Above: Chris Windom (7) battles Brian Tyler in 2013 at Gateway Motorspots Park. (Speed Sport photo)
After a one-year hiatus, the USAC Silver Crown Championship Cars will make their triumphant return to Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday, June 25 for the Vatterott College Silver Crown Showdown. The USAC event is a companion race to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Brought To You By Altec.
St. Louis resident Chris Windom currently sits second in Silver Crown Series points after a trio of strong, consistent finishes of fifth, fifth and third in the first three races of the 2016 season. Windom started from the pole position and finished third in Gateway’s 2013 race. In the last series visit to the 1.25-mile oval, Windom finished eighth. It’s a race that Windom has had circled on his calendar as soon as this year’s schedule was announced.
“Gateway is one of my favorite racetracks and one of the fastest tracks we run all year long,” Windom said. “I’m really looking forward to it after a year away. I own the track record and finished third back in 2013. It will be nice having many of my friends and family there to see it.”
Windom, a two-time Silver Crown race winner in his career, comes into the 60-lap event at GMP with a 24-point deficit behind two-time and defending series champion Kody Swanson, who is seeking an unprecedented third consecutive USAC Silver Crown title.
Swanson, of Kingsburg, California, won May’s 62nd running of the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, becoming just the third driver to win the race three years in a row, joining Indianapolis 500 winners Jimmy Bryan (1954-56) and Al Unser, who won four in a row from 1970 to 1973.
Kody came home with a second-place finish in 2013 at GMP after a furious battle that featured 10 lead changes. In that event, Swanson was beat to the checkered flag by a single car-length after a drag race down the front straightaway with winner Bobby Santos III of Franklin, Massachusetts.
Santos, victorious in the two most recent Silver Crown appearances at Gateway in 2013 and 2014, is a six-time USAC Silver Crown race winner and led the first 80 laps of May’s 100-lap Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana, before falling by the wayside due to engine troubles with just 20 laps to go.
The driver who applied pressure to Santos throughout the event and was in position to capitalize when Santos’ engine went sour was Kingsburg, California’s Tanner Swanson. The younger brother of Kody has been masterful on the pavement, especially at Lucas Oil Raceway, where he won May’s race, his fifth victory in his last six visits to the .686-mile asphalt track since 2013.
Southern Illinois racers Patrick Lawson of Edwardsville and Shane Cockrum of Benton, a winner at the Du Quoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds the last two seasons, will join a host of others including southwest racers Jerry Coons Jr. (Tucson, Arizona) and Casey Shuman (Tempe, Arizona), who will wheel a car for the Bateman Racing team based in Murphysboro, Illinois.
Other expected entrants include David Byrne of Shullsburg, Wisconsin, a 2014 winner at Lucas Oil Raceway and Ione, California’s Justin Grant, a second-place finisher at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track in April. Three-time USAC Silver Crown winner Aaron Pierce of Muncie, Indiana plans to make his second GMP start while two-time Little 500 Sprint Car race winner Jacob Wilson of Crawfordsville, Indiana hopes to back up his fifth-place finish in 2013. Kokomo, Indiana’s Shane Cottle plans to hit the pavement two races removed from his sensational second-place run at the “Hoosier Hundred” while young, second-year driver Austin Nemire of Sylvania, Ohio makes his debut on the 1.25-mile paved oval.
To purchase tickets or obtain additional information, please call GMP at (618) 215-8888 or visit www.gatewaymsp.com. Follow GMP on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.
NASCAR DRIVIN’ FOR LINEMEN 200 BROUGHT TO YOU BY ALTEC SCHEDULE
Friday, June 24
5-6 p.m. — NASCAR garages open to the public.
6-10 p.m. — Party at the ‘Plex at the Gateway Kartplex (kart racing, music, entertainment). NASCAR drivers have been invited to participate.
Saturday, June 25
8 a.m. — Spectator gates open.
8:30-9:25 a.m. — First NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice.
9:30-10:20 a.m. — First USAC practice.
10:30-11:55 a.m. — Final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice.
12:30 p.m. — USAC qualifying.
1 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour practice.
1:45-2:30 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver autograph session (infield area).
2:15 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour qualifying.
3 p.m. — USAC driver introductions.
3:30 p.m. — Vatterott College Silver Crown Showdown (USAC Silver Crown Series, 60 laps, 75 miles).
4:45 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Brought To You By Altec qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds).
6 p.m. — Illinois Lottery Presents ARCA Midwest 50 (40 laps, 50 miles, timed event).
7 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Brought To You By Altec driver introductions.
7:30 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Brought To You By Altec (160 laps, 200 miles).
Schedule is subject to change.