There’s only one time per year where you can catch all three USAC National divisions on one track on one weekend at one time.
USAC Silver Crown, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars and USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets. Oh my!
This is that time.
The 41st running of the 4-Crown Nationals presented by NKTELCO arrives at Rossburg, Ohio’s Eldora Speedway this Friday-Saturday night, September 22-23.
There’s so much to see and so much to watch play out. From tight championship races between Logan Seavey and Kody Swanson in the Silver Crown series to Justin Grant and Brady Bacon’s duel for the Sprint Car title and to the wildest Midget events of the year on the series’ only half-mile dirt oval.
All three USAC series will be racing for a winner’s share of $10,000 on Saturday night. Similarly, there’s 10,000 reasons to attend the 4-Crown this weekend. Here are some of the top storylines that headline this year’s edition of USAC’s homecoming event, a tried-and-true tradition since 1981.
THE SILVER CROWN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT
The final dirt race of the 2023 USAC Silver Crown season happens this weekend at Eldora with a field of 36 entries, the most in 22 years, which will make the race just to get into the 26-car field a challenging ordeal in itself.
Two of those entries find themselves in the throes of a heated championship battle once again for the third consecutive season – Logan Seavey and Kody Swanson.
Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) enters the event just one point ahead of Swanson (Kingsburg, Calif.). To put how close this modern-day Gary & Larry Show has been in recent years, consider this. After the Eldora round in 2021, Swanson led Seavey by one. After Eldora in 2022, Swanson and Seavey were tied. However, on both occasions, Swanson wound up with the ultimate championship glory.
But Eldora has been a personal ATM for Seavey of late, having won the last two 4-Crown Silver Crown races in 2021-22 while leading 91 of the 100 total laps. Swanson finished a best of 2nd in 2015 and won the pole in 2017, and also notched a 4th in 2019, 5th in 2016, 5th in 2018 and another 5th in 2021.
THE TOP OF THE HEAP IN THE SPRINT TITLE RACE
Likewise, Justin Grant and Brady Bacon find themselves intertwined in the USAC National Sprint Car title race for the second year in a row.
Grant (Ione, Calif.) finished ahead of runner-up Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) in 2022, and at press time, they remain in the same order with just nine points of separation between the two.
Grant has won five times in his USAC National Sprint Car career at Eldora, including this past May during #LetsRaceTwo. Two of those five victories came during the 4-Crown in 2016 and just last year in 2022.
Similarly, Bacon owns a 4-Crown USAC Sprint Car win in 2014, and added a #LetsRaceTwo triumph in the spring of 2018, his most recent series victory at The Big E.
Grant and Bacon are among the five past 4-Crown USAC Sprint Car winners in this weekend’s field at Eldora along with Robert Ballou (2007), Thomas Meseraull (2015) and C.J. Leary (2017).
DOUBLE DOSE OF MIDGET RACING
One USAC National Midget show is wild at Eldora. But on 4-Crown weekend, everybody gets a double-dose of the biggest edge-of-your-seat race of the season.
A stout field of around 20 cars and drivers are expected to be on hand for the pair of 25-lappers on Friday and Saturday night.
Two past 4-Crown midget stars will be in this weekend’s field as they make their season debuts in USAC National Midget competition – Rico Abreu and Chris Windom.
Windom enters Eldora as the two-time and defending 4-Crown Midget champion, having won each of the last two rounds in 2021 and 2022. The 2020 series champ will wheel a car owned by CB Industries who has won the past three USAC Midget races at Eldora, including Mitchel Moles in the BeFour the Crowns program in 2022. Windom is pursuing a quest to become the first driver to win three consecutive 4-Crown Midget features.
Meanwhile, Rico Abreu (St. Helena, Calif.) returns to USAC National Midget racing for the first time since 2020, and for the first time at the 4-Crown since a fourth-place run in 2019.
Abreu, the 2014 USAC National Midget champ, has captured 4-Crown Midget wins twice in his career in 2013 and 2016. This time around, he’ll be behind the wheel of a car owned by 2016 USAC National Midget champion Tanner Thorson.
Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) scored in his first ever race on the banks of Eldora in 2022 and returns for a rare midget start during the 2023 season aboard the Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports No. 19T.
4-CROWN TRIPLE THREATS
Jack Hewitt’s sweep of all four divisions at the 1998 4-Crown Nationals and Kyle Larson’s USAC sweep of the 2011 event are monumental moments in the 40-year history of the event. A quarter of a century after his miraculous feat, Hewitt will serve as this weekend’s grand marshal.
Three drivers this weekend will take their shot at going three-for-three with rides in all three USAC divisions during this weekend’s event.
Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) has won each of the past two Silver Crown races at Eldora in 2021-22, and has come close to solidifying the deal in all three, finishing second in both the USAC Sprint and USAC Midget portion in 2021. He’ll pilot his yearlong rides in the Abacus Racing midget, the 2B Racing sprint car and the Rice Motorsports/Abacus Racing Silver Crown car.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) owns a somewhat similar 4-Crown resume as Seavey. Grant has won twice with the USAC Sprint Cars during the 2016 and 2022 event. In 2016, he took second in the USAC Silver Crown finale, and in 2018, came home as the runner-up in the midget. Grant will wheel familiar rides in the RMS Racing midget, the TOPP Motorsports sprint car and the Hemelgarn Racing Silver Crown machine.
Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) is somewhat new to the 4-Crown experience but has already picked off a win in the midget at Eldora in 2022. He ran 7th in the ensuing USAC Sprint Car race that same weekend. But this weekend will mark his first Silver Crown try at Eldora. He’ll be in the seat of the Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports midget and sprint car, plus the Hans Lein Silver Crown car.
One of the entertaining extracurricular aspects of the 4-Crown Nationals is drivers jumping in unfamiliar rides and giving it a go – a tradition that back to the inaugural edition in 1981 when Steve Kinser hopped into Johnny Vance’s Silver Crown car and sprint car in a last-minute deal, and promptly put both in victory lane.
This weekend’s 4-Crown Nationals field will have its share of new names in new seats. First, in Silver Crown, 2018 4-Crown Silver Crown runner-up Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) will be in the seat of the John Haggenbottom No. 24. Matt Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio) will return to his own No. 54 for the first time since 2021 when he finished second at the 4-Crown.
Westfall had competed all year long in the BCR Group No. 81 before the two recently parted ways. Now occupying the seat of the 81 is upstart Trey Osborne (Columbus, Ohio). Additionally, winged sprint car competitor Zach Hampton (Mooresville, Ind.) will make his series debut in the Armstrong Racing No. 99.
In the midgets, Holly Jones (formerly Holly Shelton) will make her return to the series after finishing 5th, 6th and 6th in the Gold River, California native’s only three Eldora starts between 2016-18. Moles, as previously mentioned, will make his debut in a third Reinbold-Underwood midget.
Two-time winner Rico Abreu returns to the fray with Tanner Thorson Racing after winning the 2013 and 2016 4-Crown events. Furthermore, 2022 USAC East Coast Sprint Car champ and current series point leader Briggs Danner will make his USAC National Midget debut in the E. Schneider & Sons No. 98.
On Friday, September 22, at Eldora, the BeFour the Crowns program will feature the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship, USAC Silver Crown Qualifying & Qualifying Race and the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars. Spectator gates open at 2pm Eastern with the drivers meeting taking place at 5:30pm and cars on track at 6pm. General admission tickets are $35 for adults and free for ages 12 and under. Reserved tickets are $40 for adults and $10 for ages 12 and under.
On Saturday, September 23, at Eldora, the 41st running of the 4-Crown Nationals presented by NKTELCO features the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship, USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, All Star Circuit of Champions and the USAC Silver Crown National Championship. Spectator gates open at Noon Eastern with a driver autograph session taking place from 3-4pm in the Fan Zone. The drivers meeting will take place at 4:30pm and cars on track at 6pm. General admission tickets are $40 for adults and free for ages 12 and under. Reserved tickets are $45 for adults and $10 for ages 12 and under.