Nolen Racing's Coons Finishes Sixth, Axsom 12th at Salem Speedway
SALEM, Ind., Aug. 16 — Nolen Racing’s Jerry Coons Jr. started seventh and finished sixth in last Saturday’s Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial USAC Silver Crown race at Salem Speedway. He remains third in the series’ point standings heading into the next event, which is this coming Saturday afternoon, Aug. 19, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill.
Davey Hamilton Jr. got around Coons on the first lap of Saturday night’s 75-lapper on Salem's half-mile asphalt oval to push him to eighth. Coons, a native of Tucson, Ariz. now living in Greencastle, Ind., regained seventh when Justin Grant spun between Turns 3 and 4 as he was attempting to get fourth place from David Byrne, bringing out the race’s first yellow flag on lap 19. Byrne suffered a flat left-rear tire in the melee and pitted, which advanced Coons to sixth place.
For most of the rest of the race Coons was the meat in a Hamilton family sandwich, with Hamilton Jr. in fifth and his father in seventh. On the last lap Grant passed the elder Hamilton for seventh, but Coons remained in sixth place with the Whiteland, Ind.-based team’s No. 20. It’s a Beast chassis sponsored by KECO Coatings and powered by a Tranter-prepared Chevrolet engine.
“We needed to qualify better, but our car started off good in the race,” Coons said. “About halfway through the car went extremely loose, which has been a reoccurring issue. After the race I think we found out why this has been happening. Hopefully we can rectify that for the next race.”
Joe Axsom of Franklin, Ind., drove Coons’ sister car, a similar Beast/Tranter Chevy sponsored by KECO Coatings, in the race. He started 11th but he had worked his way up to eighth a third of the way through the race. He appeared to be well on his way to another top-10 finish but unfortunately he dropped out with mechanical issues with 36 laps complete and was credited with 12th.
“We never really were able to find a comfortable setup, and then we experienced an oil leak,” Axsom said.
Coons’ fastest lap of the race was lap seven, which he turned in 17.085. Axsom’s was lap eight, which he did in 17.311.
Despite two caution flags the race was over in 25:59, which was a new track record for the series.
Coons’ time during ProSource qualifying was 16.568, while Axsom’s was 16.950.
Coons remains third in the point standings for the series, which is presented by TRAXXAS, with three races remaining. They are all on dirt tracks. After Springfield this coming Saturday, the series moves to DuQuoin, Ill. on Sept. 3 and concludes at Rossburg, Ohio on Sept. 23. Coons; Hunter Schuerenberg, a native of Sikeston, Mo. now living in New Whiteland, Ind., and Dakota Jackson, a native of Columbus, Ind. now living in Elizabethtown, Ind., drive the team’s Silver Crown cars in dirt-track events.
Kody Swanson, who won Saturday’s race, leads the point standings with 487. Defending champion Chris Windom, who finished second on Saturday, is second in the point standings with 421. Coons is third with 394. Bobby Santos (350) and Byrne (323) round out the top five.
The team’s Web site is at nolenracing.com. It also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. For information on marketing partnerships, contact Restart Communications at LKMRestart@gmail.com.
USAC's Web site is at USACRacing.com and Salem Speedway’s is at SalemSpeedway.com. For information on Saturday’s race in Springfield, see TrackEnterprises.com. That race is a daytime event. The schedule is subject to change, but the preliminary one shows practice at 10 a.m., qualifying at 11:30 a.m., a semi at 12:30 p.m. and the 100-lap race on the 1-mile, semi-banked dirt oval starting at 2 p.m.
Photo credits: USAC photos by Gene Crucean