Silver Crown
Friday, 4 May 2018


2011 and 2015 Toledo USAC Silver Crown winner Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, Calif. 2011 and 2015 Toledo USAC Silver Crown winner Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, Calif. Rich Forman Photo




By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Toledo, Ohio………Bobby Santos has been the pavement dominator in USAC Silver Crown competition over the past two seasons, winning four of the last six held on the hardtop over that period.

The Franklin, Massachusetts driver arrives at Toledo Speedway for this Friday night’s Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness “Rollie Beale Classic” as the reigning race winner as well as the victor in the series’ most recent pavement race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz. back in early April.

In the 100-lapper at Toledo last July, Santos had to rundown Kody Swanson in traffic, making the outside line stick as he made the winning pass three-wide into turn three on lap 45.  Santos held off a hard-charging Swanson and Chris Windom at the end and survived a green-white-checkered finish to get the win.

With the victory, Santos pulled off a rarity in completing the hat trick by adding a Silver Crown win to his previous wins at Toledo in a Sprint Car (2006) and a Midget (2009), marking just the 20th driver ever to win features in all of USAC’s three current national series at a single track.

Swanson took second in last year’s race and the three-time series champ is tied atop the series standings following back-to-back runner-up finishes in each of the first two Silver Crown races at ISM (Phoenix) and at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track.  Both times Swanson won at Toledo (2011 & 2015), he started from the pole position.  Last year, he scored his third pole position on his way to the runner-up spot behind Santos.

Chris Windom finished third in last year’s Toledo stop.  The 2016 Silver Crown champ comes off an impressive fourth-place finish at Terre Haute last Sunday that came after jumping into Bill Rose’s ride for the 100-lap event due to mechanical troubles with his primary Nolen Racing ride.  Amazingly, it’s the third consecutive year Windom has had to jump in another owner’s car to compete in the main event.  Even more amazing is the fact that all those performances in 2016, 2017 and 2018 came in the second race of the Silver Crown season.

The driver who finished directly behind Windom at Toledo last season serves as his Nolen Racing teammate this season: Jerry Coons, Jr.  Coons, of Tucson, Ariz., captured a pair of Silver Crown wins on the half-mile paved oval in Toledo in 2010 and 2012.

Dave Darland has won at Toledo too, but not yet in a Silver Crown car.  He was the winner of a pair of USAC National Sprint Car features at the track in 2000 and 2007.  The Lincoln, Ind. driver will make his first Silver Crown start of the season in the Williams & Wright No. 32, substituting for 2017 series Rookie of the Year Joss Moffatt.

Like Darland, Eric Gordon is a Toledo USAC Sprint Car winner.  In fact, the Greenfield, Ind. driver won the very first USAC-sanctioned feature of his career there back in 1989!  In April at Phoenix, Gordon returned to the series in fine form after a six-year absence, finishing fourth.

Justin Grant comes to Toledo as the series’ most recent winner last Sunday at Terre Haute, the second victory of his career.  Friday,the Ione, Calif. native hits the pavement behind the wheel of the Rollie Beale Classic’s race sponsor, Ron Hemelgarn.  Local driver Austin Nemire of Sylvania, Ohio is back for his third career Toledo start.  Danville, Indiana’s Kyle Hamilton led the most laps at Phoenix before mechanical trouble sidelined him.  The last time Hamilton appeared at Toledo in 2015, he started from the third row and was running up front, but saw his race end early with a mechanical issue.

Other returnees from last year’s race include David Byrne of Shullsburg, Wisc., Aaron Pierce of Muncie, Ind. and Matt Goodnight of Winchester, Ind.  Making their Toledo Silver Crown debuts this Friday are Neil Shepherd of Warsaw, Ind., Kyle Robbins of New Castle, Ind., Travis Welpott of Pendleton, Ind., Bill Rose of Plainfield, Ind. and Cody Gerhardt of Fresno, Calif.  Hillsborough, California’s Toni Breidinger will make her first appearance at Toledo a year after her twin sister, Annie, finished ninth.  Pataskala, Ohio’s Cody Gallogly aims for a better day than last year when a brake issue sent him into the turn three wall and upside down on the opening lap of practice.

The race gets underway this Friday with the pits opening at 3pm, grandstands at 4pm, practice at 4pm, qualifying at 6:15pm and racing at 7:30pm.

Adult tickets are $20 in advance, $25 on the day of the show.  Advance ticket sales end at 5pm this Thursday, May 3.  Tickets for children age 6-12 are $3.  Children 6 and under are FREE!

You can listen to all the action at Toledo LIVE on the USAC app with National Sprint Car Hall of Fame announcer Pat Sullivan on the mic.  You can catch video of the race a day later, on-demand, on http://www.Loudpedal.TV/.

USAC's new pre-race show, "The Lowdown Before It Goes Down," will air LIVE from 2-3pm from Toledo Speedway.  Guests Bobby Santos and Kyle Hamilton will join Pat Sullivan and Richie Murray on the stage for the hour-long show that is open to all fans.  Listen LIVE on the USAC app and/or watch LIVE on USAC's Facebook page.



04 (R) NEIL SHEPHERD/ (Shepherd Racing)

6 KYLE HAMILTON/Danville, IN (Klatt Enterprises)

7 (R) KYLE ROBBINS/New Castle, IN (KR Racing)

16 AUSTIN NEMIRE/Sylvania, OH (Nemire-Lesko Racing)

17 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL (Nolen Racing)

18 (R) TRAVIS WELPOTT/Pendleton, IN (Welpott/Gorman Racing)

20 JERRY COONS, JR./Tucson, AZ (Nolen Racing)

21 ERIC GORDON/Greenfield, IN (Armstrong Racing)

22 BOBBY SANTOS/Franklin, MA (DJ Racing)

26 AARON PIERCE/Muncie, IN (Sam Pierce)

32 DAVE DARLAND/Lincoln, IN (Williams & Wright Racing)

39 MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN (Goodnight Racing)

40 DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI (Byrne Racing)

60 (R) CODY GERHARDT/Fresno, CA (Cody Gerhardt)

63 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA (DePalma Motorsports)

66 BILL ROSE/Plainfield, IN (Bill Rose)

80 (R) TONI BREIDINGER/Hillsborough, CA (Breidinger Motorsports)

81 (R) CODY GALLOGLY/Pataskala, OH (Curtis Williams)

91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (Hemelgarn Racing)