Kody Swanson enters Saturday’s “Bettenhausen 100” on a history-making run in the 2016 USAC Silver Crown Series slate. One Illinois driver currently in the top 10 in the USAC Silver Crown title chase and one just outside the top 10 along with one past winner of the event from Illinois are among the drivers favored to de-rail the “Swanson Express.”
California’s Swanson enters the Bettenhausen with the past two USAC Silver Crown national championships in his pocket. He currently leads the point standings with a reasonable chance at three consecutive championships, something no driver has accomplished since the championship dirt cars split from the national trail in 1971. He won his third consecutive Hoosier Hundred in May joining Jimmy Bryan and Al Unser as the only men to win three in a row. Swanson can join the late Tony Bettenhausen and Chuck Gurney as the only drivers to win three consecutive championship races at Springfield should he win Saturday.
In 2014, he became just the 14th driver since 1953 to be able to claim he had won the Hoosier Hundred, Bettenhausen 100 and Ted Horn 100 at DuQuoin. Even fewer men (Jimmy Bryan, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Jack Hewitt) can claim they won all three in the same year.
Swanson has had that opportunity for the past two years with only DuQuoin eluding his grasp. He comes to Springfield with a chance at claiming all three again. However, the driver trailing him in the Silver Crown title chase along with the driver currently 11th in the point standings have an excellent chance at winning Saturday’s classic.
Canton’s Chris Windom won the event at Williams Grove and is currently second in points just 13 behind Swanson. All of Windom’s series wins have come on half-mile tracks and the west-central Illinois driver would like nothing better than to capture one of the prestigious mile fairground events. Windom ran second for a portion of last year’s race and led 17 laps before Swanson scooted by for the win. The driver who led the first 40 laps of the 2015 Bettenhausen can’t be counted out either. Shane Cockrum of Benton is 11th in points running a limited schedule in 2016. He has three series victories, one at Terre Haute in the 2015 Sumar Classic and his 2014-2015 victories at DuQuoin mark as some of the most emotional and memorable in series history.
Two-time Bettenhausen (2012-13) victor A.J. Fike of Galesburg became an Illinois State Fair favorite when he became the first central Illinois driver since 1966 to claim the Bettenhausen 100. Not only does Fike enter his favorite track with a good chance to claim his third Bettenhausen win, he made history last year when he became just the fifth driver to post a dirt car and stock car win at Springfield by winning the Allen Crowe 100 on Sunday.
Other former winners expected for the Bettenhausen include Russ Gamester (1998) and Brian Tyler (2004-05-08-11) who returns driving for long time entrant Bob Galas. USAC regulars expected include last year’s Bettenhausen 100 polesitter Justin Grant, two-time Hoosier Hundred winner Jerry Coons Jr., 2007 Ted Horn 100 winner Shane Cottle, second generation driver Casey Shuman, third generation drivers Joe Ligouri and Austin Nemire and past USAC Sprint Car champ Brady Bacon.
Entrants from Illinois include Springfield’s Joey Moughan and J.C. Bland, Chris Urish from Elkhart, Terry Babb from Decatur, Patrick Lawson from Edwardsville and Tad Roach from Granite City. Zach Daum of Pocahontas also returns for Springfield car owner Dennis McQuinn.
The 55th Bettenhausen 100 is part of a two-day race program on the last weekend of the Illinois State Fair that features USAC Silver Crown championship dirt cars Saturday and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on Sunday. On Saturday, August 20 registration and pits will open at 7:00 AM, grandstands and ticket office at 9:00, Silver Crown practice at 10:00, qualifying at 11:30, UMP Sportsman hot laps at 12:00 noon, Silver Crown semi at 12:30, UMP Sportsman heats at 1:00, and the Bettenhausen 100 at 2:00.
JAY HARDIN – TRACK ENTERPRISES
UPCOMING USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP EVENT INFO:
DATE: Saturday, August 20, 2016
SERIES: USAC Silver Crown Championship
TRACK: Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, Illinois) – 1-mile dirt oval
EVENT: “Bettenhausen 100” featuring the USAC Silver Crown Championship and Sportsman
STARTING TIMES: 7:00 AM Pits & Registration, 9:00 AM Ticket Office & Grandstands, 9:30 AM Drivers Meetings, 10:00-11:10 AM Silver Crown Practice, 11:30 AM Silver Crown Qualifying, 12:00 PM Sportsman Hotlaps, 12:30 PM Silver Crown B-Main, 1:00 PM Sportsman Heats, 1:30 PM Pre-Race Ceremonies, 2:00 PM USAC Silver Crown 55th Annual “Bettenhausen 100”
TICKETS: RESERVED SEATING: Advance Tickets (Presale) – $25 Adults, $10 Children 11 & Under. Race Day (At Gate) – $30 Adults, $10 Children 11 & Under. INFIELD TICKETS – $20 Adults, $5 Children 11 & Under. PIT PASSES – $35 Adults, $20 Children 11 & Under
Tickets are on sale at the Illinois State Fair ticket office at (217) 782-1979 or call Track Enterprises at (217) 764-3200.
TRACK ADDRESS: 801 E. Sangamon Ave, Springfield, IL 62706
TRACK PHONE: (217) 782-1979 or (217) 764-3200.
TRACK WEBSITE: http://trackenterprises.com/
MEDIA COVERAGE: Live updates on https://www.facebook.com/usacracing/ and https://twitter.com/USACNation