By RICHIE MURRAY
TERRE HAUTE, IN – Five past winners of the Fatheadz Eyewear “Sumar Classic” are ready to roll in this Sunday’s 19th edition of the event at the Terre Haute Action Track.
The USAC Silver Crown season opener from the half-mile dirt oval on April 14 features 27 drivers and cars, including the reigning winner from Ione, California, Justin Grant (2018), Chris Windom of Canton, Ill. (2017), Greenfield, Indiana’s C.J. Leary (2016), Shane Cockrum of Benton, Ill. (2015) and Kingsburg, California’s Kody Swanson (2014).
Swanson captured the season opener in March at Memphis (Tenn.) International Raceway, marking a highly-successful debut with Nolen Racing, who themselves are two-time winners of the “Sumar Classic” in 1998 and 2002, both with driver Tony Elliott.
Ten of the 27 pilots in the field have tallied Silver Crown victories during their careers. In addition to those mentioned above, you can include Muncie, Indiana’s Aaron Pierce who recorded the fastest single lap in Silver Crown series history, 2014 last lap LOR winner David Byrne of Shullsburg, Wisc., Fortville, Indiana’s nine-time “Little 400” winner Eric Gordon, a winner in all three of USAC’s National divisions in Shane Cottle of Kokomo, Ind. and Indianapolis, Indiana’s reigning USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion Tyler Courtney, who won the pole for last year’s “Sumar.” Pierce, Byrne and Gordon are aiming for their first victories with the series on the dirt.
Another group of five has won in USAC National competition before in either the AMSOIL National Sprint Car or NOS Energy Drink National Midget divisions. Among those are two-time “Little 500” winner Jacob Wilson of Crawfordsville, Ind., two-time USAC National Sprint Car champ Brady Bacon of Broken Arrow, Okla., last weekend’s “Kokomo Grand Prix” winner Kevin Thomas, Jr. of Cullman, Ala., past Gas City I-69 Speedway “Indiana Midget Week” winner Steve Buckwalter of Royersford, Pa. and two-time USAC Sprint Car feature victor Bill Rose of Plainfield, Ind.
New Castle, Indiana’s Kyle Robbins was solid en route to scoring Silver Crown Rookie of the Year last season. Now, a new crop of Rookies are ready to tackle the series, including six-time All Star Circuit of Champions titlist Chad Kemenah of Alvada, Ohio, who will be making his series debut at Terre Haute. Ellisville, Mississippi’s Joey Schmidt was impressive in his series debut on the pavement at Memphis, finishing 5th. Sprint Car veteran Dallas Hewitt of Troy, Ohio will make his first Terre Haute Silver Crown appearance, four years after his only career start, in 2015 at Eldora.
Korey Weyant (Springfield, Ill.) and Dave Berkheimer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) each have previous starts with the series, but retain their Rookie status for the 2019 season.
Silver Crown veterans in the “Sumar” field include Johnny Petrozelle (Denton, N.C.), Austin Nemire (Sylvania, Ohio), Travis Welpott (Pendleton, Ind.), Mike Haggenbottom (Levittown, Pa.) and Terry Babb (Decatur, Ill), all looking to add another Terre Haute start to their resume.
Pits open at 1pm Eastern on Sunday with grandstands opening at 2pm, an open pit party from 2-3:15pm, drivers meeting at 3:30pm, practice at 4:30pm, Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying at 5:30pm and racing at 6:30pm.
Adult general admission tickets are $25, infield tickets $15 and kids 11 and under FREE. Pit passes are $30 for USAC/UMP members and $35 for non-members.
The “Sumar Classic” can be watched LIVE on http://www.FloRacing.com/.
“SUMAR CLASSIC” ENTRY LIST: (27 Drivers)
07 JACOB WILSON/Crawfordsville, IN (Wilson Brothers Racing)
6 BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK (Klatt Enterprises)
7 KYLE ROBBINS/New Castle, IN (KR Racing)
8 JOHNNY PETROZELLE/Denton, NC (Cornell-Petrozelle Racing)
9 KEVIN THOMAS, JR./Cullman, AL (Chris Dyson Racing)
10 C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN (DMW Motorsports)
15 ®CHAD KEMENAH/Alvada, OH (Bob Hampshire)
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)
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)
34 TERRY BABB/Decatur, IL (Ken Morford)
39 MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN (Goodnight Racing)
40 DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI (Byrne Racing)
53 STEVE BUCKWALTER/Royersford, PA (Five Three Motorsports)
57 ®DALLAS HEWITT/Troy, OH (Todd Keen)
66 BILL ROSE/Plainfield, IN (Bill Rose)
71 SHANE COCKRUM/Benton, IL (Hardy Boys Motorsports)
78 ERIC GORDON/Fortville, IN (Armstrong-Slinkard Racing)
81 SHANE COTTLE/Kokomo, IN (Curtis Williams)
91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (Hemelgarn Racing)
97 TYLER COURTNEY/Indianapolis, IN (Hans Lein)
99 ®KOREY WEYANT/Springfield, IL (Scott Weyant)