By Richie Murray
Du Quoin, Illinois (August 30, 2021)………One of USAC Silver Crown racing’s most prolific drivers in terms of victories and starts, Brian Tyler, will return to the USAC Silver Crown National Championship after a two-year hiatus for this Saturday night’s Ted Horn 100 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in southern Illinois.
Tyler (Parma, Mich.) will drive the Curtis Williams-owned No. 81 that had been wheeled by Shane Cottle for the past seven seasons. As previously announced, Cottle will finish out the dirt portion of the series this season for DMW Motorsports starting Saturday at Du Quoin.
Cottle and Tyler are good friends and actually competed as teammates for Contos Racing during the Little 500 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway on nine occasions between 2009-2018. But all in good fun, Tyler had a message for Cottle for when it’s time to hit the track at Du Quoin.
“Shane told me, ‘I might get the seat out of the dirt car, and you can use the one out of the pavement car because I might have a ride for Du Quoin,’” Tyler recalled Cottle telling him. “I said, well, ‘I hope you’re there because you’re really going to feel bad when you get beat by your old car!’ That’s just the way we joke back and forth.”
The Curtis Williams team sits third in USAC Silver Crown entrant points with three races remaining. The plan is to have Tyler finish out the season with the team starting Saturday at Du Quoin, before moving onto the final two races on Sept. 24-25 at Rossburg, Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, and on Oct. 10 at Ohio’s Toledo Speedway.
Finishing the final three races would put Tyler at 201 career USAC Silver Crown starts, which would tie him for the most all-time series starts with Dave Darland. But, for now, the focus for Tyler is on race number 199 at Du Quoin where he’s previously won at in 2008 – one of his 17 career wins, which ranks third all-time – and where he’s finished as the runner-up twice in 2004 and 2005. Then, they’ll take it from there.
“We’re going to do this race-to-race,” Tyler said. “I’m going to run it and we’re going to see how we get along, how well we work together and see what happens. I love the Silver Crown cars and I really like the miles. I’m looking forward to going back.”
Curtis Williams’ crew chief, Malcolm Lovelace, has long admired the skills of Tyler, the 1996-97 USAC National Sprint Car champion. After attempting to secure Tyler’s employment with the team on a pavement only basis in year’s past, the timing was right, and the opportunity rose this time around to make it a reality.
“We’ve tried to get Brian before when Shane (Cottle) stopped running the pavement for us a few years ago,” Lovelace explained. “But he had other racing commitments during the races we were trying to get him for. I raced against his brother, Bill Tyler, in USAC back in the 1970s and 1980s. We knew Brian a little bit anyway but, I called him up and we put that together last Monday.”
Despite being two years removed from his most recent USAC Silver Crown start in 2019, Tyler hasn’t a bit of rust on him as he’s stayed busy as a full-time competitor on the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) trail. Tyler earned his road racing license just last year and has been competing regularly in road course racing events over the past couple of seasons, with quite a big twist.
Tyler has been a driver in the NASA Super Unlimited class aboard a Gold Crown car, the former USAC-sanctioned machines designed for superspeedway use that competed on the pavement tracks of the USAC Silver Crown series between 2006-07.
The class competes at road racing venues such as Barber Motorsports Park, Sebring International Raceway and at Daytona International Speedway, just to name a few, with an eclectic array of equipment.
“I race against Vipers, Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros, Daytona Prototypes and old IndyCars. It’s a run what you brung class; there’s no rules,” Tyler revealed. “We’ve been first or second just about every place we’ve been at when we didn’t DNF. We’re as fast as anybody there most of the time.’
Tyler’s quest is akin to Rodger Ward’s upset during a 1959 Formula Libre contest at the Lime Rock Park road course in Connecticut – in which he and his Ken Brenn Offy-powered midget defeated a mix of elite sports cars. He particularly got a kick from going head-to-head and defeating road course specific cars such as Daytona Prototypes at Sebring with his so called “straight, front axle model A,” raising the ire of his competition.
“(Officials) didn’t have any idea where to put me,” Tyler tells. “So, they stuck me in with all the Daytona Prototypes. So, I’m running against a quarter to half-a-million dollar cars with this this old Gold Crown car. There were like 15 of us there and I was seventh quick in qualifying and was running seventh or eighth in the race when we broke a clutch.”
Tyler’s NASA racing endeavors are described as a class designed for any four wheel (non-formula) vehicles that do not fit in any other NASA class and are heavily prepared for serious speed. Performance modifications are unlimited, and the only restrictions are those pertaining to safety.
You can’t pigeonhole Tyler into one particular class. As a veteran of IndyCar, NASCAR Trucks and Busch series competition, Tyler has always been prepared for serious speed, especially at Du Quoin, where he returns Saturday night to the place he’s made 19 prior starts dating back to 1996 with his most recent series start coming there in 2019.
A jack of all trades who makes his living away from the racetrack fixing any type of equipment that rolls up in the driveway of his Mount Pleasant, North Carolina home, whether it’s lawnmowers, boat, tractor, bulldozers, cars and trucks, Tyler has shown the ability to master the same type of versatility on the racetrack, and he’s received that opportunity once again beginning Saturday under the lights of the “Magic Mile.”
Saturday’s Ted Horn 100 features the USAC Silver Crown National Championship along with the 27th Annual Bill Oldani Memorial Prelims for UMP Modifieds.
Pits and registration open at 1pm Central. The ticket office and grandstands open at 4pm. USAC Silver Crown practice takes place from 5-6:10pm, with Silver Crown Fatheadz Qualifying at 6:30pm, UMP Modified heat races at 7:15pm and the USAC Silver Crown Ted Horn 100 at 8:15pm.
Tickets will be available on race day or by calling the Du Quoin Fair office at 618-542-1535. Info and tickets can also be obtained by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.
Advance tickets (presale) are $25 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. Tickets at the gate on race day are $30 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. Pit passes are $35 for members and $40 for non-member adults. Pit passes are $20 for children 11 and under.
Saturday’s Ted Horn 100 will be aired live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2ZpafUr.