ELDORA WAITING FOR USAC WINNER #100
USAC has presented 271 feature events at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio since 1962 and a total of 99 different drivers have graced victory lane in various forms of competition. A brand-new winner in Saturday’s “4-Crown Nationals” will become the 100th different USAC winner at Tony Stewart’s half-mile.
Checking the “top-10” in USAC’s three National racing series standings produces a list of 14 eligibles, including Damion Gardner, Hunter Schuerenberg, Chase Stockon, Kevin Thomas Jr., Darren Hagen, Caleb Armstrong, Mario Clouser, Brad Kuhn, Chris Windom, Rico Abreu, Kody Swanson, Tanner Swanson, Bobby Santos and A.J. Fike. Nine of those already have a USAC National feature win this year!
Jack Hewitt, USACs’ all-time leader in Eldora feature wins at 24, “swept” all four legs of the 1998 “4-Crown” but was unable to score a “4-Crown” victory the following year. It remains to be seen if Kyle Larson, who “swept” all three USAC legs of last year’s “4-Crown,” will have better success as the defending champion.
The 30 previous runnings of the event, which was rained out in 1984 and replaced by the Mopar Million in 2003, produced 11 “multiple” USAC winners. Steve Kinser won Sprint and Silver Crown feature in the inaugural year, 1981, while Larry Rice won Sprint and Silver Crown feature in 1985. Other multiple winners were Rich Vogler (1986 Midget and Sprint), Hewitt (1991 Sprint and Silver Crown), Tony Stewart (1995 Midget and Sprint), Hewitt (1998 all three), Dave Darland (1999 Midget and Sprint), J.J. Yeley (2001 Midget and Silver Crown), Darland again (2004 Midget and Silver Crown), Tracy Hines (2006 Midget and Sprint) and Kyle Larson (2011 all three).
USAC track record holders at Eldora Speedway include Josh Wise (1-lap Silver Crown at 15.334 seconds), Jerry Coons Jr. (1-lap Sprint at 14.712) and Mike Hess (1-lap Midget at 15.801). Feature records are held by Matt Neely (50-lap Silver Crown at 14:59.56), Kevin Huntley (30-lap Sprint at 8:34.71) and Kasey Kahne (25-lap Midget at 7:05.68).
“Hard Chargers” and “Fast Qualifiers” for each of the three USAC “4-Crown Nationals” events will earn bonus prize money Saturday. Eldora Speedway again offers the $750 Larry Rice hard charger awards, while Buck & Betty Rice of Pro-Source Consultants in Grand Saline, Tex. have posted the $200 fast qualifier awards.