem's 33-degree banks was something Swanson never imagined to be in the cards when he made his first visit years ago.

"Those guys live for tracks like this to show how they great they are and were," Swanson said. "That hadn't always been my style. Last year, I felt I had to do my best impression of those guys to stay in the title hunt. The first time I came here, I never thought I'd get comfortable. As time's gone on, I've embraced the challenge and gotten more accustomed to what it takes to run the banks."

Swanson laid down the gauntlet in ProSource Qualifying, breaking his one-year-old track record by five-hundredths of a second and more than three-tenths faster than second-fastest. However, as was the case in last year's event, Aaron Pierce would grab the advantage early on from Swanson.

With the spectacular sight of sparks trailing from the tails of the front-running cars lighting up the nighttime sky, the pace of the top-three was astounding with Pierce, Swanson and Chris Windom jockeying for position, separating themselves from fourth and fifth-running David Byrne and Justin Grant through the first-quarter of the 75-lap sprint.

On lap 19, Grant attempted an inside pass on Byrne for fourth between turns three and four, but lost the back end and looped it down the backing without contact. He would restart and recover to finish a solid seventh.

On the lap 24 restart, once again, Pierce was able to get away from Swanson, immediately opening up a ten-car-length lead. But it didn't long for the two-time champ to reel him back in just seven circuits later on the 31st lap.

"I got a run up to the top of the hill right by the fence in turn three," Swanson recalls. "I turned it down and had just enough of a run off four to outrace him into turn one. Once we got to the lead, we could control the pace a little bit, but from there, it was no easy task."

On lap 41, Windom was all over the rear bumper of Pierce for second and the two even made slight nose-to-tail contact in turn two. After relentlessly trying to work the lower line on Pierce for several laps, Windom out-drag-raced Pierce into turn one to take second and set the forward the motion of tracking down Swanson.

"Once Chris got clear, I knew he'd be coming," Swanson said. "Chris was strong early, he was pressing me hard and showing me a nose all the time that reminded me that if I ever screwed up, he was out of there. I knew if I slowed up at all, Chris was going by us both."

Windom closed the gap and hounded Santos for the ensuing ten laps before he began to fade ever so slightly and Swanson continued to run consistent laps in the low 17-second range that rarely wavered a tenth or two in either direction throughout the duration, something to do that Swanson made appear relatively easy, but is certainly not.

"This place is incredibly difficult," Swanson said. "It's so high-banked and physically demanding just on the load and the force that you go through. With an open wheel car, you carry so much speed and you don't have a lot of grip. That makes it hard to drive. On top of that, Salem has some character on both ends. I used to fear coming here because it was a track that made me feel uncomfortable. I always felt like I was behind. I was just trying to react. I wasn't able to race because I was just trying to survive each lap. Running this car last year and running with these guys made It fun. Today, when I came through the gates, instead of thinking 'oh my gosh, I'm at Salem,' I was excited for the challenge. No one's going to have a perfect handling racecar here, so it's time to get up in the seat and do your job."

A handful of lapped cars were all that Swanson needed to stream by in the final laps, and did so without much hesitation to win his third series race of the year by 1.606 seconds over Windom, Bobby Santos, Pierce and Davey Hamilton, Jr.

A 75-lapper at Salem can be physically and mentally wearing on any driver. There's no time to breathe due to the pure speed and the closeness of the racing. Despite the obstacles, as the race went on, the more comfortable Swanson became.

"My wife spots for me. I trust her with everything," Swanson said. When you hear the 'clear by 3' go up to 'clear by 5,' you have a little reassurance. It was tough in lapped traffic. We seemed to catch them at the wrong time and it allowed them to close. The longer the race went, the better I felt. In the last 20, we were able to click off pretty smooth and consistent laps. With bumps, it's fun as a driver because you can always move around and you're constantly trying to figure out, 'can I use it better or can I dodge it better?' As your car wears out, if you can figure it out, it will pay dividends."

Contingency awards Saturday night at Salem Speedway included Kody Swanson (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Joss Moffatt (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Joss Moffatt (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES presented by TRAXXAS RACE RESULTS: August 12, 2017 - Salam, Indiana - Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery - "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial"

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-15.923 (New Track Record); 2. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-16.249; 3. Chris Windom, 92, Kazmark-16.345; 4. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-16.354; 5. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ Racing-16.481; 6. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn/Carli-16.530; 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-16.568; 8. Davey Hamilton Jr., 98, RPM/Gormly-16.637; 9. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-16.664; 10. Davey Hamilton, 99, RPM/Gormly-16.674; 11. Joe Axsom, 120, Nolen-16.950; 12. Shane Butler, 15, Thompson-17.137; 13. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-17.661; 14. Joss Moffatt, 32, Williams & Wright-18.147.

FEATURE: (75 laps) 1. Kody Swanson, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Bobby Santos, 4. Aaron Pierce, 5. Davey Hamilton Jr., 6. Jerry Coons Jr., 7. Justin Grant, 8. Davey Hamilton, 9. Shane Butler, 10. Joss Moffatt, 11. Matt Goodnight, 12. Joe Axsom, 13. David Byrne, 14. Jacob Wilson. 25:59 (New Track Record)
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Pierce, Laps 31-75 Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER AWARD: Joss Moffatt (14th to 10th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: David Byrne

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Swanson-484, 2-Windom-421, 3-Coons-394, 4-Santos-350, 5-Byrne-323, 6-Pierce-297, 7-Grant-287, 8-Damion Gardner-219, 9-Joe Liguori-212, 10-Moffatt-209.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: August 19 - Springfield, Illinois - Illinois State Fairgrounds - "Bettenhausen 100"

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SANTOS TAMES TOLEDO HIGHBANKS IN "ROLLIE BEALE CLASSIC"

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Toledo, Ohio....July 28, 2017 - Bobby Santos' golden reputation as a racer has been well-established and well-earned.

From open wheel cars, to full-bodied stock cars to modifieds, the Franklin, Massachusetts native has driven them all and tamed them all at one point or another in his masterful career.

In Friday night's Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness "Rollie Beale Classic," the 31-year-old driver had a single pin left standing in his lane on the way to cementing his diverse capabilities behind the wheel, if you ever doubted him for any reason.

After notching previous USAC National victories at Toledo Speedway in a Sprint Car (2006) and a Midget (2009), Santos completed the triple threat by winning his first Silver Crown event at the half-mile paved oval, thus becoming the 20th driver ever to win features in all of USAC's three current national series at a single track.

Even more striking is that he had already accomplished the feat once before at Brownsburg, Indiana's Lucas Oil Raceway, casting him into an even more exclusive club of individuals who've done the deed at multiple venues such as Dave Darland, Jack Hewitt, Tracy Hines and Dave Steele.

To get there, though, Santos had to do something that isn't a regular occurrence at Toledo, let alone anywhere for that matter. He had to pass two-time USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series presented by TRAXXAS champion Kody Swanson. No small chore considering the two previous instances Swanson started from the pole in a Silver Crown car at Toledo, in 2011 and 2015, he led every single lap, all 250 of them, on his way to a pair of commanding wins.

Santos would start this year's edition alongside Swanson from the outside of the front row. Swanson set the tone early, emerging with the lead by a half-car length at the line following a first lap that went entirely wheel-to-wheel for a full revolution.

Lapped traffic would prove to play a pivotal role throughout the 100-lap stretch and, by lap nine, the leaders had already encroached the tail end of the field. Swanson's breakaway would be stifled early on when he encountered a nest of cars that slowed his roll, allowing Santos and Chris Windom to shred the interval and close to within a heartbeat of the two-time champ as the top-three runners separated themselves as the main contenders.

A third of the way through, the top-three bobbed and weaved inside and outside the lappers with Swanson assuming the role of maestro and orchestrating his own destiny by attacking the pack with authority as Santos and Windom trailed in hot pursuit.

Just prior to the halfway mark, on lap 45, Swanson got hung up while lapping David Byrne, leaving him with a split-second decision to make. Which lane to choose?

"We were pretty good in the first third of it," Swanson remembered. "About 15 laps in, I was starting to hang sideways a little off the corner and I felt like I was in trouble. I survived a few of the lapped cars just by choosing the right lane. Byrne was just fast enough to make it a tough choice. I turned to go down under him and it hung sideways off turn two. I knew I was a sitting duck after that. He had the momentum and was able to clear me for the lead."

Meanwhile, Santos saw the opportunity he had been anticipating and this was a chance he wasn't going to pass up as he charged to the outside of Byrne in the gray midway down the back straightaway while Swanson simultaneously weed-whacked the edge of the infield grass underneath Byrne.

"It was just circumstance," Santos assured. "We had a good car on the run and I felt we were making progress the longer it went. We just got to the point where we were going to work him over and pass him. The opportunity just kind of popped up when we needed it and that's what it's all about. You must put yourself in the right position when opportunities arise."

Santos then kicked it up another notch and left Swanson and Windom to battle amongst themselves for second as he constructed a two-second lead over the next 25-plus laps. Windom's engine began to leave a trail of smoke, but his speed was unhampered as he applied constant pressure to Swanson.

With 13 laps remaining, Santos maintained a healthy advantage, yet what lie ahead had him sweating a bit when RPM/Gormly teammates Joe Liguori and Davey Hamilton battled side-by-side for the fifth position with the leaders on their heels. Santos was forced to check up as he deciphered which avenue to make his escape, which played into the favor of Swanson and Windom who both caught up to Santos as the three ran nose-to-tail inside 10 laps to go.

That left Santos with one thought as he studied his next move, but he's experienced enough in this sport to know that racing can giveth, yet it can taketh away just as easily.
"Get out of the way," Santos said with a laugh. "Lapped traffic made it hard on us, but that's part of racing. That's the way it goes. The lapped traffic gave us an opportunity when we took the lead from Kody just as it did at the end of the race for Kody."

It took half a race for Santos to build up a two second lead and just three laps for it all to evaporate, but Santos remained unfazed and, in a two-lap succession, disposed of both Hamilton and Liguori for a little separation and relative comfort.

The rapid pace would be dialed down when the first and only caution of the night fell on lap 97 for series rookie Troy Thompson who slid sideways to a stop on the front straightaway, necessitating a green-white-checkered finish. The caution certainly benefitted Santos more than it did Swanson, and though Santos felt he had Swanson covered at that point regardless, he wasn't too unpleased about the timing of it.

"At that point, I had finally cleared the lapped cars and it, at least, gave us a chance to catch our breath and get ready for the last two laps," Santos recalls. "Usually, the guy in second has the advantage in lapped traffic, but after the yellow, we had a clear track from there on out. I knew if I hit my marks, /we had a good shot at it."

Santos was on his marks and set for victory when the green flag flew for the final two-lap sprint, gaining a few car lengths to his advantage right off the bat. Swanson tried with all his might to set himself up to make a move to no avail as Santos peeled away for his third Silver Crown of the season, and second in a span of nine days, over Swanson, Windom, Jerry Coons, Jr. and Joe Liguori. It was Santos' ninth career Silver Crown victory, tying him with Tracy Hines for 12th on the all-time list.

Series point leader Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, California took second in his DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital - Hampshire Racing Engines/Beast/Hampshire despite fighting an ill-handling car that the crew continued to tweak and adjust all throughout the night.

"We were fastest in practice and fastest in qualifying, but we were really only good for the first lap," Swanson explains. "I knew we were in trouble the longer it was going to go, which isn't our normal style, but that was just the way it was handling today. We don't do this often, but even though we won the pole, we made changes before the feature and were able to make it better."

"The longer it went, I tell you what, we just didn't quit," Swanson continued. "That's why I like these 100-lap races. Maybe something will come to you. We caught that caution with three to go. I was setting up and really thought we had a shot to return the favor. When you're the second guy into traffic, you have the benefit that the leader has to pick a lane and you can choose the other one and see if it works out. I was really hoping we'd have that chance at the end, but a caution kind of spoiled that. I sat up in the seat and gave it two hard laps to see if we could at least make him earn it."

Defending series champion Chris Windom of Canton, Illinois captured his best finish on the hardtop in 2017, finishing third in his Kazmark Racing/Project Healing Waters - Remin Kart-A-Bag/Beast/Ford.

Contingency awards Friday night at Toledo Speedway included Kody Swanson (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Joe Axsom (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Joss Moffatt (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES (presented by TRAXXAS) RACE RESULTS: July 28, 2017 - Toledo, Ohio - Toledo Speedway - Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness "Rollie Beale Classic"

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-15.084; 2. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ Racing-15.187; 3. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-15.306; 4. Chris Windom, 92, Kazmark-15.335; 5. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-15.338; 6. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-15.368; 7. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn/Carli-15.420; 8. Joe Liguori, 98, RPM/Gormly-15.520; 9. Davey Hamilton, 99, RPM/Gormly-15.638; 10. Damion Gardner, 6, Klatt-15.736; 11. Joe Axsom, 120, Nolen-15.773; 12. Annie Breidinger, 80, Breidinger-16.191; 13. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-16.595; 14. Troy Thompson, 15, Thompson-16.598; 15. Joss Moffatt, 32, Williams & Wright-17.038; 16. Cody Gallogly, 81, Williams-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Bobby Santos, 2. Kody Swanson, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Jerry Coons Jr., 5. Joe Liguori, 6. Davey Hamilton, 7. Joe Axsom, 8. David Byrne, 9. Annie Breidinger, 10. Justin Grant, 11. Troy Thompson, 12. Aaron Pierce, 13. Joss Moffatt, 14. Damion Gardner, 15. Matt Goodnight. 28:48.16
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**Gallogly crashed into the outside barrier and flipped in turn three during practice.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-44 Swanson, Laps 45-100 Santos.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER AWARD: Joe Axsom (11th to 7th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Joss Moffatt

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES (presented by TRAXXAS) POINTS: 1-K.Swanson-411, 2-Windom-354, 3-Coons-339, 4-Santos-286, 5-Byrne-286, 6-Pierce-236, 7-Grant-235, 8-Gardner-219, 9-Liguori-212. 10-Tanner Swanson-167.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES (presented by TRAXXAS) RACE: August 12 - Salem, Indiana - Salem Speedway - "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial"

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