The Silver Crown cars
return to Phoenix this weekend
After an absence of over seven years (2,725 days to be precise) the United States Auto Club (USAC) Silver Crown Series returns to action for 100 laps on the one-mile pavement of the new Phoenix Raceway on Saturday April 29 2017.
The last USAC Silver Crown race at Phoenix held on November 12 2009 was won by Cole Whitt driving for legendary car owner Johnny Vance with second place falling to Kody Swanson. Whitt has since moved on to the race in the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) top-tier Monster Energy series, while Swanson claimed the USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the year title in 2009 then claimed the Silver Crown championship in 2014 and 2015.
The 18-car preliminary entry list for the 2017 Phoenix Copper Cup includes just two drivers that competed in the race at Phoenix in 2009 – Jerry Coons Junior of Tucson Arizona in one of three potent Gene Nolen Racing entries and Bobby Santos III in the DJ Racing #22 racer. Coons will be joined on the Nolen team by Joe Axsom and Kody Swanson’s younger brother Tanner.
Father and son, Davey Hamilton Junior and Senior are entered as teammates with the RPM/Fred Gormly pair of cars. Another notable entry is Toni Breidinger, USAC’s winningest female driver with eleven feature victories who will make her Silver Crown debut in the Breidinger family-owned #80 machine.
Muncie Indiana speed merchant Aaron Pierce, who holds the record for the fastest Silver Crown lap at Homestead Speedway of 175 miles per hour (MPH), and the fastest race win at 159 MPH at Kansas Speedway, will be looking to eclipse the fastest Silver Crown Phoenix lap of 140.966 MPH set in 2009 by the late Jason Leffler in a Bob East entry. Bob East will be on hand Saturday tuning Terry Klatt’s entry for five-time USAC/CRA champion Damion Gardner.
The balance of the eighteen USAC Silver Crown entries include the defending Silver Crown series champion Chris Windom from Canton, Illinois, Patrick Lawson of Edwardsville, Illinois, A.J. Russell from Clovis, California, Shane Butler from Bushnell, Florida, David Byrne of Shullsburg, Wisconsin, Justin Grant of Ione, California and Bill Rose from Plainfield, Indiana with his teammate Henry Adams of Villa Park, California.
The USAC Silver Crown cars will practice and qualify on Friday April 28 with the 100-lap Phoenix Copper Cup scheduled to go green on Saturday at 3 PM local time.