By Richie Murray
Rossburg, Ohio (September 24, 2019)………The finale for the feast of racing at Eldora Speedway this Saturday night known as the 4-Crown Nationals presented by NKT.tv also presents the finale for the 2019 USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series season.
All Kody Swanson has to do is present at the start of the night’s 50-lap main event and that’ll clinch himself an unprecedented fifth driving title with the series. Justin Grant is second in the series standings, 63 points back. Grant could gain the maximum 76 points for the night if he were to gain the three bonus points for fast qualifying time, three extra for leading the most laps and 70 points for winning the race to get him to 590 total points for the season.
However, the minimum points that a driver can gain in the feature event is 13. If Kody were to finish last in the feature, he would still gain 13 points to lift him from 577 to 590 points. Though Swanson and Grant would be tied in that scenario, Swanson holds the tiebreaker due to his five feature wins throughout the 2019 Silver Crown season.
For the Silver Crown owner’s title, the Klatt Enterprises No. 6 driven by Brady Bacon is in the driver’s seat of the standings with a 15-point lead entering Saturday’s contest. Of course, everything will be easier to sort out once the field is set following Friday’s qualifying session, but regardless of whether Swanson and Nolen Racing earn maximum points this weekend, if Bacon finishes 3rd or better in Saturday’s race, the Klatt team clinches the owner’s title.
Kingsburg, California’s Swanson, a 29-time series race winner, was 5th in last year’s Eldora go. The half-mile remains the only track on the USAC Silver Crown schedule that Swanson hasn’t yet won at. His best USAC finish at The Big E came in a sprint car where he was 2nd in 2015.
Fellow Californian Grant (Ione) was 7th last year at Eldora in the Champ Car. Grant has won three times in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car competition at Eldora, including once in the 4-Crown in 2016.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon took an 8th last in the Crown Car at Eldora. He owns two USAC National Sprint Car wins there, including at the 2014 4-Crown. He won the All Star Sprint Car portion of the 4-Crown in 2016. This past June, he entered victory lane for the first time in Silver Crown competition at Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania.
Greenfield, Indiana’s C.J. Leary was spectacular in last year’s 4-Crown Silver Crown race, leaving nothing on the table as he swapped the lead seven times with Kevin Thomas, Jr. over the final 20 laps to score the victory, the second of his career. He’ll be competing in the same DRC/1-Way Toyota that won last year’s event, but renumbered 10 under the DMW Motorsports banner.
Kevin Thomas, Jr. steps into the Chris Dyson Racing No. 9 for this Saturday’s 4-Crown Silver Crown event. Thomas (Cullman, Ala.) took the runner-up position behind Leary in last year’s race and is eager to score both his first Silver Crown win and first Eldora USAC win in one fell swoop.
Jason McDougal drove the Dyson car last Fall to a 4th place finish in his series debut. This weekend, he steps into the Foxco No. 56 with which Thomas drove to the 2nd place finish at Eldora a year ago. Back in May, McDougal charged his way from 25th to 6th at the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in his second series start. Saturday would mark Silver Crown start number three for McDougal out of Broken Arrow, Okla.
May’s Hoosier Hundred winner Tyler Courtney has been a dominant force at the 4-Crown over the past two seasons with victories in all three USAC divisions: Silver Crown in 2017 and both the Midget and Sprint features in 2018. The reigning USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ from Indianapolis, Ind. also won the pole for the 2016 Silver Crown main at Eldora. His run last year came to a halt after flipping on the eighth lap of the 50-lap feature.
Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) led a race-high 30 laps in last year’s event and finished 3rd after starting from the pole. Alvada, Ohio’s Chad Kemenah is a multi-time Eldora track champion who had his best outing in his third and most recent Silver Crown appearance, starting 4th and finishing 9th at Du Quoin.
Chris Windom, the 2016 USAC Silver Crown champ, has won twice in a champ car at Eldora, both in 2013 and in 2016, in addition to a pair of USAC Sprint wins in 2013 and 2018. He was 22nd after engine trouble befell his ride just five laps in during last year’s Silver Crown race at Eldora.
David Byrne (Shullsburg, Wisc.) has had another solid Silver Crown season with a third place standing in series points entering Saturday. Last year at Eldora, trouble found him early on, flipping on lap three of the main event.
Past series feature winner Eric Gordon (Fortville, Ind.), 6th in series standings, is poised to make his first Silver Crown start at Eldora since 2001. Mike Haggenbottom (Levittown, Pa.) finished 15th in his Silver Crown debut run at Eldora last year and finished a career-best 4th at Williams Grove in June. New Castle, Indiana’s Kyle Robbins, the 2018 series Rookie of the Year, was 9th in his first run at Eldora in a Crown Car a year ago. Austin Nemire (Sylvania, Ohio), a veteran of all three USAC National divisions at Eldora, was 11th in the Crown car at the 2018 4-Crown.
The 4-Crown Nationals kicks off with Silver Crown practice and qualifying on Friday night, September 27, along with a complete show for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars. Pits open at 1:30pm Eastern, front gates at 2pm, drivers meeting at 5:30pm and cars on track at 6pm. General admission tickets are $29 for ages 13 & up and free for ages 12 & under. Reserved tickets are $34 for ages 13 & up and $9 for ages 12 & under.
The following day, on Saturday, September 28, the Silver Crown teams will again have a practice session the following day, leading into their 50-lap finale as part of the event which will feature complete events 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, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and cars on track at 6pm. 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 DRIVER 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.
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES OWNER POINTS: 1-Klatt Enterprises #6-567, 2-Nolen Racing #20-552, 3-Hemelgarn Racing #91-514, 4-Byrne Racing #40-456, 5-DJ Racing #22-378, 6-Armstrong/Slinkard Racing #78-375, 7-Goodnight/Byrd Racing #17-342, 8-John Haggenbottom #24-328, 9-KR Racing #7-320, 10-Nemire/Lesko Racing #16-315.
2018 ELDORA USAC SILVER CROWN RESULTS: 1. C.J. Leary (8), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (10), 3. Shane Cottle (1), 4. Jason McDougal (7), 5. Kody Swanson (5), 6. Jerry Coons, Jr. (2), 7. Justin Grant (12), 8. Brady Bacon (4), 9. Kyle Robbins (11), 10. Jacob Wilson (16), 11. Austin Nemire (15), 12. Bill Rose (20), 13. Steve Buckwalter (#53) (19), 14. Matt Goodnight (9), 15. Mike Haggenbottom (17), 16. Dave Darland (23), 17. Travis Welpott (14), 18. Chris Fetter (18), 19. Dave Berkheimer (21), 20. Aaron Pierce (22), 21. Tyler Courtney (6), 22. Chris Windom (3), 23. David Byrne (13). NT
USAC SILVER CROWN WINS AT ELDORA SPEEDWAY:
1. (8) Jack Hewitt
2. (4) Dave Darland
3. (2) Bryan Clauson, Chris Windom, J.J. Yeley, Jerry Coons, Jr., Larry Rice, Ron Shuman, Steve Butler & Steve Kinser
11. (1) Brian Tyler, C.J. Leary, Christopher Bell, Danny Smith, Jimmy Sills, Ken Schrader, Kevin Huntley, Kyle Larson, Mat Neely & Tyler Courtney
USAC SILVER CROWN WINNERS AT ELDORA SPEEDWAY:
1981: Steve Kinser (4/26) & Steve Kinser (10/11)
1982: Danny Smith (4/25) & Ron Shuman (10/3)
1983: Ken Schrader (9/25)
1985: Larry Rice (10/6)
1986: Jack Hewitt (9/28)
1987: Larry Rice (9/27)
1988: Jack Hewitt (9/25)
1989: Jack Hewitt (9/24)
1990: Steve Butler (9/30)
1991: Jack Hewitt (9/22)
1992: Steve Butler (10/4)
1993: Ron Shuman (10/3)
1994: Jack Hewitt (9/25)
1995: Jack Hewitt (9/23)
1996: Jack Hewitt (9/28)
1997: Kevin Huntley (9/20)
1998: Jack Hewitt (9/26)
1999: Jimmy Sills (9/25)
2000: J.J. Yeley (9/30)
2001: J.J. Yeley (9/22)
2002: Brian Tyler (9/21)
2004: Dave Darland (9/25)
2005: Dave Darland (9/24)
2006: Mat Neely (9/23)
2007: Jerry Coons, Jr. (9/22)
2008: Dave Darland (9/20)
2009: Dave Darland (9/26)
2010: Bryan Clauson (9/25)
2011: Kyle Larson (9/24)
2012: Bryan Clauson (9/22)
2013: Chris Windom (9/21)
2014: Jerry Coons, Jr. (9/21)
2015: Christopher Bell (9/26)
2016: Chris Windom (9/24)
2017: Tyler Courtney (9/23)
2018: C.J. Leary (9/22)