Nolen Racing's Coons Finishes Third at Williams Grove
MECHANICSBURG, Pa., June 17 — Nolen Racing's Jerry Coons Jr. recorded the Whiteland, Ind.-based team's best finish of the year so far in the USAC Silver Crown series by finishing third Friday night in the prestigious Horn-Schindler Memorial at Williams Grove Speedway.
The native of Tucson, Ariz., who now lives in Greencastle, Ind., had to battle both the competition on the half-mile dirt track and a mechanical issue in order to post the podium finish following his 340th USAC start. He remains in third place in the overall point standings heading into the next event July 20 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind.
Coons recorded the sixth-fastest time among the 21 entries during ProSource Qualifying with his Maxim, which is sponsored by KECO Coatings and Indy Race Parts and has a Tranter-prepared Chevy engine. His qualifying time was 20.662 seconds, which was only 0.232 off Damion Gardner's pole. The team had to work fast to get Coons' car ready for qualifying, as it had to do some diagnostics and change the car's ignition box when the car was down on power during hot laps.
Coons, a USAC Triple Crown champion, passed C.J. Leary at the start of the 100-lap race to move into fifth position. He got fourth on lap four by passing Shane Cockrum, and third on lap five when both he and the eventual winner, Kody Swanson, passed Chris Windom, who won this race and the championship last year and had been running second.
Coons set his fastest lap of the race on lap 11 with a time of 21.150 seconds, which was the fifth-fastest lap recorded during the event. He remained in third place until Swanson got under him at the end of the backstretch working lap 12 to push him back to fourth place.
Leary hounded Coons for fourth place until Brady Bacon passed Leary for fifth at the one-quarter mark. Bacon chased Coons and unsuccessfully tried everything he could think of to get around him from that point. Bacon got especially close at the halfway mark and again around lap 60, but Coons fought him off each time.
Coons got third during a yellow on lap 65 for Austin Nemire, who was running eighth when he spun between Turns 1 and 2. The driver who had been third, Justin Grant, retired with mechanical difficulties under that yellow flag and Coons once again moved into the final podium position.
The podium finish wasn't a certainty, however, because for about the last 40 laps of the race Coons' car lost its power steering fluid, which made it very difficult to turn.
Despite the challenges, Coons continued to hold Bacon off. Five laps before the finish Bacon slowed when he ran out of fuel, and Windom moved into fourth. Coons took the checkered flag in third place, 1.121 seconds after the second-place finisher, Gardner, did the same. Coons was 0.446 of a second ahead of the fourth-place finisher, Windom, at the line.
Nolen Racing also fielded cars for Dakota Jackson and Hunter Schuerenberg at Williams Grove. Both are rookies in this series, which is presented by TRAXXAS.
Jackson, of Elizabethtown, Ind., qualified 18th with a time of 21.923, but pulled into the pits prior to the start of the race with a mechanical issue. He rejoined the field under a yellow flag and completed 17 laps for a 15th-place finish. His best lap was his seventh one, which he turned in 22.441. His car, a F5 Tranter Chevy, advertises the Peyton's Angels Indiana chapter of The Cure Starts Now Foundation.
Schuerenberg of Sikeston, Mo., qualified eighth with his Maxim Tranter Chevy with a time of 20.717 seconds, which was only 0.287 off the pole, 0.055 off Coons' qualifying time and 0.051 off the race winner's qualifying time. Schuerenberg's car is sponsored by Eddie Gilstrap Motors, Roof Bolt Xpress and Wesco Trailer Manufacturing.
Unfortunately Schuerenberg only did eight laps of the feature due to a mechanical issue. He remained in eighth while he was on the track, and he was credited with a 17th-place finish. Like Jackson he turned his fastest race lap on his seventh lap. Schuerenberg's time on that circuit was a 21.894.
The race was covered live on SpeedShiftTV.com. It is also available on demand at Loudpedal.TV.
The team's complete schedule can be found on its Web site at nolenracing.com and its Facebook page. It's also on Twitter. For information on marketing partnerships, contact Restart Communications at LKMRestart@gmail.com.
USAC's Web site is at usacracing.com.
Post-race quotes follow:
Jerry Coons Jr.: "With about 30 or 40 laps to go, we were losing our power steering fluid. The steering wheel got really slippery. It was on my gloves, and I kept wiping my hand on my suit down the straightaway.
"For the last 10 to 15 laps of the race it was getting so it wouldn't turn left very well. I just got the car set in the turns and hoped I didn't have to turn left too hard.
"The car was good though. I made some shock adjustments, that's all.
[About the battle with Brady Bacon] "I just did my best to find a line that would keep him away from me a bit.
"I want to thank the whole Nolen Racing team. They have me a great race car, and they all worked very hard to get us here."
Dakota Jackson: "We weren't able to start the race due to a fuel issue. When I finally started the motor just never ran right, so I pulled off. It was a fuel bypass problem.
"This is a cool track. Today was the first day I've ever even seen the place. It's not like the tracks we have back home. It's really narrow, but it's pretty racy and it has an amazing history. You have to race it more like it's a mile track than a half-mile."
Hunter Schuerenberg: "The motor quit running; I don't know what happened. It hesitated the whole race, and then quit altogether. We'll figure it out. We'll get there."
Gene Nolen (team owner): "I would have been happier if all three cars had finished, but it was an endurance race and Jerry did good to finish third with no power steering. He did a good job, and I'm really happy with him.
"Dakota had a fuel line come loose. Hunter had a suction line come loose; it wasn't picking up everything from the pan.
"But it was a good night."
Left to right: Damion Gardner, Kody Swanson, Jerry Coons Jr. Photo credit: USAC