Coons Sees Fifth-Place Finish Disappear Late in Thursday's Hoosier Hundred
INDIANAPOLIS, May 25 — After running in fifth place for 31 laps, Nolen Racing’s Jerry Coons Jr. ended up with a crashed USAC Silver Crown car in Turn 3 just 13 laps from the finish of the 63rd annual Hoosier Hundred Thursday night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds’ 1-mile dirt oval. Luckily the Tucson, Ariz. native who now lives in Greencastle, Ind. was not hurt when the driver who had been fourth chopped off the USAC Triple Crown champion working lap 88 and ruined Nolen Racing’s hopes for a top-five finish or better.
Coons’ teammate, Chris Windom of St. Louis, qualified fourth but had brake problems throughout the race, went one lap down, and finished 13th in the 31-car field.
Coons was scored in 18th place at the end.
The pair drove Maxims sponsored by KECO Coatings and Indy Race Parts and powered by Tranter-prepared Chevrolet engines.
Coons started ninth but passed Chris Dyson on the opening lap. He remained in eighth place through lap 30, but advanced to seventh when Windom dropped from seventh to tenth on lap 32.
At the halfway point Coons was still seventh, just 0.273 behind C.J. Leary and 1.925 ahead of Justin Grant. He vaulted to fifth under the third yellow on lap 56 when the leader at the time, Brian Tyler, crashed and the sixth-place driver, Leary, dropped back.
Coons remained in fifth from lap 56 until the incident with the fourth-place driver, Tyler Courtney, working lap 88.
Windom started fourth and held that position for the first 15 laps. Tyler passed him on lap 67 to drop him to fifth and Courtney got around him on lap 18 to drop him to sixth place. He was still able to remain sixth through lap 30, but then Leary passed him to push him back to seventh. He held seventh through lap 40, but then dropped to tenth. He held tenth through lap 55, when he pitted under yellow for the Whiteland, Ind.-based team to examine his brakes. That put him back to 20th place, but he rose to 13th at the end.
Windom was fourth in ProSource qualifying with a time of 34.496, while Coons qualified ninth with a 34.946.
Windom set the 18th-fastest lap of the race despite his brake issue with a 34.517 on lap 78.
Coons was even faster. His fastest lap of the race was a 33.870 on lap 82, which was the fourth-fastest lap run by anyone in the 100-lapper.
The track was dusty and many drivers said visibility was limited, especially earlier in the program. On the plus side there was no chance for rain this year and a good crowd turned out to watch the competition.
Windom is now fourth in the point standings and Coons is eighth.
The next race is the Dave Steele Carb Night Classic tonight, Friday, May 25, at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind.
The team will also compete in the 70th annual Pay Less Little 500 asphalt sprint car race at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway on Saturday night. Coons; Kody Swanson, a native of Kingsburg, Calif. who won Thursday’s USAC Silver Crown race, and Shane Hollingsworth of Lafayette, Ind. will represent the team in that prestigious event. Swanson qualified fourth, Coons eighth and Hollingsworth tenth for that race.
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.: “It happened in Turn 3. He turned down and chopped me off. The video is pretty clear.
“The track was real bad but I was just riding around, biding my time and saving my tires. Our car was good. The visibility wasn’t that bad for the first eight or nine cars.”
Chris Windom: “A brake rotor fell off early in the race. We pitted and looked things over and went back out. But I didn’t have any brakes the whole race. It’s amazing I finished.
“Visibility was not very good the whole race.”
Photo credit: Jerry Coons Jr. (No. 20) and Chris Windom (No. 17); photos by Gene Crucean