Nolen Racing's Coons Finishes Fourth In 'Day Before the 500' Silver Crown Race
BROWNSBURG, Ind., May 24 — Nolen Racing began its marathon day by fielding the car that Jerry Coons Jr. drove to a fourth-place finish in the 100-lap "Day Before the 500" USAC Silver Crown race Saturday afternoon on the 0.686-mile asphalt oval at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
After that race the team headed to Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Ind., where it fielded three asphalt sprint cars for Coons, Tony Elliott and Shane Hollingsworth to drive in the Pay Less Little 500.
The USAC Silver Crown division is new to the "Day Before the 500" show, which used to feature USAC's midget division, and the program has traditionally been held in the evening and not the afternoon. In fact, the USAC Silver Crown division hasn't had a day race at this track in 15 years. Those two things were big changes but the challenges to do well in this race were the same as always, and the Whiteland, Ind.-based team and its Plainfield, Ind.-based driver were up to those challenges.
Driving the yellow #20 Beast Chevy sponsored in part by Columbus Container and KECO Coatings, Coons qualified seventh in the 18-car field of quality USAC Silver Crown cars. The driver who qualified eighth, Aaron Pierce, got by him at the start in a race that only saw one yellow flag, which came out on lap two when Jimmy Parsons stopped on the backstretch.
Coons remained in eighth place until he passed the driver who had started third, Tracy Hines, for seventh place around lap 21 after a spirited battle. He got sixth place around lap 35 when Jacob Wilson parked his car and headed to Anderson early. He moved into the top five for the first time around lap 53 by passing Pierce, and then he charged into fourth with a powerful move to the inside by the driver who had qualified second, A.J. Fike, on the backstretch around lap 65.
Tanner Swanson led all 100 laps from the pole to beat his brother Kody for the top honors. Bobby Santos finished third, but Coons was a solid fourth. Pierce eventually got around Fike too to finish fifth. Fike, Hines, David Byrne, C.J. Leary and Austin Nemire rounded out the top 10 in a fast race that saw only that one early yellow.
After the race, Coons said he thought his car might be running out of fuel. "I thought it was sputtering near the end," he said. "But really our car was good. It was a little bit free, but it was decent. We were OK with tire wear. And it was a good race for us for points."
When asked if he was tired after running 100 laps with no real breaks, he said "a little bit. It gives you a workout when the car is a little bit loose, but everybody was loose on a day like this. We all were fighting it."
The weather was sunny with temperatures in the high seventies and a light breeze.
Coons is now back in fourth place in the overall point standings following Saturday's race.
The next USAC Silver Crown event will be Saturday, June 20 when the series visits Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series shares the card with a race that Friday night.
The tentative USAC Silver Crown schedule for Iowa shows two practice sessions at 10 and 11 a.m., qualifying at 12:30 p.m. and the 100-lap race on the seven-eighths-mile asphalt tri-oval beginning at 2 p.m. For more information see iowaspeedway.com.
The USAC Silver Crown series returns to Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis on Thursday night, July 23, during a busy Brickyard 400 weekend. The complete schedule, other information and live timing and scoring are available on the series' Web site at usacracing.com.
For more information on Nolen Racing, see NolenRacing.com and follow the team on Facebook and Twitter.
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