Home Race Track News Illinois Top-10 Remain in USAC Silver Crown Title Fight Entering Springfield

Top-10 Remain in USAC Silver Crown Title Fight Entering Springfield

USAC Silver Crown point leader, Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.)
(DB3, Inc. Photo)

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Springfield, Illinois (October 13, 2020)………To put into perspective how close the 2020 USAC Silver Crown championship race is, consider this. The last time the entire top-10 of the Silver Crown standings were within 100 points going into the season finale was never.

Never.

This Sunday afternoon’s Bettenhausen 100 presented by Fatheadz Eyewear at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield has a spread of just 63 points between championship leader Justin Grant and 10th place Bryan Gossel. With a maximum 76 points up for grabs on Sunday – 3 for the fastest qualifier, 3 for the most laps led and 70 for the feature winner with a minimum of 13 points available for all feature starters, that means the entire top-10 remains mathematically eligible to win the championship.

The previous closest interval between first and 10th in the standings coming into the final race was 108 points in 1979.

Of course, this season, which has been ravaged by the effects of COVID-19, has seen the shortest Silver Crown schedule since, oddly enough, that same 1979 season, which held three events. Sunday marks the fifth series race of 2020, which has certainly provided less of an opportunity for separation between drivers in the standings.

And, for full disclosure, the point system utilized by the Silver Crown series has varied over the years but has remained practically unchanged for more than two decades, outside of a minor tweak here and there.

Nonetheless, that has created an unprecedented logjam at the top led by Grant (Ione, Calif.), who has a relatively wide 22-point margin for as close as the rest of the field is. Grant, the 2017 Bettenhausen 100 winner, is battling for his first career USAC National championship.

Twenty-two points behind Grant is the all-time Silver Crown king, Kody Swanson (Kingsburg, Calif.), a two-time Bettenhausen 100 winner in 2014-15, who is vying for his sixth series title in the past seven seasons.

Kyle Robbins (New Castle, Ind.), the 2018 Silver Crown Rookie of the Year is 32 points out of the lead in third as is Matt Goodnight (Winchester, Ind.).

Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.), the most recent Bettenhausen 100 winner in 2018, is 33 points out of the lead in fifth. Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.), the season opening Silver Crown winner at Selinsgrove, Pa., is sixth, 36 points back.

Seventh in points, Aaron Pierce (Muncie, Ind.) is not expected to compete at Springfield, but Mike Haggenbottom (Levittown, Pa.) is, and is just 50 tallies behind the leader. C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) is just 56 markers back and has finished 2nd twice this season on the dirt at Selinsgrove, Pa. and at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Bryan Gossel (Fort Collins, Colo.), the top series Rookie in 2020, is 63 points behind the top spot.

Technically speaking, the top-12 are all within the realm of a championship. Bobby Santos (Franklin, Mass.), though he has competed at Springfield once before with an 11th place finish in 2012, will not participate in this Sunday’s race. Patrick Lawson (Edwardsville, Ill.) is 75 points out. However, once a driver is officially signed in at pill draw, regardless of what occurs thereafter, each driver will collect a minimum of 10 “show up” points, thus eliminating Santos and Lawson from championship contention.

For those scoring at home, the feature points system looks like this: 1st-70 points, 2nd-67, 3rd-64, 4th-61, 5th-58, 6th-55, 7th-52, 8th-49, 9th-46, 10th-43, 11th-41, 12th-39, 13th-37, 14th-35, 15th-33, 16th-31, 17th-29, 18th-27, 19th-25, 20th-23, 21st-22, 22nd-21, 23rd-20, 24th-19, 25th-18, 26th-17, 27th-16, 28th-15, 29th-14, 30th on back-13.

In Silver Crown racing on a dirt mile, anything can happen. With the points as tight as they are entering Sunday, every point is valuable in earning the immortal badge of USAC Silver Crown champion for 2020.

Grandstand ticket sales will be limited to 20% capacity on Sunday in order to promote a safe atmosphere and allow for proper social distancing. In addition, face coverings will be required, temperatures will be checked upon arrival, and multiple hand washing and sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the venue.

Grandstand capacity is set at 20% and tickets are available online at www.trackenterprises.com or by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200. The advance sale tickets will also save fans a couple of bucks compared to purchasing them at the event.

Pit gates will open at 8am Central, grandstands and ticket office at 11am, practice at Noon, qualifying at 1:15pm, the last chance race at 2:15pm and the 57th running of the Bettenhausen 100 presented by Fatheadz Eyewear will take the green at 3pm. All times listed are central.

The Bettenhausen 100 can also be watched LIVE on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2Zs7zFP.

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.

POINTS DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN 1ST & 10TH ENTERING FINAL RACE OF THE USAC SILVER CROWN SEASON: (1971-2019)

2020: 63 points

2019: 262 points

2018: 297 points

2017: 376 points

2016: 284 points

2015: 295 points

2014: 288 points

2013: 212 points

2012: 128 points

2011: 281 points

2010: 129 points

2009: 142 points

2008: 193 points

2007: 147 points

2006: 332 points

2005: 197 points

2004: 253 points

2003: 311 points

2002: 189 points

2001: 224 points

2000: 187 points

1999: 290 points

1998: 238 points

1997: 226 points

1996: 703 points

1995: 486 points

1994: 564 points

1993: 338 points

1992: 316 points

1991: 294 points

1990: 389 points

1989: 340 points

1988: 389 points

1987: 667 points

1986: 696 points

1985: 478 points

1984: 345 points

1983: 474 points

1982: 249 points

1981: 343 points

1980: 577 points

1979: 108 points

1978: 396 points

1977: 350 points

1976: 180 points

1975: 390 points

1974: 640 points

1973: 350 points

1972: 270 points

1971: 260 points

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