BETTENHAUSEN 100 REFIRES ON THE DIRT SUNDAY IN SPRINGFIELD

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BETTENHAUSEN 100 REFIRES ON THE DIRT SUNDAY IN SPRINGFIELD

Story By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Photo By: Gene Crucean

Springfield, Illinois (September 16, 2019)………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.

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 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 State Fair office at 217-782-1979. Info and tickets can also be obtained by calling the Track Enterprises office 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.

This Sunday’s Springfield race can be watched LIVE and on-demand on FloRacing, listened to via live audio on the USAC app as well as live timing and scoring on both the USAC app and the Race-Monitor app.

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.

AAA / USAC CHAMP CAR WINNERS AT THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIRGROUNDS:
1934: Billy Winn
1935: Billy Winn
1936: Wilbur Shaw
1937: Mauri Rose
1938: Tony Willman
1939: Emil Andres
1940: Rex Mays
1947: Tony Bettenhausen
1948: Ted Horn & Myron Fohr
1949: Mel Hansen & Johnnie Parsons
1950: Paul Russo & Tony Bettenhausen
1951: Tony Bettenhausen
1952: Bill Schindler
1953: Rodger Ward & Sam Hanks
1954: Jimmy Davies
1955: Jimmy Bryan
1956: Jimmy Bryan
1957: Rodger Ward
1958: Johnny Thomson
1959: Len Sutton
1960: Jim Packard
1961: Jim Hurtubise
1962: Jim Hurtubise
1963: Rodger Ward
1964: A.J. Foyt
1965: A.J. Foyt
1966: Don Branson
1967: A.J. Foyt
1968: Roger McCluskey
1969: Mario Andretti
1970: Al Unser
1971: A.J. Foyt
1972: Al Unser
1973: Mario Andretti
1974: Mario Andretti
1975: Al Unser
1976: Tom Bigelow
1977: Larry Rice
1978: Gary Bettenhausen
1979: Bobby Olivero
1980: Pancho Carter
1981: George Snider
1982: Larry Dickson & Bobby Olivero
1983: Gary Bettenhausen
1984: Chuck Gurney
1985: Chuck Gurney
1986: Jack Hewitt
1987: Jack Hewitt
1988: Steve Chassey
1989: Chuck Gurney
1990: Chuck Gurney
1991: Chuck Gurney
1992: Jimmy Sills
1993: Jack Hewitt
1994: Chuck Gurney
1995: Kenny Irwin, Jr.
1996: Chuck Gurney
1997: Dave Darland
1998: Russ Gamester
1999: Dave Darland
2000: Jack Hewitt
2001: Paul White
2002: J.J. Yeley
2003: Dave Darland
2004: Brian Tyler
2005: Brian Tyler
2006: Tracy Hines
2007: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2008: Brian Tyler
2009: Cole Whitt
2011: Brian Tyler
2012: A.J. Fike
2013: A.J. Fike
2014: Kody Swanson
2015: Kody Swanson
2017: Justin Grant
2018: Chris Windom

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