By T.J. Buffenbarger
(September 24, 2022) — After a thrilling night of racing during the 40th edition of the 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway here at my takeaways from the event.
• Logan Seavey Saturday night may not have made his weekend, it could have made his season with the USAC Silver Crown Series. After Kody Swanson improbably fell out of the race on the opening lap after making contact with the left rear tire of another car, Seavey added insult to injury by eating up his entire 57-point lead by winning the Silver Crown feature.
Seavey with Robbie Rice’s team have become a force to be reckoned with in the Silver Crown series and seem to be hitting their stride down the stretch. After Swanson scored four straight victories Seavey has won the last two USAC Silver Crown events in a row.
The tour finishes with one dirt mile in October at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springield, Illinois and closes at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park on the pavement. On paper this should favor Swanson, but never count out momentum and I feel Seavey is going to make this interesting down the stretch.
• Over the years the All Star Circuit of Champions tour has featured some great rivalries. Joe Gaerte and Rocky Hodges, Robby Stanley and Rocky Hodges, Frankie Kerr and Kevin Huntley, Dale Blaney and Joey Saldana, all of which competed down to the wire for championships with the series.
Tyler Courtney and Justin Peck are the latest to take on this role with Peck keeping Courtney in site during the closing stages of the 2022 season with the All Star tour. Peck has taken huge strides forward this season with the Buch Motorsports team while Courtney and the Clauson/Marshall Racing team have continued to excel.
All of us were fortunate enough to witness another battle between Peck and Courtney, trading sliders back and forth before Courtney pulled away to win this round. Rivals throughout stages in their racing careers, it has been fun to see these drivers continue to grow and compete on the All Star stage.
Unfortunately, there are only two more races to enjoy this budding rivalry this season, but hopefully it is one we can continue to witness through the years and with other series as their racing career progress.
• The USAC National Midget Car Series proved again to be hold your breath excitement every time they hit the racetrack at this year’s 4-Crown Nationals. With midget racing primarily taking place on bullrings in today’s world, the midget portion of the 4-Crown is more breathtaking than ever seeing brave drivers rip around Eldora’s high banks with four-cylinder engines screaming for mercy.
Part of the thrill is the known danger, and that bit current USAC National Midget Car Series point leader Buddy Kofoid when his right rear tire let go, causing him to flip in turn one, leaving Chance Crum nowhere to as he slammed into Kofoid’s car.
The fact both drivers even climbed out on their own, no matter how dinged up they were, was a credit to how far the cars have come since I started coming to the 4-Crown Nationals in 1986.
Kofoid was a scratch for the remainder of the night after the accident, which is smart considering the potential career path Kofoid has carved out in front of him with Toyota support. After a couple of hard hits recently it will be interesting to see if Kofoid must stay out of the seat when the tour resumes October 7th at Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Illinois.
• The 4-Crown Nationals is Eldora Speedway’s more under rated event. When people that have never been to Eldora ask me about which event they should attend on their first visit, the 4-Crown Nationals has always been the first event on my list to recommend.
Today’s incarnation of the 4-Crown allows people to see a cross section of almost all the open wheel racing Eldora has to offer. It is still a major event but doesn’t have the massive throng of people on hand such as a Kings Royal or one of the major late model race. This allows newbies to roam the grounds and get a feel for where they might enjoy watching races from.
Unlike major summer events, the 4-Crown typically has cooler weather and is better suited for camping.
Finally, the racing in all the division is often spectacular.
Of all the Eldora Speedway experiences, I still enjoy the 4-Crown Nationals the most. If you haven’t been to one yet, it needs to be added to your bucket list of fandom.