By Richie Murray
Brownsburg, Indiana (August 12, 2021)………An offseason switch to a new team proved to be no issue whatsoever for Kody Swanson during this past May’s USAC Silver Crown season opener at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind.
The Kingsburg, Californian’s first run in the Doran Enterprises No. 77 gave him his sixth career USAC Silver Crown victory at Lucas Oil Raceway, tying him with his younger brother, Tanner Swanson, for the most all-time Silver Crown victories at the .686-mile paved oval.
The Brothers Swanson are deadlocked atop the pecking order entering this Saturday night’s 100-lap, $12,000-to-win Hoosier Classic event at Lucas Oil on August 14, part of a tripleheader of open wheel races that night along with the Browns Oil Champion Midgets and Champion Sprint Cars.
Kody and Tanner are part of the 27 car field lineup for the 52nd Silver Crown race to be held at Lucas Oil Raceway, which has hosted a series event each year since 1985. Kody enters as the series point leader by one single point as he seeks to grab an unprecedented sixth series crown.
Tanner, also of Kingsburg, Calif.), won the pole for the May race, but accrued mechanical issues at the start, then was involved in an accident early once he got rolling, which knocked him out of a repeat LOR victory.
Bobby Santos (Franklin, Mass.) owns four Silver Crown wins at LOR in his career, part of his 11 overall at the track. He’s already won twice there this year, corralling both ends of a Sprint Car and Midget doubleheader on June 17. In May’s Silver Crown opener, Santos led the first 63 laps before finishing 2nd.
Eighteen-time NASCAR Cup Series winner Ryan Newman (South Bend, Ind.) makes his return to USAC Silver Crown competition after a two-year hiatus. Newman, the 1999 USAC Silver Crown champion, is a six-time USAC feature winner with five midget victories and one in the Silver Crown car between 1997 and 1999.
David Byrne (Shullsburg, Wis.) won his lone Silver Crown race in spectacular fashion at LOR in 2014 with a last lap, last corner pass of Tanner Swanson. Byrne earned his best finish of the season in May at LOR, starting 3rd and finishing 3rd.
Russ Gamester (Peru, Ind.), a Lucas Oil Raceway Silver Crown winner in 2000, is primed to make history on Saturday. With another feature start, he’d become just the second driver to reach 200 starts with the series. Dave Darland leads all drivers with 201. Saturday will be the 1989 USAC National Midget champion’s first Silver Crown appearance of the year.
Greenfield, Indiana’s Eric Gordon is a three-time winner at LOR, all in a Sprint Car, back in 1990-91-92. The 1990 Milwaukee Silver Crown winner and nine-time Little 500 winner finished 15th in May, dropping out with 22 laps remaining due to a handling issue.
Reigning USAC Silver Crown champion Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) comes into Saturday’s event after winning his first career pavement race with the series at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in late July. He finished 4th at Lucas Oil Raceway in the spring of this year.
Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.), meanwhile, goes into the weekend as the most recent USAC Silver Crown winner, having been victorious last Sunday night on the dirt at Pennsylvania’s Selinsgrove Speedway. Seavey, the leading series Rookie and third overall in the standings, finished 7th in his pavement Silver Crown debut in May.
This past May’s Little 500 winner at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway, Tyler Roahrig (Plymouth, Ind.), will make his first career USAC Silver Crown appearance on Saturday in the Klatt Enterprises No. 6, which won at LOR in the spring of 2019 with driver Kyle Hamilton.
Aaron Pierce (Muncie, Ind.) is a three-time USAC Silver Crown winner but is looking to race into victory lane for the first time at Lucas Oil Raceway in his career with the series on Saturday. He’s previously won the pole and finished as the runner-up at LOR with the Silver Crown series.
Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) finished 8th at LOR in the Spring and is a two-time USAC Silver Crown winner on dirt, and led the series point standings earlier this season.
Women racers Taylor Ferns and Toni Breidinger each possess USAC Silver Crown experience at LOR. Ferns (Shelby Township, Mich.) finished 5th in her only series start of the year thus far, finishing 5th at LOR. Breidinger (Hillsborough, Calif.) will make her season debut on Saturday.
Joe Liguori (Tampa, Fla.), grandson of four-decade USAC feature winner Ralph Liguori will make his first Silver Crown appearance of the season Saturday at LOR, joining the remainder of the group, who all competed in this past May’s season opener at the track.
Patrick Lawson (Edwardsville, Ill.) was the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger back in May, racing from 17th to 9th. Austin Nemire (Sylvania, Ohio) took a solid 10th in the same race, just ahead of New Castle, Indiana’s Kyle Robbins (11th), Beech Grove, Indiana’s Kyle O’Gara (12th), Fort Collins, Colorado’s Bryan Gossel (13th) and Levittown, Pennsylvania’s Mike Haggenbottom (14th).
A handful more experienced mechanical issues and/or incidents that knocked them out early back in May: Winchester, Indiana’s Matt Goodnight (16th) dropped out due to handling; Pendleton, Indiana’s Travis Welpott due to a broken driveshaft (20th) and Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania’s Dave Berkheimer, who endured a fuel pickup issue.
Jake Day (Abilene, Texas) and Nathan Byrd (Goodyear, Ariz.) were involved in separate incidents that knocked them out of the race early back in May. Derek Bischak (Angola, Ind.), the 2019 Silver Crown Rookie of the Year, could not make the start in May after qualifying due to Little 500 commitments when the race was postponed to the next morning.
The inaugural Hoosier Classic will feature all three open wheel divisions back-to-back-to-back under the Saturday night lights, concluding with a $10,000-to-win 50-lap Championship Sprint Car feature, followed by a $10,000-to-win 50-lap Browns Oil Champion Midget feature and the grand finale, a 100-lap USAC Silver Crown race paying $12,000-to-win.
Saturday’s schedule will have the gates opening at 11am Eastern, followed by the drivers meeting at 2:50pm; stands opening at 3pm; sprint car practice at 3:30pm; midget practice at 4:20pm; USAC Silver Crown practice at 5:10pm; sprint car qualifying at 6pm; midget qualifying at 6:45pm; Silver Crown qualifying at 7:30pm; and opening ceremonies at 8:05pm.
Main events get underway at 8:30pm Eastern, leading off with the sprint car feature followed by the midget feature at 9:15pm and the USAC Silver Crown feature at 10pm.
The 2021 Hoosier Classic trifecta will also feature drivers competing on The Oval at Lucas Oil Raceway for their shot at taking home a staggering $100,000.
The Fatheadz $100K Challenge is up for grabs to anyone that can win all three of the Hoosier Classic races (Sprint, Midget and USAC Silver Crown). If a driver and team can win two of those three events, they will collect $50,000.
The addition of these prizes instantly elevates what was going to be the biggest payday in grassroots pavement open-wheel racing to now another stratosphere with a potential winner taking home a total of $132,000 for winning three big races over the course of one night.
Hoosier Classic tickets are now on sale at www.bit.ly/HoosierClassic. General admission tickets are $25, with children age 12 and under free. Pit passes are $35.
Friday’s Hoosier Classic tickets will be honored for Saturday admission, and original ticketholders will be contacted by the Lucas Oil Raceway ticketing team. Camping will still open on Thursday, August 12.
The Hoosier Classic will be aired live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2ZpafUr.
HOOSIER CLASSIC USAC SILVER CROWN ENTRY LIST:
02 TANNER SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA (Bowman)
06 BRYAN GOSSEL/Fort Collins, CO (Gossel)
1 KYLE O’GARA/Beech Grove, IN (SFHR)
2 PATRICK LAWSON/Edwardsville, IL (Lawson)
2v RYAN NEWMAN/South Bend, IN (Vance)
6 TYLER ROAHRIG/Plymouth, IN (Klatt)
7 KYLE ROBBINS/New Castle, IN (KR)
11 NATHAN BYRD/Goodyear, AZ (Hamilton-Byrd)
16 AUSTIN NEMIRE/Sylvania, OH (Nemire-Lesko)
18 TRAVIS WELPOTT/Pendleton, IN (Welpott)
22 BOBBY SANTOS/Franklin, MA (DJ)
24 MIKE HAGGENBOTTOM/Levittown, PA (Haggenbottom)
26 AARON PIERCE/Muncie, IN (Pierce)
31 DAVE BERKHEIMER/Mechanicsburg, PA (Berkheimer)
32 JOE LIGUORI/Tampa, FL (Williams & Wright Racing)
39 MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN (Goodnight)
40 DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI (Byrne)
42 JAKE DAY/Abilene, TX (Day)
51 RUSS GAMESTER/Peru, IN (Gamester)
55 TAYLOR FERNS/Shelby Township, MI (Ferns)
77 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA (Doran)
80 TONI BREIDINGER/Hillsborough, CA (Breidinger)
81 SHANE COTTLE/Kansas, IL (Williams)
91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (Hemelgarn)
99 ERIC GORDON/Fortville, IN (Armstrong)
131 DEREK BISCHAK/Angola, IN (Bischak)
222 LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA (Rice)
USAC SILVER CROWN POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-259, 2-Justin Grant-258, 3-Logan Seavey-238, 4-Shane Cottle-226, 5-Kyle Robbins-205, 6-David Byrne-186, 7-Shane Cockrum-173, 8-Travis Welpott-173, 9-Austin Nemire-173, 10-Chris Windom-172.
TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC SILVER CROWN AT LUCAS OIL RACEWAY:
1 Lap – 5/20/2000 – Jason Leffler – 20.298 – 121.667 mph
10 Laps – 8/2/2001 – Derek Davidson – 3:35.06 – 104.789 mph
15 Laps – 5/22/2003 – Chet Fillip – 5:16.38 – 117.087 mph
20 Laps – 8/2/1995 – Eric Gordon – 7:14.71 – 113.621 mph
25 Laps – 7/11/1987 – Jim Childers – 9:51.91 – 104.306 mph
100 Laps – 5/12/2001 – Mike Bliss – 35:41.40 – 115.326 mph
150 Laps – 7/11/1987 – Jeff Bloom – 1:02:32.109 – 98.728 mph
USAC SILVER CROWN WINS AT LUCAS OIL RACEWAY:
6-Kody Swanson & Tanner Swanson
2-Kenny Irwin Jr., Jim Keeker, Jason Leffler & Ken Schrader
1-Pat Abold, Jeff Bloom, David Byrne, Bob Cicconi, Jay Drake, Bruce Field, Russ Gamester, Kyle Hamilton, Tracy Hines, Rick Hood, Kasey Kahne, Jason McCord, Ryan Newman, Johnny Parsons, George Snider, Dave Steele, Tony Stewart, Brian Tyler & J.J. Yeley
USAC SILVER CROWN WINNERS AT LUCAS OIL RACEWAY:
1985: Rick Hood (7/13)
1986: Ken Schrader (7/13)
1987: Jeff Bloom (7/11)
1988: Bruce Field (7/9)
1989: Bob Cicconi (7/8) & Ken Schrader (7/8)
1990: George Snider (6/30)
1991: Johnny Parsons (6/29)
1992: Jim Keeker (6/27)
1993: Mike Bliss (6/26)
1994: Mike Bliss (8/4)
1995: Jim Keeker (8/2)
1996: Mike Bliss (5/18) & Kenny Irwin Jr. (7/31)
1997: Pat Abold (5/17) & Kenny Irwin Jr. (7/30)
1998: Tony Stewart (5/16) & Jason Leffler (7/29)
1999: Ryan Newman (5/22) & Dave Steele (8/4)
2000: Jason Leffler (5/20) & Russ Gamester (8/6)
2001: Mike Bliss (5/12) & Kasey Kahne (8/2)
2002: Mike Bliss (8/1)
2003: J.J. Yeley (5/22) & Jason McCord (7/31)
2004: Jay Drake (8/5)
2005: Bobby East (8/4)
2006: Brian Tyler (8/3)
2007: Bobby East (7/26)
2008: Bobby East (7/24)
2009: Bobby Santos (7/23)
2010: Tracy Hines (7/22)
2011: Kody Swanson (7/28)
2012: Bobby Santos (5/19) & Bobby Santos (7/26)
2013: Tanner Swanson (7/27)
2014: Tanner Swanson (5/17) & David Byrne (7/24)
2015: Tanner Swanson (5/23) & Tanner Swanson (7/23)
2016: Tanner Swanson (5/27) & Kody Swanson (7/21)
2017: Kody Swanson (5/26) & Bobby Santos (7/20)
2018: Kody Swanson (5/25)
2019: Kyle Hamilton (5/24) & Kody Swanson (9/7)
2020: Tanner Swanson (8/21)
2021: Kody Swanson (5/29)