Nolen Racing's Coons Puts on a Show as USAC Silver Crown Returns to Williams Grove
INDIANAPOLIS, June 16 — The USAC Silver Crown division’s return to Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. last Friday was deemed a great success, as a healthy crowd turned out to see the series compete on the Grove’s famous half-mile dirt track for the first time in 35 years. The 100-lap race generated some great action, and Nolen Racing’s Jerry Coons Jr. was in the thick of one of the best battles of the night as he diced with Steve Buckwalter for position. Coons crossed the line before Buckwalter did at the end, but both he and the team had hoped for a higher finish than the eighth place they recorded in the Horn/Schindler Memorial.
Neither team owner Gene Nolen nor Coons had competed at the Grove in the past, but they arrived at a very consistent set-up. Besides finishing eighth in the main event, Coons also qualified eighth in the #20 Maxim, which is sponsored in part by Columbus Container and KECO Coatings.
None of the drivers could develop a good rhythm in the first half of the race because it was slowed by seven yellow flags in the first 43 laps, primarily for minor spins. Coons kept the #20 pointed in the right direction throughout, and ran in seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth place during different stages of the first half of the race. He, Buckwalter and Casey Shuman were already dicing for position by lap 40. At lap 50 Buckwalter was seventh, Shuman was eighth, Coons was ninth and Shane Cottle was tenth in cars that were very evenly matched.
Coons, a native of Tucson, Ariz. who lives in Greencastle, Ind., passed Shuman to the outside around lap 58 for eighth place and immediately pressured Buckwalter. The pair put on a show for many laps, with Coons getting by Buckwalter for seventh place on lap 72. Shortly after that Coons had a battle trying to catch Bryan Clauson, who went on to finish second, while simultaneously holding off Shuman.
Shuman slipped under Coons less than 10 laps from the end to push him back to eighth place at the finish, while Buckwalter finished ninth in the 21-car field before an appreciative crowd.
“We never got our car quite right, but we did the best we could,” Coons said afterwards. “I ran the bottom OK and then the top came in so I tried it up there. The track was decent; the top came in and it changed around some. We just struggled a little there.”
The series is back in action June 25 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., near St. Louis.
The team’s complete schedule can be found on its Web site at NolenRacing.com or at usacracing.com. For more information on marketing partnerships, contact Restart Communications at LKMRestart@gmail.com.
Photo credit: Lee Greenawalt