By Dick Jordan
Once again, USAC’s Silver Crown Championship Series will try to crown a 100th different feature winner when the tradition-rich “Hoosier Hundred” unfolds Thursday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
There have been 99 different winners since the series debuted in 1971 and Tanner Swanson’s victory in last Saturday night’s USAC “Hall of Fame Classic” at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis did nothing to change that total.
Swanson, of Kingsburg, Calif., stunned the Lucas Oil Raceway attendees Saturday night with one of the most spectacular USAC Silver Crown performances of all time, leading all 100 laps of the USAC “Hall of Fame Classic” in his Bowman Racing Banjo Corporation Beast/Chevy.
In the closing laps his bid to complete lapping every car in the field was thwarted by a yellow flag, as his brother Kody Swanson, who started dead last after failing to post a qualifying time, held off Tanner to save the night and on the lap 99 restart he actually made an attempt to overhaul Tanner, but to no avail. The win was Tanner’s second straight win at LOR, leading the final 86 laps of last July’s 100-lapper there. It also marked the second time that brothers had finished 1-2 in a USAC Silver Crown race. The two Swansons turned the trick in 2010 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich.
David Byrne, who ran second much of the race, took third at the checkered flag, with Tracy Hines fourth and Bobby Santos fifth. Kody’s finish enabled him to retain the series point lead by nine over Hines going into this Thursday night’s “Hoosier Hundred” at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Saturday’s race was slowed by only two cautions, the first when Caleb Armstrong lost a wheel in turn three on lap 15 and the last when Jarett Andretti’s car stalled on the front stretch on lap 95.
Saturday’s festivities included the annual USAC “Hall of Fame” inductions, which saluted Rollie Beale, George Bignotti, Don Branson, Larry Dickson, Gus Hoffman, Jud Larson, Norm Nelson, Eddie Sachs, Don Smith, Bob Stroud, Rodger Ward and Bob Wente.
Thursday’s 100-mile race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds continues a tradition started in 1953.
Former race winners expected to compete Thursday include three-time winner Dave Darland and two-time winner Jerry Coons Jr.
Kody Swanson enters the race with a nine-point lead over Tracy Hines in the series standings. Defending series champion Bobby East is third in points and none the three have ever won the Hoosier Hundred.
2014 USAC Silver Crown Standings:1-Kody Swanson-120, 2-Tracy Hines-111, 3-Bobby East-87, 4-Chris Windom-72, 5-A.J. Fike-72, 6-Jacob Wilson-70, 7-Tanner Swanson-66, 8-Shane Cockrum-64, 9-John Hunt-59, 10-Jerry Coons Jr.-54.