Cockrum Rides Momentum into Du Quoin Sept. 4

Brendon Bauman Photo

DU QUOIN, IL – Shane Cockrum of Benton, Illinois rocked the 68-year-old grandstand at the Du Quoin State Fair when he won the 2014 Ted Horn 100 USAC Silver Crown championship event.

A second trip into the infield lake in celebration of a back to back win in 2015 shook the grandstand rafters even more.

The Franklin County Fire Chief and second generation race driver heads to Du Quoin on Saturday night, September 4, with momentum on his side in search of a third win in the Labor Day Weekend classic.

Cockrum rolls into southern Illinois coal country with a brand new race car and race team for 2021. Longtime owner Dave Hardy retired after the 2019 campaign and Cockrum was able to pick up a ride last year with Five Three Motorsports. This year, a new Maxim chassis and a new yellow, red and black paint scheme carried Cockrum and BLS Motorsports to a win at Williams Grove.

Cockrum and several others went to the back of the field in Springfield’s Bettenhausen 100 on August 21 after a tire change. Much like eventual Bettenhausen winner, Cockrum bided his time coming through the field and was running a very strong third before the rain came on lap 76.

The BLS team set out to run a limited schedule in 2021 appearing only at the Silver Crown series dirt events. Unfortunately, two of the dirt events were lost – the Sumar Classic at Terre Haute due to rain and the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds due to the track’s closure.

However, Cockrum qualified seventh at Williams Grove and led the last 28 laps for his fourth series win. At Eldora in June, Cockrum qualified 21st and finished 12th at the end of 50 laps. Cockrum finished fourth at Selinsgrove after starting seventh. At Springfield, the team qualified 11th but started 25th after the tire change. As a result, Cockrum finds himself 10th in the 2021 point standings while running a limited schedule.

The son of Midwest racing legend Cliff Cockrum, much was expected of Shane when he began his racing career. He was a popular figure at local race tracks and gained experience on the Du Quoin mile racing in the Oldani Memorial modified event. Two years after making his first championship car start, he got to the front of the field during the 2013 Horn 100 only to run shy on fuel. It was a mistake that would be repeated again.

Shane led 41 miles in 2014 and backed off at the end of the Horn 100 to save fuel reaching the finish line first. In 2015, he led 33 circuits and took home his second Du Quoin trophy. Fifth, second and third Horn 100 finishes followed before a mechanical issue forced him to miss the show in 2019. COVID prevented the 2020 Horn 100 from being contested.

Shane Cockrum can join Tony Bettenhausen, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Gary Bettenhausen, Jack Hewitt and Chuck Gurney as drivers with at least three championship car wins on the Du Quoin Magic Mile.

Practice for the USAC Silver Crown championship cars begins Saturday, September 4, at 5 p.m. Central with qualifying slated at 6:30 and the Ted Horn 100 at 8:15 p.m. Tickets will be available on race day or by calling the Du Quoin Fair office at 618-542-1535. Info and tickets can also be obtained by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.