The glorious roar of the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series returns to the iconic Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield this Sunday, September 22, for the 58th running of the Bettenhausen 100 presented by Brandt, honoring the great racing family based out of Tinley Park, Ill. The DIRTcar Modifieds are also on schedule for the event.
Following August’s washout, the date marks just the third time the Bettenhausen 100 will have been held in the month of September, following Chuck Gurney’s victory in 1996 and Kody Swanson’s triumph in 2014. Tony Bettenhausen, the 1951 AAA and 1958 USAC National Champion, won the first National Championship race held during September at the Springfield Mile in 1947 under AAA sanction.
This Sunday, look for a field chock full of talented veterans and hungry young lions prepared to make their mark in the 100-miler at the famed one-mile dirt oval.
Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) enters as the defending winner of the Bettenhausen 100 en route to a sweep of both Illinois dirt mile races on the schedule in 2018. Brian Tyler (Mt. Pleasant, NC) leads all drivers in the lineup with four Bettenhausen 100 victories in 2004-05-08-11. A.J. Fike (Galesburg, Ill.) won back-to-back Bettenhausen 100 races in 2012-13 just as Kody Swanson (Kingsburg, Calif.) did in 2014-15. Russ Gamester (Peru, Ind.) prepares for his 26th career start in the race, which ranks 3rd all-time and includes a triumph in 1998. Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) captured the first of his two career USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series victories in 2017 at Springfield.
A handful of drivers have gotten the job done on the Land of Lincoln’s other dirt mile, the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds, but are seeking their first Springfield victories. Two-time Du Quoin Silver Crown winner Shane Cockrum (Benton, Ill.), plus another pair of past Du Quoin Mile winners in Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) and Chris Urish (Elkhart, Ill.) are up to the task. Jeff Swindell (Germantown, Tenn.) is a three-time Silver Crown winner on dirt miles, twice at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and once at Du Quoin, but Springfield has eluded him thus far despite three 3rd place finishes in 1992-1993-2017.
Springfieldian Korey Weyant wowed fans with a high-wire ride on the cushion in the qualifying race at Springfield a year ago and joined by fellow Illinoisans Patrick Lawson (Edwardsville, Ill.), a 29th place finisher in 2018, and Terry Babb (Decatur, Ill.), who took 31st in 2018, are ready to make an impression for the home crowd.
On the two occasions the Silver Crown cars graced a one-mile dirt oval this year, Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) was the victor in May’s Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. He led a race-high 49 laps last year at Springfield. Jacob Wilson (Crawfordsville, Ind.) won the most recent dirt event in a stellar performance for his first career series win at Du Quoin. He came home a strong 4th at Springfield a year ago.
Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) has also won on the dirt this year, taking a wild last-lap victory at Pennsylvania’s Williams Grove Speedway in June for his first career win in a Crown car. His Klatt Enterprises team holds a slim 15-point lead over Nolen Racing in the owner standings for the season.
Veteran Silver Crown winners seeking their first mile dirt victories on Sunday include C.J. Leary Greenfield, Ind., a two-time series winner seeking his first dirt mile victory. David Byrne (Shullsburg, Wisc.) finished 10th at Springfield a year ago. John Heydenreich (Bloomsburg, Pa.) and Eric Gordon (Fortville, Ind.) will each return to Springfield after lengthy absences, Heydenreich (2007) and Gordon (2003).
Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) led 42 laps and finished 2nd in 2018 at Springfield. Steve Buckwalter (Royersford, Pa.) finished 5th at Springfield in 2015. Those veterans are joined by 2018 Bettenhausen 100 top-ten finishers, New Castle, Indiana’s Kyle Robbins (6th) and Sylvania, Ohio’s Austin Nemire (8th), all of whom are gunning for their first career Silver Crown wins.
Mike Haggenbottom (Levittown, Pa.) is 8th in the standings and enters his second Bettenhausen 100 run after starting 20th and finishing 12th a year ago. Matt Goodnight (Winchester, Ind.) stands 12th in points and is coming off his best run of the year in the most recent dirt race, a 10th at Du Quoin.
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.
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-577, 2-Justin Grant-514, 3-David Byrne-456, 4-Kyle Hamilton-381, 5-Bobby Santos-378, 6-Eric Gordon-375, 7-Chris Windom-342, 8-Mike Haggenbottom-328, 9-Kyle Robbins-320, 10-Austin Nemire-315.
Track Enterprises PR