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Silver Crown
Wednesday, 9 December 2020


2020 USAC Silver Crown champion, #91 Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. 2020 USAC Silver Crown champion, #91 Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Dallas Breeze Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

The Illinois State Fairgrounds has been a home away from home of sorts for Justin Grant throughout his USAC Silver Crown career.

After all, it’s where the 29-year-old Ione, Calif. driver first started from the pole with the series in 2015, where he won his first series race in 2017 and where he captured his first USAC National championship in 2020.

The one-mile patch of dirt in Springfield, Ill. has been the host of championship racing since 1934, but never before had it been the stage for a championship celebration, albeit one of the subdued variety on a frigid Sunday afternoon in mid-October where race time temperatures dipped into the 40s.

Grant entered the Silver Crown season finale in somewhat familiar territory.  He stood atop the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car standings for much of 2017 and 2020 with Sam McGhee Motorsports and TOPP Motorsports, respectively, then finished as the runner-up in each of the last two Silver Crown seasons before, ultimately, coming up just shy of reaching the pinnacle on each occasion.

Although he hadn’t yet been on the other side of the championship equation, Grant had a unique introspective outlook on how he approached the rigorous mental exercise that involved a title hanging in the balance at Springfield.

“I really wasn’t nervous today at all,” Grant admitted.  “I’ve been here, and I’ve lost them before, and I survived.  I thought if I lost another one, I’ll be alright.  If we win one, we’ll be alright, but just a little happier.”

However, what was a most unusual twist in this most uncommon of all seasons throughout the sports landscape was the two-month long break in the schedule that preceded the final race at Springfield due to rain outs and COVID-19.  Among the twists were the addition and rescheduling of Springfield to the schedule in mid-September that added another date to the calendar in what wound up as the shortest Silver Crown season since 1979.

During the eight-week break, Grant’s 22-point lead over five-time champion Kody Swanson remained intact, unwavering, as it awaited one last showdown.  Grant laid down the fastest time in qualifying to win the pole for Springfield’s Bettenhausen 100, displaying his commitment to not making this merely a leisurely Sunday drive.  Grant was dead-set on making this day fully climatic by delivering both a victory and a championship in his Hemelgarn Racing/NOS Energy Drink – Super Fitness – Hemelgarn Enterprises/DRC/Speedway Ford.

Grant led the first 10 laps until surpassed by eventual winner Kyle Larson, but remained in the hunt, and ran 2nd with five laps remaining in the 100-mile event.  Grant began to close on Larson to pressure him for the race win on the 95th lap when Grant became entangled with a lapped car in turn two.  As Grant got sideways and fought to retain control, for everyone else on the premises, they believed they had witnessed Grant’s championship season flash before their eyes.

For Grant, though, the championship wasn’t top of mind at the point.  He was there to win, and as he dropped to 3rd in the order, his hopes of a race victory were dashed, which was first and foremost on his mind at that juncture.

“I was caught up in trying to win the race and I think I was more frustrated about losing the race there than the championship at the moment.”

Once the kerfuffle had run its course, Grant gathered it up and that was where championship mode finally set in as he made sure to protect the tires, ride it out and keep everything intact for the final five miles of his championship run.

Grant’s most recent series title prior to 2020 came with the Bay Cities Racing Association Midgets in 2007.  He made the move to Indiana in 2009 with just a little bit of money in his pocket but possessed an insurmountable amount of hunger, will and drive to succeed in the sport.  Initially serving as a crew member for Jeff Walker Racing’s sprint car team, Grant literally worked his way into the driver’s seat for Baldwin Brothers Racing to become the USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year a year later in 2010.

A stint with car owner Mark Hery that saw Grant win his first career USAC Sprint race in 2012 was nearly derailed later that year by a serious rollover in an Ohio highway accident.  After recovery, Grant fought back to reach victory lane once again but shortly thereafter, found himself on the sidelines contemplating his future in the sport throughout the summer of 2016.

That same year, however, Grant forged a foundation in Silver Crown racing with owner Chris Carli, then Ron Hemelgarn, that has seen Grant steadily progress into the championship caliber driver he is today.  It’s something that Grant couldn’t even comprehend just a handful of years ago when he started his racing journey.

“It means a lot to me,” Grant said.  “I’ve been wanting to be a USAC racer since I was six years old.  Being a USAC champion, I never really thought I would be in this position.  At one time, I never thought I’d even get to race a USAC car growing up.  It was never really anything I looked at, like “I’m going to be a USAC champion one day.’  I just kept getting to the next race and the next race and then, here we are.”

Grant had finished 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 2nd in the Silver Crown standings over the past four years between 2016-19, but in 2020, he was the only driver with three top-five and four top-ten finishes in his five starts.

He also became the ninth driver to win the Silver Crown driving title without the aid of a single victory, joining Jimmy Caruthers (1975), Billy Cassella (1976), Ken Schrader (1982), Dave Blaney (1984), Steve Butler (1988), Tony Stewart (1995), Bud Kaeding (2007) and Levi Jones (2011).

Nonetheless, Grant regularly had a car to win throughout the 2020 season.  A flat right rear tire while running second in the opener at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway relegated the team to a 16th place finish and a 16th place standing in the points.  A solid 4th place finish in the follow-up race on the pavement of Salem (Ind.) Speedway moved Grant into 3rd in the driver standings, then into 2nd overall in the points with a 5th place result at Indiana’s Lucas Oil Raceway.

Grant overcame a 10-point deficit at the Indiana State Fairgrounds by finishing 8th after starting 20th on the grid, while an early race back straightaway flip cost Swanson dearly.  Grant led by 22 entering Springfield, and ultimately finished out with a 46-point advantage to conclude the season, the closest final margin of victory for the championship since 2016.

Meanwhile, team owner Hemelgarn’s car entrant title also presented a rarity as one of just a few select teams to win both a USAC Silver Crown and an IndyCar championship.  Hemelgarn, with driver Buddy Lazier, won the 2000 Indy Racing League crown.

Leader Card Racers snagged the inaugural Silver Crown championship with driver George Snider in 1971 and again in 1979 with Bobby Olivero as the pilot, while also garnering USAC National (IndyCar) Championships with Rodger Ward in 1959 & 1962, and Bobby Unser in 1968.

Likewise, A.J. Foyt won the “IndyCar” championship as a driver/owner in 1975, then once again, this time solely as an owner, at the advent of the IRL with drivers Scott Sharp in 1996 and Kenny Brack in 1998.  Foyt, aboard his own A.J. Foyt Enterprises machine, collected the 1972 Silver Crown title as both a driver/owner.  In 1999, Foyt, now teamed up with George Snider as co-owners, were the Silver Crown entrant champions with a combination of drivers, including Mike Bliss, Jimmy Sills and Dave Steele.

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing burst onto the scene, winning three consecutive IndyCar titles with Al Unser in 1970, and Joe Leonard in 1971-72.  Success continued in the following two years for the team on the USAC Dirt Track Championship trail with Unser claiming the Silver Crown title in 1973 and Mario Andretti doing so in 1974, both for Vel’s Parnelli.

The man who was instrumental in Hemelgarn and Lazier’s 2000 IRL championship as chief mechanic was Dennis LaCava, the same man who served in the same role for Grant’s 2020 Silver Crown title.  Grant finds most of his gratification in winning the title for the team, doing his part on the track to win the title for the team he’s worked with for the past four successful seasons.

“I’m thrilled to win this championship, but especially for Dennis (LaCava), who has worked very hard to get to this point, and for Ron (Hemelgarn) who gives us what we need to do it.  It just feels good to get it done for those guys.”

Additionally, Kyle Larson returned to the Silver Crown Champ Cars after an eight-year hiatus and went two-for-two in both of his series appearances, first winning the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds (after starting 22nd) and the season closer at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.  In doing so, he became the 15th driver to win at all three of the Midwest dirt miles of Indy, Illinois, and Du Quoin, which he won in 2011.

Shane Cottle earned a new record as the driver with the longest gap between Silver Crown race wins, following up his 2007 Du Quoin triumph with a score just shy of 13 years later in the 2020 season opener at Selinsgrove, Pa.  After starting in the 23rd position, Cottle was plagued with engine problems in qualifying, then was involved in an accident just before halfway that required replacement of both the right and left rear tires, then stormed back through the pack, leading just the final two laps to win the inaugural Bill Holland Classic.

Kody Swanson extended his Silver Crown victory streak to seven years with an unprecedented fifth consecutive win in the Joe James-Pat O’Connor Memorial on the paved high banks of Salem (Ind.) Speedway, breaking Pancho Carter’s long held record in the event between 1974-77.

Kody’s younger brother, Tanner Swanson, became the winningest USAC Silver Crown driver in Lucas Oil Raceway history with his sixth career victory at the .686-mile paved oval during the Carb Night Classic, a record he held alongside both Mike Bliss and his big brother.

Bryan Gossel earned Rookie of the Year honors with the series after finishing 9th in the final standings.   He became the first Silver Crown Rookie of the Year to hail from the state of Colorado, and the first in any USAC National division since Mike Gregg with the Midgets in 1973.





By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania (August 9, 2020)………A stumbling engine in qualifying, a last row starting spot and an accident with 43 laps remaining that resulted with him backwards against the guardrail with a flat tire – those were just a few of the mountains Shane Cottle overcame to reach victory lane in Sunday night’s inaugural Bill Holland Classic at Pennsylvania’s Selinsgrove Speedway.

It took Cottle every bit of the 74-lap distance to reach the pinnacle of the night as he worked his way around race-long leader C.J. Leary on the white flag lap to conquer his second career USAC Silver Crown victory, and his first in nearly 13 years, aboard the Curtis Williams/Jack’s Auto Body – Duncan Oil – Kercher Engines/Maxim/Kercher Chevy.

By doing so, Cottle became the newest record holder of the longest duration between USAC Silver Crown victories.  It had been 12 years, 11 months and 8 days since the Kansas, Ill. driver raced to victory at the Du Quoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds in 2007.  The record prior to Sunday night was the nearly 10-year span between Ron Shuman’s wins in 1982 and 1992.

Marking the first time the USAC Silver Crown season opener was held in the month of August since 1979, the majority of the first 30 circuits saw pole sitter Leary leading the way with outside front row starter Justin Grant giving constant chase to Leary, who had earlier set fast time during Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying for the first time in four years at neighboring Pennsylvania track Williams Grove Speedway in 2016.

On the 31st lap, however, major trouble ensued for 11th running Cottle who had a left rear tire go down on the front straightaway.  In the ensuing melee, Cottle spun backwards into the inside front straightaway guardrail while the lapped car of Dave Berkheimer flipped upside down before a small fire erupted from the car.  The fire was extinguished, and Berkheimer escaped without injury.

At the same time, Cottle exited the car, standing on the front straightaway mulling over the situation which provided him nary a shred of confidence to continue in the race.

“I was really upset,” Cottle recalled.  “I actually wasn’t even going to change the tire.  I told the crew, ‘you know what, heck with it.  We’re going to the back and it’s kind of hard to pass.’  They said ‘nope, we’re changing it, get back in there.’

Forced to restart from the tail after working halfway up through the field, with the new left rear affixed to his ride, Cottle went back to work on his mission.

“Luckily, we barely got back in there,” Cottle said.  “It took me a little while to not get so mad and to where I was driving a little smoother.  Once I did that, I started picking them off.”

While Leary and Grant had controlled the pace throughout, by the 52nd lap, Chris Windom, Brady Bacon and Kevin Thomas Jr. had reeled in the top-two to make it a five-man breakaway.  Fourth-running Bacon, who had earlier won the night’s preceding USAC Rapid Tire East Coast Sprint Car feature, slipped under Windom for the third spot in turn three.

As Windom slipped up off the bottom, Thomas got his right front wheel beneath Windom’s left rear and the two made contact, knocking out the front end on Thomas’ car and sending to him a stop in turn four, thus concluding his evening.

Grant took a major run at Leary for the lead with an attempted slider on the lap 52 restart, which didn’t quite stick, as the pair continued their dominance at the front of the pack.  Leary was able to distance himself to great comfort to a nearly two second lead as the laps wound down.

With seven laps remaining, a succession of yellows involving flat right rear tires wreaked havoc on several top-ten contenders, including Kyle Robbins, Windom, Jake Swanson, Kody Swanson and, ultimately, second running Justin Grant who fell by the wayside on a restart with four laps remaining.  However, Cottle was reassured by his eye in the sky that he was good to go.

“I kept asking the crew, are there any cords showing yet,” Cottle revealed.  “I could see all the guys in front of me and their cords were showing.  They said, ‘nope, no cords yet.  Just keep her going and just try to maintain the tire underneath you.’”

There, with four to go on a restart, the running order was Leary, Bacon and a suddenly surging Cottle, who didn’t remain in third for long as he blitzed under Bacon for second on the bottom of turn four with three laps remaining, then rapidly advanced on Leary.

Coming to the white flag, Cottle used a substantial run off the second turn to race around the outside of Leary entering turn three for the lead.  Simultaneously, the returning car of Grant stopped on the front straightaway to bring out the yellow, sending Leary back to the front with Cottle second for a green-white-checkered finish.  At that point, Cottle had an inkling that, while he was going to give everything he had to get past Leary, he was going to receive the same treatment from Leary to keep him behind.

Cottle, with a right rear tire with which he estimated as maybe having ‘just a couple more laps left,’ took the show into his own hands, squaring up Leary through turns three and four coming to the white flag, then swinging to the outside to rip around him to lead at the stripe by a car length before making a beeline to the bottom of turn one to take away the bottom from Leary.

“When he got out of the rubber and got in the slick, I just stayed in the rubber and rolled around him,” Cottle remembered.  “His tire didn’t have much left in it.  Luckily, we had just enough to carry us on around him.”

From there, it was smooth sailing for Cottle, who raced to a 0.774 sec. victory over Leary while career-best series finishes were earned by Kyle Robbins (3rd), and first-time Silver Crown entrants Bryan Gossel (4th), Carmen Perigo (5th) and Kyle Cummins (6th).

Bacon, running 3rd coming off the final corner on the final lap, experienced a flat right rear tire just short of the line, dropping him back to 7th while a similar fate befell 4th running Logan Seavey in his first series start, dropping him to 10th in the final tally.

Cottle’s victory from the 23rd spot ranks as the 8th furthest back any driver has started to win a Silver Crown race, the most positions overcome to win since Rich Tobias Jr.’s Du Quoin triumph from 25th in 2003.  Kenny Irwin Jr. owns the top-two ultimate hard-charging performances in Silver Crown history, coming from the 28th position to win at both the Illinois State Fairgrounds in 1995 and Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1997.

The win also marked the first for the Curtis Williams-owned team in USAC Silver Crown competition, a regular team on the entire trail since 2014, and for whom Cottle has made his 29 most recent series starts beginning with the 2015 season.

“Curtis, he’s a good ol boy and (crew chief) Malcolm (Lovelace), they’ve been trying for years,” Cottle said.  “I’m just happier than a lark that I was able to do it for them.”

Arizona’s Casey Buckman escaped injury after enduring a wild flip on the opening lap of Sunday night’s feature that also involved David Byrne.  Buckman finished 24th and Byrne 23rd.

Sunday’s race was the debut for the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series at Selinsgrove Speedway, which had previously hosted just a single USAC-sanctioned race in its history – a 1971 National Sprint Car event won by Mitch Smith.

USAC Silver Crown has now visited the state of Pennsylvania on 15 occasions with 15 different winners taking the checkered flag since 1971.  Three other past PA winners were in Sunday night’s starting field, Windom, Swanson and Bacon, all of whom had previously won with the series at Williams Grove.

The 74-lap Bill Holland Classic feature signified the first ever racing event held at Selinsgrove Speedway on July 20, 1946, won by 1949 Indianapolis 500 winner and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee, Bill Holland.


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 9, 2020 – Selinsgrove Speedway – Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania – 1/2-Mile Dirt Oval – Bill Holland Classic

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-21.676 (New Track Record); 2. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-21.867; 3. Brady Bacon, 6, Klatt-21.897; 4. Jake Swanson, 10, DMW-21.956; 5. Carmen Perigo, 52, Stehman-21.958; 6. Logan Seavey, 22, Prestige Worldwide-21.964; 7. Matt Westfall, 54, Westfall-22.139; 8. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9, Dyson-22.231; 9. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight-22.266; 10. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-22.274; 11. Shane Cockrum, 53, Five Three-22.325; 12. Chad Kemenah, 15, Hampshire/Kemenah-22.444; 13. Kyle Cummins, 69, Pink 69-22.467; 14. Ronnie Wuerdeman, 33, Wuerdeman-22.539; 15. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-22.567; 16. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-22.571; 17. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-22.891; 18. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-23.014; 19. Bryan Gossel, 06, Gossel-23.041; 20. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott-23.309; 21. Casey Buckman, 74, Buckman-23.793; 22. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-23.965; 23. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-24.307; 24. Jake Simmons, 3, Simmons-NT.

FEATURE: (74 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Shane Cottle (23), 2. C.J. Leary (1), 3. Kyle Robbins (17), 4. Bryan Gossel (19), 5. Carmen Perigo (5), 6. Kyle Cummins (13), 7. Brady Bacon (3), 8. Shane Cockrum (11), 9. Matt Goodnight (16), 10. Logan Seavey (6), 11. Kody Swanson (10), 12. Mike Haggenbottom (18), 13. Ronnie Wuerdeman (14), 14. Travis Welpott (20), 15. Chris Windom (9), 16. Justin Grant (2), 17. Jake Swanson (4), 18. Chad Kemenah (12), 19. Kevin Thomas Jr. (8), 20. Matt Westfall (7), 21. Dave Berkheimer (22), 22. Jake Simmons (24), 23. David Byrne (15), 24. Casey Buckman (21). NT

**Casey Buckman flipped on lap 1 of the feature. Dave Berkheimer flipped on lap 31 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-72 C.J. Leary, Laps 73-74 Shane Cottle.

USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-C.J. Leary-73, 2-Shane Cottle-70, 3-Kyle Robbins-64, 4-Bryan Gossel-61, 5-Carmen Perigo-58, 6-Kyle Cummins-55, 7-Brady Bacon-52, 8-Shane Cockrum-49, 9-Matt Goodnight-46, 10-Logan Seavey-43.

OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-79, 2-Tanner Thorson-76, 3-Shane Cottle-59, 4-Logan Seavey-57, 5-Cannon McIntosh-57, 6-Justin Grant-52, 7-Kyle Cummins-48, 8-Daison Pursley-48, 9-Robert Ballou-45, 10-Andrew Layser-44.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN RACE: August 15, 2020 – Salem Speedway – Salem, Indiana – .555-Mile Paved Oval – Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial



Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: C.J. Leary

KSE Racing Products Hard Charger: Shane Cottle (23rd to 1st)

Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher: Ronnie Wuerdeman





By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Salem, Indiana (August 15, 2020)………Throughout the annals of USAC Silver Crown’s 50-year history, no driver’s statistical output stacks up to Kody Swanson’s.  That has been proven time and time again as the Kingsburg, Calif. native has illustrated his very own record book during his illustrious career.

On an evening when he became the first driver in series history to reach 30 poles and 30 wins in a career, Swanson once again reached another record that once seemed unbreakable – that being Pancho Carter’s four consecutive Joe James-Pat O’Connor Memorial victories between 1974-77.

Swanson did just that on Saturday night at Salem Speedway, pressing leader Bobby Santos throughout the first two-thirds of the 75-lap race before taking the lead in traffic with a spectacular three-wide pass on the outside of turn one on the 50th lap, then holding serve on a couple of late-race restarts to capture the win after previous victories in the event in 2016-17-18-19.

“Being second, you have the benefit because you can go where they aren’t,” Swanson explained.  “Tonight, a couple times it got a little hairy and didn’t work.  I don’t know if there’s anything more “Pancho” for me than taking the lead three-wide in turn one on the outside at Salem.  I don’t know if I deserve to be in the company (of Pancho), but I sure do appreciate the honor.”

The victory for Swanson aboard the Nolen Racing/KECO Coatings – Goodridge – K & N Filters/Beast/Tranter Chevy was a welcome sight for the team after an uncharacteristic performance just six days prior in the Silver Crown season opener at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway.  There, the final result was an 11th place finish after running outside of the top-ten all throughout the 74-lap race.

That result put into motion a meeting of the minds for driver and team as a whole to get back on the same page and right the ship after an auspicious start in rocky waters.

“We had a meeting after Selinsgrove,” Swanson recalled.  “It was a tough conversation to have with all that led up to it with our results that night.  The way we ended (the meeting) was that it already happened, so I want that to be our rock bottom.  Everybody’s got a rock bottom and I am hoping that would be ours and everyone could pull together, and we could come out here this week and prove that we are better than we were in Pennsylvania.”

A similar scenario greeted Swanson on Saturday as it did just one year prior with the team utilizing two different racecars in practice.  This time, it was the brakes that were creating havoc with the primary car in practice, forcing the team to roll the second car out of the trailer.

In the second practice session, Swanson took the “backup” to the top of the charts, then proceeded to clock in with the fastest qualifying time in Fatheadz Qualifying, thus earning him the pole position.  However, at the start of the main event, it was Santos who got the jump on Swanson from his outside front row starting position while Swanson slotted into second.

“I did not want him to get the lead on the start and he didn’t want me to either,” Swanson remembered.  “We raced hard that first lap and I know I was sideways and trying to keep it down off him.”

Third-running David Byrne was right in the thick of the hunt with Santos and Swanson before he slowed dramatically with mechanical trouble just eight laps into the event, the second time in two starts this year that the 2019 third-place Silver Crown points finisher’s race has met an early end.

Swanson had hounded Santos throughout, running nose-to-tail with the former NASCAR Modified Champion during the mid-stages, turning up the wick with attempted bids for the lead on the 44th and 47th laps, thwarted by the presence of gridlock style traffic on each occasion, the latter involving a stifling five-car shuffle in which Santos and Swanson had to dance their way through.

“I tried hard to get him early; I didn’t want to wait for lapped traffic; I didn’t want to wait until the end, but I had no choice,” Swanson explained.  “I was getting a run on him on the outside of four, and I thought ‘that’s not very smart.’  It gets awful narrow there.  Bobby is a very smart racer and he’s not going to give you any of the racetrack you need to pass him.  What he was giving me there, I was trying to make work, but it couldn’t unless I just got lucky one time.  Maybe I got lucky a couple times that I didn’t wreck trying it.”

With the heady Santos, a winner of 10 Silver Crown races in his own right, holding down the fort up front, all Swanson needed was one moment to make his break.  Approaching the 10th place car of Joe Liguori, Santos became boxed in behind entering the middle of turn one.  Swanson swung high to the outside of both cars to paste his ride in the number one position.

With a clear track ahead, Swanson built his lead to over a second ahead of Santos when one-time Silver Crown winner and 9th place running Kyle Hamilton slowed on the front straightaway with smoke coming from the car, putting him out of the race.

That, plus a Liguori turn two spin with two laps remaining, set up a green-white-checkered finish with yellow flag laps counting for 73 laps of the 75-lap distance.

Santos had multiple shots at his one shot to defeat Swanson on the last couple of restarts, but couldn’t quite muster enough to put his car past Swanson, who drove to a 1.013 sec. margin of victory over Santos, with Aaron Pierce, Justin Grant and a career-best series finish for 2019 Silver Crown Rooke of the Year, Derek Bischak, who rounded out the top-five.

Meanwhile, Austin Nemire earned KSE Racing Products Hard Charger honors following his charge from 15th to 6th in his first series start of the season.


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 15, 2020 – Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery – Salem, Indiana – .555-Mile Paved Oval – Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-16.107; 2. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-16.357; 3. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-16.426; 4. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-16.460; 5. Derek Bischak, 131, Bischak-16.553; 6. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight-16.556; 7. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-16.671; 8. Joe Liguori, 32, Williams/Wright-16.761; 9. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-16.858; 10. Brian Gerster, 94, Myers-16.890; 11. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-16.951; 12. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-17.010; 13. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-17.019; 14. Kyle O’Gara, 1, SFHR-17.049; 15. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-17.067; 16. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott-17.328; 17. John Heydenreich, 37, Felker-17.404; 18. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-17.528; 19. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-NT; 20. Bryan Gossel, 06, Gossel-NT.

FEATURE: (75 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kody Swanson (1), 2. Bobby Santos (2), 3. Aaron Pierce (9), 4. Justin Grant (3), 5. Derek Bischak (5), 6. Austin Nemire (15), 7. Kyle O’Gara (14), 8. Kyle Robbins (11), 9. Mike Haggenbottom (18), 10. Joe Liguori (8), 11. Matt Goodnight (13), 12. Travis Welpott (16), 13. Kyle Hamilton (7), 14. Brian Gerster (10), 15. Patrick Lawson (12), 16. Bryan Gossel (19), 17. Chris Windom (6), 18. John Heydenreich (17), 19. David Byrne (4), 20. Dave Berkheimer (20). 29:41.723

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-49 Bobby Santos, Laps 50-75 Kody Swanson.

USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-114, 2-Kyle Robbins-113, 3-Justin Grant-92, 4-Bryan Gossel-92, 5-Matt Goodnight-87, 6-Mike Haggenbottom-85, 7-Travis Welpott-74, 8-C.J. Leary-73, 9-Shane Cottle-70, 10-Bobby Santos-70.

OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-79, 2-Tanner Thorson-76, 3-Shane Cottle-59, 4-Logan Seavey-57, 5-Cannon McIntosh-57, 6-Justin Grant-52, 7-Kyle Cummins-48, 8-Daison Pursley-48, 9-Robert Ballou-45, 10-Andrew Layser-44.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: August 21, 2020 – Lucas Oil Raceway – Brownsburg, Indiana – .686-Mile Paved Oval – Dave Steele Carb Night Classic



Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: Kody Swanson

KSE Racing Products Hard Charger: Austin Nemire (15th to 6th)

Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher: Kyle Hamilton





By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Brownsburg, Indiana (August 21, 2020)………After watching his brother, Kody, score the victory in his Indy Pro 2000 Series debut earlier in the evening, Tanner Swanson made Friday an all-Swanson night, leading the final 60 circuits of the 100-lap Dave Steele Carb Night Classic en route to becoming the winningest USAC Silver Crown driver at Brownsburg, Indiana’s Lucas Oil Raceway with his sixth career triumph at the .686-mile paved oval.

Tanner’s victory broke a three-way tie at the top for most USAC Silver Crown wins at LOR with his older sibling, Kody Swanson, and Mike Bliss.  Tanner’s second career Dave Steele Carb Night Classic victory, and first since 2016, marked his eighth career Silver Crown victory, tying him with Chris Windom for 14th all-time.

But this particular one was special during the 50th Silver Crown event held at LOR.  It was Tanner’s first win with the series in over four years aboard his Bowman Racing/Brickers Pub – T.J. Forge/Beast/Kistler Chevy, one that elevated him as the standard bearer at a track that has been the stage for most of his greatest achievements in the sport, and put him atop all the heroes he remembered watching when he was just beginning in the sport, many of whom he watched from afar and aspired to be, at venues such as LOR.

“It’s awesome to see that record,” Tanner said.  “2004 was (Kody and I’s) first time in sprint cars and midgets.  We were walking through the pits looking at Tracy Hines, A.J. Fike, Bobby Santos and all these guys we watched on TV, and now we get to etch our names next to those types of guys.  It’s surreal to be able to race at this level with family.”

It just so happened to be an all Swanson front row as well with Tanner occupying the outside and Kody the pole after earlier earning his record-extending 31st career Fatheadz Qualifying time with the series, while also earning a $1,000 bonus courtesy of Mac and Carol Steele, parents of the late 12-time LOR USAC winner, Dave Steele.

It was a tad different scenery for Tanner than what he’d become accustomed to over the past couple of years in the event.  He took the back row challenge in the last two Carb Night Classics, driving from 22nd to 2nd in 2018 and 17th to 2nd in 2019.  This time around, no such challenge was in play, so in essence, Tanner practically had a head start on the competition.

However, Kody shot out to the early advantage, and by lap 17, the top-three of Kody, Tanner and reigning Carb Night Classic winner, Kyle Hamilton, were nose-to-tail.  Hamilton made a bid for second between turns one and two when he and Tanner made tire-to-tire contact – Hamilton’s right rear to Tanner’s left rear – igniting a brief shower of sparks and sending Hamilton into a spin while Tanner became sideways, but saved it and continued on.

“Early on, you can’t afford to give anyone any extra space,” Tanner explained.  “He didn’t get enough to clear me, so we ended up running into each other.  I hate it for him that he ended up going to the back but, thankfully, all the tires stayed up and we were able to continue on.”

Hamilton stopped in turn two but proceeded to drive back up through the field following the restart to finish an impressive third in the final rundown.

From thereon, Tanner took a brief peek under Kody in turn three but was unable to make up any substantial ground as Kody pulled back out to a roughly 10-car length advantage with more than a third of the race in arrears.

“Early on, I was trying to play with him,” Tanner recalled of Kody.  “I was watching his hands and seeing how much he was having to work for it.  I tried to show him a wheel to see if I could get him to hustle a little bit, but his car was on rails.”

However, on lap 40, a problem with the rear brake caliper surfaced for Kody, forcing him into an action rarely seen in auto racing, especially one who’s your toughest competition, and also just so happens to be your brother.

“I saw he had a rear brake caliper fail and I saw sparks and things going bad,” Tanner remembered.  “He checked up and he actually waved me by down the back stretch.  I appreciate that he gave us the opportunity like that, but that’s Kody.  He races you the way you want to be raced.”

Tanner immediately pulled away from Kody, distancing himself from the competition until lap 56 when John Heydenreich spun exiting turn two and plowed into the inside wall on the back straightaway.  Under yellow, Kody relented his second place running position to pit with his Nolen Racing crew instantaneously putting the car on jacks and going to work.  Ultimately, Kody did return to the fray one lap down, soldiering on to finish 10th.

Tanner, for all intents and purposes, wrote his own zip code during the second half of the race, cruising on his lonesome up front while a dice up for positions was occurring from second on back.  Aaron Pierce slipped by Bobby Santos late for the second position, his best run since a similar runner-up finish on the dirt in the 2015 Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, all while Hamilton slotted into third.

Navigating his way through traffic with ample ease, Tanner carried out his winning ambitions with a victory in his first racing start of any kind in 2020, dominating the final stages to earn the victory over Pierce, Hamilton and Santos with Justin Grant rounding out the top-five.

There are many roads that lead to success.  Tanner and Bowman Racing have taken the road most often traveled, a pairing whose yearly schedule consists annually of only one track, one car, one driver and one team.  A system which they have demonstrated they have down pat.

“This is the only time I sit in a racecar all year, so I don’t develop any bad habits anywhere else,” Tanner said with a laugh.  “This is the only place I remember, same with the car.  This is the only place these guys come run.”


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 21, 2020 – Lucas Oil Raceway – Brownsburg, Indiana – .686-Mile Paved Oval – Dave Steele Carb Night Classic

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-20.732; 2. Tanner Swanson, 02, Bowman-20.977; 3. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-21.163; 4. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-21.185; 5. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-21.193; 6. Eric Gordon, 78, Armstrong-21.251; 7. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-21.363; 8. Russ Gamester, 51, Gamester-21.375; 9. John Heydenreich, 37, Bohanon/Felker-21.386; 10. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight-21.387; 11. Derek Bischak, 131, Bischak-21.411; 12. Kyle O'Gara, 1, SFHR-21.489; 13. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-21.541; 14. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-21.613; 15. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-21.786; 16. Jim Anderson, 92, Kazmark-21.920; 17. Toni Breidinger, 80, Breidinger-21.959; 18. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott-22.218; 19. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-22.731; 20. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-22.764; 21. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-NT; 22. Bryan Gossel, 06, Gossel-NT; 23. Brent Yarnal, 29, Yarnal-NT; 24. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tanner Swanson (2), 2. Aaron Pierce (7), 3. Kyle Hamilton (4), 4. Bobby Santos (5), 5. Justin Grant (3), 6. Eric Gordon (6), 7. Patrick Lawson (21), 8. Russ Gamester (8), 9. Chris Windom (10), 10. Kody Swanson (1), 11. Shane Cottle (13), 12. Austin Nemire (14), 13. Matt Goodnight (15), 14. Travis Welpott (18), 15. Mike Haggenbottom (20), 16. Toni Breidinger (17), 17. Kyle Robbins (19), 18. Derek Bischak (11), 19. Kyle O’Gara (12), 20. John Heydenreich (9), 21. Bryan Gossel (22), 22. Jim Anderson (16), 23. Dave Berkheimer (24), 24. Brent Yarnal (23). 50:44.343

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-40 Kody Swanson, Laps 41-100 Tanner Swanson.

USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-160, 2-Justin Grant-150, 3-Kyle Robbins-142, 4-Aaron Pierce-131, 5-Bobby Santos-131, 6-Matt Goodnight-124, 7-Mike Haggenbottom-118, 8-Bryan Gossel-114, 9-Shane Cottle-111, 10-Travis Welpott-109.

OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-80, 2-Tanner Thorson-76, 3-Shane Cottle-61, 4-Logan Seavey-57, 5-Cannon McIntosh-57, 6-Justin Grant-52, 7-Kyle Cummins-48, 8-Daison Pursley-48, 9-Robert Ballou-45, 10-Andrew Layser-44.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN RACE: August 23, 2020 – Indiana State Fairgrounds – Indianapolis, Indiana – 1-Mile Dirt Oval – 65th Hoosier Hundred



Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: Kody Swanson

Mac & Carol Steele $1,000 Fast Qualifying Bonus: Kody Swanson

KSE Racing Products Hard Charger: Patrick Lawson (21st to 7th)

Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher: Matt Goodnight

Jerry Medlin 16th Place Finisher in Memory of Jerry Nemire: Toni Breidinger





By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Indianapolis, Indiana (August 23, 2020)………It’s not often that a driver can win the pole and also start from the back, charge to the front and win all in the same race.  But, as the 2020 racing season has repeatedly asked us, is there anything Kyle Larson can’t do?

In his first USAC Silver Crown appearance in eight seasons, Larson achieved another remarkable feat Sunday night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in the 65th running of the Hoosier Hundred after he and his team opted to change the right rear tire following Fatheadz qualifying on his Sean Michael Motorsports/JVI Group – Heffner Racing Enterprises – Blazer’s Body Shop/Maxim/Kistler Chevy, gladly accepting the penalty that came along with it that sent him to the back of the pack for the start of the 100-lap main event on the one-mile dirt oval.

After initially qualifying for the pole position with the fastest single lap turned in the event in a quarter century, the decision sent Larson, along with six others who chose to swap out their right rear rubber, to the tail for the start.  Specifically, Larson was re-slotted in the 22nd starting spot, which elevated Hoosier Hundred Rookie Logan Seavey and veteran C.J. Leary to the front row.

“I think we made a good call there to give up our qualifying position to put on a harder compound tire which allowed me to be aggressive all race long,” Larson revealed.

That mentality of aggressiveness from Larson was evident early and often from the drop of the green flag which saw Leary shoot out to the lead from his outside front row starting spot to lead early.  Meanwhile, two separate hard charges were simultaneously taking place.  Defending Hoosier Hundred winner Tyler Courtney had risen from his 14th starting spot to 2nd in just seven laps while Larson went 22nd to 4th by lap nine when the first major melee of the night occurred.

First, Kyle Robbins slowed substantially coming out of turn four to force out the first yellow.  Under yellow, as several of the top-ten frontrunners slowed for the caution in turn two, a major jumble up sent four-time Hoosier Hundred winner and seventh running Kody Swanson flipping along with 11th running David Byrne and 14th running Austin Nemire.  Byrne landed his car atop the inside guardrail.  All were uninjured, but out of the race for good.

On the attempted resumption, Courtney ripped around Leary for the top spot entering turn one while, simultaneously, Larson did the same to Seavey for third.  Just moments later, disaster ensued once again in the very same spot in turn two as Hoosier Hundred Rookie, and 15th running, Carmen Perigo flipped wildly down the back straightaway.  Behind him, the field checked up on the binders with 2016 HH pole winner, Brady Bacon, barrel rolling down the back straight.  Bacon had been running 6th early but was forced to change a right rear tire following involvement in the earlier incident with K. Swanson and Byrne.  Both Perigo and Bacon were uninjured.

John Heydenreich was also involved in the incident, flipping and coming to a rest up right against the inner guardrail in turn two, and was later transported for further observation.  He was awake and alert at the scene, but suffering from facial fractures and a concussion.

The second lap 10 restart was déjà vu for Courtney as he repeated his outside turn one move for the lead by Leary just following the waving of the green flag.  Larson, likewise, moved around Seavey for third in turn three, then took second a half lap later with an outside pass of Leary in turn one on the 10th lap.

Following lap 16 wall contact by Chris Urish between turns three and four that necessitated a yellow, Larson went to work on Courtney for the lead.  On the 24th circuit, Larson faked high, then low on the front straight behind Courtney before taking the high side to storm around Courtney for the top of the leaderboard entering turn three a half lap later with a quarter of the race in the books.

Leary took over second from Courtney on the following lap, the 26th, and set forth toward Larson, ultimately reclaiming the lead on the 30th trip around the Indy Mile with an inside turn one pass.  Leary, whose father Chuck Leary won the 1997 edition of the Hoosier Hundred, was aiming to become the first son of a former winner to also claim victory in the event.

Action slowed once again on the 34th lap as contact between Matt Westfall and Bryan Gossel in turn four sent Gossel rocketing hard into the outside concrete wall before flipping in his maiden Hoosier Hundred start, marking the fifth and final flip of the feature event.  Gossel, who was running 21st at the time, emerged from the wreck unscathed.

From the ensuing restart onward, the front runners settled into a groove with Leary maintaining a one second interval over Larson as the race passed through the middle stages which saw another HH Rookie, Jake Swanson, enter the top-five, then to fourth, with two more accidents occurring for 8th running Chad Kemenah (lap 55) and 14th place Mike Haggenbottom (lap 64), both of whom had a meeting with the turn three outside wall, which ended both drivers’ nights.

Although not leading at that stage, Larson, nonetheless, remained on the leader’s pace while being mindful of his equipment, readying himself for a surge when the opportunity arose.

“It was a long race, but through the mid-point, I just tried to pace C.J. as much as I could, and also pace Tyler (Courtney) behind me,” Larson recalled.  “You just never know how your tire is when you see theirs under yellow.”

The lap 69 restart was second place-running Larson’s finest moment of the race as he immediately darted to the outside of Leary at the drop of the green flag, then cranked his car completely sideways in front of Leary as he blitzed to the top spot for good.  Upon entry to turn one, Leary slid up the racetrack, allowing Courtney to dive underneath for second and dropping Leary to 3rd.

“I felt like on all the restarts, I could fire off better than C.J. for a few laps, so I wanted to be aggressive on that final restart,” Larson explained.  “I was able to get around him and then I wanted to set a fast pace.  I felt like we probably all had enough wear in our tires to get by for another 30 laps.”

With just a quarter of the race remaining, Courtney slowly but surely reeled Larson in, from five tenths, to four tenths to three tenths, and was right there withing striking distance on the 79th lap when his car slowed dramatically off turn four with an engine issue, forcing his car to a slow crawl to the back straightaway exit and ending his bid for a repeat HH triumph.

Newly-minted second-place driver Leary instantaneously closed the gap on Larson, standing just two car lengths back on the 82nd go-around, but was unable to get much closer than that, as Larson incrementally bumped up his lead to eight-tenths of a second.

One more final bout with lapped traffic was presented to Larson with seven laps remaining as Patrick Lawson and Ronnie Wuerdeman were momentarily two wide entering turn one with Larson rapidly approaching just behind.  Larson expertly escaped through the gap in between turns one and two, only losing a single tenth off his lead to Leary in the process from 0.8 to 0.7 sec.

Larson didn’t allow Leary to get any closer than that in the final seven laps, reconstructing the interval between the two to a whopping 2.052 sec. at race’s end as Larson raced to his first USAC Silver Crown victory since his legendary 4-Crown Nationals USAC sweep at Eldora Speedway of 2011.

Leary finished 2nd with Logan Seavey finishing a career-best 3rd in just his second career series start.  Shane Cockrum took home 4th while Chris Windom snagged the 5th spot to round out the top-five.

One-hundred-mile dirt USAC Silver Crown races are taxing both mentally and physically on the driver, but for Larson, the achievement of success that comes from the fruits of his and the team’s labor is the ultimate reward.

“I just ran really hard, but it was tough.   I had my brakes to the floor and my power steering was really tight.  It was a workout for 100 laps but it’s all worth it.  To add my name to the list, it feels special.”

Following Larson’s third career USAC Silver Crown win on Sunday night, both winners on the dirt have come from way back in the pack to reach victory lane.  Shane Cottle started 23rd and won on Aug. 9 at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway while Larson charged from the 22nd starting position to win at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

With Justin Grant’s 8th place run on Sunday, along with Kody Swanson’s early race misfortune, Grant has now taken over the USAC Silver Crown point lead by 22 markers over Swanson.

Aaron Pierce’s time of 6:36.928 during Sunday’s qualifying race set a brand new 12-lap USAC Silver Crown track record at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, eclipsing the former mark of 6:42.010, which had been held by Gene Lee Gibson since Sept. 10, 1988.


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 23, 2020 – Indiana State Fairgrounds – Indianapolis, Indiana – 1-Mile Dirt Oval – 65th Hoosier Hundred

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Kyle Larson, 19, Michael-31.426; 2. Logan Seavey, 22, Prestige Worldwide-31.850; 3. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-31.887; 4. Brady Bacon, 6, Klatt-31.915; 5. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-31.930; 6. Jimmy Light, 123, Two-Three-31.933; 7. Shane Cockrum, 53, Five Three-32.116; 8. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-32.150; 9. Chad Kemenah, 15, Hampshire/Kemenah-32.198; 10. Jake Swanson, 10, DMW-32.258; 11. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-32.294; 12. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9, Dyson-32.363; 13. Chris Urish, 77, Urish-32.453; 14. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight-32.471; 15. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-32.527; 16. Matt Westfall, 54, Westfall-32.560; 17. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-32.608; 18. Kyle Cummins, 69, Pink 69-32.636; 19. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-32.817; 20. Tyler Courtney, 97, Lein-32.883; 21. Russ Gamester, 51, Gamester-32.910; 22. Terry Babb, 88, Babb-32.963; 23. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-33.101; 24. Carmen Perigo, 52, Stehman-33.105; 25. Casey Buckman, 74, Buckman-33.117; 26. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-33.179; 27. John Heydenreich, 37, Bohanon/Felker-33.297; 28. Austin Mundie, 47, Butler-33.300; 29. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-33.381; 30. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-33.441; 31. Ronnie Wuerdeman, 33, Wuerdeman-33.457; 32. Dallas Hewitt, 57, Hewitt-33.554; 33. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott-33.620; 34. Bryan Gossel, 06, Gossel-33.890; 35. Danny Long, 44, Long-34.474; 36. Justin Peck, 110, DMW-37.240.

QUALIFYING RACE: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Aaron Pierce, 2. Justin Grant, 3. John Heydenreich, 4. Austin Mundie, 5. Matt Goodnight, 6. Ronnie Wuerdeman, 7. Mike Haggenbottom, 8. Travis Welpott, 9. Bryan Gossel, 10. Dallas Hewitt, 11. Danny Long, 12. Justin Peck. 6:36.928 (New Track Record)

FEATURE: (100 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kyle Larson (22), 2. C.J. Leary (2), 3. Logan Seavey (1), 4. Shane Cockrum (23), 5. Chris Windom (24), 6. Jake Swanson (8), 7. Shane Cottle (4), 8. Justin Grant (20), 9. Kyle Cummins (26), 10. Matt Goodnight (21), 11. Casey Buckman (19), 12. Patrick Lawson (11), 13. Ronnie Wuerdeman (30), 14. Kevin Thomas Jr. (9), 15. Tyler Courtney (14), 16. Mike Haggenbottom (28), 17. Chad Kemenah (7), 18. Austin Mundie (27), 19. Kyle Robbins (17), 20. Matt Westfall (25), 21. Bryan Gossel (29), 22. Chris Urish (10), 23. Aaron Pierce (31), 24. Russ Gamester (15), 25. Brady Bacon (3), 26. Kody Swanson (6), 27. David Byrne (12), 28. Jimmy Light (5), 29. Terry Babb (16), 30. Austin Nemire (13), 31. Carmen Perigo (18), 32. John Heydenreich (32). NT

**Kody Swanson, David Byrne & Austin Nemire flipped on lap 10 of the feature. Carmen Perigo, Brady Bacon & John Heydenreich flipped on the lap 10 restart during the feature. Bryan Gossel flipped on lap 34 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-9 C.J. Leary, Laps 10-24 Tyler Courtney, Laps 25-29 Kyle Larson, Laps 30-68 C.J. Leary, Laps 69-100 Kyle Larson.

USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-199, 2-Kody Swanson-177, 3-Kyle Robbins-167, 4-Matt Goodnight-167, 5-Chris Windom-166, 6-Shane Cottle-163, 7-Aaron Pierce-151, 8-Mike Haggenbottom-149, 9-C.J. Leary-143, 10-Bryan Gossel-136.

PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-99, 2-Tanner Thorson-76, 3-Kyle Cummins-65, 4-Justin Grant-64, 5-Kyle Larson-62, 6-Shane Cottle-61, 7-Logan Seavey-57, 8-Cannon McIntosh-57, 9-Daison Pursley-48, 10-Robert Ballou-45.



Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: Kyle Larson

KSE Racing Products/B & W Auto Mart Hard Charger: Kyle Larson (22nd to 1st)

Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher: Ronnie Wuerdeman

Jerry Medlin 16th Place Finisher in Memory of Jerry Nemire: Mike Haggenbottom





By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Springfield, Illinois (October 18, 2020)………Kyle Larson became the 15th driver to win Champ Car races on the three Midwest dirt miles of Du Quoin, the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the Illinois State Fairgrounds, the latter of which he added to his continuously growing checklist on Sunday afternoon in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series’ season finale, the 57th running of the Bettenhausen 100 presented by Fatheadz Eyewear.

Meanwhile, Justin Grant reached the mountaintop of the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series for 2020, winning the series title aboard his Hemelgarn Racing/NOS Energy Drink – Super Fitness – Hemelgarn Enterprises/DRC/Speedway Ford, the first USAC National driving championship for Ione, Calif. native as well as the first series owner title for Ron Hemelgarn.

Larson (Elk Grove, Calif.) joined an exclusive list of winners at all three iconic tracks alongside Jimmy Bryan, Rodger Ward, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Tom Bigelow, Pancho Carter, Gary Bettenhausen, George Snider, Chuck Gurney, Jack Hewitt, Jimmy Sills, J.J. Yeley and Kody Swanson.

“I’ve been able to win at all three (of the miles) I’ve been able to race at,” Larson exclaimed.  “They’re all really historic races with a long history.  In USAC, there’s already so much history, so to add your name to any sort of list and put it in the record books is really cool.”

For Larson, his Silver Crown season consisted of an undefeated record of two starts and two wins, which came following an eight-year hiatus from the series.  His series record now includes four total series triumphs, including his win on the Du Quoin Mile in 2011, followed by the Indy Mile this past August and the Springfield Mile on Sunday.

Larson’s most recent, and only, Springfield Mile appearance came nine years ago in 2011, a 4th place result.  Larson has visited a plethora of racetracks everywhere from coast-to-coast in the near decade since and has won at many of them.  For him, Springfield was akin to a new experience all over again.

“Outside of the shape, the banking and the length of the straightaways, I couldn’t remember anything about it,” Larson recalled.  “It was fun to be able to run the top early in the race before it took rubber, and once it did, it kind of turned into a pavement race with more strategy.”

Larson started the 100-miler from the outside of the front row as pole sitter Justin Grant raced away to the lead.  Fourth-starting Brady Bacon followed suit as he rode the highline around Larson for the 2nd spot.  Larson raced back by Bacon around the outside in turn two on the eighth lap, and on lap 11, Larson utilized the same line in the second turn to pull even with Grant, then closed the door by scooting to the inner guardrail to secure the race lead.

Larson was dominant throughout the first 50 laps, holding a 10-car length lead with Grant 1.3 sec. back in second, and Bacon, Jacob Wilson and Shane Cottle running inside the top-five.  A 32-lap green flag run allowed Larson to find his rhythm in relative comfort without extensive pressure, helping set up his blueprint for the final sprint to the checkered.

“I like the longer runs just because I feel like you don’t go through a transition with your tires heating up and cooling down, so I feel like it’s easier on the tires and it helps you get into a rhythm too,” Larson explained.  “I was happy for the long runs, but happy to get the cautions when we did as well.  It was nice to get to the lead early and get there before it took rubber on the bottom.  Then, I could kind of ride, save fuel and save my tires and try to get after it there at the end.”

The lengthy green flag run ended when championship contender Kyle Robbins wedged his left front wheel in the turn three inside guardrail on lap 64, ending his day and bid for a title after entering the event third in the standings.

When racing resumed, Larson checked out once again to the tune of a nice two-second advantage following the lap 69 restart ahead of Grant, Bacon, Wilson and Shane Cottle.  Although, Cottle, another title contender, fell by the wayside with mechanical trouble on the 80th lap, putting him out of contention and elevating David Gravel, making his Silver Crown debut, into the top-five after starting last on the grid, 26th, after a penalty was levied to him for requiring a push start to begin his race.

Gravel was now the man on the move, as he picked his way to fourth on the 83rd lap past Wilson, then to 3rd after ducking under Bacon in turn two.  Meanwhile, Grant, in the midst of chasing a title, wasn’t content to ride around in the waning stages, and instead, closed the gap on Larson to three car lengths with 10 to go as Gravel began tracking both him and Larson down.

On the 95th lap, Larson was untangle himself from the web of traffic, discarding with the first couple before encountering leading series Rookie Bryan Gossel.  Larson shot to the bottom in turn one underneath Gossel, passing him to give himself some breathing room.  Grant attempted to get by as well, and nearly got hung up on the rear bumper of Gossel as both cars drifted up the racetrack.  Gravel jumped through the open door to get to second while Grant shook loose and resumed his race now in the third position, still plenty good enough for a championship run.

Time ran out on Gravel to make a charge, but the time was just right for Larson who raced to his fourth career Silver Crown victory in just his 11th start.  Gravel advanced 24 positions to finish an impressive second to Larson.  Grant finished third to capture the 2020 USAC Silver Crown driving championship by 44 points.  Bacon took fourth while Jacob Wilson, making his season debut, finished in the fifth position.

While Larson’s celebration commenced on the front straightaway as the race winner, Grant reveled in the reward of totality, one of a season championship, one that was finally his own after finishing 3rd, 4th, 2nd and 2nd in the final standings over the last four Silver Crown seasons, the most recent two of which he finished second to Kody Swanson.  In 2020, the roles were reversed with Grant first and Swanson as the runner-up.

“We’ve finished second to Kody a handful of times, so it feels good to win one, finally, for Ron Hemelgarn and Dennis LaCava and Jason, who helps on the car, and everybody involved.  We had a really good car today, and I think we had something for Larson before we got caught up with a lapped car.  I’m a little disappointed we didn’t win the race, but really happy we won the championship and really happy for my guys; they deserve it.  They brought me a great racecar, which was one of the best mile cars I’ve had in long time.  It was a lot of fun today and I’m glad we got it done.”

“(Brady) was dogging me for a good portion of the race there, and I was trying to run just hard enough to keep him behind us and not burn our tire up, and save something to have a charge at Kyle there at the end,” Grant recalled.  “I was starting to work the entry out a little bit into one and into three trying to give myself a lane there with about 35 to go to try and get by him.  It just didn’t work out in the end.  I timed a lapped car wrong, but that’s how it goes.  Kyle was really, really good, but I feel like we had a really good car too.”


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: October 18, 2020 – Illinois State Fairgrounds – Springfield, Illinois – 1-Mile Dirt Oval – 57th Bettenhausen 100 presented by Fatheadz Eyewear

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-30.457; 2. Kyle Larson, 19, Michael-30.609; 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9, Dyson-30.621; 4. Brady Bacon, 6, Klatt-30.750; 5. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-30.847; 6. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-30.887; 7. David Gravel, 21, Swanson-30.904; 8. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-31.001; 9. Chad Kemenah, 15, Hampshire/Kemenah-31.021; 10. Logan Seavey, 22, Prestige Worldwide-31.080; 11. Jimmy Light, 123, Two-Three-31.104; 12. Kyle Steffens, 08, Steffens-31.303; 13. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-31.352; 14. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-31.534; 15. Shane Cockrum, 53, Five Three-31.670; 16. Jake Swanson, 10, DMW-31.879; 17. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-32.292; 18. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott-32.817; 19. Terry Babb, 88, Babb-32.933; 20. Bryan Gossel, 06, Gossel-33.221; 21. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-34.087; 22. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-34.536; 23. Danny Long, 44, Long-35.354; 24. Terry James, 23, Satterthwaite-35.959; 25. Chris Windom, 17, Goodnight-NT; 26. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-NT; 27. Ronnie Wuerdeman, 33, Wuerdeman-NT; 28. Steven Russell, 14, McQuinn-NT; 29. Kyle Cummins, 69, Pink 69-NT; 30. Chris Urish, 77, Urish-NT; 31. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kyle Larson (2), 2. David Gravel (26), 3. Justin Grant (1), 4. Brady Bacon (4), 5. Jacob Wilson (6), 6. Casey Shuman (12), 7. Shane Cockrum (14), 8. Logan Seavey (9), 9. Chris Windom (24), 10. Kody Swanson (13), 11. Kevin Thomas Jr. (3), 12. Chad Kemenah (8), 13. Jake Swanson (15), 14. Kyle Steffens (11), 15. Jimmy Light (10), 16. Terry Babb (18), 17. Travis Welpott (17), 18. Patrick Lawson (20), 19. Bryan Gossel (19), 20. Danny Long (22), 21. Matt Goodnight (16), 22. Shane Cottle (5), 23. Dave Berkheimer (21), 24. Kyle Robbins (25), 25. Terry James (23), 26. Aaron Pierce (7). 1:03:50.977

**Steven Russell flipped during practice.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-10 Justin Grant, Laps 11-100 Kyle Larson.

FINAL USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-266, 2-Kody Swanson-220, 3-Chris Windom-212, 4-Matt Goodnight-189, 5-Kyle Robbins-186, 6-Shane Cottle-184, 7-Aaron Pierce-168, 8-Shane Cockrum-162, 9-Bryan Gossel-161, 10-Mike Haggenbottom-159.

PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-191, 2-Kyle Cummins-108, 3-Tanner Thorson-106, 4-Robert Ballou-101, 5-Shane Cottle-96, 6-Logan Seavey-93, 7-Justin Grant-86, 8-Cannon McIntosh-84, 9-Brady Bacon-79, 10-Chase Stockon-71.



Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: Justin Grant

KSE Racing Products Hard Charger: David Gravel (26th to 2nd)

Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher: Jake Swanson





POS.      PTS.       DRIVER

1              266         Justin Grant, Ione, Calif.

2              220         Kody Swanson, Kingsburg, Calif.

3              212         Chris Windom, Canton, Ill.

4              189         Matt Goodnight, Winchester, Ind.

5              186         Kyle Robbins, New Castle, Ind.

6              184         Shane Cottle, Kansas, Ill.

7              168         Aaron Pierce, Muncie, Ind.

8              162         Shane Cockrum, Benton, Ill.

9              161         Bryan Gossel (R), Fort Collins, Colo.

10           159         Mike Haggenbottom, Levittown, Pa.

11           156         Logan Seavey (R), Sutter, Calif.

12           151         Patrick Lawson, Edwardsville, Ill.

13           148         Travis Welpott, Pendleton, Ind.

14           146         Kyle Larson, Elk Grove, Calif.

15           143         C.J. Leary, Greenfield, Ind.

16           131         Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass.

17           131         Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, Okla.

18           121         Jake Swanson (R), Anaheim, Calif.

19           111         Kyle Cummins (R), Princeton, Ind.

20           107         Austin Nemire, Sylvania, Ohio

21           101         Kyle Hamilton, Danville, Ind.

22           101         Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.)

23           95           Chad Kemenah (R), Alvada, Ohio

24           85           Derek Bischak, Angola, Ind.

25           85           Dave Berkheimer, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

26           84           Ronnie Wuerdeman (R), Cincinnati, Ohio

27           77           Kyle O'Gara (R), Beech Grove, Ind.

28           73           Tanner Swanson, Kingsburg, Calif.

29           71           Carmen Perigo (R), Stoystown, Pa.

30           68           Russ Gamester, Peru, Ind.

31           67           David Gravel (R), Watertown, Conn.

32           63           John Heydenreich, Bloomsburg, Pa.

33           61           David Byrne, Shullsburg, Wisc.

34           60           Casey Buckman (R), Chandler, Ariz.

35           58           Jacob Wilson, Crawfordsville, Ind.

36           55           Eric Gordon, Indianapolis, Ind.

37           55           Casey Shuman, Tempe, Ariz.

38           48           Jimmy Light (R), West Springfield, Pa.

39           46           Matt Westfall, Pleasant Hill, Ohio

40           45           Terry Babb, Decatur, Ill.

41           43           Joe Liguori, Tampa, Fla.

42           35           Brian Gerster, Fishers, Ind.

43           35           Kyle Steffens, St. Charles, Mo.

44           33           Tyler Courtney, Indianapolis, Ind.

45           33           Danny Long, Bonne Terre, Mo.

46           31           Toni Breidinger, Hillsborough, Calif.

47           31           Chris Urish, Elkhart, Ill.

48           27           Austin Mundie, Kaufman, Texas

49           21           Jim Anderson, Joliet, Ill.

50           21           Jake Simmons (R), New Palestine, Ind.

51           19           Brent Yarnal (R), Phoenix, Ariz.

52           18           Terry James, St. Louis, Mo.

53           10           Dallas Hewitt (R), Troy, Ohio

54           10           Justin Peck (R), Monrovia, Ind.

55           10           Steven Russell, Rochester, Ill.






1              266         Hemelgarn Racing, LaSalle, Mich. (#91)

2              232         Klatt Enterprises, Hastings, Neb. (#6)

3              220         Nolen Racing, Greenwood, Ind. (#20)

4              212         Goodnight Racing, Hartford City, Ind. (#17)

5              189         Goodnight Racing, Hartford City, Ind. (#39)

6              186         KR Racing, Greenfield, Ind. (#7)

7              184         Curtis Williams, Springfield, Ohio (#81)

8              168         Sam Pierce, Daleville, Ind. (#26)

9              162         Five Three Motorsports, Joliet, Ill. (#53)

10           161         Bryan Gossel, Fort Collins, Colo. (#06)

11           159         John Haggenbottom, Bristol, Pa. (#24)

12           156         Prestige Worldwide Motorsports, Indianapolis, Ind. (#222)

13           151         Patrick Lawson, Edwardsville, Ill. (#2)

14           148         Welpott Racing, Pendleton, Ind. (#18)

15           146         Sean Michael Motorsports, York Springs, Pa. (#19)

16           143         Leary Racing, Greenfield, Ind. (#30)

17           131         DJ Racing, Boca Raton, Fla. (#22)

18           121         DMW Motorsports, Phoenix, Ariz. (#10)

19           111         Pink 69 Racing, Evansville, Ind. (#69)

20           107         Nemire-Lesko Racing, Toledo, Ohio (#16)

21           101         Chris Dyson Racing, Pleasant Valley, N.Y. (#9)

22           95           Hampshire-Kemenah Racing, Alvada, Ohio (#15)

23           85           Derek Bischak, Indianapolis, Ind. (#131)

24           85           Berkheimer Racing, Mechanicsburg, Pa. (#31)

25           84           Ronnie Wuerdeman, Cincinnati, Ohio (#33)

26           77           SFHR Development, Indianapolis, Ind. (#1)

27           73           Bowman Racing, Brownsburg, Ind. (#02)

28           71           John Stehman, Halifax, Pa. (#52)

29           68           Gamester Racing, Peru, Ind. (#51)

30           67           Mark Swanson Encore Team, Des Moines, Iowa (#21)

31           63           Nick Bohanon-A.J. Felker Racing, Jeffersonville, Ind. (#37)

32           61           Byrne Racing, Shullsburg, Wisc. (#40)

33           60           Chuck Buckman Jr., Chandler, Ariz. (#74)

34           58           Wilson Brothers Racing, Crawfordsville, Ind. (#07)

35           55           Brad & Tara Armstrong, New Palestine, Ind. (#78)

36           55           Patty Bateman, Murphysboro, Ill. (#55)

37           48           Two-Three Motorsports, Lizton, Ind. (#123)

38           46           Westfall Motorsports, Pleasant Hill, Ohio (#54)

39           45           Terry Babb, Decatur, Ill. (#88)

40           43           Williams & Wright Racing, St. Paul, Ind. (#32)

41           35           Dick & Deborah Myers, Waterford, Mich. (#94)

42           35           Gordon Steffens, St. Charles, Mo. (#08)

43           33           Hans Lein, Edgerton, Wisc. (#97)

44           33           Danny Long, Bonne Terre, Mo. (#44)

45           31           Breidinger Motorsports, Hillsborough, Calif. (#80)

46           31           Chris Urish, Lincoln, Ill. (#77)

47           27           Les & Patty Butler, Kaufman, Texas (#47)

48           21           Kazmark Motorsports, Joliet, Ill. (#92)

49           21           Tim Simmons, Cabot, Ark. (#3)

50           19           Brent Yarnal, Phoenix, Ariz. (#29)

51           18           Todd Satterthwaite, St. Louis, Mo. (#23)

52           10           Dallas Hewitt, Fletcher, Ohio (#57)

53           10           DMW Motorsports, Phoenix, Ariz. (#110)

54           10           McQuinn Motorsports, Springfield, Ill. (#14)