Nolen Racing's Coons Finishes Tenth at Eldora
WHITELAND, Ind., Sept. 30 — Nolen Racing is hard at work trying to make improvements after it finished tenth in the USAC Silver Crown portion of the Four Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio last Saturday night.
Jerry Coons Jr. of Plainfield, Ind., drove the team’s yellow #20 Eagle Chevy in the 50-lap USAC Silver Crown feature during the prestigious event, and as the defending race winner he wanted to finish much higher. The team has placed as high as second this year and it’s only been out of the top 10 in one event out of the 10 held so far this season. Both Coons and the team are second in the overall driver and team point standings, although Kody Swanson clinched the championship with a second-place finish to Christopher Bell in the feature at Eldora.
Things started out well for Coons and the #20, which is sponsored by Columbus Container and KECO Coatings. Coons qualified fifth out of 19 drivers who took time with a lap in 17.942 seconds, which was 0.817 of a second off Bell’s pole.
Coons was never able to challenge during the race, however, and he took the checkered flag in the middle of the field. His fastest lap of the race was lap 28 when he ran a 19.192, which was also tenth fastest.
“I just don't feel like we have a handle on the car,” Coons said afterwards. “We've had some good runs, but we are still off a little. The right-rear tire definitely sealed over late in the race, and we fell back from a group we were running with. If that hadn’t happened I felt like we could have challenged for a couple more positions.”
“In the Silver Crown race we just went backwards from the start,” said team owner Gene Nolen. “I have a few ideas about why, and I’ll talk with the guys and get their thoughts. It just wasn’t a good day.”
Chad Boespflug of Hanford, Calif. drove one of the team’s Spike Chevy dirt sprint cars in the USAC sprint car portion of the program. It attracted 53 entries, which was the most sprint car entries for this particular event since 2006.
Boespflug was a solid 13th in qualifying, and he started third in the first eight-lap heat. The top five finishers automatically advanced but he finished sixth, which put him in the fourth starting spot for the 12-lap semi-feature. The top eight finishers transferred to the 30-lap feature from the semi, but he finished tenth so he was done for the night. He posted the sixth-fastest lap of the semi on lap four with a 19.245.
“The sprint car was fast for a few laps, and then I think the right-rear tire glazed over and we started going backwards with it,” Nolen said. “It was just one of those days.”
Nolen also disclosed that Boespflug will drive this same car in the $10,000-to-win USAC AMSOIL sprint car show at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Lawrenceburg, Ind., this coming Saturday night. The "Fall Nationals" is the series' last date in the Midwest this season. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m., and practice is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Nolen Racing's Coons will also try for a great showing at the USAC Silver Crown season finale on Oct. 10 at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y. That weekend will be the finale for the "Moody Mile," as the historic track is being demolished after 107 years of operation. The new host track of NAPA Super Dirt Week will be Central New York Raceway Park, which is under construction in Hastings, N.Y., about 25 miles north of Syracuse.
More information is available on the series' Web site at usacracing.com.
For more information on Nolen Racing, see NolenRacing.com. Fans can also follow the team on Facebook and Twitter. Companies looking to join the team as marketing partners can get more information by calling (317) 201-0729 or e-mailing LKMRestart@gmail.com.