By Jay Hardin Track Enterprises
Indianapolis (May 16, 2014)-When the USAC Silver Crown Series cars invade the historic Indiana State Fairgrounds for the May 22 Hoosier Hundred, the prestigious event on the USAC calendar could see a first time winner in Oklahoma’s Christopher Bell. The youngster from Norman won’t turn twenty until just before Christmas this year but he has numerous victories and race miles under his belt, but not one of the coveted 100-mile national dirt track championship events.
Bell replaced popular veteran Brian Tyler in the Team 6R fleet of Toyota powered uprights before DuQuoin last year and immediately faced a challenge filling the shoes of a driver who was second on the Silver Crown Series win list. Bell had never driven one of the large championship dirt cars and had never driven on one of the mile dirt tracks. He quickly adapted and finished a creditable eighth. He then took his new found knowledge to the season finale at Eldora running near the front before contact sent him to the back of the field.
Bell ran sixteenth at the season opener at Terre Haute but the team and driver look to the Indianapolis fairgrounds where Bell could become the youngest winner in the sixty-one year history of the Hoosier Hundred.
Bell has plenty of competitors on May 22 in the third race of the eleven slated for 2014. Former winners Dave Darland and Jerry Coons, Jr. are expected, as are Indiana drivers Tracy Hines and Russ Gamester, Illinois drivers Shane Cockrum and Randy Bateman, Californian Kody Swanson (winner at Terre Haute) as well as a host of others as new series director Andy Hillenburg has worked tirelessly to bring out past owners and entice new owners and drivers into to top USAC series.
Drivers will be chasing history at the historic Indiana oval, drivers from Jimmy Bryan to A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Mario Andretti, Chuck Gurney and Jack Hewitt all have wins on the mile dirt track in an event that dates back to 1953. The last rookie to win was forty years ago when Jackie Howerton, also an Okie, bested Al Unser and Mario Andretti in the biggest upset victory in Hoosier Hundred history.
Gates will open May 22 at 3 p.m. EDT with practice at 5, qualifcations at 6 and racing at 7. The UMP Modifieds will also be on hand and their Indyana Classic will be run prior to the 100-lap Hoosier Hundred.
Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster and Track Enterprises (217-764-3200).