Archive for USAC Silver Crown
Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / firstname.lastname@example.org
WINDOM WINS THE SUMAR, COMPLETES WEEKEND SWEEP
Richie Murray - USAC Media
Terre Haute, Indiana April 2, 2017.........Chris Windom picked up right where he left off in a number of ways Sunday night at the Terre Haute Action Track.
One night after celebrating a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car score at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, Windom was back in the familiar setting of victory lane at the 17th running of the "Sumar Classic."
"It's pretty special getting the win last night and then to come out here with a brand-new team, I really don't know what to say. I met a lot of these guys for the first time today. Gene Kazmark gave me the opportunity and gave me a great racecar to come out here and win tonight."
Incredibly, this was Kazmark's first entry into a Silver Crown event as an owner since the "Hoosier Hundred" in September of 2001 with driver Ricky Shelton. However, the car itself was a familiar commodity to Windom as it was the same car he drove to victory in his most recent series' win at Eldora Speedway's "4-Crown Nationals" for the Fred Gormly/RPM Auto Enterprise team in September 2016. But, a new team means new surroundings, and Windom and the crew quickly adapted to their new environment.
"I'm pretty familiar with the car," Windom admits. "It's pretty much the same exact car we won Eldora with last year. That definitely gave us a head start coming in. The guys working on it busted their tails all winter long to maintain and rebuild it and keep it as good as it was last year. It's pretty special to be able to come out here and do this. I didn't know exactly what my expectations were coming here since I didn't know the guys very well, but we jelled right from the first practice session."
Windom became just the fifth driver in the history of the USAC Silver Crown series to follow up a win in the previous season's final race with a victory in the season opener the next year. The only other drivers to accomplish that feat are Al Unser (1974), Tom Bigelow (1976), Jerry Coons, Jr. (2011) and Kody Swanson (2015).
In fact, dating to the 2016 "Ted Horn 100" at Illinois' Du Quoin State Fairgrounds, Windom has been victorious in three-straight Silver Crown events, the 10th driver in the history of the series to do so.
The Canton, Illinois native also became the fourth defending Silver Crown champ to capture the following season's opening race, joining Al Unser (1974), Dave Steele (2006) and Kody Swanson (2015).
The three most recent "Sumar Classic" winners coming into Sunday, Shane Cockrum (2015), C.J. Leary (2016) and Kody Swanson (2014) owned the lead in the first half of the 100-lap event, but by the midway point, Windom had steadily worked his way to the front from his ninth starting position, utilizing the bottom of the racing surface to make his way through the pack.
By the 50th lap, Windom chomped into Swanson's lead. The two series champs worked the bottom after Swanson moved his line between turns three and four from the top to the bottom. Windom stuck a nose under Swanson entering turn three, inching along the inside guardrail until the exit of turn four where he was able to clear Swanson to take the top spot by a car-length at the start/finish line as flagman Tom Hansing displayed the crossed flags.
Windom had opened up a near full-straightaway lead over new second-place runner Leary with two-thirds of the race in the bag, while Swanson occupied third. With 18 to go, though, Windom's lead had grown to seven seconds and the insurmountable advantage seemed unattainable for second on back until eighth-running Bill Rose slowed with an apparent driveline issue to bring out the caution.
With the field bunched up, Windom's lead was now gone and he would have to contend with defending race winner Leary in the closing laps. However, Windom was able to get a solid jump with the lapped cars of Johnny Petrozelle and Joe Liguori standing between the front two on the lap 83 restart, thus allowing Windom to break away as Leary fought his way around the two to give chase.
Windom and Leary worked the bottom lap-after-lap as Leary slowly, but surely chipped away at the gap. By lap 92, Leary had sliced Windom's advantage to under a half-second and was still closing.
It was at this juncture one year ago when Leary made the race-winning move for the win, but this year's lap 93 did not work in his favor as he began to lose valuable ground and Windom started to distance himself from Leary once-and-for-all.
Windom had withstood the challenge, taking the victory by just a tad under two seconds over Leary, Swanson, top-rookie finisher Hunter Schuerenberg and Jerry Coons, Jr.
It was Windom's sixth career Silver Crown victory, which moves him into the top-20 on the series' career win list. Meanwhile, he also continued a streak of different "Sumar Classic" winners each year going back to 1999.
"I knew I found something on the bottom," Windom recalls. "I couldn't hit it twice in a row for a while, but I finally hit my marks on entry to where I could hit it on the exit. That's where I'd gain on him off the corner. I didn't want to show him a nose. I wanted to be able to pass him cleanly so he couldn't take my line away. We got to traffic and it kind of played in my favor. A low and slow race takes a lot out of you trying to hit your marks like that every single lap."
"I don't think our momentum could be much better right," Windom acknowledges. "It's awesome to be able start the year like this. I've never had a year quite this good this early."
Greenfield, Indiana's C.J. Leary continued his impressive runs at Terre Haute over the past three seasons by scoring his third-straight top-two result with a second-place finish in his Chuck & Tammi Leary/Leary Construction - Gray Auto/DRC/1-Way Toyota.
"I think it's this DRC Silver Crown Car," Leary humbly attributes for his recent run of success at Terre Haute. "Joe (Devin) and I have been working really well together on this deal. Terre Haute is really not one of my better tracks, but in the Silver Crown car here, two seconds and a win is pretty awesome. I think we picked the wrong tire tonight, though. We went with a 25 instead of a 20 thinking it was going to rubber up early, but it never did."
"Chris (Windom) and I were about the same speed," Leary explains during the final run to the checkered. "Every time he'd make a mistake, I seemed to make the same mistake. I figured I could catch him, but I didn't know if we could pass him. It felt kind of like déjà vu from last year. I thought we might able to pull off the upset, but that's racing. We'll load up, go back to the shop and try to make it a little bit faster."
Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, California grabbed third in his DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital - Hampshire Racing Engines/Maxim/Hampshire Chevy.
"You really don't want to get too far back at Terre Haute behind guys like Shane (Cockrum) and C.J. (Leary), both former Sumar winners," Swanson said. "I knew I had to figure out how to get around them early on and the top of (turns) three and four seemed to be holding. If you're going to get to the lead doing it, you got to be the first one to try it. You have to stick your neck out and make something happen. This crew works hard for me and I was going to work hard for them to make sure I got us back to the lead. I did everything I could do to put us in a position to win. I chased it higher and higher; there were so many cars on the bottom throwing the marbles out and, when the moisture went away, you just couldn't keep doing it anymore and I had to come to the bottom."
"This team's a pleasure to race for," Swanson continued. "We went in with what we thought was going to happen and it just didn't tonight. We never quit. We gave it everything we had and we're disappointed because these guys are good and we want to win, but tonight we just missed a little bit. We'll come back and try again. There's no one else I'd rather come back to the races with."
Contingency award winners Sunday night at the Terre Haute Action Track included Kody Swanson (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Dave Darland (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Patrick Bruns (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: April 2, 2017 - Terre Haute, Indiana - Terre Haute Action Track - "Sumar Classic"
PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-23.599; 2. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-23.794; 3. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-23.881; 4. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy-23.925; 5. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-23.990; 6. Brady Bacon, 48, Martens-24.063; 7. Justin Grant, 91, Carli/Hemelgarn-24.119; 8. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-24.382; 9. Chris Windom, 92, Kazmark-24.809; 10. Steve Buckwalter, 53, SET-24.857; 11. Hunter Schuerenberg, 120, Nolen-24.953; 12. Johnny Petrozelle, 08, Cornell/Petrozelle-25.021; 13. Dakota Jackson, 201, Nolen-25.066; 14. Joe Liguori, 4, Liguori-25.127; 15. Patrick Bruns, 95, Full Throttle-25.148; 16. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-25.195; 17. Mark Smith, 54, Lane-25.382; 18. J.C. Bland, 5, Bland-25.509; 19. Bill Rose, 75, Rose-25.551; 20. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-25.565; 21. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-25.596; 22. Joss Moffatt, 32, Williams/Wright-25.886; 23. Austin Nemire, 16, Lesko-25.981; 24. Dave Darland, 27, Phillips-26.032; 25. Korey Weyant, 99, Weyant-26.064; 26. Terry Babb, 42, Babb-26.323; 27. Damion Gardner, 6, Klatt-26.486; 28. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-26.707; 29. Kenny Gentry, 18, Gentry-27.284; 30. Chris Fetter, 89, Fetter-NT; 31. David Shain, 7, Hardy-NT.
LAST CHANCE RACE: (15 laps) 1. Smith, 2. Cottle, 3. Gardner, 4. Darland, 5. Rose, 6. Moffatt, 7. Nemire, 8. Bland, 9. Babb, 10. Wilson, 11. Weyant, 12. Berkheimer, 13. Fetter, 14. Gentry. 5:51.67
FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Chris Windom, 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Kody Swanson, 4. Hunter Schuerenberg, 5. Jerry Coons Jr., 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Damion Gardner, 9. Dakota Jackson, 10. Joss Moffatt, 11. Johnny Petrozelle, 12. Joe Liguori, 13. Patrick Bruns, 14. David Byrne, 15. Austin Nemire, 16. Bill Rose, 17. Steve Buckwalter, 18. Shane Cockrum, 19. Mark Smith, 20. Aaron Pierce, 21. Shane Cottle, 22. Justin Grant, 23. J.C. Bland, 24. Casey Shuman. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-18 Cockrum, Laps 19-25 Leary, Laps 26-49 Swanson, Laps 50-100 Windom.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Dave Darland (20th to 7th)
WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Patrick Bruns
NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-70, 2-Swanson-70, 3-Leary-69, 4-Schuerenberg-61, 5-Coons-58, 6-Bacon-56, 7-Darland-52, 8-Gardner-49, 9-Jackson-46, 10-Moffatt-43.
NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: April 29 - Phoenix (AZ) International Raceway - "Phoenix Copper Cup"
Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / email@example.com
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RIDES INTO THE DESERT AT PHOENIX IN 2017
Phoenix International Raceway, a venue synonymous with USAC Silver Crown racing for more than two decades, returns to the 2017 schedule after an eight-year absence.
The highly-anticipated return of the big cars to the mile in Arizona's Valley of the Sun arrives on Saturday, April 29 on the same bill as the IndyCar Series race later that night.
The roar of champ car engines fell silent at PIR after Cole Whitt's victory in 2009 on the racy, triangular-shaped paved track, but the series is back this season as it embarks on its 47th season of competition with a schedule as balanced as it's ever been. Six dirt and five pavement events are on tap for the 11-race docket for 2017.
The series opens on the dirt at Indiana's Terre Haute Action Track on Apr. 2 for the "Sumar Classic." On May 25, the 63rd running of the "Hoosier Hundred" makes it traditional stop at the Indiana State Fairgrounds mile. In June, amidst the "Eastern Storm" series for the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars, the Silver Crown cars take on Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania's Williams Grove Speedway on June 16.
The series closes out the 2017 calendar with three-straight races on the dirt, beginning with a pair of events on the two legendary mile tracks in Illinois. The "Bettenhausen 100" at Springfield's Illinois State Fairgrounds on Aug. 19 is the longest-running of all Silver Crown events with roots dating back to 1934.
The Du Quoin State Fairgrounds, host of the Sept. 3 "Ted Horn 100," is one of just three racetracks on the series' 2017 schedule to have been on the schedule in every single year of USAC's existence since 1956 (Indiana and Illinois State Fairgrounds).
The season closes with the Sept. 23 "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio - the only event in which one can witness all three of USAC's National Divisions (Silver Crown, National Sprint and National Midget) at the same track on a single night.
The pavement portion of the schedule is an array of flat and high-banked surfaces ranging in size from a half-mile to a full-mile. Phoenix serves as the pavement season opener as well as the series' sole visit to the west on Apr. 29.
Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana is the lone track scheduled to host multiple Silver Crown events this season with the "Carb Night Classic: The Race Before the 500" on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend on May 26 and the "Rich Vogler/Hall of Fame Classic" on July 20.
The final two races hit the high banks of two of the Midwest's most history-rich racetracks in Ohio's Toledo Speedway and Indiana's Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery. Toledo's July 28event honors the city's greatest racing hero and 1973 USAC National Sprint Car champ with the Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness "Rollie Beale Classic."
The Silver Crown cars return to Salem for the final round of pavement for the season one year after making their first stop at the .555-mile, high-banked oval since 1988. As it has since 1958, the event honors the lives of National Sprint Car Hall of Famers and Indianapolis 500 veterans Joe James and Pat O'Connor.
2017 USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Apr 2: (D) Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Apr 29: (P#) Phoenix International Raceway (Phoenix, AZ)
May 25: (D) Indiana State Fairgrounds (Indianapolis, IN)
May 26: (P) Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (Brownsburg, IN)
Jun 16: (D) Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Jul 20: (P) Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (Brownsburg, IN)
Jul 28: (P) Toledo Speedway (Toledo, OH)
Aug 12: (P) Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery (Salem, IN)
Aug 19: (D#) Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, IL)
Sep 3: (D) Du Quoin State Fairgrounds (Du Quoin, IL)
Sep 23: (D) Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
(D) represents a dirt event
(P) represents a pavement event
# represents a daytime event
KNOXVILLE AND WILLIAMS GROVE RETURN TO THE FOLD FOR 2017 USAC SPRINT SEASON
Two of the most storied dirt tracks in the United States return to the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car calendar in 2017.
On June 3, the series invades the legendary half-mile Knoxville Raceway for the first time since 2011. The Saturday night event coincides with National Sprint Car Hall of Fame induction weekend at the Iowa dirt oval.
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania's Williams Grove Speedway, the only venue on this year's 47-race slate that was on the Sprint Car schedule in USAC's inaugural year of 1956, will host its first series race since 1996 as part of the 11th edition of "Eastern Storm" on June 15.
In addition, the USAC Sprints call Tri-City Speedway home once again, where the series hasn't visited since 2006. The May 19 date at the Granite City, Ill. track will also feature the USAC Midget National Championship. July 30 marks a return visit to Randolph County Raceway in Moberly, Missouri. USAC's lone appearance there came in 1989 when the late Rich Vogler won a rare winged race for Hoffman Auto Racing.
Furthermore, the series will make initial appearances at Indiana's Plymouth Speedway on Apr. 21, Pevely, Missouri's Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on May 20 and Greenwood, Nebraska's I-80 Speedway on June 2.
Traditional USAC stops on the 2017 horizon include the season-opening "Winter Dirt Games" for three-straight nights at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida. Eldora Speedway's docket features multiple showcase events with back-to-back nights of #LetsRaceTwo on May 12-13 alongside the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars. Fast forward to Sept. 23 when the Rossburg, Ohio half-mile is the showplace for the 36th running of the "4-Crown Nationals" that also features USAC's Silver Crown and National Midget divisions as well as the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.
Western Indiana's Terre Haute Action Track pays homage to a pair of USAC racing heroes from year's past. The 47th running of the "Tony Hulman Classic" hits the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds half-mile on May 24 while the "Jim Hurtubise Classic" is earmarked for September 15.
The "Eastern Storm" and "Indiana Sprint Week" series have become institutions in their respective regions of the country, annually playing to large crowds and some of the most intense racing seen all year long. It will be no different in the five-race Eastern Storm series that runs from June 13-18 in the "Keystone State." The first two nights will be held at a pair of tracks to be announced at a later date. Williams Grove serves up a feast of racing action on June 15, then a one-day break from action before closing out the mini-series at Port Royal Speedway on the 17th and Susquehanna Speedway on the 18th.
The 30th annual "Indiana Sprint Week" series consistently produces as one of the country's premier events. Its schedule of events remains just as consistent. Once again, ISW launches at Gas City I-69 Speedway on July 7 with Kokomo Speedway and Lawrenceburg Speedway rounding out the first weekend of racing July 8-9, respectively. A two-day sabbatical gives way as the action roars back to life for the final four-race stretch of ISW at Terre Haute, Putnamville's Lincoln Park Speedway, Bloomington Speedway and Haubstadt's Tri-State Speedway on July 12-13-14-15.
The sole non-points, special event of the USAC Sprint season occurs on Aug. 23 as a prelude to three more consecutive nights at Kokomo and "Sprint Car Smackdown VI" on Aug. 24-25-26.
Lawrenceburg hosts a duo of events - one in the spring and one in the fall - as does Tri-State. The three-eighths mile Lawrenceburg oval brings the series to town for both the Midwest opener on Apr. 1 as well as the Midwest closer on Sept. 30. Bloomington Speedway's red clay will fly when USAC makes a visit on Apr. 14 which kicks off a double-header weekend that moves to Tri-State the following night at the "Spring Showdown" on Apr. 15 for the first of two shows at the quarter-mile paperclip co-sanctioned by MSCS. The series makes the trek back to Tri-State for the "Haubstadt Hustler" on Sep. 16.
Additional dates include trips to Indiana's Montpelier Motor Speedway and Lincoln Park Speedway on Apr. 22 and June 30, respectively, as well as a date at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kans. on July 29.
The series closes out its campaign with a multitude of events in conjunction with the USAC/CRA AMSOIL Sprint Car Championship for a pair of annual events headquartered in the western U.S. First up is the 50th annual "Western World Championships." The golden anniversary of the famed event that has been a staple of the southwest since 1968 takes place at Queen Creek's Arizona Speedway on Nov. 3-4.
The season closes out with the three-night spectacular known as the Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction on Nov. 9-10-11. The 22nd running at southern California's Perris Auto Speedway pits the best from the National and CRA scenes against each other for bragging rights in what is annually the highest-paying purse of the year.
2017 USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Feb 23: Bubba Raceway Park (Ocala, FL)
Feb 24: Bubba Raceway Park (Ocala, FL)
Feb 25: Bubba Raceway Park (Ocala, FL)
Apr 1: Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)
Apr 14: Bloomington Speedway (Bloomington, IN)
Apr 15: (M) Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)
Apr 21: Plymouth Speedway (Plymouth, IN)
Apr 22: Montpelier Motor Speedway (Montpelier, IN)
May 6: TBA
May 12: Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
May 13: Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
May 19: Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
May 20: Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
May 24: Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Jun 2: I-80 Speedway (Greenwood, NE)
Jun 3: Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Jun 13: (E) TBA
Jun 14: (E) TBA
Jun 15: (E) Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Jun 17: (E) Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Jun 18: (E) Susquehanna Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Jun 30: Lincoln Park Speedway (Putnamville, IN)
Jul 7: (I) Gas City I-69 Speedway (Gas City, IN)
Jul 8 (I) Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Jul 9: (I) Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)
Jul 12: (I) Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Jul 13: (I) Lincoln Park Speedway (Putnamville, IN)
Jul 14: (I) Bloomington Speedway (Bloomington, IN)
Jul 15: (I) Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)
Jul 28: TBA
Jul 29: Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Jul 30: Randolph County Raceway (Moberly, MO)
Aug 23: (SE) Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Aug 24: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Aug 25: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Aug 26: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Sep 15: Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Sep 16: (M) Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)
Sep 23: Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Sep 30: Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)
Oct. 6: TBA
Oct. 7: TBA
Nov. 3: (C) Arizona Speedway (Queen Creek, AZ)
Nov. 4: (C) Arizona Speedway (Queen Creek, AZ)
Nov. 9 (C) Perris Auto Speedway (Perris, CA)
Nov. 10 (C) Perris Auto Speedway (Perris, CA)
Nov. 11 (C) Perris Auto Speedway (Perris, CA)
(M) represents an event co-sanctioned by MSCS
(E) represents an Eastern Storm event
(I) represents an Indiana Sprint Week event
(C) represents an event with the USAC/CRA AMSOIL Sprint Cars
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET TOUR TRAVELS COAST-TO-COAST IN 2017 CAMPAIGN
Twenty-seven dates in seven states serve as the ingredients for the 2017 USAC Midget National Championship schedule.
Among the events are four distinct tours that make up the bulk of the schedule such as June's "Indiana Midget Week," July's weekend trip to Illinois as well as an August tour of the Heartland of America and "Pennsylvania Midget Week," which offers a total of eight races in a busy Summer stretch.
The 13th annual "Indiana Midget Week" kicks off with the first of six straight nights of racing action on June 6 at Montpelier Motor Speedway, followed by Gas City, Lincoln Park, Bloomington, Lawrenceburg and Kokomo to round out the series that continues to grow in popularity each year since its debut in 2005.
The series resumes with a weekend getaway to the Land of Lincoln on July 1-2-3. First up is Macon Speedway whose roots with USAC date back to Don Branson's victory at the one-fifth mile bullring in 1959. However, the series will make its comeback to the track after a decade absence on the first of July. A date is scheduled for July 2at a track yet to be determined, which will be followed up by the USAC National Midgets' first venture to the one-sixth mile Illinois State Fairgrounds Multi-Purpose Arena - an outdoor venue in the capital city of Springfield located on the grounds nearby the one-mile dirt oval that the USAC Silver Crown Championship competes on each August.
The USAC National Midgets' tour of the Heartland kick starts the month of August on the first with "Tuesday Night Thunder" at Nebraska's Jefferson County Speedway followed one night later by the "Chad McDaniel Memorial" at Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, Kans. on Aug. 2. After a single day off, drivers and teams get back at it on the Belleville High Banks in Kansas for the 40th annual "Belleville Midget Nationals" on Aug. 4-5.
Susquehanna Speedway opens "Pennsylvania Midget Week" on Aug. 13 with dates at Path Valley Speedway Park and Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway set for the following two nights on Aug. 14-15. Aug. 16 is a day of rest before the mini-series' final event hits the track at a yet-to-be-determined venue on Aug. 17.
Traditional dates dot the remainder of the series calendar for 2017 with the season set to begin indoors on March 18 at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin. The "Kokomo Grand Prix" in Indiana provides the first multi-event weekend for competitors on Apr. 7-8.
Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois moves to an earlier slot on the schedule - May 19 - for a twin-bill with the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship.
The ever-popular "4-Crown Nationals" goes into its 36th year at Rossburg, Ohio's Eldora Speedway as the largest showcase for all three of USAC's national divisions on one card in a single night. The famed event includes the National Midgets, Silver Crown, National Sprint Cars and the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.
The fifth-annual "Jason Leffler Memorial" at Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Illinois provides the largest winner's payday of the year on Oct. 20.
For the second consecutive year, the National Midgets pair with the Western States Midgets to conclude the 2017 USAC outdoor racing season with the 77th running of the prestigious "Turkey Night Grand Prix" oceanside at California's Ventura Raceway.
2017 USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Mar 18: (N) Southern Illinois Center (Du Quoin, IL)
Apr 7: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Apr 8: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
May 19: Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Jun 6: (I) Montpelier Motor Speedway (Montpelier, IN)
Jun 7: (I) Gas City I-69 Speedway (Gas City, IN)
Jun 8: (I) Lincoln Park Speedway (Putnamville, IN)
Jun 9: (I) Bloomington Speedway (Bloomington, IN)
Jun 10: (I) Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)
Jun 11: (I) Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Jul 1: Macon Speedway (Macon, IL)
Jul 2: TBA
Jul 3: Illinois State Fairgrounds Multi-Purpose Arena (Springfield, IL)
Jul 22: TBA
Aug 1: Jefferson County Speedway (Fairbury, NE)
Aug 2: Solomon Valley Raceway (Beloit, KS)
Aug 4: Belleville High Banks (Belleville, KS)
Aug 5: Belleville High Banks (Belleville, KS)
Aug 13: (A) Susquehanna Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Aug 14: (A) Path Valley Speedway Park (Spring Run, PA)
Aug 15: (A) Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway (Newmanstown, PA)
Aug 17: (A) TBA
Sep 23: Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Oct 6: TBA
Oct 7: TBA
Oct 20: (P) Wayne County Speedway (Wayne City, IL)
Nov 23: (W) Ventura Raceway (Ventura, CA)
(N) represents an indoor event
(I) represents an Indiana Midget Week event
(A) represents an event with the USAC/ARDC Midgets
(P) represents an event co-sanctioned by POWRi
(W) represents an event with the USAC Western States Midgets
Contact: Richie Murray | firstname.lastname@example.org
WINDOM IS SILVER CROWN CHAMP WITH 4-CROWN VICTORY AT ELDORA
Rossburg, Ohio September 24, 2016 - Chris Windom left no doubt that he came to Eldora Speedway Saturday night in championship mode.
The Canton, Illinois driver arrived at Eldora's "4-Crown Nationals" with a ten-point deficit to two-time and defending USAC Silver Crown champion Kody Swanson.
By the time Windom pulled into victory lane after a dominating, soul-crushing performance on the half-mile dirt oval, he was the USAC Silver Crown division's newest champion.
Earlier in the night, it appeared that Windom's fortunes would not play in his favor after teammate Tyler Courtney knocked him off the pole with a great qualifying run late in the session, thus denying Windom the three bonus points that go along with being ProSource Fast Qualifier in the Silver Crown Series.
Despite that, Windom still had a seat on the outside of the front row for the series' season finale with Courtney on the inside of the front row. Swanson started fourth.
The objective for Swanson was clear: finish 3rd or better and the Silver Crown title was his. And that's where Swanson intended to get to as soon as possible.
At the drop of the green flag, a four-car scramble for the lead ensued with Jeff Swindell ducking underneath polesitter Courtney while Swanson split between the cars of Courtney and Windom as he shot into turn one. Windom utilized the high side and the momentum to zip to the point off turn two on the opening lap with Swanson occupying second.
By lap ten, Windom had already built up a half-lap advantage and had already begun to enter heavy lapped traffic. Windom continued to put the hurt on the field, but, unfortunately for him, there are no style points for the margin of lead a driver has. Though Swanson was on the opposite side of the track as Windom, as long as Swanson maintained that position in the top-three, he would retain the point lead.
However, on lap 15, disaster dashed Swanson's championship dream.
As Swanson ducked low into turn one, he came upon the lapped car of Dakota Jackson. The two made contact, causing both Swanson and Jackson to spin to a stop.
Swanson would return to the work area in the pits where the DePalma Motorsports crew assessed the extent of the damage. The front bumper was broken off and the steering was seriously hindered with the front wheels not angled in their intended direction.
Yet, Swanson and his crew refused to throw in the towel and sent him back out onto the racetrack where he would restart eighth on the lap 15 restart. But, as soon he entered turn one, Swanson promptly looped it on his own to bring out another yellow.
On the ensuing restart, Windom was gone, where he'd eventually build an insurmountable 16.9 second lead around the half-mile as he set a torrid pace in which he lapped all the way up to third-place!
Just as Windom was setting up to put a lap on his teammate Courtney, who was running third, with 14 laps to go, Davey Ray completed a 360 spin at the bottom of turn four to bring out the night's final caution.
Meanwhile, Swanson had amazingly carried his car to the end of the 50-lap race in which he had actually worked his way up to fifth in the final laps. If a couple of cars in front of him in the running order encountered trouble of some sort, causing them to drop out, Swanson would be right back in championship contention.
However, none of these scenarios would play out as Windom continued to absolutely hammer the field in his RPM-Fred Gormly/RPM Auto Enterprise/Maxim/Wallace on his way to his third Silver Crown victory of the season over Justin Grant, Tyler Courtney, Brady Bacon and Kody Swanson.
"I'm at a loss for words," a thrilled Windom said. "I knew it was going to be a big feat coming in. It was tough to see Kody (Swanson) go out with hardships ike that early in the race. We fought all year and we've earned every bit of this championship. From Rob Hart at the start of the year to bringing on Evan Avart, he's been spot on for me. This car drove itself around here. It was amazing! (The car) was perfect. It couldn't have been any better. I got to thank Fred and Gloria (Gormly). I'm so happy to get them a championship. We're going to celebrate now!"
With the points accumulated by a trio of victories at Pennsylvania's Williams Grove Speedway, the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois and Eldora as well as a top-five finish in all nine series races this season, Windom defeated Swanson in the final Silver Crown standings by a mere five points, making it one of the closest point races in the history of the United States Auto Club.
It's the first time since 1992 that an Eldora Silver Crown season finale featured a points change at the top. Furthermore, Windom's victory marked the 12th time in the 46-year history of the series that the winner of the season finale race was also the season champion.
Contingency award winners Saturday night at Eldora Speedway included Tyler Courtney (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Shane Cottle (KSE Racing Products/Martens Machine Shop/Larry Rice High Performance Hard Charger) and Joe Liguori (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Feature Finisher).
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 24, 2016 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 35th "4-Crown Nationals"
PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Tyler Courtney, 99, RPM/Gormly-18.099; 2. Chris Windom, 98, RPM/Gormly-18.099; 3. Jeff Swindell, 21, Swanson-18.187; 4. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-18.248; 5. Brady Bacon, 48, Martens-18.273; 6. Dave Darland, 6, Klatt-18.592; 7. Justin Grant, 8, Carli-18.595; 8. Steve Buckwalter, 53, SET-18.796; 9. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-18.823; 10. Davey Ray, 25, Sachs-18.999; 11. Bill Rose, 66, Rose-19.003; 12. Chris Fetter, 89, Fetter-19.159.13. Austin Nemire, 91, Hemelgarn-19.225; 14. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-19.227; 15. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-19.265; 16. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary/6R-19.281; 17. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-19.311; 18. Joe Liguori, 58, Liguori-19.392; 19. Dakota Jackson, 120, Nolen-19.464; 20. Billy Puterbaugh Jr., 27, Phillips-19.471; 21. Mitch Wissmiller, 0, Barker/Thackery-19.559; 22. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-20.154; 23. Brian Tyler, 12, Galas-NT; 24. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-NT (Time of 19.717 disallowed).
FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Tyler Courtney, 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Kody Swanson, 6. Jeff Swindell, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Jerry Coons Jr., 9. Shane Cottle, 10. Bill Rose, 11. Chris Fetter, 12. Steve Buckwalter, 13. Joe Liguori, 14. Dakota Jackson, 15. Austin Nemire, 16. David Byrne, 17. Davey Ray, 18. Mitch Wissmiller, 19. Billy Puterbaugh Jr., 20. Dave Berkheimer, 21. Aaron Pierce, 22. C.J. Leary. NT
**Tyler flipped during qualifying.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-50 Windom.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS/MARTENS MACHINE SHOP/LARRY RICE HIGH PERFORMANCE HARD CHARGER AWARD: Shane Cottle (21st to 9th)
FINAL USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-588, 2-Swanson-583, 3-Grant-474, 4-Coons-465, 5-Byrne-400, 6-Cottle-381, 7-Shuman-376, 8-Nemire-342, 9-Liguori-318, 10-Bacon-268.
Contact: Richie Murray | email@example.com
WINDOM OUTGUNS SWINDELL IN EPIC Du QUOIN SHOOTOUT TO WIN TED HORN 100
Du Quoin, Illinois September 3, 2016 - In a battle of the young lion and the wise veteran, resilience prevailed as Chris Windom of Canton, Illinois fought back to retake the lead from Jeff Swindell with a daring outside turn three pass just three laps from the finish to win his first career USAC Silver Crown Championship race on a dirt mile in Saturday night's "Ted Horn 100" presented by Casey's General Stores at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.
Windom and Swindell's seesaw battle entertained the sizable southern Illinois crowd throughout much of the 100-miler with Swindell leading 21 laps early in the happening before Windom took his turn at the front for a large chunk of the middle portion of the race. Swindell charged back to reclaim the point on lap 64 before Windom fought tooth-and-nail in the final laps to work his way back to Swindell as the two exchanged the lead three times in the final four laps.
Windom took control of the race after ripping the lead from Swindell on lap 98 to earn his second series victory of the season - and the fourth of his career - in his RPM-Fred Gormly/RPM Auto Enterprise/Maxim/J & D.
"This is awesome," Windom exclaimed. "I don't know what to say. I thought we had that one for a while and, obviously, we were all tire managing. I had a lot left in the tank, but I didn't know how hard I could pressure (Jeff Swindell) because I knew it was going to be real close on tires. I let Jeff get back by me; he threw a couple of hard blocks and I tried to get back around him. I really had to run my butt off. I've been so close to winning at this place so many times. It's awesome to be able to come back here with (crew chief) Evan Avart after we lost one (in 2014) and win this one. This is pretty special."
Windom rolled off ninth on the grid at the start of the 100-lapper while ProSource Pole winner Kody Swanson lined up alongside Justin Grant at the front. Swanson quickly sprinted off with the lead into turn one, but it was 1990 Du Quoin winner Jeff Swindell who shot to second on the opening lap from the outside of the second row.
As Swanson enjoyed the edge up front on lap nine, back in the pack, a battle for position between a gaggle of cars on the front straightaway got a bit hairy when Jackie Burke ramped over the right rear of another car at the start/finish line, which sent him airborne before landing on all fours, knocking out the front end as he slid helplessly into turn one.
Simultaneously, the car of Chris Fetter shot straight up the racetrack toward the outside turn one wall. In Fetter's path was the stopped car of Burke that was nailed in the tail tank by Fetter who then slammed hard into the wall. Both drivers were able to walk away uninjured from their broken racecars.
Swindell stuck right with Swanson on the lap 15 restart, then powered around the outside of Swanson between turns one and two to nose ahead. Swanson clawed his way back to pull even with Swindell as the two raced wheel-to-wheel down the back straightaway into turn three. Swindell used the middle of the racetrack to glide around Swanson coming out of the fourth turn, then beat him in a sprint to the stripe to grab the lead on the 16th lap with two-time defending race winner Shane Cockrum in tow.
Swindell, looking as effervescent as he ever has behind the wheel of a champ car, immediately began to stretch his lead as the race reached the quarter-point, while Windom began to mount his charge to the front, overtaking Swanson for third and Shane Cockrum for second in quick succession before setting his sights on leader Swindell.
On the 35th circuit, Windom raced his way into Swindell's shadow after using a big run off of turn four to streak down to the inside of Swindell as the two sped side-by-side past the flagstand toward the first turn. Swindell put a halt to Windom's bid for the lead after cutting across the nose of Windom at the entrance of one, forcing Windom to back out and allowing Swindell to momentarily escape with the lead.
Windom refused to be rattled and, just two laps later, the two came upon the lapped car of Danny Long in turn three. Swindell was forced to check up, allowing Windom to slip underneath Swindell for the lead on lap 37.
As the contest neared the midway point, Windom expanded his advantage to more than a second over Swindell when a yellow for debris erased the interval. Tires had become a concern for teams with half the race still remaining and, under the caution, forced teams to find ways to stem the tide of wear by rolling through the moisture to cool down the rubber and conserve their tread for the push to the finish.
Just after halfway, Swindell was scraping just to hold onto second by the skin of his teeth with two-time defending series champ Swanson draped all over him for the runner-up spot. Yet on the lap 61 restart, Swindell found his second wind, trailing by just a single car length as he hounded Swanson every inch of the way around the "Magic Mile."
On lap 64, Swindell was close enough to reach out and tap Windom on the shoulder as he followed him down the back straight. Swindell pulled along the inside of Windom as the pair ran side-by-side into turn three, with Swindell beating Windom to the inside guardrail first to re-take the lead with 37 laps to go.
But Windom wouldn't stray too far from the lead as both he and Swindell separated themselves from the rest of the field. On lap 69, Windom took another run at Swindell for the lead at the entrance to turn one. Swindell would have none of that, however, slamming the door on Windom with authority as the two banged wheels which sent Windom sideways, causing him to lose ground to Swindell as he fell back to more than one second behind.
The stoppage of Jacob Wilson's machine set up a restart with 24 miles remaining that saw Windom unable to get any traction when the green flag flew, allowing Swindell to run away to a one-and-a-half second lead as Windom, Swanson and Shane Cottle battled in close quarters for second.
Cottle's strong showing came to an end just a handful of laps later when he encountered engine troubles that brought out the yellow, setting up a 15-lap sprint to the finish.
Windom had a more successful restart this time around as he stayed within two car lengths of Swindell as the two entered turn three on lap 86.
One lap later, Windom got a bite off of turn four, drag racing Swindell down the front straight into turn one on the inside where, once again, Swindell closed the lid on the cookie jar, forcing Windom to back out of the throttle to avoid contact.
With less than ten laps to go, Swindell had his first USAC victory since the 1993 "Hoosier Hundred" within his grasp, but Windom was not going to fade away into the distance without putting up a fight.
On the 94th lap, Windom used another big run to poke his nose underneath Swindell entering turn three just as the caution flew for an Aaron Pierce spin, resetting the table for a restart with five laps to go.
With four laps to go, Windom used yet another big run down the back straight to pull even with Swindell, but this time was able to beat Swindell to the bottom of turn three to grab the lead. Windom then slid up to the middle of the racetrack, allowing Swindell to counter and slip back underneath Windom to regain the lead by the time they both exited turn four.
One lap later, with three to go, Windom pulled a rabbit out of his hat in this high-speed chess match as Swindell entered turn three low to protect the bottom line in anticipation of Windom's next move.
In an impressive moment of sleight of hand, Windom rode the high line instead, blasting around the outside of Swindell to take the lead for good, securing the top spot and driving away from Swindell during the final couple of laps to take the victory by 1.274 seconds over Swindell, Swanson, Casey Shuman and Cockrum.
Jeff Swindell, the savvy racing veteran from Germantown, Tennessee who was making just his second series start of the season, led the most laps (55) during his two stints at the front of the field, reaching into the distant past to nearly pull off his first USAC win in 23 years in his Swanson Racing/Jet Star - Rosewood Machine & Tool/Maxim/Toyota.
"We came in here tonight and everything went smoothly; we were organized and we did what we needed to do all night," Swindell explained. "In hot laps, I sat in the car the whole hour and ten minutes. We got the car working great. We got a good start and the Toyota motor ran great until about 25 or 30 (laps) to go when it started sputtering down the straightaways. As we got off the corner, it just got worse and worse. I guess that's how (Windom) got the run on me there because I think we were beating him pretty bad down in (turns) one and two all night. We came off the corner and it's popping and farting; that's when he got the run on me. I tried to hold him off, but he slid up a little bit and I snuck back by him. I said 'this might be ugly;' we kind of touched earlier going down there into (turn) one. He kind of surprised me getting under me a little bit as I started in and I saw him get out of the gas and I turned left. We kind of touched, but hey, that's what you call good racing!"
Kingsburg, California's Kody Swanson led the first 15 laps from the pole position, finishing third in his DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital - Champion Oil/Maxim/Hampshire Chevy. Swanson holds a slim 10-point lead over race winner Chris Windom heading into the September 24 Silver Crown season finale at Eldora Speedway's "4-Crown Nationals" in Rossburg, Ohio as he seeks an unprecedented third series title.
"I was really worried about our tires wearing out and trying to keep pace with the top guys," Swanson admitted. "When (Swindell and Windom) went there at the end, I tried to go with them. Tonight, we were third best. I am so thankful for the car I'm driving. These guys never give up. We don't quit. We'll just keep digging and see what we can do at the finale (at Eldora)."
Contingency award winners Saturday night at Du Quoin include Kody Swanson (ProSource Fast Qualifier) and Bill Rose (KSE Racing Products/Martens Machine Shop Hard Charger & Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 3, 2016 - Du Quoin, Illinois - Du Quoin State Fairgrounds - "Ted Horn 100" Presented by Casey's General Stores
PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-31.932; 2. Justin Grant, 8, Carli-32.048; 3. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary/6R-32.142; 4. Jeff Swindell, 21, Swanson-32.411; 5. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy-32.414; 6. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-32.427; 7. A.J. Fike, 3, RFMS-32.428; 8. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-32.455; 9. Chris Windom, 98, RPM/Gormly-32.482; 10. Davey Ray, 25, Sachs-32.689; 11. Brian Tyler, 12, Galas-32.736; 12. Joey Moughan, 29, Moughan-32.804; 13. Joe Liguori, 58, Liguori-32.843; 14. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-32.864; 15. Brady Bacon, 48, Martens-32.925; 16. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-32.952; 17. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-32.956; 18. Austin Nemire, 91, Hemelgarn-33.101; 19. Terry Babb, 00, Babb-33.137; 20. J.C. Bland, 5, Bland-33.152; 21. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-33.207; 22. Chris Fetter, 88, Fetter-33.248; 23. Steve Buckwalter, 53, SET-33.256; 24. Zach Daum, 14, McQuinn-33.346; 25. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-33.438; 26. Dakota Jackson, 201, Nolen-33.529; 27. Matt Goodnight, 27, Phillips-33.564; 28. Jackie Burke, 86, Burke-33.612; 29. Chris Urish, 77, Urish-33.698; 30. Terry James, 23, Satterthwaite-34.034; 31. Danny Long, 44, Long-35.348; 32. Kenny Gentry, 18, Gentry-35.712; 33. Bill Rose, 66, Rose-NT; 34. Tad Roach, 84, Spivey-NT; 35. Hunter Schuerenberg, 120, Nolen-NT.
FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Jeff Swindell, 3. Kody Swanson, 4. Casey Shuman, 5. Shane Cockrum, 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Jerry Coons, Jr., 8. Brian Tyler, 9. Joe Liguori, 10. David Byrne, 11. Zach Daum, 12. Chris Urish, 13. Bill Rose, 14. J.C. Bland, 15. Patrick Lawson, 16. A.J. Fike, 17. Matt Goodnight, 18. Terry James, 19. Justin Grant, 20. Steve Buckwalter, 21. Davey Ray, 22. Austin Nemire, 23. Danny Long, 24. Aaron Pierce, 25. Shane Cottle, 26. Jacob Wilson, 27. C.J. Leary, 28. Terry Babb, 29. Joey Moughan, 30. Kenny Gentry, 31. Jackie Burke, 32. Chris Fetter, 33. Tad Roach. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-15 Swanson, Laps 16-36 Swindell, Laps 37-63 Windom, Laps 64-97 Swindell, laps 98-100 Windom.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS/MARTENS MACHINE SHOP HARD CHARGER: Bill Rose (33rd to 13th)
NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Swanson-525, 2-Windom-515, 3-Coons-416, 4-Grant-407, 5-Byrne-369, 6-Shuman-366, 7-Cottle-335, 8-Nemire-309, 9-Liguori-281, 10-Cockrum-241.
NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 24 - Rossburg, OH - Eldora Speedway - 35th "4-Crown Nationals"
Contact: Richie Murray | firstname.lastname@example.org
SWANSON SPECTACULAR IN SALEM'S "JOE JAMES/PAT O'CONNOR MEMORIAL"
Salem, Indiana August 13, 2016 - On a night in which every person at Salem Speedway was mindful of Bryan Clauson, how fitting it was that a car adorned with number 63 "parked it" in victory lane in Saturday night's 57th running of the "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial."
Kingsburg, California's Kody Swanson took over the race lead on lap 61 after Aaron Pierce spun out of the top spot between turns three and four. Swanson went virtually unchallenged throughout the final 15 laps of the USAC Silver Crown series' first visit to the track since 1988 to take his 15th career USAC Silver Crown victory, tying him for fourth all-time with J.J. Yeley.
Earlier in the night, Swanson became the first driver ever to break into the 15-second bracket in a Silver Crown car around Salem's high banks on his way to a new track record and ProSource Fast Qualifying time, which put him on the pole position for the night's 75-lap event.
After amazingly avoiding the rain all throughout the afternoon, the skies opened up just prior to the start of the main event. The brief shower moistened the track, but, 20 minutes later, through the efforts of the track crew, the track was dry and drivers were called to their cars.
At the drop of the green, Swanson jumped out to the front with Pierce in second, back eight car lengths.
As the sparks began to fly into the dusk, Pierce began to close on Swanson for the point. However, in turn one, Austin Nemire lost control of his machine, spinning sideways on the banking as Casey Shuman came onto the scene, making contact with Nemire's left front with the nose of his Predator chassis. Shuman would restart, sans nose-piece, while Nemire would make his exit on the hook.
Pierce was able to hang with Swanson on the lap nine restart and, on lap 11, dove underneath Swanson on the bottom of turn two to take the lead.
On the 13th lap, Jacob Wilson, the only past "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial" winner in the field, slowed on the back straightaway with a broken weight jacker, forcing him into the pit area for the remainder of the night.
Just a handful of laps later, Pierce and Swanson came upon the lapped car of Patrick Lawson as the pack hit the start/finish line. Pierce nearly made contact with Lawson, slowing him down a notch as Swanson dove to the inside, allowing Windom to corral second as Swanson got shuffled back to third.
Pierce was able to keep Windom at bay as the race approached the one-third point, but on a lap 29 restart, Windom drove downhill off of the turn four banking, giving him the momentum he needed to pull side-by-side to the inside of Pierce into turn one. Between turns one and two, Windom's right front tire made contact with the left rear of Pierce, sending off a puff of smoke and knocking Pierce squirrely. Nonetheless, Pierce was able to resettle to hold off the challenge and retain the lead as the two raced down the back straight away.
As ominous clouds hung over the trees in turns one and two, Pierce maintained his advantage, running mere inches from the outside wall in turns three and four, leaving little room for error.
Lap 41, Swanson turned low below Windom in the second turn. Swanson engaged in a drag-race down the back straight, beating Windom to turn three as he dirt-tracked it in sideways in front of Windom, hanging on to grab second.
With two-thirds of the race now complete, Pierce and Swanson were nose-to-tail for the lead with Windom and Jerry Coons, Jr. just behind, a half-lap ahead of fifth-running Bobby Santos.
Pierce continued to run on the razor's edge up top with just 15 laps to go as he bid for his first Silver Crown victory since a 2007 victory at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway when, suddenly, the back end of his car snapped around on its own between turns three and four. Though he managed to keep the car off the concrete, Pierce was unable to tame Salem on this day after an impressive drive in which he led 50 laps.
On the restart with just 12 laps to go, no one had an answer for Kody Swanson, who shot away from the field to take an unchallenged victory over Windom, Coons, Santos and Justin Grant.
On a night in which tributes to Bryan Clauson poured in from fans, teams and officials alike, where each car was adorned with a BC "Still Chasing 200" sticker and USAC officials donned green BC shirts in honor of the fallen driver, Swanson did what he has done so often over the past three seasons in the DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital - Champion Oil/Beast/Hampshire Chevy. He "parked it" in victory lane.
"This means a lot," Kody said. "It's a pleasure to drive for these DePalma Motorports guys anywhere, but especially at a place like Salem. This is a place where it's usually the braver you are, the faster you go. That's not my style. We got a little lucky. Don't get me wrong; these guys prepare to win, but we were close enough to be able to capitalize on a couple things late in the race. I never have "parked it." I've never felt like I'm worthy enough to use that term, but we "parked it" tonight for BC (Bryan Clauson)."
Chris Windom, of Canton, Illinois, continued his impressive streak of series finishes in 2016, finishing second to Swanson and, therefore, tallying his seventh consecutive top-five finish in seven series starts this season in his RPM-Fred Gormly/RPM Auto Enterprise - Seals-It/Beast/J & D Mopar.
"We were good right out of the box," Windom said proudly. "Struggles in qualifying set us back, but Evan Avart gave me a good race car and we could drive up through there pretty quick. We got a little snug around half way through, and then Kody put a pretty bold move on me and I about spun out. That's kind of what you have to do here, though, to pass somebody - just drive it in there and pray. This place is a little treacherous, but it's a lot of fun and I'm glad we got to race here. We'll take a second, though, and keep this momentum up and head to Springfield."
Tucson, Arizona's Jerry Coons, Jr., a 2005 USAC National Midget feature winner at Salem, took third in his Nolen Racing/KECO - Columbus Container/Beast/Tranter Chevy.
"I need to get to the gym and add about 20 pounds of muscle I think," Coons joked. "That was harder than any 100-lapper we run anywhere else. Chris (Windom) got tight in (turns) one and two towards the end, but I was better in (turns) three and four, so when I'd make it up, he'd gain it back. We've been working on our pavement program and getting it better and better, so we're happy with a third."
Contingency award winners Saturday night at Salem Speedway were Kody Swanson (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Chris Windom (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Austin Nemire (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: August 13, 2016 - Salem, Indiana - Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery - 57th Scott County Visitors Commission "Joe James-Pat O'Connor Memorial"
PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-15.972 (NTR); 2. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-16.311; 3. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-16.358; 4. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-16.566; 5. Bobby Santos, 122, DJ Racing-16.571; 6. Chris Windom, 98, RPM/Gormly-16.621; 7. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-16.643; 8. Joe Liguori, 99, RPM/Gormly-16.762; 9. Justin Grant, 8, Carli-16.924; 10. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-16.998; 11. Austin Nemire, 91, Hemelgarn-17.056; 12. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-17.619; 13. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-17.830.
FEATURE: (75 laps) 1. Kody Swanson, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 4. Bobby Santos, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Aaron Pierce, 7. David Byrne, 8. Joe Liguori, 9. Patrick Lawson, 10. Casey Shuman, 11. Shane Cottle, 12. Jacob Wilson, 13. Austin Nemire. 27:59.49
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-10 Swanson, Laps 11-60 Pierce, Laps 61-75 Swanson.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Chris Windom (6th-2nd)
NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-K.Swanson-458, 2-Windom-445, 3-Grant-382, 4-Coons-364, 5-Byrne-326, 6-Cottle-317, 7-Shuman-305, 8-Nemire-288, 9-Liguori-235, 10-Tanner Swanson-213.
NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: August 20 - Springfield, IL - Illinois State Fairgrounds - "Bettenhausen 100"
Contact: Richie Murray | email@example.com
KODY TURNS THE TABLES IN SWANSON BROTHER BATTLE AT "RICH VOGLER/USAC HALL OF FAME CLASSIC"
Brownsburg, Indiana July 21, 2016 - Despite winning ten races and a pair of championships over the course of the last two-and-a-half seasons, Kody Swanson consistently played second fiddle to his brother, Tanner, each time the USAC Silver Crown division came to Lucas Oil Raceway.
But on Thursday night, Kody finally became first chair, ending Tanner's stranglehold of the .686-mile paved oval and his run of five wins in the last six races at the track, dominating all 100 laps from the pole in a new (to him) racecar in the "Rich Vogler/USAC Hall of Fame Classic."
Kody, of Kingsburg, California, hit the track in a different machine than he usually pilots, which also sported different colors. The DePalma Motorsports team recently acquired the former RFMS Motorsports car, driven by A.J. Fike in recent years, after irreparably damaging the primary, familiar white #63 at Gateway Motorsports Park in June.
On this night, though, Kody's car was completely black, except for the red lettering that adorned the nose and tail tank of the machine. "The Man in Black," as Kody would be known throughout the night, was on a rail from the get-go, setting ProSource Fast Qualifying time to earn the pole starting position.
The pomp and circumstance prior to the start of the main event was abundant with 12 new members joining the class of 2016 during a ceremony held on the front straightaway. Steve Butler, Russ Clendenen, Jimmy Davies, Willie Davis, Bob Higman, Tommy Hinnershitz, Dick King, Rick Mears, Pat O'Connor, Kevin Olson, Tony Stewart and Bob Tattersall all joined the immortal list of those who have been enshrined as one of the legends for their contributions to USAC throughout their careers.
After the fifth annual USAC Hall of Fame induction ceremony concluded, it was time to get down to business. At the drop of the green flag, Kody spurted out front to take the advantage on the opening lap. Tanner, who started fourth, was not far behind, taking third from 1999 series champ Ryan Newman after the former Daytona 500 winner slid up and pancaked the wall, but kept on moving, at the exit of turn three on lap four.
On the 17th lap, Tanner got a run on second-place Jerry Coons, Jr., diving to the inside at the entrance of turn three and engaging in a wheel-to-wheel battle through turns three and four before sliding up in front of Coons at the exit of turn four to secure the runner-up spot.
However, by that point, Kody had already built up a half-straightaway lead. Yet, soon came lapped traffic, which entered the fray a quarter of the way into the race. As the leader, Kody knew Tanner was lurking and couldn't be too far behind. His pace could not lessen or Kody would once again have the oh-so-familiar sight of staring directly at the tail tank of the black and yellow 02 of his younger brother as he pulled away into the distance.
Entangled in traffic on lap 24, Kody chose to split the lapped cars of David Bryne and Shane Cottle at the exit of turn two, then slide down below to overtake both Shane Cockrum and Casey Shuman in turn four to maintain his gap over a closing Tanner, who chopped Kody's lead by a half-second.
On a lap 48 restart, after a spin by Patrick Lawson between turns one and two, the field was bunched up and the lead cars were removed from lap traffic. Immediately, it didn't appear to make much of a difference as Kody pulled away from Tanner and the rest of the field once again. With 30 laps to go, Kody had once again rebuilt his lead to a half-straightaway.
A pair of cautions in the late-going couldn't even hinder Kody's dominance, but an Austin Nemire spin with two laps remaining did set up one last green-white-checkered run to the checkered between Kody and Tanner.
As had happened time and time again throughout the night, Kody got a good jump on the restart, pulling away to create a seven-car-length interval between the two by the time the pair had crossed under the white flag.
Kody would not be deterred on the final lap, defeating Tanner by 0.768 seconds, followed by Coons, Bobby Santos, Chris Windom and Newman at the line to finally return to victory lane at Lucas Oil Raceway for the first time since July of 2011 in his DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital - Champion Oil/Beast/Hampshire Chevy. With the victory, Kody, the two-time, defending series champ, retook the point lead by seven markers over Chris Windom.
"Tanner is the best here; there's no question," Kody said of his younger brother. "People asked me last time about the sibling rivalry, and I told them, 'There isn't a rivalry; I'm 0-for-6. He just beats me.' Tonight, though, we got the better of him. I can't thank this team enough. They just about pulled an all-nighter last night to get this thing together. I have to thank Don Fike too; he gave us a whale of a deal on this car. To win this event is great. To be a part of this series is just great. I've heard stories about Rich (Vogler) and, to win a race in his memory, that's really special to me. It's so neat that his family still supports USAC and the pleasure is mine tonight."
Despite coming up a little short in a solid second-place run, Kingsburg, California's Tanner Swanson extended his streak of top-two finishes in the Silver Crown Series at Lucas Oil Raceway to seven in his Bowman Racing/Bowman Properties - Bowman-Elmore Racing/Beast/Kistler Chevy.
"I could stand here and tell a bunch of lies and say we had a chance, but the fact is he was just better tonight," Tanner acknowledged. "I thought we'd have a shot with another yellow, and then we got another one and had no chance. We've been on the other end of that deal and have had great cars and have been able to capitalize, but tonight, we just missed it. Kody was just hooked up. We could go for about two laps after a restart, but there was no way we could keep the pace he had. I know he wasn't showing us all he had, but I told (car owner) Mike Bowman that, three years ago, this team had never won a Silver Crown race and we would've been ecstatic with second. We'll move on, but if we can't win it, I'm glad Kody did.
Tucson, Arizona's Jerry Coons, Jr. raced to his best career finish at Lucas Oil Raceway Thursday night, garnering a third-place finish in his Nolen Racing/KECO - Columbus Container/Beast/Tranter Chevy. It also marked the best finish for a Gene Nolen-owned car at LOR since Jim Keeker drove the number 20 to victory in August of 1995.
"My spotter was keeping me aware of where I was," Coons explained. "We've had good cars here and we tried a different setup tonight and were just a little too positive on the right front. You never have a perfect car, but they gave me a good one tonight. I felt like we were better on the long runs than Santos, but he was better on the short ones, so I was a little nervous with all those yellows. I was just hoping we could get through the lap traffic smoothly and, thankfully, we did.
Contingency award winners at Lucas Oil Raceway included Kody Swanson (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Casey Shuman (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) Kevin Studley (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Feature Finisher).
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: July 21, 2016 - Brownsburg, Indiana - Lucas Oil Raceway @ Indianapolis - "Rich Vogler/USAC Hall of Fame Classic"
PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-21.169; 2. Ryan Newman, 21, Bowman/Armstrong-21.228; 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-21.285; 4. Tanner Swanson, 02, Bowman-21.298; 5. Bobby Santos, 122, DJ Racing-21.329; 6. Chris Windom, 98, RPM/Gormly-21.338; 7. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-21.404; 8. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-21.538; 9. Justin Grant, 8, Carli-21.611; 10. Joe Axsom, 120, Nolen-21.655; 11. Joe Liguori, 99, Gormly-21.780; 12. Austin Nemire, 91. Hemelgarn-21.865; 13. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-21.956; 14. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy-22.071; 15. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-22.175; 16. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-NT; 17. Kevin Studley, 157, Studley-NT.
FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Kody Swanson, 2. Tanner Swanson, 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 4. Bobby Santos, 5. Chris Windom, 6. Ryan Newman, 7. Justin Grant, 8. Jacob Wilson, 9. Joe Axsom, 10. Joe Liguori, 11. Casey Shuman, 12. Austin Nemire, 13. Kevin Studley, 14. David Byrne, 15. Patrick Lawson, 16. Shane Cottle, 17. Shane Cockrum. 45:52.428
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-100 K.Swanson.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Casey Shuman (15th-11th)
NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-K.Swanson-385, 2-Windom-378, 3-Grant-324, 4-Coons-300, 5-Cottle-276, 6-Byrne-274, 7-Shuman-262, 8-Nemire-251, 9-T.Swanson-213, 10-Liguori-186.
NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: August 13 - Salem (IN) Speedway - Scott County Visitors Commission "Joe James-Pat O'Connor Classic"
Contact: Richie Murray | firstname.lastname@example.org
TANNER SWANSON BEATS THE RAIN,
THE LIGHTNING AND THE WINDOM
IN GATEWAY SILVER CROWN SHOWDOWN
Madison, Illinois June 25, 2016 ... Tanner Swanson maintained his dominance of the paved ovals on the USAC Silver Crown series schedule, winning his fourth race in his last five appearances on the hardtop, warding off threatening skies and an old-fashioned Midwestern thunderstorm in Saturday afternoon's Vatterott College "Silver Crown Showdown" at the series largest venue, the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois.
Tanner began the race from the pole position after taking ProSource Fast Qualifier honors earlier in the day, slotting him to start alongside his older brother, two-time defending series champ Kody Swanson.
Kody out-drag-raced Tanner into the first turn on the opening lap, but a substantial factor on the longer paved circuits is drafting and both Tanner and Chris Windom would demonstrate that fact as the top-three exited turn four at the conclusion of lap one.
Tanner was able to line up behind Kody's tail tank and quickly erase the gap, slipstreaming by on the inside with Windom in tow to take the top-two spots as Kody dropped to third.
However, dropping two positions early in a 75-mile race was the least of Kody's worries. On the ninth lap, Kody's engine began to sound sour as he took a dramatic drop in speed while he lumbered down the front straightaway.
One lap later, as Kody entered turn one, one of the worst nightmares a driver can face - a stuck throttle - became his reality.
Just before the turn, Kody was hard on the brakes, veering hard left as he mowed through the infield grass and rumble strips before careening up the track and making near head-on contact with the SAFER Barrier.
Dark, heavy skid marks left by the four tires of Kody's machine were highly visible on the pavement surface from the moment of realization of the stuck throttle until the moment of contact with the wall. Kody was uninjured.
During the lengthy yellow flag for the cleanup, lightning could be seen within the vicinity of the speedway. Fans were directed to exit the grandstands as a precaution, but since the track was dry, the racing resumed on lap 21.
With storms imminent, the urge to get to the front in a timely manner weighed heavily on each competitor as their race could be interrupted at the drop of a hat, and the drop of precipitation.
Just one lap after the restart, on lap 22, Tanner made a bid for the lead, chattering his teeth as he rode his left side wheels over the rigid turn one rumble strips to get by Windom, to no avail.
On the 27th circuit, Tanner used the draft to his advantage, running down leader Windom on the inside of turn three. Tanner ran his line a little wide as he entered the corner side-by-side, forcing Windom just a tad out of the groove at the bottom of the corner. It was just enough to slow Windom down and allow Tanner to slip by for the lead just three laps shy of the halfway point.
Meanwhile, young Austin Nemire was putting in his best performance in his year-and-a-half of Silver Crown series experience. Nemire had reeled in the two leaders, coming within roughly five car-lengths of Windom in second as the trio separated themselves from the rest of the field.
As flagman Tom Hansing threw up the crossed sticks indicating the halfway point, the temps had cooled considerably and the winds flared up as the sun-drenched St. Louis afternoon quickly became a distant memory and the main race now became the sprint to defeat the rain before the checkered.
In the second half of the race, Tanner, little-by little, was able to open up his lead over Windom as Nemire began to fade somewhat in the third spot.
With 10 to go, Tanner's lead was three-plus seconds over Windom and his time up front went undaunted the rest of the way, except for a little precipitation on the white flag lap.
Tanner grabbed his first career victory at Gateway, leading the final 34 laps to defeat a distant Windom, who led 25 in the first half of the 60-lap event while Nemire, David Byrne and Joe Liguori rounded out the top-five.
During Tanner's victory lane celebration, the skies finally relented, opening up a deluge of rain upon fans and competitors alike. But, it was not enough to throw a damper on the Kingsburg, California native's celebration after racking up his second series victory of the season in his Bowman Racing/Bowman Properties - Bowman-Elmore Racing/Beast/Kistler Chevy.
"That was an exciting race," Tanner exclaimed. "We were worried about the rain the entire time, but I feel like I wore my car out trying to get by Chris (Windom). We started picking up a vibration, but I don't know if that's just me being worried or what, but I think we were on seven cylinders there at the end. It's just a testament to how good the Bowman guys got this car to cut the corners and give us a chance to win."
St. Louis resident and Canton, Illinois native Windom, took over the series point lead from Kody Swanson with his second-place finish in his RPM-Fred Gormly/RPM Auto Enterprise - Seals-It/Beast/J & D Mopar. He now leads the points by 11 over the two-time defending series champion. The 60-lap Gateway race was just one of the many adventures Windom was taking part in during a 24-hour period from Friday night to Saturday night.
He competed in Friday night's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at Eagle (Neb.) Raceway before heading straight to Gateway via truck-ride on minimal sleep to be at the track in time for a 8:20am drivers' meeting. After his runner-up finish at Gateway, Windom hurried to the airport so he could hop on a flight to Kansas City, Kansas to participate in Saturday night's USAC Sprint event at Lakeside Speedway, where he arrived just in time for qualifying.
"I just need to thank all my guys who withstood the heat all day and gave me a great racecar," said a pleased Windom. "Evan (Avart) gave me a car to win with today and I think I just pressed too hard early trying to hold Tanner off. Congrats to him and his team; they are definitely the guys to beat right now on the pavement side. I'm very happy to come out with a second place run and be able to move into the points lead. I know it would mean a lot to (car owners) Fred & Gloria (Gormly) to be able to win a championship as it would to me. Hopefully we can keep this streak of momentum rolling and click off a few more wins and the points will come with that."
Sylvania, Ohio's Austin Nemire looked strong in a career-best third place finish in his Ron Hemelgarn/Hemelgarn Enterprises/Beast/Speedway Ford.
"It was definitely an experience for being my first time there," Nemire admitted. "The track was fast all day long and we kept gaining on it. A few things went our way and we ended up with my best finish in a Crown car, so we're all pretty happy!"
Contingency award winners at Gateway Motorsports Park included Tanner Swanson (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Joe Liguori (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Tad Roach (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Feature Finisher).
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 25, 2016 - Madison, Illinois - Gateway Motorsports Park - Vatterott College "Silver Crown Showdown"
PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Tanner Swanson, 02, Bowman-31.462; 2. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-31.714; 3. Jerry Coons, Jr., 20, Nolen-31.979; 4. Austin Nemire, 91, Hemelgarn-32.305; 5. Chris Windom, 98, RPM/Gormly-32.325; 6. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-32.336; 7. Justin Grant, 8, Carli-33.285; 8. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-33.374; 9. Joe Liguori, 99, RPM/Gormly-33.442; 10. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-34.291; 11. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-34.786; 12. Hunter Schuerenberg, 120, Nolen-35.835; 13. Tad Roach, 16, Logan-NT.
FEATURE: (60 laps) 1. Tanner Swanson, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Austin Nemire, 4. David Byrne, 5. Joe Liguori, 6. Justin Grant, 7. Casey Shuman, 8. Hunter Schuerenberg, 9. Jerry Coons, Jr., 10. Shane Cottle, 11. Kody Swanson, 12. Patrick Lawson, 13. Tad Roach. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 T. Swanson, Laps 2-26 Windom, Laps 27-60 T. Swanson
KSE HARD CHARGER: Joe Liguori (9th to 5th)
NEW SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-320, 2-K. Swanson-309, 3-Grant-272, 4-Byrne-239, 5-Coons-236, 6-Cottle-235, 7-Shuman-221, 8-Nemire-212, 9-Bryan Clauson-177, 10-Shane Cockrum-154.
NEXT SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 21 - Brownsburg, Indiana - Lucas Oil Raceway - "Rich Vogler/Hall of Fame Classic"