By Richie Murray
Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania (August 4, 2020)………Each of the USAC Silver Crown division’s previous 14 visits to the state of Pennsylvania have produced 14 different race winners. Could another new winner emerge in the Silver Crown debut at the half-mile dirt oval of Pennsylvania’s Selinsgrove Speedway this Sunday night, August 9, in the Bill Holland Classic?
The three most recent Pennsylvania-bred Silver Crown races have been captured by a trio of USAC National champions, all at Williams Grove Speedway: Chris Windom (2016), Kody Swanson (2017) and Brady Bacon (2019). They’re all entered for Sunday’s 74-lap event that honors Holland, the man who won the inaugural race at Selinsgrove on July 20, 1946 – 74 years ago.
A 2005 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee, Holland earned the 1941 AAA East championship and took second in the National AAA title race in 1947. Retiring in 1959, Holland scored 53 sprint car triumphs during his career under AAA sanction as well as in unsanctioned events.
His champ car career spanned nearly two decades between 1936 and 1954 and included more than 150 “podium” finishes, including, perhaps, one of the greatest strings of Indianapolis 500 results ever put together during a four-year span between 1947 and 1950 in Lou Moore’s Blue Crown Spark Plug Special: a 2nd in 1947, 2nd in 1948, 1st in 1949 and 2nd in 1950.
Pennsylvania itself is steeped in history with the USAC Silver Crown division, serving as the host of the first-ever race in series history at Nazareth National Speedway in 1971, won by Jim McElreath. That same 1971 season also marked the first, and most recent, visit by USAC at Selinsgrove, when local standout Mitch Smith raced to victory in a National Sprint Car event.
Forty-nine years later, USAC returns to Selinsgrove, with a stacked field of today’s racing heroes, including Silver Crown’s only five-time champion in 2014-15-17-18-19, and 29-time race winner and 29-time pole winner, Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, Calif., plus additional National Champions, 8-time Silver Crown winner and 2016 Silver Crown / 2017 AMSOIL National Sprint champ Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.), plus C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.), twice a Silver Crown race winner and the reigning USAC AMSOIL National Sprint titlist.
Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.), twice a USAC National Sprint champ in 2014 and 2016, and the most recent Pennsylvania Silver Crown winner at Williams Grove in 2019, is entered. Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.), the 2018 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champ is entered for his USAC Silver Crown debut, part of a talented group of wheelmen planning to make their first series start this Sunday along with 7-time USAC National Sprint feature winner Kyle Cummins (Princeton, Ind.), 2017 USAC West Coast Sprint champ Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.).
Joey Biasi (Mary D, Pa.) and Carmen Perigo (Stoystown, Pa.) are frequent front runners with USAC’s Rapid Tire East Coast Sprint Car series, both of whom will be making their first appearance in a Silver Crown car this Sunday. They’re also among the four Pennsylvanians on the entry list alongside series veterans Mike Haggenbottom (Levittown, Pa.) and Dave Berkheimer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.).
Experienced Silver Crown race winners make up a third of the field. Along with the previously mentioned USAC National champions of Bacon, Windom, Swanson and Leary, Silver Crown winners in the Selinsgrove lineup include David Byrne (Shullsburg, Wisc.), Shane Cockrum (Benton, Ill.), Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) and current USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.).
Six-time All Star Circuit of Champions titlist Chad Kemenah (Alvada, Ohio) is back for his second Silver Crown season on the dirt after making his first four series starts in 2019. Twenty-seven-time USAC National Sprint Car winner Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) has finished 2nd five times in his Silver Crown career and is seeking to bump that up one more spot for his first victory with the series.
Past Silver Crown Rookies of the Year, New Castle, Indiana’s Kyle Robbins (2018) and Pleasant Hill, Ohio’s Matt Westfall (2002) are set for their Selinsgrove debuts while series veterans Austin Nemire (Sylvania, Ohio), Travis Welpott (Pendleton, Ind.), Matt Goodnight (Winchester, Ind.), Ronnie Wuerdeman (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Jake Simmons (Terre Haute, Ind.) are geared for another season of Silver Crown competition.
Sunday marks a USAC doubleheader with USAC’s Rapid Tire East Coast Sprint Car series also on the card. Pit gates open at 3pm ET, grandstands at 4:30pm (4pm for advance ticket holders), drivers meeting at 5:30pm and practice at 6pm, followed by qualifying and racing.
Adult general admission tickets for Sunday at Selinsgrove are $25 with students ages 12 – 17 priced at $15. Kids ages 11 and under are free. Pit passes are $40. Reserved seats for all ages are an additional $2 and can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with contact information.
The event will air live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2Zs7zFP.
SELINSGROVE USAC SILVER CROWN ENTRY LIST: (24 cars)
3 JAKE SIMMONS/Terre Haute, IN
4 JOEY BIASI/Mary D, PA
6 BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK
7 KYLE ROBBINS/New Castle, IN
9 KEVIN THOMAS JR./Cullman, AL
10 JAKE SWANSON/Anaheim, CA
15 CHAD KEMENAH/Alvada, OH
16 AUSTIN NEMIRE/Sylvania, OH
17 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL
18 TRAVIS WELPOTT/Pendleton, IN
20 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA
22 LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA
24 MIKE HAGGENBOTTOM/Levittown, PA
30 C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN
31 DAVE BERKHEIMER/Mechanicsburg, PA
33 RONNIE WUERDEMAN/Cincinnati, OH
39 MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN
40 DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI
52 CARMEN PERIGO/Stoystown, PA
53 SHANE COCKRUM/Benton, IL
54 MATT WESTFALL/Pleasant Hill, OH
69 KYLE CUMMINS/Princeton, IN
81 SHANE COTTLE/Kansas, IL
91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA
PENNSYLVANIA USAC SILVER CROWN WINS:
1-Brady Bacon, Chris Windom, Eddie Leavitt, Gary Bettenhausen, Jason Leffler, Jim McElreath, Jimmy Horton, Kasey Kahne, Keith Kauffman, Kody Swanson, Russ Gamester, Sheldon Kinser, Tracy Hines & Tyler Walker
PENNSYLVANIA USAC SILVER CROWN WINNERS:
1971: Jim McElreath (6/20 at Nazareth National Speedway)
1980: Sheldon Kinser (7/5 at Williams Grove Speedway)
1981: Eddie Leavitt (7/5 at Williams Grove Speedway)
1982: Keith Kauffman (12/4 at Nazareth National Motor Speedway)
1983: Gary Bettenhausen (3/26 at Nazareth National Motor Speedway)
1983: Jimmy Horton (7/3 at Nazareth National Motor Speedway)
1999: Jason Leffler (7/17 at Nazareth Speedway)
2000: Tracy Hines (4/8 at Nazareth Speedway)
2001: Russ Gamester (5/5 at Nazareth Speedway)
2003: Kasey Kahne (8/24 at Nazareth Speedway)
2004: Tyler Walker (8/29 at Nazareth Speedway)
2016: Chris Windom (6/10 at Williams Grove Speedway)
2017: Kody Swanson (6/16 at Williams Grove Speedway)
2019: Brady Bacon (6/14 at Williams Grove Speedway)