Nolen Racing's Coons Finishes Third in USAC Silver Crown's Return to Salem
SALEM, Ind., Aug. 16 — Nolen Racing’s Jerry Coons Jr. posted his second straight podium finish in USAC Silver Crown action Saturday night at Salem Speedway in the 57th running of the Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial. It was the series’ first race at that 0.555-mile, high-banked asphalt oval in 28 years.
Driving the Nolen Racing #20 Beast powered by a Tranter-prepared Chevy engine and sponsored in part by Columbus Container and KECO Coatings, Coons ran in third or fourth place throughout the 75-lap race.
After starting fourth, Coons took third for the first time on lap 13 when Jacob Wilson retired with a broken weight jacker.
Chris Windom got around him to push him back to fourth shortly before a yellow flew for Shane Cottle, who lost power and slowed to a stop in Turn 4 on lap 24.
Windom also passed Kody Swanson, so with the race one-third over the top five on lap 25 were Aaron Pierce, Windom, Swanson, Coons and David Byrne.
Swanson passed Windom for second place on lap 41 with a move to the inside in Turn 2.
At the halfway point the top five were Pierce, Swanson, Windom, Coons and Byrne.
However, on lap 61 Pierce spun between Turns 3 and 4, handing the victory to Swanson. Windom went on to finish second, with Coons third. Bobby Santos and Justin Grant rounded out the top five, and Pierce had to settle for sixth.
Coons was 1.076 seconds behind Windom and 2.729 seconds ahead of Santos at the checkered.
He set his fastest lap of the race on lap 14 with a time of 16.891 seconds, which was the fourth-fastest lap run. It was only 0.147 of a second off the fastest lap of the race, which was Pierce’s 16.744 on lap two.
Coons, a native of Tucson, Ariz. who lives in Greencastle, Ind., qualified fourth with a time of 16.566 seconds. He has only qualified outside of the top five once this year, and he’s been in the top three five times. The top seven qualifiers all broke the old track record.
Coons remains fourth in the point standings, only 18 points out of third, which is held by Grant.
The next USAC Silver Crown event is the Bettenhausen 100 coming right up this coming Saturday morning and afternoon at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. Practice is slated for 10 a.m. and ProSource qualifying is at 11:30 a.m. The main event begins at 2 p.m. Coons finished fourth in that race last year.
For more information on the Whiteland, Ind.-based team, see its Web site at NolenRacing.com. The series’ Web site is at usacracing.com. For more information on marketing partnerships, contact Restart Communications at LKMRestart@gmail.com.