By Jay Hardin of Track Enterprises
DuQuoin, IL August 26, 2012-Sunday night September 2 the lights of the “Magic Mile” are turned on for the 61st running of the Ted Horn 100 for the Traxxas USAC Silver Crown Series machines. The mighty uprights enter the event honoring the three time AAA National Champion with Olney, Illinois native Levi Jones still searching for his first ever one mile dirt track win. Fellow Illini A.J. Fike of Galesburg joins Jones as one of the favorites entering the Ted Horn 100 on the heels of his convincing triumph in the Tony Bettenhausen 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on August 18
Jones, a two time and defending USAC Silver Crown champion, stands fourth in the current points (following the Springfield event) and like three time series champ Bud Kaeding of Campbell, California, still has yet to win one of the traditional 100-mile events on the schedule. Another former champion in search of his first DuQuoin win is 2008 Silver Crown titlist Jerry Coons, Jr. of Tucson, Arizona. Coons however has two 100-mile wins, the most recent in the May Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
In fact the RW Motorsports team that Coons drives for has won four of the five races held to date on the schedule. Even with their domination the driver atop the 2012 standings drives for a rival Toyota team and is the 2010 Ted Horn 10o winner. Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, California is atop the USAC standings despite not having a win on the 2012 campaign. He is in search of his first USAC Silver Crown title. Fellow former Ted Horn 100 winner (2008) Brian Tyler joins Swanson and Swanson’s brother Tanner on the 6R Toyota team.
Last year Kyle Larson was just 4 days past his 19th birthday when he led the final 78 laps to become the youngest championship race winner at DuQuoin. He also became just the fifth rookie to win the Ted Horn 100 since 1949. The 2011 win plus a clean sweep of the Four Crown at Eldora gained him national acclaim and Larson has been doing some stock car racing as a development driver. His status for the Horn 100 at press time is unknown.
Illini drivers and owners add interest to the Ted Horn 100 with local shoes “Sugar” Shane Cockrum of Benton and Randy Bateman of Murphysboro expected to enter the Horn 100. Cockrum had fine run at the Hoosier Hundred in May qualifying ninth and may join A.J. Fike as drivers pulling double duty in championship cars and stock cars over the weekend.
Chris Urish of Elkhart joins the entry list along with two cars out of the McQuinn stable in Springfield, one for Springfield’s Joey Moughan and the other for former Horn 100 winner Shane Cottle.
The 61st Ted Horn 100 should feature an Indy 500 veteran as Bryan Clauson joins Coons on the RW Motorsports team. Two time Ted Horn 100 winner Tracy Hines (2005 & 2006) should be part of the 61st Ted Horn 100 field and 1997 winner Russ Gamester joins the fray as well. 1997 series champ Dave Darland has the most consecutive starts of any driver in the field (17) and needs to add a win at DuQuoin to complete a tri fecta of wins on the three dirt miles of the Midwest.
Adding to the intrigue of the Ted Horn 100 is the role that Illinois farmers are playing in supporting the event. For the first time in history the entire field will be using corn based ethanol fuel as Ignite Ethanol has signed on as the official fuel of the USAC Silver Crown Series.
Practice for the Silver Crown machines is slated for around 5 p.m. Sunday night with the 61st Ted Horn 100 slated to take the green flag at approximately 8.