Nolen Racing's Coons Blasts Off Like a Rocket; Finishes Second at Belleville
BELLEVILLE, Kan., Aug. 1 — Nolen Racing's Jerry Coons Jr. posted his best USAC Silver Crown result of the year when he finished second Friday night in the third annual "Hustle on the High Banks" at the Belleville High Banks.
With the great finish, the Plainfield, Ind.-based driver rose from fourth to second place in the overall point standings with seven races complete and four remaining in 2015.
Driving Gene Nolen's famous yellow #20 Eagle Chevy sponsored in part by KECO Coatings and Columbus Container, Coons started fourth and had an incredible opening lap, blasting by both the third-place starter, Justin Grant, and Kody Swanson, who started second. Coons ran in second place behind polesitter Chris Windom for the entire 50-lap race on the half-mile, high-banked dirt oval.
Windom was able to build up a lead that got larger as the race progressed non-stop. Coons was able to keep Swanson about 2 seconds behind early in the race, but Swanson cut his advantage to about half a second around lap 20. Swanson is the defending series champion, the current point leader, and the defending winner of this event.
Grant passed Swanson for third place working lap 35. Coons was able to keep Grant about 1 second behind him, but that advantage disappeared when Kevin Thomas Jr. spun with 41 laps down to bring out the race's only caution flag and close up the field.
There were two lapped cars between Windom and Coons for the restart so it was hard for Coons to challenge the leader, but Coons was only 1.297 seconds behind Windom at the finish. Coons was 1.430 seconds ahead of the third-place finisher, Grant. Swanson and Shane Cockrum rounded out the top five.
"It was a good night," Coons said. "I know how important the starts and track position are. The outside is the place to be usually. Swanson went low and opened the top. We had nothing for Chris, but it was a good run for us."
"We're getting better each race," noted team owner Gene Nolen of Greenwood, Ind.
Prior to Friday's race at Belleville, the Whiteland, Ind.-based team's best finishes this year were a third July 2 at Terre Haute, Ind., and two fourths at Toledo, Ohio and Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis in May.
Coons set the second-fastest lap of the race on lap five with a time of 18.877 seconds to Windom's fastest lap of the race on lap four with a time of 18.601 seconds. Coons qualified fourth in the 17-car field with a 17.761-seconds lap. Windom earned the pole with a 17.356.
The next USAC Silver Crown race is the Tony Bettenhausen 100 on Saturday, Aug. 22 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill.
More information is 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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