By Richie Murray
Speedway, Indiana (December 13, 2022)………Matt Westfall has experienced it all in auto racing as a midget champion, sprint car champion, modified champion, late model champion, you name it.
However, the Pleasant Hill, Ohio driver has not yet chased a USAC Silver Crown championship in his highly distinguished career.
In 2023, he’ll finally get that chance as he goes full-time with the series on dirt and pavement aboard the BCR Group No. 81, which has fielded both Shane Cottle and Brian Tyler full-time in recent years on the tour, both of whom won races for the team on the dirt.
Westfall has competed regularly in dirt Silver Crown events over the past few seasons in his own ride, procuring three runner-up finishes in his career. That first win has eluded him thus far in his first 41 career starts since 2001, but Westfall feels his new deal is a great opportunity to change that fact.
“I’ve really been wanting to run the full USAC Silver Crown series on the pavement and the dirt,” Westfall said. “But with our budget, we couldn’t afford to do a pavement car, so I’ve just been running five or six races on the dirt the last couple of years. We’ve had a lot of success; we haven’t won one yet, but we’ve been close, and we’ve been right there.”
Believe it or not, it’s been 20 years since Westfall has raced on the pavement. By chance, those last two appearances came in a Silver Crown car for BWB Racing in 2003 where he finished 20th at Phoenix International Raceway and 18th at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
BCR’s full-time driver in 2022, Brian Tyler, has scaled back his participation with the series in the coming year to race more often with his son who is at the beginning stages of his career. In turn, that decision opened the door for Westfall to secure full-time status with the Springfield, Ohio-based team wrenched by former USAC Sprint Car competitor Malcolm Lovelace, making it an all Buckeye team going for the brass ring in 2023.
“With Malcolm, it was kind of a no-brainer,” Westfall stated. “They’ve got great equipment; they’ve won some races here in the last couple years; and his pavement program has really improved. I think that’ll help me as I get back to the pavement because I haven’t run on it since ‘03. It’s been a while!”
“(The pavement) is definitely going to be a challenge,” Westfall continued, regarding the pavement. “But, like anything else, if we have the racecar handling well, it makes it easier to drive. Hopefully we’ll be on top of that, and that’ll make my job easier. It’s going to be a learning curve but hopefully we’ll go test a bit before the season starts and go from there.”
Westfall’s accolades include the 1998 NAMARS Midget championship, the 2014 Eldora Speedway modified title, the 2015 Eldora Late Model crown, plus two Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Car championships in 2019 and 2021, just to name a few. But a major love for Westfall has always been the Silver Crown series.
“I’m really excited about it and it’s neat because I’m going to be able to bring my crew with us and we’re all going to work together,” the 46-year-old Westfall revealed. “(Silver Crown racing) fits my style a little bit more. It’s a long race and you take your time. I’m getting older and I’m not like a lot of these young kids where you got to get on it right away. But I’m getting better at that because we ran the full USAC Sprint Car schedule last year.”
2023 USAC SILVER CROWN SCHEDULE
Apr 16: TBA
Apr 23: (P) (A) Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park | Brownsburg, IN | Hoosier Hundred | $25,000-To-Win
May 19-20: (D) Belleville High Banks | Belleville, KS | $8,000-To-Win
May 26: (P) Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park | Brownsburg, IN | Carb Night Classic | $10,000-To-Win
Jun 17: (D) Port Royal Speedway | Port Royal, PA | $8,000-To-Win
Jun 23: (P) Madison International Speedway | Oregon, WI | Dairyland 100 | $8,000-To-Win
Jul 20: (P) Winchester Speedway | Winchester, IN | Rich Vogler Classic | $8,000-To-Win
Aug 5: (P) Toledo Speedway | Toledo, OH | Rollie Beale Classic | $8,000-To-Win
Aug 19: (D) Illinois State Fairgrounds | Springfield, IL | Bettenhausen 100 | $10,000-To-Win
Aug 27: (P) World Wide Technology Raceway | Madison, IL | $10,000-To-Win
Sep 2: (D) Du Quoin State Fairgrounds | Du Quoin, IL | Ted Horn 100 | $10,000-To-Win
Sep 22-23: (D) Eldora Speedway | Rossburg, OH | 4-Crown Nationals | $10,000-To-Win
Oct 14: (P) Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park | Brownsburg, IN | $10,000-To-Win
(A) represents an event paying appearance points only
(P) represents a pavement track event
(D) represents a dirt track event
Race dates & payouts subject to change