By RICHIE MURRAY
TOLEDO, OH – A significant field in what is lined up to be the largest car count for a pavement USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series race in several years, is headed for Ohio’s Toledo Speedway this Saturday night, April 27, for the Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness “Rollie Beale Classic.”
Among the 26 pre-entered drivers are a pair of Silver Crown champs, including 2016 titlist Chris Windom of Canton, Ill. and four-time series king Kody Swanson from Kingsburg, Calif., the defending winner at Toledo who picked up his record-extending 25th score in the series opener in March at Memphis (Tenn.) International Raceway.
Peru, Indiana’s Russ Gamester is aiming to make his return to the pavement this Saturday. The 1989 USAC National Midget champ owns six career USAC Silver Crown victories.
Six additional Silver Crown veterans have won before in Silver Crown competition and are hoping to tally one more at Toledo, including C.J. Leary of Greenfield, Ind., Bobby Santos of Franklin, Mass., Aaron Pierce of Muncie, Ind., David Byrne of Shullsburg, Wisc., Eric Gordon of Fortville, Ind. and Justin Grant of Ione, Calif.
Danville, Indiana’s Kyle Hamilton, twice a winner in USAC National Midgets, and Cullman, Alabama’s Kevin Thomas, Jr., a 25-time winner in USAC Sprint and four-time winner in USAC Midgets, are both seeking their first Silver Crown win.
A pair of Ohio natives are set to do battle, including Pataskala’s Cody Gallogly and Sylvania’s Austin Nemire, a USAC HPD Midget champion in 2014.
Eight of the 26 entered drivers are series Rookies, beginning with Joey Schmidt of Ellisville, Mississippi who finished an impressive fifth in his series debut in Memphis. Also in the lineup are Pleasant Valley, New York’s Chris Dyson, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania’s Dave Berkheimer, Fresno, California’s Cody Gerhardt, Hillsborough, California’s Annie Breidinger, Prince George, British Columbia’s Jason Conn, Joliet, Illinois driver Jim Anderson and Angola, Indiana’s Derek Bischak. Although Gerhardt is a series Rookie, he did compete at Toledo a year ago, finishing seventh.
Kyle Robbins of New Castle, Ind. captured last year’s Silver Crown Rookie of the Year honors, along with a group of series veterans in Travis Welpott of Pendleton, Ind., Mike Haggenbottom of Levittown, Pa., Matt Goodnight of Winchester, Ind. and all-time Toledo Speedway track record holder Brian Gerster of Fishers, Ind.
Saturday’s Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness “Rollie Beale Classic” features the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series and Open Sprint Cars.
Pit gates for the Saturday, April 27, USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series event at Ohio’s Toledo Speedway open at 11am, Silver Crown practice runs from 2:30-3:15pm and 3:40-4:05pm with Sprint Car practice set for 3:15-3:40pm and 4:05-4:25pm. Fatheadz Eyewear Silver Crown qualifying begins at 5pm, followed by Sprint Car qualifying. Vintage Car laps are set for 5:40pm with invocation/anthems slotted for 5:55pm and racing at 6pm. (All times Eastern)
Adult general admission tickets are $20 advance and $25 on raceday. Kids age 6-12 are $3, children age 5 and under are FREE!
Toledo Speedway is located at 5625 Benore Rd, Toledo, OH 43612. You can reach the track via phone at (419) 729-9182 and on their website at http://www.toledospeedway.com/.
LIVE flag-to-flag coverage of the event will be on http://www.FloRacing.com/. Listen to LIVE audio of all the happenings on the USAC app. Following along with live updates on https://www.facebook.com/usacracing/ and https://twitter.com/USACNation with live timing and scoring available on the Race Monitor app.
NO. / DRIVER / HOMETOWN / ENTRANT
6 Kyle Hamilton/Danville, IN (Klatt Enterprises)
7 Kyle Robbins/New Castle, IN (KR Racing)
9 ®Chris Dyson/Pleasant Valley, NY (Chris Dyson Racing)
10 C.J. Leary/Greenfield, IN (DMW Motorsports)
11 Kevin Thomas, Jr./Cullman, AL (DHR-Byrd Racing)
16 Austin Nemire/Sylvania, OH (Nemire-Lesko Racing)
17 Chris Windom/Canton, IL (Goodnight-Byrd Racing)
18 Travis Welpott/Pendleton, IN (Travis Welpott-Ernie Gorman Racing)
20 Kody Swanson/Kingsburg, CA (Gene Nolen Racing)
22 Bobby Santos/Franklin, MA (DJ Racing)
24 Mike Haggenbottom/Levittown, PA (John Haggenbottom)
25 ®Joey Schmidt/Ellisville, MS (Sam Pierce)
26 Aaron Pierce/Muncie, IN (Sam Pierce)
31 ®Dave Berkheimer/Mechanicsburg, PA (Berkheimer Racing)
39 Matt Goodnight/Winchester, IN (Goodnight Racing)
40 David Byrne/Shullsburg, WI (Byrne Racing)
51 Russ Gamester/Peru, IN (Gamester Racing)
60 ®Cody Gerhardt/Fresno, CA (Cody Gerhardt)
78 Eric Gordon/Fortville, IN (Armstrong-Slinkard Racing)
80 ®Annie Breidinger/Hillsborough, CA (Breidinger Motorsports)
81 ®Cody Gallogly/Pataskala, OH (Curtis Williams)
88 ®Jason Conn/Prince George, BC (Davey Hamilton Racing)
91 Justin Grant/Ione, CA (Hemelgarn Racing)
92 ®Jim Anderson/Joliet, IL (Kazmark Motorsports)
94 Brian Gerster/Fishers, IN (Ram Engineering)
131 ®Derek Bischak/Angola, IN (Derek Bischak)
® = USAC Silver Crown Rookie