Germantown, Tennessee veteran race car driver Jeff Swindell has achieved many milestones in his long and storied career. From countless sprint car victories, to two Hoosier Hundred wins, to even serving as a member of A.J. Foyt’s pit crew, Jeff has put his name into many racing record books. He has a chance at history one more time in the rescheduled USAC Silver Crown Bettenhausen 100 presented by Brandt Agricultural Products Sunday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Jeff is the lone driver who can join a list of fourteen other racing legends who have won at least one championship dirt car race on the three fairground miles of the Midwest, Indianapolis, Springfield and DuQuoin.
Other active drivers have at least two of the three in their pocket. Russ Gamester, Chris Windom and Brian Tyler have captured the Bettenhausen 100 at Springfield and the Ted Horn 100 at DuQuoin but none were able to win the Hoosier Hundred on what may soon be a defunct Indy mile.
The list of legends who have captured all three starts with the “Arizona Cowboy” Jimmy Bryan, one of four men who can claim they won the “triple crown” in the same season. In fact, Bryan did so twice, in 1955 and again in 1956. A.J. Foyt (1964), Al Unser (1970) and Jack Hewitt (1986) are the other same season trifecta winners. The drivers who won on all three, but not in the same year, are Rodger Ward, Mario Andretti, Tom Bigelow, Pancho Carter, Gary Bettenhausen, George Snider, Chuck Gurney, Jimmy Sills, J.J. Yeley and the last to join the list, Kody Swanson.
Swindell won the prestigious Hoosier Hundred in 1991 driving for car owners Tim Delrose and Dale Holt and chief wrench Bob Galas, repeating again in 1993. He won the 1990 Ted Horn 100 at DuQuoin driving for the same team and sat on the pole at Springfield for Delorse-Holt with a new world lap record in 1987, yet victory eluded him then at Springfield.
After a long absence Jeff rejoined the series in 2016 for owner Mark Swanson who passed away over the winter. The team has continued with Jeff racing to a fourth on the DuQuoin mile, his third top five finish in his last four starts at DuQuoin. Coming from twenty-eighth to third in the 2017 Bettenhausen showed race fans that Swindell can still get the job done in the big cars.
Sunday’s Bettenhausen 100 in Springfield gets underway with pits opening and registration starting at 7am (Central), the ticket office and grandstands opening at 9am, the drivers meeting at 9:30am, Silver Crown practice from 10am to 11:10am, DIRTcar Modified hot laps/qualifying at 11:15am, Fatheadz Silver Crown Qualifying at 11:35am, Silver Crown Qualifying Race at 12:30pm, Modified feature at 1pm, pre-race ceremonies at 1:30pm and the Bettenhausen 100-mile race at 2pm.
Tickets will be available on raceday or by calling the Track Enterprises at 217-764-3200. Advance Tickets (Presale) are $25 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. On race day, tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. Infield tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children 11 and under. Pit passes are $35 for adults and $20 for children 11 and under.
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