Coons Runs in Top Five But Finishes 14th In Hoosier Hundred Thursday Night
INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 — Nolen Racing's Jerry Coons Jr. ran in the top five for more than half the race and was as high as fourth, but he finished 14th in the 62nd annual Hoosier Hundred USAC Silver Crown race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Thursday night after he was forced to pit just 13 laps from the end to allow his Whiteland, Ind.-based team to replace the yellow #20's right-rear tire.
Coons, a native of Tucson, Ariz., now living in Plainfield, Ind., started fifth in the 27-car field in the Eagle Chevy sponsored in part by KECO and Columbus Container. His qualifying time was a 34.260 for the 1-mile dirt oval, which was substantially better than the 36.081 he ran to rank ninth in practice.
Shane Cockrum got around him on the first lap of the 100-lapper, but Coons ran in sixth place for the first 10 laps. He moved into fifth working lap 11 after the driver who started third, Tracy Hines, stopped on the backstretch. Coons remained in fifth place through lap 45, and set his fastest lap of the race on lap 35 with a 33.445.
He advanced to fourth working lap 46 when both he and Cockrum passed the driver who started fourth, C.J. Leary. Coons was still in fourth when Steve Buckwalter flipped in Turn 2 working lap 54 while running eighth to bring out a red flag. Under that red-flag period both the fifth-place driver, Leary, and the seventh-place driver, Dave Darland, received new right-rear tires, which cost them both a lap.
Brian Tyler used the outside lane to pass Coons going into Turn 1 on the restart to push him back to fifth. Coons was able to remain in fifth until lap 71, when Aaron Pierce got by. He lost one more spot at the three-quarter mark when Brady Bacon slipped by to relegate Coons to seventh. He was still in seventh place when he pitted under yellow working lap 87 for the new tire. That knocked him back to 14th, and although he completed the race he couldn't make up the lap lost for the tire change.
Polesitter Kody Swanson won the race over Pierce, Tyler, A.J. Fike and Justin Grant.
"It was disappointing. I ran the car as straight as I usually do, so I don't know why we burned up the right rear," Coons said after the race. "It was our first time with this particular car on this track and we get no testing, so there's going to be a learning curve.
"The car wasn't bad; our engine was fine," he added. "I could have run harder; it's not like I ran hard to wear out the tire. That's what makes it so disappointing."
Coons is fifth in the point standings following Thursday's race.
Earlier in the day Coons locked in the sixth starting spot for Saturday night's Pay Less Little 500 asphalt sprint car race at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Ind. Two other Nolen Racing drivers, Tony Elliott of Warsaw, Ind., and Shane Hollingsworth of Lafayette, Ind., also qualified during the first round to earn the 12th and the 15th starting spots in that race, respectively.
The next USAC Silver Crown event will be Saturday morning/afternoon in the "Day Before the 500" program at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. More information and live timing and scoring are available on the series' Web site at usacracing.com.
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