ROSSBURG, Ohio, Sept. 27 — Nolen Racing and driver Jerry Coons Jr. placed fourth in the entrant and driver point standings, respectively, in the 2016 USAC Silver Crown Series after finishing eighth in the series’ 50-lap season finale last Saturday night during the 35th annual Four-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway.
Coons won this event in 2007 and 2014, and he finished second in the overall point standings in both 2014 and 2015. He was the series champion in 2008.
He qualified ninth for Saturday’s 25-mile season finale in the Whiteland, Ind.-based team’s No. 20, a Maxim with a Tranter-prepped Chevy engine that is sponsored in part by Columbus Container and KECO Coatings.
Coons, a native of Tucson, Ariz. who now lives in Greencastle, Ind., passed Steve Buckwalter at the start to move into eighth place. C.J. Leary passed him on lap seven to push him back to ninth, but he moved into seventh after the first caution on lap 15 due to attrition (Kody Swanson and Leary), and then got sixth on the restart by passing Dave Darland. He remained in sixth place until Darland and Swanson passed him on lap 42 to push him back to eighth, and he crossed the finish line in that spot eight laps later.
Coons’ teammate in this race, rookie Dakota Jackson of Elizabethtown, Ind. in the Nolen Racing No. 120, a Twister chassis with a Tranter-prepped Chevy, started 19th and finished 14th. He dropped to 20th initially but then rose to 18th by lap three. He got 17th on lap 13 by passing Austin Nemire, and 16th on lap 14 by passing David Byrne. Unfortunately he and Swanson made contact in Turn 1 on lap 15 while Swanson was lapping him, which sent them both spinning and then to the rear of the field to start all over.
Jackson ran his fastest lap of the race on lap 16 after the restart and settled into 20th place, but he regained 19th by passing Byrne again on lap 30.
He moved into 16th due to attrition and by passing Mitch Wissmiller after the second caution with 36 laps down. Wissmiller passed him back to push him back to 17th with 10 laps remaining. He regained 16th on lap 46 by passing Nemire again, and got two more spots in the last three laps of the race due to attrition.
“My first trip to Eldora was a battle,” Jackson said afterwards. “We fought the car early and a mistake by me in qualifying put us deep in the field for the feature. We were able to get the car to my liking for the race and I was able to climb up to 14th after spinning and going back to the tail just before halfway.
“I would like to thank everyone at Nolen Racing for the hard work at the shop and at the track, and to Gene Nolen for believing in me and giving me a chance to run for him,” Jackson added.
Coons also drove a Nolen Racing entry in the USAC AMSOIL national sprint car portion of the program. He finished 17th in that 30-lap feature after starting 24th and next to last.
In that race, Coons was up to 20th by lap three. He passed Brandon Whited on the next lap to snag 19th, got 18th on the following lap when Swanson fell back, and moved into 17th by passing Carson Short on lap seven. He got two more spots to rise to 15th by passing Bret Mellenberndt and then Aaron Farney during the course of the next two laps.
Unfortunately he was back to 21st place after the restart following the first yellow on lap 12, and had to start all over again. He got 19th on lap 16 by passing Matt Goodnight, and then two more positions on lap 18 by passing Short again and also getting by Chad Boespflug. He wasn’t able to advance any further though.
In the preliminary USAC sprint action Coons finished sixth in the second eight-lap heat, which put him in the 12-lap semi. He started ninth in the semi and successfully evaded Tony DiMattia, who flipped right in front of him in Turn 2 working lap two. Chris Windom passed him working lap four to push him back to tenth, however, and only eight transferred to the feature.
Coons kept digging, and regained ninth on lap six by passing Short. He took eighth on lap eight by passing Shane Cottle to get the final transfer spot, and then got one more position on the last lap by passing Nick Bilbee.
Another Nolen Racing sprint car, the No. 20N piloted by Hunter Schuerenberg of Sikeston, Mo., finished 13th in the 30-lap Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions feature. He finished fourth in his heat race and was 15th in time trials.
The 2017 USAC Silver Crown schedule will be announced during the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis Dec. 8-10. It is expected to be similar to the 2016 schedule. Companies that would like to increase their exposure to brand-loyal race fans through a program with Nolen Racing are encouraged to contact Restart Communications at LKMRestart@gmail.com.
For more information see the team’s Web site at NolenRacing.com and the series’ Web site at usacracing.com. Fans can also follow Nolen Racing on Facebook and Twitter.