Silver Crown
Wednesday, 5 July 2017


L to R Clockwise: Bob East, Chuck Gurney, Ken Schrader, Lloyd Ruby. L to R Clockwise: Bob East, Chuck Gurney, Ken Schrader, Lloyd Ruby.




USAC’s recent social media poll to complete the 2017 list of inductees into the USAC Hall of Fame has resulted in inductions for drivers Chuck Gurney, Lloyd Ruby and Ken Schrader, and driver, car owner and builder Bob East.

The four new inductees received the most votes from a select list of 16 candidates and will join eight previously-announced inductees in the ceremony which accompanies the July 20 “Rich Vogler Classic” USAC Silver Crown race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind.

Previously-announced 2017 inductees include (alphabetically) Donald Davidson, Frankie DelRoy, Gene Hartley, Steve Lewis, Howard Linne, Robbie Stanley, Steve Stapp and Johnny Thomson.

Bob East, of Brownsburg, Ind., virtually “owned” USAC’s open-wheel racing scene for a couple of decades, his Beast masterpieces capturing victories across the board in the Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midget series. Among his 18 Silver Crown wins were 16 as a co-owner with Tony Stewart. His Silver Crown cars have won more than five times as many races as the second-ranking owner. Under his leadership the Nine Racing Team earned a dozen USAC National Midget Championships and more than 150 victories. In addition to his four Silver Crown titles, his cars also won titles with Ryan Newman, Mike Bliss, Jason Leffler and Bobby East, his son. In 1988, he opened Beast Enterprises, producing one of the most accomplished chassis ever. A driver in CRA and USAC Sprint competition, he scored three wins in the extremely competitive USAC National Sprint Car Series, winning at Ascot Park in California in 1976 and 1978 and at Manzanita Park in Phoenix, Ariz. in 1985.

Chuck Gurney, of Livermore, Calif, was a stellar performer in USAC’s Silver Crown wars, earning 14 victories and the 1989 series championship. He scored a phenomenal seven victories in the “Tony Bettenhausen 100” at Springfield, Ill., three wins in the “Ted Horn 100” at DuQuoin, Ill. and also added the 1982 and 1983 “Hoosier Hundreds” in Indianapolis. He scored five USAC Sprint wins and his victories in the Midgets included the 1989 Belleville (Kans.) Midget Nationals, a pair of “Turkey Night” wins in 1988 and 1989 among his nine USAC wins, and he scored three wins in the popular “Copper World Classic” in Phoenix, Ariz. The 1983 NARC Sprint Car king and 1985 winner of USAC’s National Supermodified title, he has been honored five times by the Motorsports Press Association as its open wheel “Driver of the Year.”

Lloyd Ruby, of Wichita Falls, Texas, was quite possibly the greatest Indy Car driver never to win the Indianapolis 500. In 17 career starts he led five different years for a total of 126 laps and finished third in 1964, despite the fact that he appeared on more than one occasion to be headed for victory. Although never a front–row starter at Indy, he recorded seven “top-10” finishes and led the race in five of six years between 1966 and 1971. In 1969 he looked like a strong contender for the win until a pit mishap left him with a rupture in his gas tank and forced him out of the race. He scored Indy Car victories at Milwaukee (3), Phoenix (2), Langhorne and Trenton and was also accomplished as a road racer, winning the 1965 Daytona Continental and the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring with Ken Miles. In 1991 he was inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame, in 2008 he joined the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame and in 2015 he was inducted into the Motorsport Hall of Fame of America. He was also a co-recipient with Helio Castroneves of the famed Louis Meyer Award.

Ken Schrader, of Fenton, Mo., is among the most accomplished race drivers of all time. The 1982 USAC Silver Crown Champion followed that in 1983 with the USAC National Sprint Car title. He scored 21 wins in the USAC Midgets and added six wins in the Silver Crown cars and four in the Sprint Cars. His versatility spreads across numerous racing disciplines and he’s won in nearly every form of the sport on oval tracks. A participant in the acclaimed “International Race of Champions” series, he recorded three consecutive pole starting positions in NASCAR’s famed Daytona 500 from 1988-1990 and finished second in the 1989 race. In 1983 he attempted to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 but a practice accident ended that bid. A winner in NASCAR’s premier division, he is among its all-time prize money leaders and in 1989 and 1990 won the prestigious “Busch Clash.”