By Larry Boos
A number of milestones and significant accomplishments are targets at this Saturday’s 33rd USAC “4-Crown Nationals” at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
The only event featuring all three of USAC’s National racing series, the “4-Crown” showcases the TRAXXAS Silver Crown, AMSOIL Sprint Cars and Honda National Midgets, culminating with three spectacular feature events on one of America’s most spectacular half-mile dirt tracks. The Midgets open with a 25-lapper, followed by a 30-lap Sprint race and the 50-lap Silver Crown race.
Drivers Jack Hewitt (1998) and Kyle Larson (2011) own victories in all three races in a single year! Dave Darland and Jerry Coons Jr. also own wins in all three, Darland scoring Midget wins in 1999 and 2004, Sprints in 1999 and Silver Crown in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009 and Coons winning MIdgets in 2010, Sprints in 2009 and Silver Crown in 2007.
Tracy Hines and Bryan Clauson hope to join that illustrious list this weekend. Hines needs a Silver Crown win, while Clauson needs Midget and Sprint wins. Obviously, anybody else who could repeat the Hewitt and Larson sweeps could also join the list.
Another possibility Saturday is the 100th USAC oval-track feature winner at Eldora. Since the first race in 1962, a total of 99 drivers have won USAC races at Eldora. Honda National Midget Dirt point leader Christopher Bell is among drivers who will have the first shot at becoming the historic 100th winner.
Darland has tied Jack Hewitt on the all-time list of “4-Crown Nationals” podium finishes, with 21 total. A “top-three” finish in any of the three races Saturday would vault Dave to the top of that list.
In the TRAXXAS Silver Crown Series, nobody has repeated as a winner this year. Seven races in seven events leads into Saturday’s race where a different winner would complete a series which hasn’t seen all different winners in 23 years. Jimmy SIlls won the 1990 series title when there were nine different winners!
Hewitt is the all-time leader in terms of “4-Crown” wins. In addition to his 1998 sweep, he also added a 1993 Midget win, Sprint wins in 1983, 1990, 1991 and 1997 and Silver Crown wins in 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1995 and 1996. Ironically, the last of his 15 “4-Crown wins came in his 1998 sweep!
Closing out Saturday’s historic night will be the five-way “shootout” for the 2013 TRAXXAS USAC Silver Crown Championship.
USAC drivers competing in all three legs of Saturday’s events will gather for a one-hour autograph session in the Eldora “fan zone” from 3-4 pm Saturday.
Practice gets under way at 5 pm and racing starts at 8. Track records targeted will be Josh Wise’s 2006 Silver Crown lap of 15.334 seconds, Jerry Coons Jr.’s 2006 Sprint record of 14.712 and Mike Hess’ 2004 Midget record of 15.801.