Five past “Bettenhausen 100″ winners headline the expected list of entrants for this Saturday’s 81st appearance of champ car racing at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
Kody Swanson leads the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series presented by TRAXXAS standings coming into the Springfield Mile August 19. Swanson arrives as the winner of the two most recent editions of the “Bettenhausen 100″ in 2014 and 2015. Swanson picked up his third win of the season last Saturday night on the Salem (Ind.) Speedway high-banked paved oval. His 18th win moved the Kingsburg, Calif. native into sole possession of second on the series’ all-time win list ahead of Brian Tyler.
Four of Tyler’s 17 career Silver Crown victories came at the “Bettenhausen 100″ in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2011. The Pleasant Garden, North Carolina resident will wheel a car for Illinois owner Robert Galas.
Three-time “Bettenhausen 100″ winner Dave Darland is sixth on USAC’s Silver Crown win list with 14 wins, three of which came at Springfield in 1997, 1999 and 2003 for car owner Galen Fox. This Saturday, he and Phillips Motorsports, who’ve scored 17 USAC National Sprint Car wins together, shoot for their first Silver Crown victory as a team.
Darland’s potential three-race win streak at Springfield was denied in 1998 by Peru, Indiana’s Russ Gamester who, at 190 Silver Crown starts, is second all-time – one behind leader Tyler and one ahead of Darland. The 1989 USAC National Midget champ owns victories in all three USAC national divisions throughout his decorated racing career as he guns for Springfield win number two in the familiar red No. 51.
Among the Illini contingent is two-time “Bettenhausen 100″ winner A.J. Fike, who won in back-to-back years in 2012 and 2013. The Galesburg driver will be pulling double-duty this weekend at Springfield aboard the RFMS Racing No. 3 Silver Crown car on Saturday and his ARCA Stock Car ride on Sunday.
Fike is among 11 Illinois natives expected to compete Saturday on the Mile, including defending Silver Crown champion Chris Windom of Canton, Illinois and northern Illinois car owner Gene Kazmark, who are both looking for their first triumphs at Springfield. Windom won the last series race held in Illinois on Labor Day Weekend 2016 at the Du Quoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds, but has yet to win at Springfield.
The same story goes for Elkhart’s Chris Urish and Benton’s Shane Cockrum as well. Urish (2013) and Cockrum (2014 & 2015) have both won at the one-mile neighbor to the south in Du Quoin, but seek their firsts at Springfield. Shane Cottle, originally from Illinois, but now residing in Kokomo, Ind., has a Du Quoin win on his resume, but Springfield has eluded him thus far.
Though, not hailing from Illinois, Germantown, Tennessee’s Jeff Swindell has won on both the Indy and Du Quoin one-mile dirt ovals in his career. The third jewel of a Triple Crown of sorts awaits the veteran driver of Mark Swanson’s No. 21.
Additional Illinois entries include series veterans Terry Babb (Decatur), J.C. Bland (Springfield), Patrick Bruns (Champaign), Zach Daum (Pocahontas), Patrick Lawson (Edwardsville), Joey Moughan (Springfield), David Shain (Sullivan) and Korey Weyant (Springfield).
USAC champions taking their shot at a first Springfield win this Saturday are Tucson, Arizona’s Jerry Coons, Jr., a 2008 Silver Crown titlist; five-time USAC/CRA AMSOIL Sprint Car champ Damion Gardner of Concord, California and two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion Brady Bacon.
Ione, California’s Justin Grant very well could follow Bacon as the next USAC National Sprint Car champ this season, but the current points leader still eyes his first Silver Crown win of any kind on Saturday.
The “Bettenhausen 100″ schedule begins at 7am when pit gates open. Grandstands open at 9am, drivers meeting at 9:30am, Silver Crown practice at 10am-11:10am, ProSource Qualifying at 11:30am, Silver Crown Qualifying Race at 12:30pm and the 100-lap main event at 2pm.
Advanced adult tickets are $25. Day of Race Adult 12 and older tickets are $30. Children 11 and under are $10. Pit passes are $35. Children pit passes (11 and under) are $20. Infield tickets for adults are $20.00. Children 6-11 are $5. Children under 5 are FREE!
Watch flag-to-flag coverage of the “Bettenhausen 100″ beginning a day after the event on http://www.Loudpedal.TV/.