Prestige Worldwide: USAC Silver Crown Heads to the Arch for Friday’s 100-Miler

Two-time USAC Silver Crown winner at World Wide Technology Raceway Bobby Santos (Franklin, Mass.) will try for win number three this Friday night during the OutFront 100 at the Madison, Ill. paved oval. (Jack Reitz Photo)

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Madison, Illinois (August 16, 2022)………Just one driver in this Friday night’s field can claim ownership of a USAC Silver Crown victory at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Just one driver in the USAC Silver Crown division’s history at the 1.25-mile paved oval can boast two career victories at WWT.

Both belong on the resume of Bobby Santos who enters this Friday night’s, August 19, OutFront 100 at WWT Raceway on an undefeated two-race winning streak at the speedy Madison, Ill. venue formerly known as Gateway Motorsports Park.

Santos (Franklin, Mass.) captured back-to-back victories in both of his career series starts at the track in 2013 and 2014, the latter of which stands as the 80-lap track record, which finished up in just 49 minutes and 46 seconds at a clip of a 120.563 mph average for the distance. Santos was absent for the series’ most recent appearance in 2016.

Of the 22 pre-entries for Friday night’s 80-lap, 100-mile event, six drivers hold the upper hand with previous experience at WWT. Eight previous USAC Silver Crown races have been held at the track since debuting at the newly built venue in 1997.

Six-time champion and current point leader Kody Swanson has not yet led a lap at WWT in his three previous visits. He scored a 2nd in 2013 and a 5th in 2014, then pounded the turn one wall in 2016 after a mechanical failure. The Kingsburg, Calif. native currently possesses USAC Silver Crown wins at 13 different racetracks, tied with 2002-03 series champ J.J. Yeley for the most all-time. One more at Gateway would move Swanson to the top, and he comes into the race having won the last two series events at Winchester, Ind. and Toledo, Ohio.

Brian Tyler (Parma, Mich.) is one of two drivers in Friday’s field who competed in the first Silver Crown event at WWT a quarter of a century ago in 1997. Tyler’s best days at the track came in 2013 when he led 25 laps and finished 4th. The two-time USAC National Sprint Car titlist also ran to a 5th place result in 2001.

Eric Gordon’s last WWT Silver Crown start came all the way back in 1998 when he finished 11th in the field. In that same race, the Greenfield, Indiana driver’s current car owner, Brad Armstrong, collected a 7th place result. Gordon, along with Tyler, are the two drivers in the Friday’s lineup who competed in the first event back in 1997.

Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.), the 2020 USAC Silver Crown driving champion, notched a 6th place finish in his lone WWT start during the 2016 season. His Hemelgarn Racing team made three Indy Racing League starts at WWT between 2001-03 with driver Buddy Lazier, finishing a best of 11th in 2003. The team finished 3rd in the 2016 Silver Crown round with driver Austin Nemire.

Patrick Lawson of nearby Edwardsville, Ill. has made two Silver Crown starts at WWT in his career, both resulting in 12th place finishes in 2014 and 2016.

A CONNECTION IS MADE:

Four drivers making their first appearances in USAC Silver Crown competition at WWT this Friday night have a connection to the past.

Among them are 2019 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Champion and current Silver Crown title contender C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.). C.J.’s father, Chuck Leary, won the pole for the first event at the track in 1997 and finished a best of 13th in 1999.

IRP Midget winner Kyle O’Gara (Beech Grove, Calif.) will make his first foray to WWT. His sister-in-law, Sarah Fisher, made three Indy Racing League starts at the track between 2001-03.

Davey Hamilton Jr.’s father, Davey Hamilton, has competed with the Silver Crown series at WWT in his career, finishing a solid 8th during the 1998 event.

USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship standout Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.) will be making her debut run at WWT. She’s driving a car for Sam and Aaron Pierce in Friday night’s showdown. Aaron has made one WWT Silver Crown start in 2013, finishing 15th after being forced out due to a mechanical problem just 11 laps into the race.

FIRST TIME UNDER THE ARCH:

Last year’s series runner-up and current second-place runner in the Silver Crown standings is Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) who makes his first jaunt to the track located just within the shadow of the arch.

Two Illinoisans will be in the field with veteran Lawson being joined by POWRi WAR Sprint Car champion Mario Clouser (Auburn, Ill.).

Series full-timers hit the pavement with 2018 Rookie of the Year Kyle Robbins (New Castle, Ind.), 2000 NAMARS Midget champion Travis Welpott (Pendleton, Ind.) and Dave Berkheimer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) making a first WWT visit, as well as the most successful woman in series history, Taylor Ferns (Shelby Township, Mich.), who has twice finished 3rd this season at Indianapolis Raceway Park and Winchester.

Past Rookies of the Year, Angola, Indiana’s Derek Bischak (2019) and Fort Collins, Colorado’s Bryan Gossel (2020) will take on the long-straights and tight turns of WWT for the first time, as will Nathan Byrd (Goodyear, Ariz.).

Byrd is one of six USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year contenders in Friday night’s lineup along with leading candidate Gregg Cory (Shelbyville, Ind.), Bryson, Clouser (Auburn, Ill.), Midwest Super Modified Association titlist and NASA Test Engineer Mike McVetta (Grafton, Ohio) and 2021 Auto Value Super Sprint champion Tom Paterson (Argos, Ind.).

This Friday night, August 19, at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill., the OutFront 100 features the USAC Silver Crown National Championship, INDYCAR Practice/Qualifying and Indy Lights Practice/Qualifying. Front gates open at 8am central, with the first Silver Crown practice at 10am followed by Fatheadz Qualifying at 1:15pm. Silver Crown final practice takes shape at 4:30pm with driver introductions at 8pm and the 80-lap, 100-mile main event at 8:30pm.

Friday’s event can be watched LIVE on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/3OivVbj.

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USAC SILVER CROWN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-384, 2-Logan Seavey-366, 3-C.J. Leary-346, 4-Brian Tyler-288, 5-Justin Grant-285, 6-Bobby Santos-239, 7-Taylor Ferns-209, 8-Travis Welpott-203, 9-Gregg Cory-178, 10-Kyle Robbins-176.

WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY USAC SILVER CROWN ENTRY LIST:

06 BRYAN GOSSEL/Fort Collins, CO

1 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA

2 PATRICK LAWSON/Edwardsville, IL

6 C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN

7 KYLE ROBBINS/New Castle, IN

11 (R) NATHAN BYRD/Goodyear, AZ

14 DAVEY HAMILTON JR./Boise, ID

18 TRAVIS WELPOTT/Pendleton, IN

22 BOBBY SANTOS/Franklin, MA

26 (R) KAYLEE BRYSON/Muskogee, OK

31 DAVE BERKHEIMER/Mechanicsburg, PA

32 (R) GREGG CORY/Shelbyville, IN

55 TAYLOR FERNS/Shelby Township, MI

67 KYLE O’GARA/Beech Grove, IN

81 BRIAN TYLER/Parma, MI

91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA

92 (R) MARIO CLOUSER/Auburn, IL

94 (R) MIKE McVETTA/Grafton, OH

99 ERIC GORDON/Greenfield, IN

111 (R) TOM PATERSON/Argos, IN

131 DEREK BISCHAK/Angola, IN

222 LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA

(R) represents a USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year contender

TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC SILVER CROWN AT WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY:

1 Lap – 6/1/2013 – Chris Windom – 31.082 – 144.778 mph

60 Laps – 6/25/2016 – Tanner Swanson – 44:33.031 – 101.009 mph

80 Laps – 6/14/2014 – Bobby Santos – 49:46.000 – 120.563 mph

USAC SILVER CROWN WINNERS AT WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY:

1997: Pat Abold (9/14)

1998: J.J. Yeley (10/17)

1999: Ryan Newman (7/30)

2000: Tracy Hines (5/7)

2001: Dave Steele (8/25)

2013: Bobby Santos (6/1)

2014: Bobby Santos (6/14)

2016: Tanner Swanson (6/25)

PAST USAC SILVER CROWN RESULTS AT WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY:

1997 FEATURE (80 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Pat Abold (2), 2. Dave Steele (5), 3. Dan Drinan (10), 4. Kenny Irwin Jr. (25), 5. Robby Flock (6), 6. Tony Stewart (4), 7. Jimmy Sills (3), 8. Dave Darland (21), 9. Ryan Newman (12), 10. Mike Gregg (26), 11. Russ Gamester (17), 12. Jim Keeker (19), 13. Brian Tyler (22), 14. Ronnie Burke (30), 15. Eric Gordon (23), 16. Wally Pankratz (27), 17. Chuck Gurney (11), 18. Jason McCord (29), 19. Gary Irvin (24), 20. Donnie Beechler (13), 21. Bentley Warren (20), 22. Jack Hewitt (7), 23. Chuck Leary (1), 24. Ricky Logan (28), 25. Mike Bliss (9), 26. Kevin Thomas (14), 27. Davey Hamilton (8), 28. Johnny Parsons (16), 29. Gary Hieber (18), 30. Tracy Hines (15). NT

1998 FEATURE: (100 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. J.J. Yeley (17), 2. Tracy Hines (12), 3. Ryan Newman (2), 4. Jason Leffler (3), 5. Bentley Warren (8), 6. Jason McCord (14), 7. Brad Armstrong (15), 8. Davey Hamilton (9), 9. Billy Puterbaugh Jr. (18), 10. Pat Abold (27), 11. Eric Gordon (19), 12. Derek Davidson (22), 13. Dave Darland (20), 14. Johnny Parsons (29), 15. Rebel Jackson Jr. (26), 16. Brian Tyler (10), 17. Jimmy Sills (6), 18. Mike Brooks (28), 19. Robby Flock (11), 20. Gary Hieber (25), 21. Doug Didero (24), 22. Dave Steele (1), 23. Kevin Bloomstran (30), 24. Jack Hewitt (16), 25. Jerry Coons Jr. (23), 26. Chet Fillip (21), 27. Stevie Reeves (13), 28. Dan Drinan (5), 29. Russ Gamester (4). 56:47.64 (NOTE: Car #30, Chuck Leary (7), disqualified after finishing fifth for failing to pass post-race technical inspection.)

1999 FEATURE: (80 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Ryan Newman (6), 2. Kenny Irwin Jr. (8), 3. Jack Hewitt (1), 4. Gary Hieber (18), 5. Tracy Hines (5), 6. Russ Gamester (7), 7. Bentley Warren (15), 8. Brad Noffsinger (12), 9. Jimmy McCune (17), 10. Dave Darland (20), 11. Robby Flock (14), 12. Todd Kane (19), 13. Chuck Leary (2), 14. Brian Gerster (21), 15. Paul White (23), 16. Tony Elliott (4), 17. Tom Capie (27), 18. Rebel Jackson Jr. (16), 19. J.J. Yeley (26), 20. Brian Paulus (9), 21. Jason Leffler (3), 22. Brian Tyler (13), 23. Randy Bateman (30), 24. Chet Fillip (11), 25. Billy Puterbaugh Jr. (24), 26. Rich Tobias Jr. (29), 27. Keith Butler (28), 28. Jimmy Sills (10), 29. Jason McCord (22), 30. Jay Drake (25). 59:46.88

2000 FEATURE: (80 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tracy Hines (4), 2. Jason Leffler (6), 3. Brad Noffsinger (1), 4. J.J. Yeley (5), 5. John Heydenreich (26), 6. Jack Hewitt (15), 7. Dan Drinan (12), 8. Jimmy McCune (27), 9. Russ Gamester (8), 10. Brian Paulus (20), 11. Dave Darland (11), 12. Jay Drake (16), 13. Brian Gerster (18), 14. Billy Whittaker (22), 15. Todd Kane (23), 16. Jimmy Kite (28), 17. Bobby McMahan (24), 18. Kasey Kahne (17), 19. Tom Capie (29), 20. Jimmy Sills (7), 21. Jon Herb (14), 22. Bud Kaeding (3), 23. Paul White (2), 24. Chet Fillip (21), 25. Tony Elliott (30), 26. Brian Tyler (10), 27. Ed Carpenter (13), 28. Jason McCord (25), 29. Ryan Newman (9), 30. Gary Hieber (19). NT

2001 FEATURE: (80 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Dave Steele (1), 2. Tracy Hines (10), 3. Mike Bliss (7), 4. Paul White (8), 5. Brian Tyler (6), 6. J.J. Yeley (2), 7. Ed Carpenter (11), 8. Kasey Kahne (9), 9. Bud Kaeding (14), 10. Chet Fillip (26), 11. Gary Hieber (27), 12. John Heydenreich (19), 13. Jerry Coons Jr. (17), 14. Billy Puterbaugh Jr. (22), 15. Jason McCord (15), 16. Rich Tobias Jr. (21), 17. Tom Capie (16), 18. A.J. Fike (18), 19. Robby Flock (24), 20. Dave Darland (4), 21. Derek Davidson (20), 22. Eric Butze (28), 23. Jay Drake (12), 24. Tony Elliott (13), 25. Bentley Warren (30), 26. Michael Lewis (23), 27. Dane Carter (25), 28. John Nervo (29), 29. Aaron Fike (3), 30. Russ Gamester (5). 51:14.28

2013 FEATURE: (80 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Bobby Santos (5), 2. Kody Swanson (3), 3. Chris Windom (1), 4. Brian Tyler (10), 5. Jacob Wilson (7), 6. Jerry Coons Jr. (8), 7. Levi Jones (6), 8. Bobby East (2), 9. Shane Hollingsworth (11), 10. A.J. Fike (4), 11. David Byrne (15), 12. Zach Daum (12), 13. Jarett Andretti (9), 14. Tracy Hines (14), 15. Aaron Pierce (13), 16. Randy Bateman (16). NT

2014 FEATURE: (80 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Bobby Santos (5), 2. Tracy Hines (1), 3. Bobby East (3), 4. Caleb Armstrong (7), 5. Kody Swanson (12), 6. Jarett Andretti (4), 7. Cale Thomas (9), 8. Chris Windom (13), 9. Tanner Swanson (2), 10. David Byrne (6), 11. Randy Bateman (10), 12. Patrick Lawson (11), 13. Jacob Wilson (8). 49:46.000

2016 FEATURE: (60 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tanner Swanson (1), 2. Chris Windom (5), 3. Austin Nemire (4), 4. David Byrne (6), 5. Joe Liguori (9), 6. Justin Grant (7), 7. Casey Shuman (8), 8. Hunter Schuerenberg (12), 9. Jerry Coons Jr. (3), 10. Shane Cottle (11), 11. Kody Swanson (2), 12. Patrick Lawson (10), 13. Tad Roach (13). 44:33.031