Silver Crown
Tuesday, 6 August 2019


James Davison James Davison IndyCar Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Salem, Indiana (August 6, 2019)………It’s been 21 years since a driver competed in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial in the same season.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia’s James Davison plans on becoming the next to accomplish the feat this Saturday when the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series hits the 33-degree high banks of Indiana’s Salem Speedway.

Davison started 15th and finished 12th in this past May’s 500-mile race for Dale Coyne Racing with Byrd/Hollinger/Belardi.  Ironically, the last driver to compete in both races in the same year was Jack Hewitt, who also finished 12th in his one and only Indianapolis 500 start in 1998 before coming home 15th at Salem three months later.

With regular driver Kevin Thomas, Jr. competing in this weekend’s Knoxville Nationals, David Byrd, who supported Davison’s Indy effort and whose family has long bridged the connection between IMS and USAC, got the ball rolling and made a deal with the 32-year-old Davison to make his USAC debut in the DHR/Byrd Racing No. 11 at Salem.

“David just called me and said that he has a deal with Davey Hamilton and asked me if I wanted to drive it,” Davison said.  “I gave it some thought and said, ‘let’s give it a try,’ and here we are.”

Davison’s knowledge of Silver Crown racing goes back about a decade and he's aware of three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter’s exploits in USAC racing, which includes a pair of National Sprint Car wins at Salem, including the 2002 Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial.

Davison’s racing career has taken him to all corners of the earth in a wide variety of machines.  He’s made four career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, all on road courses, earning a best finish of 4th place at Mid-Ohio for Joe Gibbs Racing, along with a front row start and 11 laps led at Road America that same season.

He’s made seven NTT IndyCar Series starts since 2013, five of which have come in the Indianapolis 500.  He led laps 166 and 167 of the 2017 race and earned his best finish of 12th this past May. 

Davison’s also been a two-time Indy Lights Series race winner, going back-to-back at Mid-Ohio in 2008 and 2009, plus winning four poles, twice on ovals at Nashville and Homestead as well as a pair on the road courses of Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio.  He finished second in series points in 2009 behind champion J.R. Hildebrand.  He also made a foray into sports car racing, making three starts in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in addition to a number of starts in both IMSA and Grand-Am.

He admits he’s not sure what to expect at Salem, but his love for high horsepower cars has him pumped to take on the challenge.

“I love horsepower and high power-to-weight ratio cars like a shifter kart or a Formula One car, and I’ve been fortunate to drive both,” Davison explained.  “Silver Crown and Sprint Cars’ power-to-weight ratio is pretty high.  Hopefully, we can run competitively and finish in one piece.  Half the battle is just wheeling the car back to the trailer and getting the result.  It’ll be a tall order with tire management and with it being a 75-lap race, and I’ve never done it before, so I’ll just have to give it my best shot with no experience.”

Davison’s yet to set foot on the grounds of Salem, or in a Silver Crown car for that matter, but has studied what he can from videos and the knowledge of those surrounding him, including car owner Hamilton who started 10th and finished 8th in the race back in 2017.

“I’ll be going in cold turkey,” Davison said.  “I’ve looked at YouTube videos of the races, but it’s not like you can learn too much until you actually drive.  The track looks pretty serious, pretty high speed and bumpy, and not for the faint of heart.  I’m prepared to take it on.  I’d like to run competitively and finish in one piece both mechanically and physically.”

For now, it’s a one-race deal for Davison.  His diversified racing portfolio includes quite a fascinating array, and he’s more than ready to experience everything the American short track world has to offer on and off the track.

“I’ve been so fortunate to drive so many different racecars in so many different series across IndyCar, NASCAR, IMSA GT Racing, and racing historic Formula One cars,” Davison detailed.  “I did a late model stock car race down in Myrtle Beach in 2012.  I’ve experienced quite a lot in racing and pretty much the American short track stuff and rally is about the only thing that’s left to go, and probably motorcycle racing for me.  I’m so excited to see it and experience it all.”

Silver Crown pits open at 1pm Eastern on Saturday, August 10.  Spectator gates open at 3pm, vintage car warm-ups at 3pm, Silver Crown drivers meeting at 3:15pm, stock car practice from 3:30-3:50pm, first Silver Crown practice from 3:55-4:25pm, stock car practice from 4:30pm-4:45pm, final Silver Crown practice from 4:50-5:20pm, Qualifying at 5:45pm, opening ceremonies at 6:55pm followed by stock car and Silver Crown main events.

Advance adult general admission tickets are $23 for adults/teens and $5 for ages 7-12.  Advance reserved tickets are $28.

Saturday’s prestigious event can be watched LIVE and on-demand on FloRacing, listened to via live audio on the USAC app as well as live timing and scoring on both the USAC app and the Race-Monitor app.