By Dick Jordan
Thursday’s “J.D. Byrider 100,” round five of the 2012 USAC Traxxas Silver Crown Championship, is part of Raceway Park at Indianapolis’ Rich Vogler Classic racing program presented by J.D. Byrider, also featuring the USAC Mopar National Midget Series.
Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, Calif. enters Thursday’s program with a 17-point lead over Bobby East in the series standings, both drivers seeking their first Silver Crown title. East won USAC’s 2004 Mopar National midget crown.
Jerry Coons Jr. of Tucson, Ariz. stands third in the rankings, only 23 back of Swanson, trying to earn his second Silver Crown championship. The USAC “Triple Crown” titlist was the 2009 Silver Crown king and is the only driver with two wins so far this season. He won the “Hoosier Hundred” in Indianapolis in May and the June race at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway.
Long-standing track records drivers will aim at Thursday include Jason Leffler’s 2000 one-lap mark of 121.667 mph and Mike Bliss’ 2001 100-lap record of 115.326 mph.
Defending series champion Levi Jones is currently fifth in the standings, 39 behind the leader but only one behind fourth-ranking Bud Kaeding, who is seeking a record fourth series title.
Bliss and East own the most USAC Silver Crown wins at the Indy oval, Bliss five and East three.
Thursday’s program honors the memory of USAC’s winningest driver of all time, Rich Vogler, whose 171 career feature wins include four in the Silver Crown series.
2012 USAC TRAXXAS SILVER CROWN STANDINGS
1-Kody Swanson-222, 2-Bobby East-205, 3-Jerry Coons Jr.-199, 4-Bud Kaeding-184, 5-Levi Jones-183, 6-Tracy Hines-169, 7-Tanner Swanson-157, 8-Bobby Santos-156, 9-A.J. Fike-133, 10-Jacob Wilson-110.