By RICHIE MURRAY
The half-mile, high-banked paved oval of Toledo Speedway has been a home to USAC racing since the club’s inception in 1956. Throughout its 49-race history at the track, Silver Crown cars have paid the famed track on four occasions, and none until this decade.
Since 2010, two drivers have been on their proverbial game each and every time they’ve turned a wheel at Toledo, namely Jerry Coons, Jr. and Kody Swanson. That should be of no surprise to anyone who’s eyes and ears have been affixed to the series over the past ten-plus years. In fact, that’s been the case most anywhere the series have travelled in the previous decade as the two past series champs head into this Friday night’s Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness “Rollie Beale Classic.”
Though it’s a relatively small sample size in a Crown car at Toledo, Coons and Swanson have had no equals. Coons has started from the front row twice (2010-11) and has yet to finish outside the top-four with victories in both 2010 and 2012. In those two races he didn’t win, he finished 4th both times in 2011 and 2015. The Tucson, Arizona USAC Triple Crown champ also has on his Toledo resume USAC National Midget finishes of 4th (2005) and 3rd (2009) in addition to a 4th place USAC National Sprint Car run in 2009.
In those odd-numbered years, Swanson picked up where Coons left off. In 2011 and 2015, Swanson started from the pole and led every single lap on his way to victory. The distances may have differed, 150 laps in 2011 and 100 in 2015, but the results were identical twins. The Kingsburg, California native’s results almost mirror his qualifying efforts: 2010: (Qualified 5th, Finished 2nd) 2011: (Qualified 1st, Finished 1st); 2012: (Qualified 2nd, Finished 4th); 2015: (Qualified 1st, Finished 1st).
Coons and Swanson are the two past USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series presented by TRAXXAS champions pre-entered for Friday night’s “Rollie Beale Classic” field, but a number of hungry drivers will be among those on the hunt for a first Toledo “Big Car” victory.
Crawfordsville, Indiana’s Jacob Wilson has had numerous close calls in USAC competition at Toledo, but has yet to seal the deal. In the 2009 National Sprint feature there, he led the first 44 laps of the 50-lap feature before being passed by Bobby East for the victory. In 2010, Wilson led the first 58 laps of 150-lapper before an accident while leading took him out of contention. In the series’ most recent appearance, he finished with a solid runner-up result behind winner Kody Swanson.
Damion Gardner of Concord, California is a Silver Crown Rookie, but certainly not a rookie at Toledo Speedway. “The Demon” has made three career starts at the track, all behind the wheel of a sprint car. He carried home a pair of 10th place finishes in both 2007 and 2009, but his last appearance included riding out a vicious flip on the back straightaway with 17 laps remaining.
Bobby Santos is a Toledo master. He was last Friday’s King of the Wing Sprint Car victory at the track one night following his Silver Crown win at Lucas Oil Raceway. Santos owns previous USAC wins at Toledo in a Sprint Car (2006) and a Midget (2009) and can become the first driver to win in all three of USAC’s National divisions at Toledo with a Silver Crown victory this Friday.
Muncie, Indiana’s Aaron Pierce enters Toledo following a season-best third-place run last Thursday at LOR. Chris Windom of Canton, Illinois is a Silver Crown Rookie at Toledo, but has made starts in both a sprint car and a midget there. Shullsburg, Wisconsin’s David Byrne is a veteran of two Toledo Silver Crown starts and four Midget starts.
However, more than half of the field is set to make their USAC debut at Toledo including Ohio’s own Cody Gallogly who will be making his first Silver Crown start of any kind. Florida drivers Troy Thompson and Joe Liguori are prepared for battle. Liguori has stepped out of his own No. 4 to wheel the Fred Gormly-RPM No. 98 after regular driver Davey Hamilton, Jr. got the call for a drive this weekend in Beijing, China with the Robby Gordon Stadium SUPER Truck Series.
Liguori will be teamed with Hamilton, Jr.’s father, 11-time Indianapolis 500 starter Davey Hamilton in a second Gormly/RPM machine. Hoosier drivers Joss Moffatt, Matt Goodnight and Joe Axsom head for Toledo along with California’s Annie Breidinger and USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader Justin Grant.
Pits open for Friday’s race at Toledo at 1:30 with two sessions of Silver Crown practice scheduled from 4:30-5pm and 5:25-5:45pm. Silver Crown ProSource Qualifying is set for 6:45 while the night’s racing program will get underway at 7:30pm (Times Subject to Change).
Advance adult tickets are just $20, but $25 if purchased on the day of the event. Advance sales end at 5pm Thursday, July 27. Children Age 6-12 can receive admission for $3. Children 5 & Under are FREE! (All seating is general admission). Pit passes are $30 for USAC members and $35 for non-members.
TOLEDO “ROLLIE BEALE CLASSIC” ENTRY LIST
07 JACOB WILSON/Crawfordsville, IN
Wilson Brothers Racing/Wilson’s Towing – D.D. Eyes/Beast/Claxton Toyota
6 ®DAMION GARDNER/Concord, CA
Klatt Enterprises/Klatt Motorsports – East Enterprises/Beast/Ford
15 ®TROY THOMPSON/Brooksville, FL
Troy Thompson/TTI Machine – Dayton Andrews Dodge-Jeep-Chrysler/Beast/Chevy
20 JERRY COONS, JR./Tucson, AZ
Gene Nolen Racing/KECO Coatings/Beast/Tranter Chevy
22 BOBBY SANTOS/Franklin, MA
DJ Racing/DJ Racing – Simpson Race Products/Beast/Chevy
26 AARON PIERCE/Muncie, IN
Sam Pierce/Sam Pierce Chevrolet – G & G Racing Fuel/Beast/Chevy
32 ®JOSS MOFFATT/Columbus, IN
Williams & Wright Racing/E3 Sparkplugs – Lucas Oil/Jazz/Williams
39 ®MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN
Goodnight Racing/The Pallet Builders – Benic Enterprises/Beast/Claxton Chevy
40 DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI
Byrne Racing/Stoops Freightliner Truck Country – Bytec, Inc./Beast/J & D
63 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA
DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital – Hampshire Racing Engines/Beast/Hampshire
80 ®ANNIE BREIDINGER/Hillsborough, CA
Breidinger Motorsports/Royal Purple Oil Company – Nu Ritual/Beast/Chevy
81 ®CODY GALLOGLY/Pataskala, OH
Curtis Williams/Jack’s Auto Body – Roger Williams Precision Engines/Big Car/Williams Chevy
91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA
Hemelgarn-Carli Racing/Hemelgarn Enterprises – Carli Motorsports/Beast/Ford
92 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL
Kazmark Racing/Project Healing Waters – Remin Kart-A-Bag/Beast/Ford
98 JOE LIGUORI/Tampa, FL
RPM-Fred Gormly/America’s Best Value Inn – Aerojet/Beast/Mopar
99 DAVEY HAMILTON/Boise, ID
RPM-Fred Gormly/Guts Wear – Hoosier Tire/Beast/Chevy
120 ®JOE AXSOM/Franklin, IN
Gene Nolen Racing/KECO Coatings/Beast/Tranter Chevy
® USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series Rookie of the Year contender