Archive for USAC Silver Crown

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

'Get this man a napkin!' Brady Bacon shows the wears in victory lane after his first career USAC Silver Crown victory Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.
(Rich Forman Photo)



BACON THE LAST MAN STANDING IN DRAMA-FILLED WILLIAMS GROVE 100

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (June 14, 2019).........For Brady Bacon, it was the best of times. For Steve Buckwalter and Chris Windom, in particular, it was the worst of times.

That about sums up the Helter Skelter roller coaster ride of emotions among the top-three drivers during the final laps of Friday's "Williams Grove 100" USAC Silver Crown race at Williams Grove Speedway.

For Bacon, the times couldn't have gotten any better as he avoided the misfortune in front of him. On the 100th and final lap, second-running Windom got into the rear bumper of Buckwalter, sending Buckwalter spinning out of the race lead.

On the ensuing restart, Windom, the new race leader, led the field into turn one on the final lap only to see his right rear tire give out, handing the lead to Bacon who ended the drama once-and-for-all by cruising the last three-quarters of a lap to capture his first career USAC Silver Crown win.

Bacon's score came in his 23rd series start aboard his Beast Chassis - Wilwood Disc Brakes - Hoosier Racing Tire-sponsored Beast/Ford, the second-straight win for the Klatt Enterprises No. 6 following Kyle Hamilton's victory on the pavement at Brownsburg, Indiana's Lucas Oil Raceway in May.

Bacon, the two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ out of Broken Arrow, Okla., started third, but dropped to sixth on the opening circuit which, though had him a tad worrisome, became an afterthought as he preserved his equipment and steadily moved up as the race wore on, running fourth as late as nine laps remaining with Buckwalter, Kody Swanson and Windom sitting ahead of him in the pecking order.

Following the lap 90 restart, Bacon surged from fourth to third to second between laps 91 and 93 and was challenging for the lead. Just a lap earlier, Swanson had slid by Buckwalter for the lead in turn one with just a bit too much gusto, sliding up just out of the bottom groove as Buckwalter didn't fret and drove back by underneath.

That opened up the door exiting turn two, allowing Bacon to sweep past Swanson to second as the field passed under the legendary back straightaway bridge, while Windom presented an inside challenge to Swanson entering the third turn. Windom's right front and Swanson's left rear tangled not once, but twice in between turns three and four, forcing Swanson wide off turn four and allowing Windom to take the third position.

Bacon challenged Buckwalter for the lead entering the outside of turn three on three consecutive laps to no avail. With five to go and Bacon unable to make the lane up from the bottom work to his liking, Windom took advantage and skirted underneath on the low line to grab second.

"It took me a lap to get going before I could start trying to squeeze on the outside of turn three," Bacon recalled. "But Buckwalter was really smart. He races a lot here, so he was keeping himself just far out enough to where I couldn't get a run on him, and then I slid out."

The top-four of Buckwalter, Windom, Bacon and Swanson ran practically nose-to-tail entering the conclusion. Heading into turn one on the final lap, though, local favorite Buckwalter from Royersford, Pa., a nine-time wing sprint car and five-time ARDC Midget winner at Williams Grove, seemed poised and primed to capture his first career Silver Crown victory in his 25th series start.

That's when the complexion of the race, and seemingly the universe, turned on its figurative head. Second-running Windom entered turn one a couple car lengths behind Buckwalter. Windom tagged Buckwalter's rear bumper with his own front bumper, turning Buckwalter sideways and, ultimately, to a stop in the middle of turn one. Windom barely escaped to the outside behind Buckwalter's tail tank while third-running Bacon snuck by underneath without getting caught in the melee.

Buckwalter didn't mince words in his thoughts of what happened just three-quarters of a lap away from payday.

"I knew I had to get in low and protect the bottom," Buckwalter explained. "I was running as hard as I had to (in order) to make that happen. I just feel bad for all the PA fans. We had them beat. I don't know what else to say. I guess he just didn't want to get second, but he just drove through me."

"You don't get that many opportunities to win one of these," Buckwalter continued. "We only run (Silver Crown Cars) four or five times a year. It's kind of out of my element. These guys are driving non-wing sprint cars all the time and I maybe run half a dozen midget races a year. To get out there and drive from eighth to the lead, and not touch anybody, and on the last corner to have somebody drive through your rear bumper, it's just heartbreaking."

From Windom's point of view, he admitted he just plainly misjudged the entry to turn one.

"I obviously misjudged it and I feel terrible about it," Windom admitted. "I'd been battling brake issues the last 40 laps of the race and he got in so slow and low to protect the bottom. Once the white flag came out, I got excited going down the front stretch and I got in too hard. I had my left foot through the floor trying to slow the car down. I just knew at that point that I had gotten in way too hard. I tried to turn up at the last second, but it just ended up catching him even harder with the bumper and spun him. I can't change it now. I had a bad misjudgment there."

Brady Bacon's win Friday night was actually his second in USAC competition at Williams Grove Speedway, following his ARDC victory in 2017.
(Rich Forman Photo)

That set up a green-white-checker finish. Though there was a tad fretfulness at the beginning, Bacon's car had come to life late. Once he gained a close-up look of the leader's tire situation, he knew there was blood in the water.

"I knew we had a better car at the end," Bacon noted. "I was a little worried when we weren't very good at the beginning, then I saw some tire issues come about. Buckwalter's tire was looking pretty bad and Windom's was looking bad. Once they had that little altercation over there, that gave us an extra lap. I knew that wasn't good for Windom because I could see his cords."

At that point, it was all about hanging on, although Windom still had the feeling that despite all the indicators he was feeling, he would still be able to preserve enough rubber to make it to the end.

"I knew it was low; I could feel it shaking down the straightaway," Windom remembered. "But I thought it was going to be enough to last to the end, but it just wasn't."

As Windom's tire went down, forcing him to slip up the racetrack in turn one, Bacon scooted underneath and it was in the books as Bacon drove away and got out of Dodge to claim one of the most drama-filled last laps in USAC Silver Crown history. Although confident, another yellow could've thrown a wrench into the deal for Bacon with tire wear weighing heavily on the mind and a hard-charging four-time champ in Swanson could have possibly resulted in a different outcome.

"Coming off turn two, maybe," Bacon explained when he thought he had the win sewn up. "But then I'm like, there's no telling who's behind me. I don't know how much I slowed down to miss (Windom), but I was pretty confident I had it. I was just hoping they didn't throw the yellow. It feels like I should've won a couple of these, but glad to get my first one," a cheerful Bacon said. "I love coming out here to PA. This is a really cool place to win a race."

Swanson finished six-tenths of a second behind Bacon in the second spot ahead of Fatheadz Eyewear pole winner Justin Grant in third. KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Mike Haggenbottom earned a career-best fourth from the 15th starting spot while Eric Gordon rounded out the top-five.

The breakthrough win for Bacon comes following consecutive second place finishes in Silver Crown competition at The Grove for the Klatt team, with drivers Bryan Clauson (2016) and Damion Gardner (2017). It's the first Silver Crown win for a Klatt-owned car on dirt and the first of any kind on dirt in USAC National competition since a 2011 Sprint Car win with Bobby East an hour and a half east at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa.

Friday's win marked Bacon's second career USAC-sanctioned win at Williams Grove following his ARDC Midget win in June of 2017.

Contingency award winners Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway included Justin Grant (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier), Mike Haggenbottom (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Shane Cottle (WIlwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: June 14, 2019 - Williams Grove Speedway - Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania - "Williams Grove 100"

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-21.799; 2. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight/Byrd-21.816; 3. Brady Bacon, 6, Klatt-21.863; 4. Tyler Courtney, 97, Lein-21.938; 5. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-22.123; 6. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-22.245; 7. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-22.325; 8. Steve Buckwalter, 53, Five Three-22.428; 9. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-22.441; 10. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-22.574; 11. Chad Kemenah, 15, Hampshire-22.586; 12. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-22.599; 13. John Heydenreich, 43, Felker-22.642; 14. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong/Slinkard-22.840; 15. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-22.933; 16. Johnny Petrozelle, 8, Cornell/Petrozelle-23.021; 17. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-23.293; 18. Dallas Hewitt, 57, Hewitt-23.298; 19. C.J. Leary, 10, DMW-28.427.

FEATURE: (101 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (3), 2. Kody Swanson (6), 3. Justin Grant (1), 4. Mike Haggenbottom (15), 5. Eric Gordon (14), 6. Austin Nemire (5), 7. David Byrne (12), 8. Steve Buckwalter (8), 9. Chris Windom (2), 10. Matt Goodnight (10), 11. Chad Kemenah (11), 12. John Heydenreich (13), 13. Shane Cottle (7), 14. Dallas Hewitt (18), 15. Kyle Robbins (9), 16. Dave Berkheimer (17), 17. Tyler Courtney (4), 18. Johnny Petrozelle (16), 19. C.J. Leary (19). 1:01.52.305
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-47 Windom, Laps 48-99 Buckwalter, Lap 100 Windom, Lap 101 Bacon.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Mike Haggenbottom (15th to 4th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Shane Cottle

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Swanson-320, 2-Grant-314, 3-Byrne-227, 4-Gordon-216, 5-Haggenbottom-211, 6-Nemire-209, 7-Bobby Santos-198, 8-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-198, 9-Kyle Hamilton-186, 10-Windom-175.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: June 28, 2019 - Madison International Speedway - Oregon, Wisconsin - Bytec "Dairyland 100"

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


2019 'Dave Steele Carb Night Classic' winner Kyle Hamilton.
(Rich Forman Photo)



HAMILTON HUSTLES TO BIG PAYDAY AT DAVE STEELE CARB NIGHT CLASSIC

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Brownsburg, Indiana (May 24, 2019).........One year ago, it was a May to forget for Kyle Hamilton. It seemed as if everywhere he turned, bad luck was staring back at him square in the eyes.

One year later, the May tide has turned in his favor. After putting his car on the front row for the "Little 500" the day before, Hamilton followed up on Friday night with his first career USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series victory in the Dave Steele "Carb Night Classic" at Lucas Oil Raceway, pocketing a cool $14,750 for his efforts.

"Last year, it didn't seem like anything could go right mechanically," Hamilton recalled. "Our 'Little 500' car broke, my teammate Brady (Bacon)'s dirt car broke, we broke right out the box here at (LOR) and had to start the race from the tail with no practice laps. This year, we're on the front row of the 'Little 500' and we qualified third tonight at LOR. I thought, 'well, this is going a lot better.' But, honestly, tonight was the night I was a little bit more worried about being slow. We've always struggled here, and I didn't want to disappoint my team, but I was a little nervous inside.

"I grew up about 15 minutes from here and I'd always tell my buddies that we're racing at LOR," Hamilton continued. "But I kind of hesitated because I was always so bad here. To say we pulled one off in a Silver Crown car on a big night is pretty cool to me."
Truth is, the tide had turned for Hamilton before the month of May, overcoming circumstances that could've thwarted quality runs to finish fourth at Memphis and sixth at Toledo. On Friday, the Danville, Ind. driver put his Klatt Enterprises/Beast Chassis - Wilwood Disc Brakes/Beast/Ford on the outside of the front row for the 100-lapper at the .686-mile paved oval.

Meanwhile, up front was Kody Swanson who started from the pole after taking the Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier Award and $1,000 bonus from Mac and Carol Steele. Kody dominated the first half as he attempted to go three-for-three in pavement races on the season and extend his series-record of consecutive pavement Silver Crown wins to seven.

Four-time LOR Silver Crown winner Bobby Santos charged past Hamilton on the ninth lap with an inside turn one pass to move to second. From there, Santos began to reel in Kody and applied pressure for the lead as those two separated from Hamilton in third.

One of the major storylines developing throughout the race was Tanner Swanson's decision to accept the "Come from the Back Challenge" during driver introductions. By doing so, he forfeited his outside front row spot to start from the tail and go for a $10,000 bonus by way of Legacy Motorsports and Gatekeeper Services. By lap 13, Tanner was already in the top-ten, and by lap 30, had entered the top-five, reminiscent of his 22nd to 2nd charge through the field one year prior.

On the 33rd lap, Hamilton caught up to Santos, driving to the inside of Santos in turn one and going wheel-to-wheel, toe-to-toe before prevailing off turn two with the second spot, but trailing Kody in the lead by over a second.

Kody and Hamilton weaved their way through lapped traffic, Hamilton mimicking every Swanson move and not allowing the four-time Silver Crown champ to slip away just as Matt Goodnight stopped on the back straight away to bring out the caution just one lap short of halfway. Under yellow, fifth-running Tanner Swanson pitted to let air out of his left rear tire, to which he later admitted to using up too much of his tires early on.

With the yellow, that cleared the traffic situation for the time-being, although, for Hamilton in second, he couldn't have imagined what occurred next when Kody failed to take off on the lap 54 restart, handing over the lead to Hamilton with a clear track ahead of him. Kody coasted around to the pit area with an apparent engine issue that put an end to the four-time LOR Silver Crown winner's bid for five.

Hamilton continued to build his lead up through lap 63 when the caution came out for Chris Windom, who's nightmarish 24 hours came to an end crumpled against the turn one wall after smoke poured from the back of the car entering one. Derek Bischak was also caught up in the incident, riding over Windom's front end, putting an end to the evening for both drivers.

Windom rode out a hellacious flip during the "Hoosier Hundred" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Thursday night, and rode out a frightening Indy Lights wreck on Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday afternoon before smacking the turn one wall at LOR. He walked away once again uninjured.

On the lap 73 restart, Santos used a run on the inside of Hamilton, sliding up in front of Hamilton in turn one to secure the position as the pair exited turn two. One lap later, the roles were reversed, and Hamilton drove it hard into turn one underneath Santos to slot into the top spot.

Hamilton chalks up momentarily losing the lead to inexperience in this situation, making it doubly-tough with a driver like Santos making you pay. But Hamilton knew he had something and drove back by to reclaim the position.

"Honestly, I don't have a ton of experience leading Silver Crown races," Hamilton admitted. "I didn't know how aggressive to be on the restart. I'd say Santos is one of the more aggressive guys and one of the best who does it. He sent it on down there and it stuck. Immediately, once I got behind him, I could tell I was really digging better than him coming off the corners. I had to throw another haymaker at him going into one and it stuck again."

Incredibly, Hamilton proceeded to reel off his best four laps of the race on laps 74-75-76-77. But on the move was Tanner who ripped around the outside of Santos in turn two on the 76th lap. Tanner began to chip into Hamilton's lead, cutting the interval down to less than a second as the two began to work lapped traffic with less than 20 laps remaining.


Friday's 'Dave Steele Carb Night Classic' victory was the first of his USAC Silver Crown career. (David Nearpass Photo)



Hamilton's spotter was brother and fellow racer Nick Hamilton who played it coy when speaking to Kyle over the radio, only giving him the basics and keeping Kyle focused on running his own race.

"I think he was trying to play it conservatively on the radio because I was running some good times," Hamilton said. "He just kept telling me how many laps were left, but he didn't say if there was any pressure from behind. So, I kept the hammer down. When we got to lapped traffic, I kind of figured when I looked up at the board that Tanner was going to be trying to make a run of some sort. He's one of the best here. Nick never said how many car lengths back he was. But I think if he would've told me, I would've started to miss my marks."

Hamilton dipped under the lappers down the stretch as Tanner tried everything he could to keep up the pace, but Hamilton's car seemed to get better and better in the final laps, stretching out to a comfortable advantage that proved to be a tall and impossible task for his closest competition.

"As the laps went on, the car kept getting better and better," Hamilton explained. "I have to give hats off to Bob East. He sure knows how to set up a car to get around here. We just kept working at it and working at it. It really wasn't as much the setup as it was Bob's coaching. He just kept telling me to keep my momentum up and explained to me how LOR is such a momentum track. We were able to roll the center a lot better than we'd ever have here."

Hamilton closed out his winning performance with a victory margin of 4.186 over Tanner Swanson, Santos, Justin Grant and Eric Gordon, who picked up an extra $1,000 from Carl Edwards for his hard-charging performance from 16th to 5th.

With the win, Hamilton became the first "first-time" winner of a pavement USAC Silver Crown race since David Byrne at LOR in 2014. This win was special in a number of ways, though, for Hamilton, a local kid who grew up watching and idolizing Dave Steele perform his racing heroics at LOR, and now joins him as a Silver Crown winner at the very same track.

"I watched Dave Steele run here a lot growing up," Hamilton remembered. "I raced over at the (Indiana State) Fairgrounds at Mini Indy when I was a kid and every night that the midgets, sprint cars or silver crown cars were at (LOR), we'd come out and watch. It seemed like Steele was either going for the win, challenging for the win or winning several of the races. He was one of my heroes I looked up to as a 'pavement only' driver."

Contingency award winners Friday night at Lucas Oil Raceway included Kody Swanson (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier & $1,000 Mac & Carol Steele Fast Qualifier Bonus), Tanner Swanson (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Eric Gordon (Carl Edwards $1,000 Hard Charger Bonus) and Mike Haggenbottom (WIlwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: May 24, 2019 - Lucas Oil Raceway - Brownsburg, Indiana - "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic"

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-20.562; 2. Tanner Swanson, 02, Bowman/Elmore-20.678; 3. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-20.812; 4. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-20.983; 5. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-21.105; 6. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight/Byrd-21.272; 7. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-21.288; 8. Derek Bischak, 31, Bischak-21.670; 9. Cody Gallogly, 81, Williams-21.688; 10. Brian Gerster, 94, Ram-21.821; 11. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 11, DHR/Byrd-21.830; 12. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-21.841; 13. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-21.930; 14. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-22.033; 15. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-22.164; 16. John Heydenreich, 43, Felker-22.263; 17. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong/Slinkard-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kyle Hamilton (2), 2. Tanner Swanson (17), 3. Bobby Santos (4), 4. Justin Grant (3), 5. Eric Gordon (16), 6. David Byrne (6), 7. Brian Gerster (9), 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (10), 9. Austin Nemire (12), 10. Cody Gallogly (8), 11. Kyle Robbins (11), 12. John Heydenreich (15), 13. Mike Haggenbottom (14), 14. Chris Windom (5), 15. Derek Bischak (7), 16. Kody Swanson (1), 17. Matt Goodnight (13). NT
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-53 K. Swanson, Laps 54-72 Hamilton, Lap 73 Santos, Laps 74-100 Hamilton.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Tanner Swanson (17th to 2nd)

CARL EDWARDS HARD CHARGER: Eric Gordon (16th to 5th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Mike Haggenbottom

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Swanson-253, 2-Grant-247, 3-Santos-198, 4-Thomas-198, 5-Hamilton-186, 6-Byrne-175, 7-Gordon-158, 8-Nemire-154, 9-Haggenbottom-150, 10-Robbins-139.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: June 14, 2019 - Williams Grove Speedway - Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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2019 'Hoosier Hundred' winner Tyler Courtney.
(Dallas Breeze Photo)



HOOSIER HUNDRED'S SUNSET BELONGS TO SUNSHINE

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Indianapolis, Indiana (May 23, 2019).........Bravery, machismo, bravado, call it what you will. On a late restart with seven laps remaining, Tyler Courtney used every ounce of it in his figurative tank to rip around near-race-long leader Kevin Thomas, Jr. to win a bittersweet "Hoosier Hundred" Thursday night, in the final running of the event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Courtney, the Indianapolis, Ind. native whose parents were part of the promotion team for the 2005 Hoosier Hundred, kept pace with Thomas, following him for 92 straight laps until making the winning move on a restart that made all the difference, one that came with a bit of advice courtesy of a voice from above.

"(Tyler Ransbottom), who's my crew chief on the sprint car and midget, and my spotter tonight, told me on the open red that Jason McDougal had been making up time on restarts doing that same move. KT was lifting on restarts into one. So, I knew that if I could just outbrave him a little bit getting in and make sure I didn't blow past it, it would work. Luckily, it did. You get the open track, no lapped cars, nothing, I got to run as hard as I wanted to for the last eight laps and that's what I did. If it was going to blow, it was going to blow with me trying."

The Hoosier Hundred's illustrious history runs the gamut in terms of the names that have won since its debut in 1953. Courtney is fully aware of the history, and Thursday night's win was something he doesn't take for granted.

"My name is now alongside a lot of great names," Courtney realized. "Including Kody Swanson, one of the best Silver Crown drivers in our lifetime. Foyt, Andretti, Pancho Carter, all those names. It's incredible."

Courtney started third on the grid as Chris Windom got the jump on the field on the initial start from his outside front row starting position. Windom led the first five trips around the one-mile dirt oval, but Thomas and Courtney were able to make up ground and close the gap. Thomas ducked to the inside of Windom coming off turn four with Courtney a car length behind in third when all broke loose.

Seemingly without warning, Windom's right rear tire shredded, sending the 2016 Silver Crown champ into one of the most harrowing crashes witnessed in the century-plus history of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Windom's car immediately veered his car right, hitting nose first into the outside wall, which sent him barrel-rolling seven times and lasting nearly a half-straightaway.

Brian Tyler and Brady Bacon took evasive action, swerving to miss the helpless Windom machine as it bounced aimlessly toward the middle of the racetrack.

Miraculously, Windom climbed from the mangled wreckage unscathed and plans to move on with his weekend, which includes his Indy Lights debut Friday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a Friday night Silver Crown race at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis and a 500-lap Sprint Car race in Anderson, Ind.

Following the lengthy red flag, Thomas dominated up front, driving for four-time "Hoosier Hundred" winning team Foxco Racing to lead a race-high 87 laps. By lap 16, Thomas had already infiltrated lapped traffic and the interval between he and Courtney rarely fluctuated as Thomas built a half-straightaway lead over Courtney with a quarter of the laps in the books.

Just after halfway, four-time "Hoosier Hundred" winner Kody Swanson put the heat on Courtney for second while Thomas managed to stretch his lead from 1.5 sec. to 2.5 sec. over the following ten laps. Six-time All Star Circuit of Champions titlist Chad Kemenah then found t the turn two wall in his maiden Silver Crown start.

Though Swanson applied pressure, Courtney wasn't going to allow him to make any sort of run at him as he bid his time in anticipation of making his own move.

"I knew if I kept KT within sight and Kody behind me, I was going to be at a good pace," Courtney realized. "We tried not to let KT get too far. If he got too far, then I'd pick up the pace a bit. Luckily, we got that last red there and made a few adjustments, timed the restart right and made a bold move. I wanted it really bad."

On the lap 69 restart, Swanson turned up the wick, getting to second briefly by going underneath Courtney between turns one and two. Courtney fought back on the outside and regained second by the exit of turn two as Swanson slipped back to third. Jason McDougal, meanwhile, making his second career Silver Crown start was mega-impressive using the cushion long thought to be extinct to travel from his 25th starting spot and into the top-five with 25 laps remaining.

Meanwhile, following an early-race pit stop that sent him to 28th, Brady Bacon had been shot out of a cannon and drove into the top tier nearing the race's end and into the top-five.

Thomas worked through lapped traffic once again, getting hung up ever so slightly, allowing Courtney to close the gap briefly while Thomas nudged ahead, yet Courtney remained within striking distance, chopping down Thomas' lead to a half-second with nine to go.

With Thomas and Courtney's battle set to rage on down the stretch, just in front of them in turn two was two-time ALMS champion Chris Dyson who banged the turn two wall and endured his own upside-down thrill ride from which he escaped injury.

During the open red flag, Joe Devin, chassis builder for Courtney's Hans Lein-owned entry, came over and talked to my crew chief Greg Nelson and I told him I was lacking sidebite in the middle of the corner. So, we made a couple of adjustments that helped me a ton."

It appeared the changes helped immensely when the green flag dropped on the lap 93 restart. Without lapped traffic on the horizon now, Courtney showed no hesitation whatsoever, aiming for the top and driving it into turn one harder than he had all night up to that point. Thomas showed no vital signs of reestablishing the top spot down the stretch as Courtney grew his lead by leaps and bounds to win his second career Silver Crown race, but first on one of the historic one-mile dirt ovals where he became the first driver won in all three USAC National divisions in 2019.

Thomas finished his fourth-straight USAC Silver Crown race on dirt in the runner-up spot. Swanson's bid for a fifth-straight "Hoosier Hundred" victory to break a tie with Al Unser (1970-73) came up short, finishing third ahead of Justin Grant and Bacon.

Contingency award winners Thursday night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds included Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier), KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Jason McDougal and Mike Haggenbottom (WIlwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: May 23, 2019 - Indiana State Fairgrounds - Indianapolis, Indiana - 64th "Hoosier Hundred"

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: (Top-24 locked into feature) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 56, Foxco-32.929; 2. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight/Byrd-33.011; 3. Tyler Courtney, 97, Lein-33.600; 4. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-33.671; 5. Brian Tyler, 12, Galas-33.810; 6. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-33.831; 7. Johnny Petrozelle, 8, Cornell/Petrozelle-33.884; 8. Brady Bacon, 6, Klatt-33.894; 9. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-33.973; 10. Russ Gamester, 51, Gamester-34.067; 11. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-34.099; 12. Dallas Hewitt, 57, Hewitt-34.140; 13. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-34.235; 14. Billy Puterbaugh, Jr., 22, Rice/PBR-34.298; 15. Jeff Swindell, 21, Swanson-34.434; 16. Jimmy Light, 123, Two-Three-34.519; 17. Steve Buckwalter, 53, Five Three-34.523; 18. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-34.680; 19. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-34.682; 20. John Heydenreich, 43, Felker-34.757; 21. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-34.931; 22. Chris Dyson, 9, Dyson-34.953; 23. C.J. Leary, 10, DMW-35.061; 24. Chris Phillips, 4, Phillips/Nolen-35.075; 25. Jason McDougal, 27, Phillips-35.106; 26. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong/Slinkard-35.188; 27. Kyle Steffens, 08, Steffens-35.249; 28. Chad Kemenah, 15, Hampshire-35.267; 29. Chuck Leary, 30, Leary-35.294; 30. Dave Darland, 14, McQuinn-35.361; 31. Korey Weyant, 99, Weyant-35.665; 32. Austin Mundie, 47, Butler-36.034; 33. Bill Rose, 66, Rose-36.045; 34. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-38.013; 35. Casey Buckman, 74, C-Buck-NT; 36. Joey Schmidt, 25, Pierce-NT; 37. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-NT; 38. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-NT; 39. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy-NT.

QUALIFYING RACE: (12 laps, top-6 transfer) 1. McDougal, 2. Gordon, 3. Steffens, 4. Kemenah, 5. Darland, 6. Mundie, 7. C. Leary, 8. Weyant, 9. Rose, 10. Buckman, 11. Robbins, 12. Berkheimer. 7:16.97

FEATURE: (100 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (3), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (1), 3. Kody Swanson (4), 4. Justin Grant (13), 5. Brady Bacon (8), 6. Jason McDougal (25), 7. David Byrne (6), 8. Steve Buckwalter (17), 9. Brian Tyler (5), 10. Jacob Wilson (11), 11. C.J. Leary (23), 12. Russ Gamester (10), 13. Mike Haggenbottom (18), 14. Jimmy Light (16), 15. Kyle Steffens (27), 16. Matt Goodnight (21), 17. Chris Phillips (24), 18. Dave Darland (29), 19. Chris Dyson (22), 20. Austin Nemire (9), 21. Kyle Robbins (31), 22. Eric Gordon (26), 23. Shane Cottle (19), 24. Chad Kemenah (28), 25. Jeff Swindell (15), 26. Billy Puterbaugh, Jr. (14), 27. Johnny Petrozelle (7), 28. Austin Mundie (30), 29. John Heydenreich (20), 30. Bill Rose (32), 31. Chris Windom (2), 32. Dallas Hewitt (12). NT
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**Windom flipped on lap 6 of the feature. Dyson flipped on lap 92 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Windom, Laps 6-92 Thomas, Laps 93-100 Courtney.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Jason McDougal (25th to 6th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Mike Haggenbottom

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Swanson-216, 2-Grant-125, 3-Thomas-149, 4-Bobby Santos-134, 5-Byrne-120, 6-Kyle Hamilton-116, 7-Schmidt-114, 8-Haggenbottom-113, 9-Nemire-108, 10-Dyson-102.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: May 24, 2019 - Lucas Oil Raceway - Brownsburg, Indiana - "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic"

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


Kody Swanson holds the check after winning Sunday's 'Rollie Beale Classic' at Toledo Speedway. (Rich Forman Photo)



HOLY TOLEDO! SWANSON WINS 4TH ROLLIE BEALE CLASSIC

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Toledo, Ohio (April 28, 2019).........Mother Nature may have delayed Sunday's USAC Silver Crown race at Toledo Speedway by one day, but it still couldn't keep Kody Swanson out of victory lane as he wired all 100 laps to score his fourth career Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness "Rollie Beale Classic" victory, his record-extending 26th overall Silver Crown victory and second-straight in the series to begin the 2019 season.

Granted, any victory is difficult to come by. The Kingsburg, Calif. native always seems to make it look relatively easily, although the backstories certainly tell a different tale.

In the March Memphis opener, Swanson and Nolen Racing endured a number of mechanical issues that forced them to a backup car on raceday. The team went on to win their debut after starting from the pole. To onlookers, the story appeared to unfold much the same Sunday at Toledo, winning his 26th career pole position and leading all 100 laps to win his sixth-straight Silver Crown race on pavement, an all-time record.

However, as with most success stories in racing, chapter one begins "Once upon a time..." somewhere in the race shop, with a crew burning the midnight oil with hour-after-hour of tedious maintenance and improvements. Or, perhaps, on the road, the setting may become a parking lot, as it was with Swanson and Nolen.

"The Nolen Racing 20 and everybody that's involved is just digging harder and harder," Swanson explained. "Yesterday, we worked in the parking lot for six-and-a-half hours before the rain came to make sure we'd be ready. Whether we liked it or not at the time, it's the kind of stuff like that that gives you a chance to finish 100 laps and a chance to win on race day."

Just two days shy of Kody and his wife, and spotter, Jordan's eighth anniversary, Swanson was able to scoot out to the lead at the drop of the green, leading a three-car breakaway with outside front row starter Kyle Hamilton and Eric Gordon in tow.

On the 20th lap, second-running Hamilton encountered an issue and began to slow to bring out the yellow, ending a promising bid for a win after challenging Swanson in the early-going. An inadvertent yellow slotted him back to eighth on the ensuing restart where he was able to gather himself and race back to a sixth-place finish by race's end.

On lap 33, seventh-running C.J. Leary's car blew off a radiator hose in turn two. Chaos developed behind him as the oncoming drivers took evasive action. Justin Grant went right to avoid the spinning Leary. Kevin Thomas, Jr. had no place to go, ramping over Grant's right rear and slamming nose-first into the outside back straightaway wall, sending his car into a 360-degree, mid-air roundabout before landing on all fours. Hamilton was also caught up in the incident, spinning to the inside without contact. Hamilton restarted, but the incident marked the end of the day for both Leary and Thomas.

Following the cleanup, and through the mid-portion of the race, the man on the move was 2017 "Rollie Beale Classic" winner Bobby Santos. Santos started 11th, but before the yellow, was up to sixth before turning up the wick, using the high line to enter the top-five around the outside of 2016 series champ Chris Windom between turns three and four on lap 48.

Three laps later, he used the bottom to drive by David Byrne on the low line for fourth on the 51st lap, then took third on lap 54 when second-running Gordon fell off the pace with a driveline issue, then set forth toward Aaron Pierce for the runner-up position before two-time American LeMans Series champ Chris Dyson spun backward into the infield grass in turn three on lap 59.

In his addition to his 26th win Sunday at Toledo, Kody Swanson also picked up his 26th career USAC Silver Crown pole position. (Rich Forman Photo)

On the lap 67 restart, Windom entered the fray once again as a four-car battle for second ensued between Pierce in second, while Windom and Santos dueled side-by-side for third, with Grant trailing the herd in fifth. Santos finally cleared Windom with just a little more than a quarter of the race left in the tank and set forth once again toward Pierce for second.

In the meantime, Swanson had boosted his lead up to 2.5 seconds and growing while Pierce and Santos duked it out western saloon-style more than a half-straightaway back. Santos aimed low in turns three and four below Pierce on lap 90 of 100 to pull even off the exit of turn four. Santos had the run on Pierce into turn one. Pierce wound up wide in turn two, allowing Santos to breakaway with the runner-up spot. However, dwindling time and hope impeded Santos' opportunity to chase down Swanson who was, by then, more than four seconds ahead.

Swanson closed out yet another "Rollie Beale Classic" victory, following triumphs in 2011, 2015 and 2018. Swanson held the advantage by 4.121 seconds at the checkered over Santos, Pierce, Grant and Windom. Swanson now holds an 18-point lead over Santos, Grant, Hamilton and leading Rookie Joey Schmidt.

Of note, the relatively frosty afternoon got a bit heated between Santos and Pierce during the post-race ceremonies with Santos challenging Pierce to a boxing match on the front straightaway to the delight of the fans. Tempers were tempered, cooler heads prevailed and racing continued with an Auto Value Bumper-to-Bumper Super Sprint Car Series feature. Santos ended upside down after a scary-looking crash on lap four. Under the red flag, Pierce helped tip Santos' damaged ride back on its wheels before Pierce went on to score the 25-lap victory over fellow Silver Crown starters Grant, Schmidt and Russ Gamester.

Contingency award winners Sunday at Toledo Speedway were Kody Swanson (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier), Austin Nemire (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Cody Gerhardt (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: April 28, 2019 - Toledo Speedway - Toledo, Ohio - Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness "Rollie Beale Classic"

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-14.856; 2. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-15.098; 3. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-15.129; 4. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong/Slinkard-15.165; 5. C.J. Leary, 10, DMW-15.201; 6. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-15.202; 7. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-15.220; 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 11, DHR/Byrd-15.233; 9. Jason Conn, 88, DHR-15.324; 10. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight/Byrd-15.327; 11. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-15.363; 12. Derek Bischak, 131, Bischak-15.376; 13. Joey Schmidt, 25, Pierce-15.460; 14. Chris Dyson, 9, Dyson-15.476; 15. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-15.485; 16. Russ Gamester, 51, Gamester-15.552; 17. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-15.603; 18. Cody Gallogly, 81, Williams-15.624; 19. Brian Gerster, 94, Ram-15.647; 20. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-15.663; 21. Cody Gerhardt, 60, Gerhardt-15.710; 22. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-16.103; 23. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-NT; 24. Jim Anderson, 92, Kazmark-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kody Swanson (1), 2. Bobby Santos (11), 3. Aaron Pierce (3), 4. Justin Grant (6), 5. Chris Windom (10), 6. Kyle Hamilton (2), 7. Austin Nemire (20), 8. Derek Bischak (12), 9. Joey Schmidt (13), 10. Brian Gerster (19), 11. Russ Gamester (16), 12. Mike Haggenbottom (22), 13. Cody Gerhardt (21), 14. Kyle Robbins (17), 15. Cody Gallogly (18), 16. Chris Dyson (14), 17. Matt Goodnight (15), 18. Eric Gordon (4), 19. David Byrne (7), 20. Jason Conn (9), 21. C.J. Leary (5), 22. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (8).
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-100 Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Austin Nemire (20th to 7th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Cody Gerhardt

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Swanson-152, 2-Santos-134, 3-Grant-125, 4-Hamilton-116, 5-Schmidt-104, 6-Bischak-98, 7-Pierce-91, 8-Nemire-85, 9-Windom-81, 10-Gordon-79.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: May 23, 2019 - Indiana State Fairgrounds - Indianapolis, Indiana - 64th "Hoosier Hundred"

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

The final 'Hoosier Hundred' at the Indiana State Fairgrounds will be held on Thursday, May 23. (Doug McSchooler Photo)


FINAL HOOSIER HUNDRED AT THE INDY MILE TO BE HELD MAY 23

Indianapolis, Indiana (April 2, 2019).........The Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center has announced that the Indiana State Fairgrounds one-mile dirt track will be converted from a dirt surface to an all-weather track made of crushed limestone to be utilized for year-round harness training and parking for the Indiana State Fair.

The ultimate impact is that the conversion of the surface means that auto racing events will no longer be held on the famed one-mile track following the 2019 Hoosier Hundred. The 64th running of the 100-mile, 100-lap race, scheduled for Thursday, May 23, will be the last running of this grand racing event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

"USAC, Track Enterprises, Bob Sargent and I have been in meetings with the Fairgrounds staff and in discussion for the last two years about any way to keep auto racing at the historic one-mile oval," USAC Series Coordinator Levi Jones explained. "To no avail, the economics of the horse industry and their desire to use the one-mile track year-round instead of the half-mile currently in the infield won out in the end."

USAC and Track Enterprises are currently exploring possible venues that could host the Hoosier Hundred for the 2020 season and beyond.

The history of the Track of Champions dates back well over a century. On June 20, 1903, Barney Oldfield drove a Henry Ford-designed "999" to the first sub-one-minute lap ever on a one-mile racetrack at 59.6 seconds. In 1917, Oldfield, the 1905 AAA National Champion, prevailed in a match race versus 1915 Indianapolis 500 winner Ralph DePalma.

In 1946, under the AAA National Championship banner, the one and only "Indianapolis 100" was held, with Rex Mays taking the victory. Seven years later, in 1953, a new, long-lasting tradition began with the inaugural running of the "Hoosier Hundred" won by Bob Sweikert.

The Hoosier Hundred has been held annually since 1953, with only a handful of interruptions due to inclement weather. Today, it remains one of the oldest, most tradition-rich racing events on the planet. Many of its winners have gone to achieve legendary status in auto racing with a list that includes A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti who are among the seven drivers to have won both the Hoosier Hundred and the Indianapolis 500 in their careers along with Bob Sweikert, Jimmy Bryan, Rodger Ward, Parnelli Jones and Al Unser.

This year, Kingsburg, California's Kody Swanson has an opportunity to make even more history as he aims for an unprecedented fifth-straight "Hoosier Hundred" victory. The four-time USAC Silver Crown titlist has won the previous four events to tie Unser's streak of four-straight "Hoosier Hundred" wins between 1970-73.

Over the years, the Indy Mile has been home to a myriad of USAC racing events, including Sprint Car, Midget and Stock Car races. In the early-1980s, the "Hulman Hundred" for Silver Crown cars was created, which was added to the schedule as a second annual race for the series at the track each year from 1981-1995.

The "Hulman Hundred" was annually held in May while the Hoosier Hundred was scheduled for September in that era, until 1996 when the Hulman Hundred was discontinued. The Hoosier Hundred then moved to May where it remains today, except for a couple rainouts in the early 2000s that were rescheduled for later that same year.

On Thursday, May 23, be a part of history and witness this great race. "Hoosier Hundred" pit gates will open at noon Eastern, with the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand opening at 3pm and practice at 5. Racing begins for the Modifieds at 6 with Silver Crown Qualifying races to follow and the "Hoosier 100" scheduled for an 8 o'clock green flag.

Reserved seating is available for the Hoosier Hundred by calling the Track Enterprises office at (217) 764-3200, the Indiana State Fairgrounds Box Office, or through Ticketmaster. Reserved seats for adults are being sold for $25 pre-sale or $30 at the gate. Infield tickets will be available for $15 for adults and $5 for kids 11 and under.

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

Kody Swanson (in yellow) makes the winning pass on Bobby Santos with 21 laps remaining in Saturday's 'Memphis 100.' (Mike McElya Photo)



SWANSON PERSEVERES IN MEMPHIS 100 WIN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Millington, Tennessee (March 23, 2019).........It takes a master of a craft for an individual to adapt to anything thrown at them.

Kody Swanson has encountered countless tests throughout the offseason - in the weeks leading up to the first race and on both days of race weekend - yet he managed to ace them all, culminating in Saturday's "Memphis 100" USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series victory at Memphis International Raceway.

At the conclusion of 2018, Swanson migrated to Nolen Racing after the closure of DePalma Motorsports with whom he won four of the previous five Silver Crown championships. The team thrashed through the offseason to get their machines ready for the opener and had the foresight and the want-to to have two cars ready to go for Memphis. As it turned out, they would need their full arsenal.

During Friday's practice, Swanson practiced both of Nolen's cars. They had their primary car pulled apart on pit lane during the session after a brand-new driveshaft dealt them trouble. Meanwhile, the team pulled out their backup and Swanson put some laps on it to make sure it was ready to run. Swanson jumped back into the primary with a new driveshaft and proceeded to set the fastest lap of the afternoon.

Fast forward to raceday on Saturday, Swanson took to practice back in the primary before encountering what he described as a fluke engine part issue. Nolen once again had to roll the backup car out where they tweaked on the chassis to get it to where Kody felt it was at its best. Enter qualifying and Swanson put it on the pole position.

Easy as clockwork, right? Of course not, but with Swanson as part of the operation, he almost makes it seem that way on the regular.

"I'm exhausted; I'm elated; I don't even know what to feel," Swanson exclaimed. "I'm very grateful. I haven't been to my day job since Tuesday. I could see the writing on the wall that we were already in a corner then. We had guys that were there into the wee hours of the morning with me almost every night this week, then back at it the next day, just digging for all we were worth to be ready. We got one ready and dug deep enough to get the other one ready just in case," Swanson explained. You hate to think you'd ever have a failure and need it, but we did, and it was ready to come in off the bench and do a great job for us."

Swanson led the first five circuits from the pole position of the 100-lapper before David Byrne corralled Swanson and used an outside turn one pass to clear him for the point. Eric Gordon capitalized and was able to grab second from Swanson just moments later on the back straightaway. By lap eight, Swanson was fourth as hard-charging Aaron Pierce slipped by as well.

Matt Goodnight was the lone wall contact of the weekend, pounding the SAFER barrier between turns three and four on lap 10 to bring out a lengthy yellow, that ultimately resulted in a red flag for the cleanup. He climbed from the car and walked away under his own power. Fifth-running Kyle Hamilton also stopped during the incident and was relegated to the tail.

When racing resumed, Pierce was a man on a mission, sweeping by Gordon for second on the 25th lap and, one lap later, ripping by Byrne on the inside of turn three to snare the top spot.

Kody Swanson and the Nolen Racing crew celebrate their USAC Silver Crown season-opening victory Saturday at Memphis (Tenn.) International Raceway. (Rich Forman Photo)



Pierce had constructed a one-and-a-half second lead until lap 36 when he fell to the wayside with a driveline issue, putting him on the sidelines for the remainder of the afternoon. That put two familiar foes, Swanson and Bobby Santos, at the front running one-two.

One lap following a restart, Santos made his move on Swanson, swiping the lead with an inside turn one pass just before the halfway mark, ultimately building a one-and-a-half second lead. Coming into Memphis, Santos had won the series' pavement opener in two-straight years and Swanson admitted tracking down Santos in a pavement Silver Crown car was no easy feat, but his faith and confidence never wavered.

"I did my homework enough to know that Memphis eats tires and that you need to be there at the end," Swanson explained. "I was glad to be in a good spot early and get the lead, but Bobby was coming strong through the middle. I didn't know if once he got the lead, we'd see him again. I felt like we kind of stabilized there and got a couple restarts and got a chance to just start over."

That chance seemingly arrived on the lap 71 restart when Swanson tracked Santos' path and shot to the lead on the inside off turn two. However, back in the pack, the machines of Travis Welpott (backstretch) and Austin Nemire (turn two) came to a stop to bring out the yellow, thus negating Swanson's race-leading move.

With oil dry on the low line between turns one and two, Swanson had to alter his line entering and exiting the second turn as he went to work on Santos on the lap 79 restart. It didn't take long for the fruits of Swanson's labor to pay dividends as Swanson was able to occupy the low line into turn three to overtake Santos for good.

Swanson still had to work his way through traffic down the stretch, weaving his way through as Santos kept a close watch. Coming to the white flag, the cars of Chris Dyson and Byrne ran side-by-side into turn one. Swanson looked for an escape and had to whoa up his ride, getting him a tad squirrely on entry, but recovered to drive around the outside of Dyson midway down the back straight and enter clear waters to win his 25th career USAC Silver Crown event.

Behind Swanson were a series of fascinating perseverance stories of their own. Santos finished second after starting 21st on the grid due to having a push start on the initial start. Grant was third after charging from 20th following a right rear tire change prior to the start. Hamilton earned a career-best fourth after restarting from the tail following Goodnight's early-race incident. Rookie Joey Schmidt took fifth in his very first Silver Crown start.

Yet, at the front, it was Swanson once again, who admitted he hadn't even been able to go to the gym lately because he had been at the shop so much. After burning the midnight (and beyond) oil night-after-night, and through the trials and tribulations, the Kingsburg, Calif. native once again prevailed, and takes off in 2019 right from where he left off with a group as dedicated as he is to the craft.

"If I've learned anything over the last five years, it's that the effort put in by the people you work with can make all the difference. This Nolen bunch, so many people have stepped up and really tried to put their best foot forward and give it all we had."

Contingency award winners Saturday at Memphis International Raceway were Kody Swanson (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier), Bobby Santos (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Mike Haggenbottom (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: March 23, 2019 - Memphis International Raceway - Millington, Tennessee - "Memphis 100"

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-20.830; 2. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-21.083; 3. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-21.096; 4. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-21.120; 5. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight/Byrd-21.209; 6. C.J. Leary, 10, DMW-21.314; 7. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong/Slinkard-21.340; 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 11, DHR/Byrd-21.405; 9. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-21.489; 10. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-21.559; 11. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-21.604; 12. Derek Bischak, 31, Bischak-21.715; 13. Bill Rose, 66, Rose-21.829; 14. Chris Dyson, 9, Dyson-21.837; 15. Joey Schmidt, 25, Pierce-21.900; 16. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott/EGR-21.927; 17. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-21.927; 18. Jason Conn, 88, DHR-21.983; 19. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-22.202; 20. Cody Gallogly, 81, Williams-22.245; 21. Cody Gerhardt, 60, Gerhardt-22.904; 22. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-22.992; 23. Jim Anderson, 92, Kazmark-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kody Swanson (1), 2. Bobby Santos (21), 3. Justin Grant (20), 4. Kyle Hamilton (2), 5. Joey Schmidt (14), 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (7), 7. Eric Gordon (6), 8. Derek Bischak (9), 9. Chris Dyson (11), 10. David Byrne (3), 11. Kyle Robbins (18), 12. Cody Gerhardt (19), 13. Mike Haggenbottom (22), 14. Cody Gallogly (17), 15. Austin Nemire (8), 16. Travis Welpott (13), 17. C.J. Leary (5), 18. Aaron Pierce (10), 19. Bill Rose (12), 20. Chris Windom (4), 21. Jason Conn (15), 22. Matt Goodnight (16), 23. Jim Anderson (23). NT
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Swanson, Laps 6-25 Byrne, Laps 26-35 Pierce, Laps 36-49 Swanson, Laps 50-79 Santos, Laps 80-100 Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Bobby Santos (21st to 2nd)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Mike Haggenbottom

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Swanson-76, 2-Santos-67, 3-Grant-64, 4-Hamilton-61, 5-Schmidt-58, 6-Thomas-55, 7-Gordon-52, 8-Bischak-49, 9-Dyson-46, 10-Byrne-43.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: April 14, 2019 - Terre Haute Action Track - Terre Haute, Indiana - Fatheadz Eyewear "Sumar Classic"

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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KT, DAVEY JR. AND CONN JOIN HAMILTON RACING 2019 SILVER CROWN ROSTER

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

Speedway, Indiana (January 9, 2019).........Davey Hamilton Racing will field a talented roster of drivers with Kevin Thomas, Jr., Davey Hamilton, Jr. and Jason Conn all set to take the wheel for the new Silver Crown team which hits the track for the first time in 2019.

Thomas, of Cullman, Ala., has teamed up with team owners Hamilton and David Byrd to compete in all six pavement races on the Silver Crown schedule this season aboard the No. 11. Thomas has just a handful of Silver Crown starts in his career, but the 2018 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car runner-up made the most of his experiences last year, finishing second in each of the last three races to conclude the season behind the wheel of the Foxco Racing No. 56, a ride in which he returns to on the dirt for 2019.

Each of Thomas' previous Silver Crown starts have come on the dirt and, aside from a pair of starts in an ARCA Stock Car in 2016 and his debut in the "Little 500" Sprint Car race a year ago, this marks new territory for the talented driver who captured nine USAC National victories in 2018 (7 Sprint and 2 Midget).

"I had a short stint there at the Little 500 of some pavement action and I really enjoyed it," Thomas said. "I think going out and running the big cars on the pavement is going to be quite different than what I'm used to. Getting into a racecar and having a new challenge is always a lot of fun. I'm going to take it as it comes. I'm going to have to gain a lot of experience, basically on the fly, on raceday. We race dirt 80-90 times a year and you kind of know what to expect, so it's going to be fun being able to more or less react to things instead of knowing what to expect every time you hit the racetrack."

Davey Hamilton, Jr. of Idaho returns to the series as a teammate to KT and will compete on both the dirt and the pavement in car No. 14 while pavement wing sprint car standout Jason Conn of Prince George, British Columbia makes his series debut in the No. 88 and will compete solely on the asphalt.

"It's exciting," team owner Davey Hamilton exclaimed. "I haven't been a Silver Crown owner in the past. I've driven them and have always had interest in them and I've wanted to put a program together for a while. I just feel it's growing momentum and I feel like there's growth there. I really wanted to focus on one car, then we had interest with Jason (Conn) and ended up making a deal, then an opportunity came along with KT and Byrd and we ended up making it a three car deal, which coming into the first year, is a challenge, but I feel very optimistic with the quality of the cars and the people we have."

Meanwhile, the Byrd name is synonymous with Rich Vogler's success in USAC Midgets in the 1980s. Now, David Byrd returns the family name to competition in conjunction with KT's Silver Crown plans for 2019.

"It's been a long time coming for us to come back to USAC as an entry," Byrd said. KT has been so successful in sprint cars the last several years and has really shown what he can do in the midgets and the Silver Crown cars. I wanted to make sure we were involved with all of KT's programs top to bottom. Davey Hamilton has a fantastic record in big track pavement racing, knows how to put the car together and will be a great mentor for KT to really learn pavement racing. I think he'll be challenging for wins right off the bat."

2019 USAC SILVER CROWN SCHEDULE
Mar 22-23: (P#) Memphis International Raceway (Millington, TN)
Apr 14: (D) Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Apr 27: (P) Toledo Speedway (Toledo, OH)
May 23: (D) Indiana State Fairgrounds (Indianapolis, IN)
May 24: (P) Lucas Oil Raceway (Brownsburg, IN)
Jun 14: (D) Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Jun 28: (P) Madison International Speedway (Oregon, WI)
Aug 10: (P) Salem Speedway (Salem, IN)
Aug 17: (D#) Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, IL)
Sep 1: (D) Du Quoin State Fairgrounds (Du Quoin, IL)
Sep 7: (P) Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (Brownsburg, IN)
Sep 27-28: (D) Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
-----------------------------
(P) = Pavement Race
(D) = Dirt Race
# = Daytime Race

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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