Silver Crown
Tuesday, 25 May 2021


David Byrne (Shullsburg, Wisconsin) David Byrne (Shullsburg, Wisconsin) Cameron Neveu Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (May 25, 2021)………For pretty much every one of the 8 billion people around the world, the year 2020 was one everyone would soon like to write off like it didn’t even happen.

In the USAC Silver Crown world, no driver would like to forget 2020 as much as David Byrne does entering the season openers on Thursday, May 27, at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track and on Friday, May 28, at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind. where he’d like to turn the new year into a tale of redemption.

Coming off his best statistical season in 2019, the Shullsburg, Wisconsin driver’s hopes of a solid beginning in 2020 were dashed before they even really got a chance to begin after Byrne flipped in turn three on the opening lap of the opening race at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway.

One week later, Byrne’s run at Salem came to an auspicious ending just eight laps into the 75-lapper at the paved high banks of Salem (Ind.) Speedway.  Byrne was running 3rd when his car’s steering broke, sending him on a slow crawl back to pit lane and out early once again.

Byrne was absent from the next show at Brownsburg, Indiana’s Lucas Oil Raceway, ending his 41-race start streak in Silver Crown competition dating back to 2016.  The next journey took them to the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the Hoosier Hundred.  Again, Byrne’s race would prove to be short lived.

Just 10 laps in, a major jumble up in turn two sent four-time Hoosier Hundred winner and seventh running Kody Swanson flipping along with 11th running Byrne and 14th running Austin Nemire.  Byrne soared sky high after contact on the back straightaway before landing his car upside down atop the inside guardrail.  Byrne was uninjured, but the story was far different for his dirt car.  With the frame destroyed, the finale at the Illinois State Fairgrounds was out of the question for the team, ending his season early.

Byrne’s 2020 race results of 23rd, 19th and 27th, 16 total laps completed and a 33rd place finish in the final standings are unfathomable numbers for a driver that’s used to running inside the top-five and top-ten on a regular basis with the series and had slotted into the top-five in points during each of the prior four seasons: 5th in 2016 and 2017, 4th in 2018 and 3rd in 2019.

“I didn’t really know how the season was going to play out anyways,” Byrne said, referring to the long delayed start of the season until August and the ensuing unknowns due to COVID-19.  “In hindsight, we probably just should’ve just taken the year off.  I thought there would be an asterisk even if we did run really well because of all that was going on.  But it didn’t really change how we felt about racing; it just lit the fire to do even better.”

In the meantime, Byrne became a new father and his family’s business, Bytec Resource Management, was booming, so otherwise, the year was a good one for Byrne off the track.  After a year rife with black clouds and snake bites on the track, Byrne is ready to hit the button and party like it’s 2019, or even 2014.

“It was like a good reset, I guess,” Byrne admitted.  “I wish we could’ve saved the dirt car we junked at the Indy Mile, but other than that, we’ll be better off from it after what we experienced.”

Byrne, a veteran of 62 career USAC Silver Crown starts since 2011, earned his most spectacular moment with the series at one of the venues looming this Friday night on the schedule, a last lap, last corner victory in 2014 over Tanner Swanson at Lucas Oil Raceway.  It’s a feeling he’d like to revisit in 2021, and he feels confident he’ll be back on track in more ways than one throughout the coming season as he chases a series championship.

“We’ve got a brand new dirt car and, basically, a brand new pavement car which only ran a few laps at Salem.  So, pretty much everything is brand new,” Byrne revealed.  “Other than not getting our dirt frame a month-and-a-half ago, it hasn’t been too super hard of a winter for (Crew Chief) James “Chuy” Sandberg to put stuff back together.  2019 was great, and it’d be great to go back to 2014 too and win like we did at Lucas Oil Raceway to start off the season.”

As the driver of one of the most popular liveries on the circuit, Byrne will once again sport a similar design that driver Pancho Carter and car owner Steve Stapp used to capture the 1976 USAC National Sprint Car title with.  The design was already meaningful when it debuted in 2017, and even more meaningful now following Stapp’s death in April of this year at the age of 80.

“We had a mutual respect,” Byrne said of Stapp, an inductee of both the USAC Hall of Fame and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.  “He was a great guy, amazing at what he did, and he let us work out of his shop.  It was a shock that he passed.  He didn’t seem like he’d ever pass away after all that he’d been through and all the stories of his escapes from death throughout his life.  Steve and the whole Stapp family believed in somebody like me who didn’t have much of a family background in racing.  Chuy, his wife Susannah Stapp, and the whole Stapp family came along and kind of extended my career.  The Stapp family is full of good people and they’ve really have helped us keep at it.”

On Thursday’s Sumar Classic at Terre Haute, the pits open at 2pm EDT, grandstands at 3pm, hot laps at 6:30pm with racing to follow.  Adult general admission tickets are $30. Infield admission is $20. Pit passes are $35.  Scott’s Custom Colors DIRTcar Modifieds will also be in action.

Advance tickets for both the Sumar Classic and the preceding night’s Tony Hulman Classic USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car race at Terre Haute on Wednesday, May 26, are on sale now at  Tickets will also be available at the gate on each race day.

For Friday’s Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway, the gates open at 3pm EDT with midget practice taking place at 3-3:25pm & 4:50-5:15; Silver Crown practice at 3:30-3:55pm & 5:20-5:45pm; USF2000 practice form 4:05-4:20pm and Indy Pro 2000 practice from 4:25-4:40pm.  Midget qualifying takes place from 5:50-6:20pm followed by Silver Crown qualifying from 6:25-6:55pm.

Opening ceremonies commence at 6:55-7:05pm with the main events immediately following: USF2000’s Freedom 75 at 7:05pm; the Indy Pro 2000 Freedom 90 at 8:05pm; the 30-lap Midget feature at 9:05pm and the finale, the 100-lap Silver Crown race at 9:35pm.

Adult tickets (age 13 and older) are $25 at  Pit passes are $35 apiece.  Lot 2 parking is $10, and camping is free.  Tickets will also be available at the gate.

The Sumar Classic and the Carb Night Classic USAC Silver Crown events will be streamed live on FloRacing at