By Richie Murray
Salem, Indiana (August 12, 2020)………A pair of past Joe James-Pat O’Connor Memorial winners headline the entry list for this Saturday night’s running of the event on August 15 at Indiana’s Salem Speedway featuring the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series.
Brian Gerster (Fishers, Ind.) has tamed the banks twice during his career at the “James/O’Connor,” both of which came while piloting a winged sprint car where he captured back-to-back Salem victories in 2014-15.
Kody Swanson (Kingsburg, Ind.) has already cemented his place in Salem’s history books, but with one more win on Saturday, a new record would be his as he aims for an unprecedented fifth consecutive “James-O’Connor” victory after previous winning performances in 2016-17-18-19, which equals Pancho Carter’s mark in the event between 1974-77.
Swanson, a five-time series king in 2014-15-17-18-19 is joined by fellow Silver Crown titlist Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) in the lineup, the 2016 champ, plus Silver Crown race winners Kyle Hamilton (Danville, Ind.), Bobby Santos (Franklin, Mass.), Aaron Pierce (Muncie, Ind.), David Byrne (Shullsburg, Wisc.), John Heydenreich (Bloomsburg, Pa.) and Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.).
A pair of Silver Crown Rookies are entered for Saturday, including Bryan Gossel (Fort Collins, Colo.) and Kyle O’Gara (Beech Grove, Ind.), both of whom will be joined by past series Rookies of the Year, Angola, Indiana’s Derek Bischak (2019) and New Castle, Indiana’s Kyle Robbins (2018).
Series veteran Jim Anderson (Joliet, Ill.) will make his Silver Crown debut at Salem while numerous other skilled and experience wheelmen will make a return visit to the banks, including Patrick Lawson (Edwardsville, Ill.), Austin Nemire (Sylvania, Ohio), Travis Welpott (Pendleton, Ind.), Mike Haggenbottom (Levittown, Pa.), Dave Berkheimer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), Joe Liguori (Tampa, Fla.) and Matt Goodnight (Winchester, Ind.).
Saturday’s Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial featuring the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series & Lucas Oil Great American Stocks begins with the pits opening at 1pm Eastern, spectator gates at 3pm, practice at 3:30pm, qualifying at 5:45pm and racing at 7:15pm.
General admission tickets are $27 for adults/teens, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for ages 5 and under.
Watch it LIVE on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2Zs7zFP.
JOE JAMES-PAT O’CONNOR MEMORIAL ENTRY LIST: (21 Cars)
06 ®BRYAN GOSSEL/Fort Collins, CO (Bryan Gossel)
1 ®KYLE O’GARA/Beech Grove, IN (SFHR Development)
2 PATRICK LAWSON/Edwardsville, IL (Patrick Lawson)
6 KYLE HAMILTON/Danville, IN (Klatt Enterprises)
7 KYLE ROBBINS/New Castle, IN (KR Racing)
16 AUSTIN NEMIRE/Sylvania, OH (Nemire-Lesko Racing)
17 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL (Goodnight Racing)
18 TRAVIS WELPOTT/Pendleton, IN (Welpott Racing)
20 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA (Nolen Racing)
22 BOBBY SANTOS/Franklin, MA (DJ Racing)
24 MIKE HAGGENBOTTOM/Levittown, PA (John Haggenbottom)
26 AARON PIERCE/Muncie, IN (Sam Pierce)
31 DAVE BERKHEIMER/Mechanicsburg, PA (Dave Berkheimer)
32 JOE LIGUORI/Tampa, FL (Williams & Wright Racing)
37 DEREK BISCHAK/Angola, IN (Derek Bischak)
39 MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN (Goodnight Racing)
40 DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI (Byrne Racing)
43 JOHN HEYDENREICH/Bloomsburg, PA (A.J. Felker)
91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (Hemelgarn Racing)
92 JIM ANDERSON/Joliet, IL (Kazmark Motorsports)
94 BRIAN GERSTER/Fishers, IN (Ram Engineering)
® Represent a USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year contender