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Eventual winner Brady Bacon (#6) and Kevin Thomas, Jr. (#9) battle for the lead during Saturday's USAC Silver Crown season finale at Eldora Speedway's 4-Crown Nationals presented by
(Dallas Breeze Photo)


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio (September 28, 2019).........Entering Saturday's USAC Silver Crown season finale at Eldora Speedway, the formula was simple. A 4th place finish or better by Brady Bacon was what he needed to secure Klatt Enterprises' first series owner title.

Bacon defied all notions of running "just good enough." His intentions were fully set on winning and closing the curtain on a banner year for himself and the Klatt team by capturing his second series victory of the season, and his career, leading the final 10 laps to sweep both victories on half-mile dirt tracks (Eldora and Williams Grove) on the Silver Crown schedule in 2019.

"We kind of struggled and everything else, so it was good to get a win here and get an owner's championship for these guys," Bacon said. "They worked hard to make huge improvements over the last year and we won two races this year. We were in the hunt every time. I'm really happy for them, and hopefully, we can keep winning these races the next few years."

The Broken Arrow, Okla. native started 4th in the 27-car field, the largest car count for a Silver Crown race at Eldora since 2008. However, pole winner Kevin Thomas, Jr., making his debut run in Chris Dyson Racing's mount, emerged with the lead on a first lap that saw the top-three of Thomas, Kody Swanson and Bacon battle three-wide off turn four.

Thomas, a 2nd place finisher in the previous year's 4-Crown Silver Crown feature, checked out in the early stages, building up a two second lead over Bacon and Swanson, who locked up an unprecedented fifth series driving title by starting the night's main event.

The first incident of the night occurred in turn one the ninth lap when Steve Buckwalter climbed the outside wall, creating heavy damage to the right front. The trailing John Heydenreich had nowhere to roam and slid sideways into Buckwalter who was at rest up against the outside wall. Both drivers were okay, but their cars were finished for the remainder of the evening.

On the ensuing restart, the game changed as Bacon began working the middle and was able to remain within arm's reach of Thomas. Just moments later, though, on lap 12, 6th running Jason McDougal looped his ride at the entrance of turn one. As McDougal sat helplessly in the middle of the racing surface, Midget and Sprint feature winner Tyler Courtney clobbered McDougal with his right rear wheel, seriously damaging both machines and ending both driver's nights and Courtney's bid for a USAC sweep at the 4-Crown.

With 13 laps remaining, Bacon tested the waters and slid through the middle to show a nose to the high-riding Thomas in turn one and then turn three as well. Bacon tried again two laps later in turn one, making up a bit of ground, but there wasn't enough zip to make the slide stick.

Entering the final 10 laps, Thomas clung to a three-car length lead over Bacon, until scraping his right-side wheels off the outside wall between turns three and four. As Thomas fought to break free from the wall's grasp, Bacon shot under and raced away scot-free with the lead and an eventual 1.931 second triumph over Thomas, Justin Grant, Swanson and Shane Cottle, who started all the way back in 24th.

For Thomas, it was another heartbreak for a driver who's been on the cusp of a first USAC Silver Crown victory for two consecutive seasons now. In fact, his result on Saturday was the fifth 2nd place finish of his Silver Crown career, moving him into the distinction as the driver with the most runner-up finishes without a series win, passing Dave Blaney, Pablo Donoso and Arnie Knepper on the list.

"We had a good chance of winning the sprint car race too, plugged it in the fence and broke a front end," Thomas recalled. "Luckily, we finished 4th there. And then we did it again. I don't ever run the fence, so I'm actually glad that I was at least up there to plug it in the fence. It was a long day, but it was a fun day. I think we got a 5th, a 4th and a 2nd. For somebody who's not very good here, I'll take it."

Contingency award winners Friday and Saturday night at Eldora Speedway were Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Fatheadz Eyewear/ProSource Fast Qualifier), Matt Westfall (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger/Larry Rice High Performance Award & Rosewood Machine & Tool Precision Move of the Race) and Ronnie Wuerdeman (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 28, 2019 - Eldora Speedway - Rossburg, Ohio - 38th 4-Crown Nationals presented by

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR/PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: (Completed on September 27) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9, Dyson-16.054; 2. Jason McDougal, 56, Foxco-16.070; 3. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-16.176; 4. Brady Bacon, 6, Klatt-16.250; 5. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-16.321; 6. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight/Byrd-16.366; 7. Chad Kemenah, 15, Hampshire/Kemenah-16.445; 8. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-16.483; 9. Ronnie Wuerdeman, 33, Wuerdeman-16.523; 10. C.J. Leary, 10, DMW-16.548; 11. Tyler Courtney, 97, Lein-16.562; 12. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott/Gorman-16.992; 13. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-17.048; 14. Jimmy Light, 123, Two-Three-17.074; 15. Steve Buckwalter, 53, Five Three-17.078; 16. Bill Rose, 66, Rose-17.094; 17. Dallas Hewitt, 57, Hewitt-17.138; 18. Austin Mundie, 47, Butler-17.143; 19. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong/Slinkard-17.192; 20. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-17.272; 21 Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-17.279; 22. Terry Babb, 34, Morford-17.378; 23. John Heydenreich, 43, Felker-17.448; 24. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-17.456; 25. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-17.569; 26. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-18.941; 27. Matt Westfall, 54, Westfall/Marshall-NT.

FEATURE: (50 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (4), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (1), 3. Justin Grant (5), 4. Kody Swanson (3), 5. Shane Cottle (24), 6. Chris Windom (6), 7. Matt Westfall (27), 8. C.J. Leary (10), 9. Matt Goodnight (25), 10. Eric Gordon (19), 11. Chad Kemenah (7), 12. Jimmy Light (14), 13. Ronnie Wuerdeman (9), 14. Kyle Robbins (8), 15. David Byrne (13), 16. Bill Rose (16), 17. Mike Haggenbottom (21), 18. Travis Welpott (12), 19. Austin Mundie (18), 20. Terry Babb (22), 21. Austin Nemire (20), 22. Dave Berkheimer (26), 23. Jason McDougal (2), 24. Tyler Courtney (11), 25. Dallas Hewitt (17), 26. Steve Buckwalter (15), 27. John Heydenreich (23). 23:29.46

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-40 Kevin Thomas, Jr., Laps 41-50 Brady Bacon.




FINAL USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES DRIVER POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-638, 2-Justin Grant-578, 3-David Byrne-489, 4-Eric Gordon-418, 5-Chris Windom-397, 6-Kyle Hamilton-381, 7-Bobby Santos-378, 8-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-366, 9-Mike Haggenbottom-357, 10-Kyle Robbins-355.

FINAL USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES OWNER POINTS: 1-Klatt Enterprises #6-637, 2-Nolen Racing #20-613, 3-Hemelgarn Racing #91-578, 4-Byrne Racing #40-489, 5-Armstrong/Slinkard Racing #78-418, 6-Goodnight/Byrd Racing #17-378, 7-DJ Racing #22-378, 8-John Haggenbottom #24-357, 9-KR Racing #7-355, 10-Curtis Williams #81-347.

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Kevin Thomas, Jr. will start from the pole in Saturday's USAC Silver Crown season finale at Eldora Speedway's 4-Crown Nationals presented by
(Rich Forman Photo)


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio (September 27, 2019).........So far, so good. Kevin Thomas, Jr.'s debut in the Chris Dyson Racing USAC Silver Crown car went as smoothly as he could have planned for by winning the pole for Saturday night's season finale 4-Crown Nationals presented by at Eldora Speedway.

Thomas drew the final pill in the draw and, thus, was the final car to make a qualifying attempt in Friday's Fatheadz Eyewear time trial session. After a lengthy rain delay prior to practice, the Cullman, Ala. driver laid down the best lap of the night at 16.054 seconds, the fastest lap by a Silver Crown pole winner at Eldora since Mat Neely in 2006.

Thomas has yet to win a Silver Crown race in his career, finishing 2nd in last year's event at Eldora behind winner C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) who will start 10th on Saturday. Jason McDougal will start from the outside of the front row in the same Foxco Racing car that Thomas drove in last year's race. McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) finished 4th a year ago in Dyson's car.

Kody Swanson (Kingsburg, Calif.) qualified 3rd and will clinch an unprecedented fifth USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series title by presenting at Saturday's main event. Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) qualified 4th and will start alongside Swanson in the second row. Bacon's Klatt Enterprises team and Swanson's Nolen Racing team are involved in a tight series owner title race that is separated by only 15 points. A 4th place finish or better by Bacon in the Klatt car on Saturday will secure the owner's title.

Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.), a 2016 Silver Crown champ and 4-Crown Silver Crown winner, will start 6th. Six-time Ollie's Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions titlist Chad Kemenah (Alvada, Ohio) will lineup 7th. Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.), a 2017 4-Crown Silver Crown winner, is slotted in 11th. Last year's pole winner Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) will start from the 24th spot in the 27-car field.

On Saturday, September 28, Silver Crown teams will again have a practice session leading into their 50-lap main event which will also feature complete shows for the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars and the Ollie's Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions.

On Saturday, pits open at 11am Eastern, spectator gates open at noon, autograph session from 3-4pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and cars on track at 5:30pm. General admission tickets are $34 for ages 13 & up and free for ages 12 & under. Reserved tickets are $39 for ages 13 & up and $9 for ages 12 & under.

The USAC portion of the 4-Crown can be watched LIVE and on-demand on FloRacing, listened to via live audio on the USAC app as well as live timing and scoring on both the USAC app and the Race-Monitor app.


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING RESULTS: September 27, 2019 - Eldora Speedway - Rossburg, Ohio - 38th 4-Crown Nationals presented by

ROW 1:
1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9, Dyson-16.054
2. Jason McDougal, 56, Foxco-16.070

ROW 2:
3. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-16.176
4. Brady Bacon, 6, Klatt-16.250

ROW 3:
5. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-16.321
6. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight/Byrd-16.366

ROW 4:
7. Chad Kemenah, 15, Hampshire/Kemenah-16.445
8. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-16.483

ROW 5:
9. Ronnie Wuerdeman, 33, Wuerdeman-16.523
10. C.J. Leary, 10, DMW-16.548

ROW 6:
11. Tyler Courtney, 97, Lein-16.562
12. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott/Gorman-16.992

ROW 7:
13. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-17.048
14. Jimmy Light, 123, Two-Three-17.074

ROW 8:
15. Steve Buckwalter, 53, Five Three-17.078
16. Bill Rose, 66, Rose-17.094

ROW 9:
17. Dallas Hewitt, 57, Hewitt-17.138
18. Austin Mundie, 47, Butler-17.143

ROW 10:
19. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong/Slinkard-17.192
20. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-17.272

ROW 11:
21. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-17.279
22. Terry Babb, 34, Morford-17.378

ROW 12:
23. John Heydenreich, 43, Felker-17.448
24. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-17.456

ROW 13:
25. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-17.569
26. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-18.941

ROW 14:
27. Matt Westfall, 54, Westfall/Marshall-NT

USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-577, 2-Justin Grant-514, 3-David Byrne-456, 4-Kyle Hamilton-381, 5-Bobby Santos-378, 6-Eric Gordon-375, 7-Chris Windom-342, 8-Mike Haggenbottom-328, 9-Kyle Robbins-320, 10-Austin Nemire-315.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: September 28, 2019 - Eldora Speedway - Rossburg, Ohio - 38th 4-Crown Nationals presented by

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Kody Swanson captured his second career Rich Vogler Classic victory Saturday night at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana
(David Nearpass Photo)


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Brownsburg, Indiana (September 7, 2019).........In a championship race that Kody Swanson has led since day one, it seems inconceivable the number of peaks and valleys he and Nolen Racing have endured and overcome throughout the season.

Six days earlier at Du Quoin, the team had not one, but two engines go south on them in practice and qualifying, forcing Swanson into another team's car that he had never set foot in prior to the green flag, riding to a 14th place finish.

Six days later, the story was written in reverse as Swanson and Nolen executed their smoothest night of the year. No backup cars, no engine changes, just back to the basics - racing and winning, which they did again for the fifth time this year in nine races, Saturday night under the lights of Lucas Oil Raceway at the Rich Vogler Classic.

"It's tough, on top of a short week to do it. It would've been a tough week anyway, let alone when you're down and trying to get going," Kody explained. "You can either wait for something good to happen to you or you can put the work in and try to help. I haven't been to my day job since Wednesday morning, gutting it out with the guys in the shop. Everyone who's a part of it has continued to give everything they could."

Swanson's victory, the record-extending 29th of his USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series career, came after circumstances with the engine befell the team at Salem less than a month ago in the most recent pavement race. It was at Salem this week where the team made a decisive choice on the package they were going to bring to Lucas Oil Raceway.

"We had to pull (an engine) out from under the bench and put it in the backup car," Swanson said. "I've been part of a gentleman's agreement this year not to test at the places we're going to. We went to Salem, that's close to the shop and we're already done racing there, just to try to shake it down and make sure this one is still good. Afterward, we felt like our backup car was the better choice of the two. It was really good on starts and that's what we needed to try it."

Kody was knocked off the pole position by the final contestant of the Fatheadz Eyewear qualifying session, his younger brother Tanner Swanson, pitting the Kingsburg, Calif. siblings on the front row at the .686-mile paved oval where the two have had many a battle at the front of the pack for the past decade.

"We grew up together, so he knows all my tricks," Kody said of his younger brother. "He doesn't get rattled and everyone knows, when he comes to town, he's going to be a contender and probably the biggest threat."

Kody didn't allow Tanner to get an advantage in edgewise as he drove around Tanner in turns one and two on the opening lap to secure the lead. Back behind the brothers Swanson, May LOR winner Kyle Hamilton slid up in front of Justin Grant in the first urn to snare the third position.

The first and heaviest incident of the night came on the ninth lap when a rear end issue on the car of Cody Gallogly sent him hard into the turn two wall, resulting in his left rear wheel bouncing down the back straightaway without abandon before coming to a rest more than a half-straightaway in front of his damaged machine.

Through much of the first half of the 100-lapper, Tanner and Hamilton were locked down just a few car lengths behind Kody with the trio breaking away from the fourth-place car of Justin Grant by nearly half a lap as the top-three entered the throes of traffic. Swanson was the first to navigate between, under and around the traffic with precision, but Tanner and Hamilton cut through the chase to remain within a stone's throw of Kody.

On the 43rd lap, Annie Breidinger, making her first series start in over two years, spun exiting turn two. With Breidinger stopped, the trailing car of eighth-running Ryan Newman clipped his left front wheel into the left side of Breidinger's tail tank, heavily damaging Newman's front end and tearing off the rear bumper off Breidinger's machine. Breidinger restarted, but Newman, the 1999 Silver Crown champ, 2008 Daytona 500 winner and 2013 Brickyard 400 victor, was finished for the evening.

The most recent occasion Kody was in this exact position, leading a restart near the halfway point at LOR in May, his engine let go on him, putting him out of the race. This time around, Swanson was like match on a fire, extending his lead lap-after-lap from the lap 48 restart onward. Between laps 58 and 60 alone, Kody upped the interval between he and Tanner a half-second as traffic loomed once again. A Breidinger turn one spin resulted in a lap 69 restart for Kody which bunched up the field and would wind up being the closest the competition would get for the remaining 31 laps of the green flag run to the conclusion.

It seemed as if the longer the race went, the more Kody's car was changing and the more on top of it he became.

"Every stint, I drove the car a little bit different, using the throttle and the brake a little different and using the banking of the racetrack a little different, just trying to help my car be the best it could to try to get and keep the lead," Kody said.

Kody's fifth career LOR Silver Crown victory moved him into a three-way tie with Mike Bliss and brother Tanner Swanson for the most wins in series history at the track. It also marked Nolen Racing's third career USAC Silver Crown victory at LOR, and first since 1995 with Jim Keeker as the pilot. Nolen also won with Johnny Parsons in 1991.
(David Nearpass Photo)

Kody opened up the can to two seconds almost immediately, running away as he extended it to over three seconds by lap 84, then four, then five and, finally, 6.165 seconds when the checkered flag flew to score his second career Rich Vogler Classic victory, and first since 2016, over Tanner Swanson, Kyle Hamilton, Jim Anderson and a career-best fifth-place finish for five-time Indianapolis 500 veteran James Davison in his second career series start.

Kody's fifth career LOR Silver Crown victory moved him into a three-way tie with Mike Bliss and brother Tanner Swanson for the most wins in series history at the track. It also marked Nolen Racing's third career USAC Silver Crown victory at LOR, and first since 1995 with Jim Keeker as the pilot. Nolen also won with Johnny Parsons in 1991.

"What a part of history in the United States Auto Club this track has played, let alone to tie someone like Mike Bliss, who had the ultimate stranglehold on this place for so long and Tanner did too for a number of years," Kody exclaimed. I finally had to get better or (Tanner) was just going to continue to beat me all the time. I'm thankful to pick off a few whenever we could to make it up. To tie them with five is pretty special."

It's the ninth time the Swanson brothers have finished first and second in a USAC Silver Crown event, eight of which have come at LOR. Tanner won the first six of the Swanson one-two sweeps, while Kody has owned the upper hand in the last three.

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Lucas Oil Raceway included Tanner Swanson (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier), Kyle Robbins (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Annie Breidinger (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 7, 2019 - Lucas Oil Raceway - Brownsburg, Indiana - Rich Vogler Classic

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Tanner Swanson, 02, Bowman-20.574; 2. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-20.633; 3. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-20.668; 4. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-20.805; 5. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-20.818; 6. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-20.860; 7. Ryan Newman, 2v, Bowman/Vance-20.876; 8. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong/Slinkard-20.908; 9. James Davison, 11, DHR/Byrd-21.059; 10. Jim Anderson, 92, Kazmark-21.218; 11. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight/Byrd-21.268; 12. Joe Liguori, 32, Williams & Wright-21.323; 13. Brian Gerster, 94, Ram-21.350; 14. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-21.591; 15. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-21.605; 16. Cody Gallogly, 81, Williams-21.621; 17. Cameron Dodson, 25, Pierce-21.722; 18. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-21.781; 19. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-21.852; 20. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-21.926; 21. John Heydenreich, 43, Felker-22.668; 22. Annie Breidinger, 80, Breidinger-22.720; 23. Kyle O'Gara, 1, SFHR-NT; 24. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-NT; 25. Derek Bischak, 131, Bischak-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kody Swanson (2), 2. Tanner Swanson (1), 3. Kyle Hamilton (6), 4. Jim Anderson (10), 5. James Davison (9), 6. David Byrne (5), 7. Bobby Santos (3), 8. Justin Grant (4), 9. Chris Windom (11), 10. Kyle Robbins (20), 11. Joe Liguori (12), 12. Patrick Lawson (18), 13. Annie Breidinger (22), 14. Austin Nemire (14), 15. Matt Goodnight (15), 16. Eric Gordon (8), 17. Mike Haggenbottom (19), 18. John Heydenreich (21), 19. Ryan Newman (7), 20. Cameron Dodson (17), 21. Derek Bischak (23), 22. Cody Gallogly (16), 23. Brian Gerster (13), 24. Dave Berkheimer (24). 50:56.46
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-100 Kody Swanson

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Kyle Robbins (20th to 10th)


NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-577, 2-Justin Grant-514, 3-David Byrne-456, 4-Kyle Hamilton-381, 5-Bobby Santos-378, 6-Eric Gordon-375, 7-Chris Windom-342, 8-Mike Haggenbottom-328, 9-Kyle Robbins-320, 10-Austin Nemire-315.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: September 22, 2019 - Illinois State Fairgrounds - Springfield, Illinois - Bettenhausen 100

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Jacob Wilson (Crawfordsville, Ind.) won his first career USAC Silver Crown race Sunday night in the Ted Horn 100 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.
(Rich Forman Photo)


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois (September 1, 2019).........For the majority of his career, Jacob Wilson has been deemed a "pavement guy."

While that's certainly a testament to his skills on the asphalt where he's earned victories in the Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial once and the Little 500 twice, most notably, it was a label that Wilson was anxious to shed.

Nevermind that he's been consistent on the dirt in recent years and even won the pole in his most recent appearance at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in 2018.

The Crawfordsville, Ind. driver erased the label Sunday night with a dominant victory in the Ted Horn 100 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds, his first career triumph in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series in his 53rd career series start, leading the final 59 laps to notch the win 11 years following his lone career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory on the Salem, Ind. high banks.

"I'm still a pavement guy, right," Wilson said with a grin. "We still joke about that. It became more apparent the last couple years that, if we did get our first win, it was going to be on the dirt, which is kind of weird. The pavement's still what I love but we just don't have as good of runs anymore."

"Man, this one is special," Wilson continued. "There's so many people that put effort into this thing. To get my brother his first win as a crew chief, to get (Matt) Hummel a win on this thing, my entire family and all the guys, it's special, that's for sure."

Wilson started from the seventh position to begin the 100-miler, which at first, became the race that just couldn't get going. Austin Nemire's car refused to turn on the first turn of the opening lap, sending the Sylvania, Ohio native helplessly into the outside wall. On the lap six restart, Levittown, Pennsylvania's Mike Haggenbottom tagged the turn two wall, sending him into a series of flips. Both drivers walked away from their incidents.

The third try was the charm as the race got into full swing with pole winner Tyler Courtney leading the way and Brady Bacon giving chase, both of whom have won with the series on dirt this year and were both in contention to win last year's Ted Horn 100.

Bacon applied constant pressure to Courtney until sailing around the outside of May Hoosier Hundred winner Tyler Courtney on the outside of turn two on the 19th lap for the race lead as Wilson pulled along to mount a challenge to Courtney for the runner-up spot before falling back into line in third.

Wilson stuck with Courtney for second, and on lap 26, threw his machine past the reigning USAC Sprint champ in turn one for the spot. Bacon's advantage held at five car lengths ahead of Wilson with a quarter of the race in the history books.

Nearing midway, Bacon and Wilson led a two-car breakaway to separate themselves from the pack. On lap 42, Wilson made his move, riding to the outside of Bacon off the fourth turn as the two went wheel to wheel under the flag stand. It became a case of who was going to be the last one to lift, with Wilson gaining the upper hand up top to drive around Bacon and open up a more than two second lead at the crossed flags as he invaded lap traffic.

"This thing was stuck so good, I knew we were going to be able to drive in deeper than Brady," Wilson explained. "It was just one of those deals where if he'd try to drive it in as well, it was a battle of who could get to the cushion and then who could get through the first corner first."

In the second half, Silver Crown races become a questioning of whether enough was saved on your end and whether others have saved fuel and tire-wise to make a run at you down the stretch. Wilson grappled with that as the field endured a long green flag run. In the midst of it, Courtney came alive on the 65th lap, ripping around Bacon in turns one and two for the second spot and cutting the gap to Wilson nearly in half, down to 2.4 seconds.

Despite that, Wilson was cruising with ease, on rails, with his Wilson Brothers Racing/D.D. Eyes - FK Indy/Maxim/Claxton Chevy whoa'd down to 80 percent of its full capability yet was still pulling away from the field. There's good and there's "too good." It's something which actually caused a bit of stress on the mind of Wilson.

"When you have a car this good, you never win with it," Wilson said. "Something always happens. You run out of fuel, you blow a tire, you lose an engine. There's always something that happens."

However, the team felt they had an ace up their sleeve, which worked in their favor.
"(Crew chief and brother) Clint (Wilson) made the call to go with the hard compound, which not a lot people did, I don't think," Wilson explained. "It allowed me to kick it down once we needed to later in the race if I gapped back up. I could kick it down and not have to worry about the tires blowing off of it, just conserve fuel."

But there were several steps along the way to get to that point, namely traffic, where Wilson saw his advantage shrink from nearly three seconds to a second-and-a-half in a two-lap span at the start of the final quarter of the race as he navigated his way by the lapped cars of Chris Urish, Kody Swanson and Austin Mundie.

Wilson was patient, never forcing anything despite the closing deficit and was ultimately able to clear them all as Courtney walked the tightrope on the high line around the traffic, while Wilson gradually reconstructed his lead to three-plus seconds and Courtney became bound up in the throes of gridlock.

Eighth-running Brian Tyler, a 2008 Ted Horn 100 winner, went up in smoke with 14 laps remaining to bring out the yellow, erasing Wilson's gap in a sense, although four lapped cars remained between he and Courtney. With a clear track, Wilson tipped his cap and drove away once again, showing no ill effects from the breaking of his half-race-long stride.

"Once I took back off and (my spotter) had me at 20 car lengths at the end of the first lap, it kind of started to sink in there," Wilson remembered. "Then you start hearing every little noise in it, every little vibration, what's going to let go."

Jacob Wilson's first career triumph in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series camein his 53rd career series start. The win was his second in USAC National competition, 11 years following his lone career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory on the Salem, Ind. high banks.
(Dallas Breeze Photo)

Behind Wilson, Courtney and Bacon swapped second back-and-forth on laps 92 and 93 before regained the upper hand on lap 94. However, Justin Grant was the man on the move on the final restart, willing himself from eighth to fifth between laps 91 and 95, and an amazing fifth to second run in one fell swoop exiting turn two on lap 96.

Up front, Wilson sealed the deal, running seemingly half-throttle in preservation mode during the final laps, just in case. Yet, the gap widened as all his potential challengers were knee-deep in a scintillating battle for second.

Wilson closed it out to win by 6.330 seconds over Grant, Courtney, 1990 Du Quoin winner Jeff Swindell and Bacon. Wilson became the third first-time winner of the 2019 USAC Silver Crown season following Kyle Hamilton and Bacon.

Meanwhile, the point race tightened up following point leader Kody Swanson's mechanical gremlins throughout the night. His Nolen Racing team lost power to two different engines during practice. Patrick Lawson gave up his ride to Swanson for the main event where the four-time series champ charged from 29th to 14th to earn KSE Racing Products Hard Charger honors.

Tanner Thorson, in his first USAC Silver Crown appearance since 2015, walked away from a vicious accident on the back straightway during practice in which his steering broke, sending him into the inside guardrail and practically splitting the car in half from the dash forward. He walked away uninjured.

Contingency award winners Sunday night at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds included Tyler Courtney (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier), Kody Swanson (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Kyle Steffens (WIlwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 1, 2019 - Du Quoin State Fairgrounds - Du Quoin, Illinois - Ted Horn 100

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Tyler Courtney, 97, Lein-30.627; 2. Brady Bacon, 6, Klatt-30.797; 3. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy-30.845; 4. Jerry Coons, Jr., 55, Bateman-31.100; 5. Chad Kemenah, 15, Hampshire/Kemenah-31.123; 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 56, Foxco-31.182; 7. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-31.454; 8. Chris Urish, 77, Urish-31.496; 9. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-31.617; 10. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight/Byrd-31.677; 11. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-31.715; 12. Jimmy Light, 123, Two-Three-31.857; 13. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-31.886; 14. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-31.923; 15. Jeff Swindell, 21, Swanson-31.932; 16. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-32.058; 17. Casey Buckman, 74, C-Buck-32.074; 18. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong/Slinkard-32.333; 19. Austin Mundie, 47, Butler-32.365; 20. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott/Gorman-32.409; 21. Brian Tyler, 12, Galas-32.410; 22. Dallas Hewitt, 57, Hewitt-32.467; 23. Bill Rose, 66, Rose-32.628; 24. A.J. Fike, 14, McQuinn-32.772; 25. Kyle Steffens, 08, Steffens-32.773; 26. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-32.911; 27. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-32.937; 28. Ronnie Wuerdeman, 33, Wuerdeman-33.125; 29. Terry Babb, 34, Morford-33.442; 30. John Heydenreich, 43, Felker-33.624; 31. Danny Long, 44, Long-34.571; 32. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-35.283; 33. Steve Buckwalter, 53, Five Three-NT; 34. C.J. Leary, 10, DMW-NT; 35. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-NT; 36. Korey Weyant, 99, Weyant-NT; 37. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-NT; 38. Tanner Thorson, 9, Dyson-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Jacob Wilson (6), 2. Justin Grant (8), 3. Tyler Courtney (1), 4. Jeff Swindell (13), 5. Brady Bacon (2), 6. Chris Windom (9), 7. David Byrne (10), 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (5), 9. Chad Kemenah (4), 10. Matt Goodnight (12), 11. Casey Buckman (15), 12. Jimmy Light (11), 13. Kyle Steffens (22), 14. Kody Swanson (#2 Lawson) (29), 15. Austin Mundie (17), 16. Chris Urish (7), 17. John Heydenreich (25), 18. A.J. Fike (21), 19. Travis Welpott (18), 20. Kyle Robbins (23), 21. Brian Tyler (19), 22. Bill Rose (28), 23. Jerry Coons, Jr. (3), 24. Dallas Hewitt (20), 25. Eric Gordon (16), 26. Ronnie Wuerdeman (31), 27. Mike Haggenbottom (14), 28. Terry Babb (24), 29. Dave Berkheimer (26), 30. C.J. Leary (30), 31. Austin Nemire (27). NT

**Tanner Thorson flipped during practice. Mike Haggenbottom flipped on lap 6 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-18 Tyler Courtney, Laps 19-41 Brady Bacon, Laps 42-100 Jacob Wilson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Kody Swanson (29th to 14th)


NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-504, 2-Justin Grant-465, 3-David Byrne-401, 4-Eric Gordon-344, 5-Bobby Santos-326, 6-Kyle Hamilton-317, 7-Mike Haggenbottom-299, 8-Chris Windom-296, 9-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-293, 10-Austin Nemire-280.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: September 7, 2019 - Lucas Oil Raceway - Brownsburg, Indiana - Rich Vogler Classic

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#91 Justin Grant, second in USAC Silver Crown points heading into Sunday's Ted Horn 100 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois.
(Adam Mollenkopf Photo)


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois (August 26, 2019).........The Du Quoin State Fairgrounds have been a staple on the AAA and USAC Championship Car racing trail since 1948. Seven decades later, the spectacular sight of a full field of USAC Silver Crown cars rumbling down the front stretch of the one-mile dirt oval in southern Illinois sends a chill down the spine.

The chill, and the roar, returns this Sunday night, September 1, with the Ted Horn 100, honoring the late, great three-time AAA National Champion, National Sprint Car Hall of Famer and 1947 Indianapolis 500 pole winner who finished in the top-four at the Brickyard in nine consecutive races between 1936 and 1948. He lost his life in the peak of his career in a racing accident at Du Quoin in October of 1948 at the age of 38.

Horn's legacy remains today as the namesake of the grand event where two-time race winner Chris Windom led only six laps in the 2018 edition, preserving his machinery down the stretch to win and complete the sweep of both Illinois dirt miles after winning at Springfield just weeks before. The Canton, Ill. driver won his first at Du Quoin in 2016 en route to the series title.

Local favorite Shane Cockrum of Benton, Ill. finished 3rd in last year's Ted Horn 100 to earn his sixth-straight top-five finish at Magic Mile. The race will mark his final appearance for Hardy Boys Motorsports at Du Quoin where, together, they've earned two victories in 2014 and 2015, plus a 4th (2013), 5th (2016), 2nd (2017) and a 3rd (2018).

Point leader Kody Swanson has won the Ted Horn 100 twice in his unparalleled Silver Crown career. In 2010, he captured the first of his record 28 career series victories at Du Quoin. In 2017, the Kingsburg, Calif. driver netted his second in the event. The four-time series champion enters his 101st start Sunday night following wins in the two most recent races at Salem, Ind. and Madison, Wisc., two of his series-leading four scores this season. The Nolen Racing No. 20 in which he competes with this year led the first six laps of last year's contest with driver Jerry Coons, Jr.

The field is expected to possess five additional one-time Du Quoin winners in Jeff Swindell (1990), Russ Gamester (1997), Shane Cottle (2007), Brian Tyler (2008) and Chris Urish (2013).

Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) finished second in last year's Ted Horn 100 behind Windom and enters Sunday's race with four-straight top-two finishes on the dirt with the series. Williams Grove winner Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) paced the field for 28 laps in the 2018 100-miler before dropping out with a clutch problem while leading. USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) led a race-high 53 laps in 2018, running out of fuel while leading, but soldiering on to a 9th place finish. Hoosier Hundred winner Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) led seven laps late in the going, but ran out of fuel, settling for a 14th place finish.

No driver owns more Champ Car wins under AAA and USAC sanction at Du Quoin than A.J. Foyt with six. Gary Bettenhausen has been victorious in five while Mario Andretti, Tony Bettenhausen, Tom Bigelow, Chuck Gurney and Jack Hewitt each have three. Those with a pair of Du Quoin wins include Jimmy Bryan, Shane Cockrum, Sam Hanks, Tracy Hines, Johnny Parsons, Kody Swanson, Al Unser and Chris Windom.

1951 Indianapolis 500 winner Lee Wallard won the first appearance of AAA National Championship cars at Du Quoin in 1948. Ted Horn finished third behind Wallard and Myron Fohr.

Nine different Illinois drivers have won at Du Quoin, including Tinley Park's Tony Bettenhausen (1949 & twice in 1951), Rantoul's Don Branson (1965), Danville's Bubby Jones (1976), Tinley Park's Gary Bettenhausen (twice in 1980, 1982, 1983 & 1988), Chicago's Rich Vogler (1981), Kansas' Shane Cottle (2007), Elkhart's Chris Urish (2013), Benton's Shane Cockrum (2014 & 2015) and Canton's Chris Windom (2016 & 2018).

Pits and registration open at 1pm, grandstands open at 4pm, practice at 5pm, qualifying at 6:30 with the Ted Horn 100 scheduled for an 8:15pm start. All times central.

Tickets will be available on raceday or by calling the Du Quoin Fair office at 618-542-1535. Info and tickets can also be obtained by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.

Advance tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. On the day of the race, adults are $30 and children 11 and under are $10. Pit passes are $35 apiece for adults and $20 for children 11 and under.

Sunday's Ted Horn 100 will have live, flag-to-flag coverage on FloRacing. You can listen to live audio of the broadcast for free on the USAC app or follow along with live updates on and with live timing and scoring available on both the USAC and Race-Monitor apps.

1948: Lee Wallard & Johnnie Parsons
1949: Tony Bettenhausen
1951: Tony Bettenhausen & Tony Bettenhausen
1952: Chuck Stevenson
1953: Sam Hanks
1954: Sam Hanks
1955: Jimmy Bryan
1956: Jimmy Bryan
1957: Jud Larson
1958: Johnny Thomson
1959: Rodger Ward
1960: A.J. Foyt
1961: A.J. Foyt
1963: A.J. Foyt
1964: A.J. Foyt
1965: Don Branson
1966: Bud Tingelstad
1967: A.J. Foyt
1968: Mario Andretti
1969: Al Unser
1970: Al Unser
1971: George Snider
1972: Tom Bigelow & A.J. Foyt
1973: Mario Andretti
1974: Mario Andretti
1975: Tom Bigelow
1976: Bubby Jones
1977: Tom Bigelow
1978: Pancho Carter
1979: Bill Vukovich
1980: Gary Bettenhausen & Gary Bettenhausen
1981: Rich Vogler
1982: Gary Bettenhausen
1983: Gary Bettenhausen
1984: Joe Saldana
1985: Rick Hood
1986: Jack Hewitt
1987: Jack Hewitt
1988: Gary Bettenhausen
1989: Chuck Gurney
1990: Jeff Swindell
1991: Stevie Reeves
1992: Johnny Parsons
1993: Jack Hewitt
1994: Chuck Gurney
1995: Johnny Parsons
1996: Chuck Gurney
1997: Russ Gamester
1998: Jimmy Sills
1999: Tony Elliott
2000: Kasey Kahne
2001: Paul White
2002: J.J. Yeley
2003: Rich Tobias, Jr.
2004: Tyler Walker
2005: Tracy Hines
2006: Tracy Hines
2007: Shane Cottle
2008: Brian Tyler
2010: Kody Swanson
2011: Kyle Larson
2013: Chris Urish
2014: Shane Cockrum
2015: Shane Cockrum
2016: Chris Windom
2017: Kody Swanson
2018: Chris Windom

1. (6) A.J. Foyt
2. (5) Gary Bettenhausen
3. (3) Mario Andretti, Tony Bettenhausen, Tom Bigelow, Chuck Gurney & Jack Hewitt
8. (2) Jimmy Bryan, Shane Cockrum, Sam Hanks, Tracy Hines, Johnny Parsons, Kody Swanson, Al Unser & Chris Windom
16. (1) Don Branson, Pancho Carter, Shane Cottle, Tony Elliott, Russ Gamester, Rick Hood, Bubby Jones, Kasey Kahne, Jud Larson, Kyle Larson, Johnnie Parsons, Stevie Reeves, Joe Saldana, Jimmy Sills, George Snider, Chuck Stevenson, Jeff Swindell, Johnny Thomson, Bud Tingelstad, Rich Tobias, Jr., Brian Tyler, Chris Urish, Rich Vogler, Bill Vukovich, Tyler Walker, Lee Wallard, Rodger Ward, Paul White & J.J. Yeley

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#56 Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Cullman, Alabama)
(Rich Forman Photo)


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Springfield, Illinois (August 14, 2019).........No driver has finished as consistently well on the dirt tracks of the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series over the past calendar year than has Kevin Thomas, Jr., as he prepares for this Saturday's 58th running of the Bettenhausen 100 presented by BRANDT at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

There's been a consistent theme in each of the Cullman, Alabama native's last four starts: a 2nd at Springfield, a 2nd at Du Quoin, and a 2nd at Eldora to close out 2018, followed by another 2nd place result in his only start on the dirt this season in May's Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Mile.

Four-straight top-two finishes is an impressive statistic regardless of which aspect you choose to look at it. In a championship race, in most cases, that puts a driver right in the thick of the hunt. But Thomas is in the business of winning races at this point after missing two starts on the Silver Crown schedule, and that's his sole focus heading into Springfield.

Thomas is now among a group of four drivers who've ran second at least four times in their Silver Crown careers without getting a win thus far: Arnie Knepper, 1984 series champion Dave Blaney, Pablo Donoso and himself.

The difference being that Thomas is in the midst of the run and seems more than ready to punch open the door to victory lane at this point. There's been no riding around, no war of attrition that's put him up front and no luck. Thomas has been a force on the dirt and there's no doubt he's game for a winning run once again. Over those past four races, he's led three of them for 138 of the 250 total laps (55.2%) and was in the lead entering the final 10-lap stretch in all three of the races at Springfield, Eldora and the Indy Mile.

With 25 career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car wins to go along with 5 victories in the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget division, Thomas is more than poised to end that with that elusive W at a place where the famed Gohr/Foxco No. 56 has won three poles with Tom Bigelow in 1981, Steve Chassey in 1983 and Dave Darland in 1999, along with four 100-mile victories by Chuck Gurney in 1994 and Dave Darland in 1997, 1999 and 2003. Thomas very well could be next in line this Saturday to join that prestigious group in both categories.

A win Saturday would also move Thomas into a select group of drivers who've earned their first career Champ Car wins in the Silver Crown era at the Springfield Mile, following Larry Rice (1977), Gary Bettenhausen (1978), Bobby Olivero (1979), Cole Whitt (2009) and Justin Grant (2017).

1. (4) Dave Blaney, Pablo Donoso, Arnie Knepper & Kevin Thomas, Jr.
5. (3) Randy Tolsma
6. (2) Jimmy Caruthers, Jac Haudenschild & Jon Stanbrough
9. (1) Robert Ballou, Tim Barber, Mike Brecht, Barry Camp, Tom Capie, Ed Carpenter, Jim Childers, Bob Cicconi, Carl Edwards, Bob Ewell, Robby Flock, Stan Fox, Damion Gardner, Gene Lee Gibson, Jesse Hockett, Jon Johnson, P.J. Jones, Michael Lewis, Warren Mockler, Bill Puterbaugh, Pete Shepherd III, Bentley Warren, Greg Weld, Kramer Williamson & Jacob Wilson

(Silver Crown Era 1971-Present)
1977: Larry Rice
1978: Gary Bettenhausen
1979: Bobby Olivero
2009: Cole Whitt
2017: Justin Grant

The Bettenhausen 100 in Springfield gets underway with pits opening and registration starting at 7am (Central), the ticket office and grandstands opening at 9am, the drivers meeting at 9:30am, Silver Crown practice from 10am to 11:10am, Fatheadz Silver Crown Qualifying at 11:30am, Sportsman hot laps at noon, the Silver Crown Qualifying Race at 12:30pm, Sportsman heats at 1pm, pre-race ceremonies at 1:30pm and the Bettenhausen 100-mile race at 2pm.

Tickets will be available on raceday or by calling the State Fair office at 217-782-1979. Info and tickets can also be obtained by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200. Discount tickets for Sunday also available at Menards. Advance Tickets (Presale) are $25 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. On race day, tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. Infield tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children 11 and under. Pit passes are $35 for adults and $20 for children 11 and under. Infield parking is $5 for those parking in the infield with no infield or pit passes.

This Saturday's Springfield race can be watched LIVE and on-demand on FloRacing, listened to via live audio on the USAC app as well as live timing and scoring on both the USAC app and the Race-Monitor app.

2019 BETTENHAUSEN 100 ENTRY LIST (37 Drivers)
07 JACOB WILSON/Crawfordsville, IN (Wilson Brothers Racing)
08 KYLE STEFFENS/St. Louis, MO (Kyle Steffens)
2 PATRICK LAWSON/Edwardsville, IL (Patrick Lawson)
6 BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK (Klatt Enterprises)
7 KYLE ROBBINS/New Castle, IN (KR Racing)
9 ®CHRIS DYSON/Pleasant Valley, NY (Chris Dyson Racing)
10 C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN (DMW Motorsports)
12 BRIAN TYLER/Mt. Pleasant, NC (Galas Motorsports)
14 A.J. FIKE/Galesburg, IL (Dennis & Dave McQuinn)
15 CHAD KEMENAH/Arvada, OH (Hampshire/Kemenah Racing)
16 AUSTIN NEMIRE/Sylvania, OH (Nemire-Lesko Racing)
17 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL (Goodnight-Byrd Racing)
20 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA (Gene Nolen Racing)
21 JEFF SWINDELL/Germantown, TN (Mark Swanson Encore Team)
24 MIKE HAGGENBOTTOM/Levittown, PA (John Haggenbottom)
26 AARON PIERCE/Muncie, IN (Sam Pierce)
29 JOEY MOUGHAN/Springfield, IL (Joey Moughan)
31 ®DAVE BERKHEIMER/Mechanicsburg, PA (Berkheimer Racing)
33 ®RONNIE WUERDEMAN/Cincinnati, OH (Ronnie Wuerdeman)
34 TERRY BABB/Decatur, IL (Ken Morford)
39 MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN (Goodnight Racing)
40 DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI (Byrne Racing)
43 JOHN HEYDENREICH/Bloomsburg, PA (A.J. Felker)
44 DANNY LONG/Bonne Terre, MO (Danny Long)
47 ®AUSTIN MUNDIE/Dallas, TX (Patty Butler)
51 RUSS GAMESTER/Peru, IN (Gamester Racing)
53 STEVE BUCKWALTER/Royersford, PA (Five Three Motorsports)
56 KEVIN THOMAS, JR./Cullman, AL (Foxco Racing)
57 ®DALLAS HEWITT/Troy, OH (Dallas Hewitt)
71 SHANE COCKRUM/Benton, IL (Hardy Boys Motorsports)
77 CHRIS URISH/Elkhart, IL (Chris Urish)
78 ERIC GORDON/Fortville, IN (Armstrong/Slinkard Racing)
81 SHANE COTTLE/Kansas, IL (Curtis Williams)
91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (Hemelgarn Racing)
97 TYLER COURTNEY/Indianapolis, IN (Hans Lein)
99 ®KOREY WEYANT/Springfield, IL (Scott Weyant)
123 ®JIMMY LIGHT/West Springfield, PA (Two-Three Motorsports)

® = USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year contender

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Kody Swanson celebrates his fourth consecutive victory in the Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial Saturday night at Salem Speedway.
(Dallas Breeze Photo)


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Salem, Indiana (August 10, 2019).........Time and time again, it seems that whenever Kody Swanson comes face-to-face with adversity, it's a near guarantee that adversity has no fighting chance.

Twas the case Saturday night in round seven of the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series season at Salem Speedway where the Kingsburg, Calif. native had to jump into his backup car early after engine issues befell his primary Nolen Racing ride during practice. Swanson jumped into the secondary car, promptly put it on the pole and led wire-to-wire to capture his fourth consecutive Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial victory, equaling a feat previously only accomplished by Pancho Carter in 1974-75-76-77.

In fact, it's the second time this year Swanson was thrust into this scenario. He encountered mechanical trouble with the primary in the opener at Memphis before sitting on the pole and winning the main event.

It's not an easy scenario for any individual to overcome, but Swanson just makes it appear easy. The reality is, without the amount of preparation they put into it, their night could've been toast before it even began. Instead, Swanson and Nolen get to once again enjoy the spoils of victory for the fourth time in seven races in 2019.

"Obviously, it was not part of the plan," Swanson admitted. "We practiced with the primary car, I picked out my best shocks and springs and did all the homework I could on that one and was really happy with where we were for running on used tires."

Right before the second round of practice started, crew member Chris Phillips noticed that water was coming through one of the nozzle filters. Engine builder Bill Tranter noticed it was a big issue as well, and Swanson was forced to hop out of the primary while the team quickly retrieved the backup car. Crew members Rick Laughlin and Dale Latty had worked on the backup car leading up to the event to make sure it was ready just in case it was needed.

In a matter of minutes, the backup car went from having travel tires on it to race tires that could be scuffed for qualifying. The time that was left only allowed for two laps of practice, which proved pivotal for Swanson to diagnose what needed to be done.

"In those two laps, I was able to find the things I didn't like about the racecar and what made me uncomfortable from the cockpit," Swanson explained. "Immediately, we came in and there was no 'hey, we're tired. You figure it out.' They all jumped in and continued to just battle it out to make it better."

Swanson described his qualifying run as an uncomfortable two laps. Yet, it was good enough for the four-time series champ to win the pole by more than three tenths of a second. Despite all that, Swanson had the hunger for more.

"After we qualified, I came in and wanted to change four shocks and four springs," Swanson recalled. "Not once did any of the guys give me any grief, like 'hey, don't be greedy.' They just kept after it."

Swanson edged ahead at the start of the 75-lap race with outside front row starter Bobby Santos delivering a challenge to the right rear hip pocket of Swanson exiting the second turn, which would develop into a five car breakaway led by Swanson, followed by Santos, David Byrne, Aaron Pierce and Kyle Hamilton in the opening five laps.

Austin Nemire slowed to bring out the first yellow flag on lap 8, pouring smoke and then fluid on the surface to force an early conclusion to his night.

On the lap 14 restart, Byrne used a big run on the front straightaway to slip underneath Santos for second, then began to hustle to present a challenge toward Swanson. By lap 20, however, Swanson had broken away from Byrne to nearly a second as Byrne fronted a conga line ahead of Santos, Pierce and Hamilton.

Following a yellow flag for 2016 series champ Chris Windom who slowed before pulling into the pits and climbing out on lap 32, Swanson was stopped by race officials to see if he was leaking fluid. Everything checked out in order and Swanson resumed his race from the head of the pack.

Once racing returned to green, Swanson went into full decimation mode, opening up a half-straightaway lead by lap 40 and then a full-straightaway advantage by lap 50. As Swanson entered the clear, he was cruising as much as one possibly car at a place like Salem with its daunting 33-degree banking.

Behind him, though, a tight scramble for position ensued, allowing Swanson to open up the interval even more as second-running Byrne encountered the lapped car of Mike Haggenbottom. Byrne drifted high in turn two on lap 55, allowing Santos to rip by underneath to return to second. Hamilton slid up in front of Byrne in turn one three laps later for third while Pierce followed suit on the next lap in turn one by Byrne for fourth.

With ten laps remaining and tussling in traffic, Hamilton got hung up behind a lapped car, forcing him high at the exit of turn four, which Pierce took full advantage of, diving to the inside of Hamilton to take third.

With six laps remaining, five-time Indianapolis 500 starter James Davison tagged the turn four wall, slowing briefly to bring out the final caution period of the night. He continued on to finish an impressive ninth in his USAC Silver Crown debut.

Kody Swanson's victory Saturday at Salem arrived on the same night he became the 19th driver to join the 100-start club in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series, and in the process, equaled a mark set by USAC Hall of Famer Pancho Carter by winning four-straight in the Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial.
(Rich Forman Photo)

The yellow erased a seven-plus second lead for Swanson who now had to endure a two-lap rendezvous to secure the win. Santos took a peek under Swanson as soon as the green flag appeared on lap 74. Swanson answered the challenge, protecting his line into turn one, before stretching his lead to 0.914 of a second by race's end, closing out his record-extending 28th career series victory over Santos, Pierce, Hamilton and Byrne.

The victory arrived on the same night Swanson became the 19th driver to join the 100-start club in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series, and in the process, equaled a mark set by USAC Hall of Famer Pancho Carter by winning four-straight in the Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial.

"Pancho is legendary in our sport," Swanson admired. "It's just plain cool to share the torch with Pancho at one of the toughest places we tackle. To come out on top, you've got to beat the racetrack and everybody else and there are countless great competitors here."

Swanson's victory in his Nolen Racing/KECO Coatings - Goodridge - K & N Filters/Beast/Tranter Chevy was reminiscent of the arrival of the Silver Crown division to Salem in 1988 where a strikingly similar-appearing yellow No. 20 was victorious with driver Bob Frey.

Swanson dedicated his win to the memory of USAC Media/Public Relations/Vice President Dick Jordan, who passed away the day before, on Friday, August 9.

"I'm thinking of our friend, D.J., Swanson said. "I shared the race with him today from qualifying through all 75 laps. He's been riding along with me since Wednesday. For whatever reason, I had "50s on 5" on the radio. I can't explain why, but it all makes sense. Certainly, I'll miss him, but I'm certainly glad to win this one in his memory."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Salem Speedway included Kody Swanson (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier), Patrick Lawson (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Joe Liguori (WIlwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 10, 2019 - Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery - Salem, Indiana - Discover Scott County Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial presented by the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-16.001; 2. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-16.322; 3. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-16.392; 4. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-16.450; 5. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-16.451; 6. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-16.488; 7. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight/Byrd-16.617; 8. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong/Slinkard-16.681; 9. Derek Bischak, 131, Bischak-16.856; 10. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-16.904; 11. Joe Liguori, 32, Williams/Wright-17.074; 12. James Davison, 11, DHR/Byrd-17.108; 13. Cody Gallogly, 81, Williams-17.184; 14. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-17.222; 15. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-17.295; 16. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-17.536; 17. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-17.684; 18. Ronnie Gardner, 43, Felker-18.433; 19. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-21.348.

FEATURE: (75 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kody Swanson (1), 2. Bobby Santos (2), 3. Aaron Pierce (3), 4. Kyle Hamilton (6), 5. David Byrne (4), 6. Justin Grant (5), 7. Eric Gordon (8), 8. Derek Bischak (9), 9. James Davison (12), 10. Kyle Robbins (10), 11. Cody Gallogly (13), 12. Patrick Lawson (16), 13. Joe Liguori (11), 14. Mike Haggenbottom (17), 15. Matt Goodnight (15), 16. Chris Windom (7), 17. Ronnie Gardner (18), 18. Austin Nemire (14), 19. Dave Berkheimer (19). 28:21.258


FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-75 Kody Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Patrick Lawson (16th to 12th)


NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-469, 2-Justin Grant-398, 3-David Byrne-349, 4-Bobby Santos-326, 5-Eric Gordon-326, 6-Kyle Hamilton-317, 7-Mike Haggenbottom-283, 8-Austin Nemire-267, 9-Kyle Robbins-254, 10-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-244.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: August 17, 2019 - Illinois State Fairgrounds - Springfield, Illinois - Bettenhausen 100

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