Nolen Racing Finishes Second and Fourth at Salem Speedway
SALEM, Ind., Aug. 12 — Nolen Racing drivers Jerry Coons Jr. and Chris Windom were impressive in last night’s Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial USAC Silver Crown race at Salem Speedway, as Coons qualified second and finished fourth, and Windom qualified fifth, finished second, and tied with Kyle Hamilton for having the fastest lap of the race. The event was fast and furious, as there was only one full-course caution for six laps during the 75-lap race on the physically demanding half-mile, high-banked asphalt oval.
Kody Swanson won the pole and led every lap of the race to become the winningest driver in series history, but Nolen Racing also had a good showing at the seventh of 11 races on the 2018 calendar for USAC’s top class.
First, Coons qualified just 0.185 off the time Swanson set to earn the pole for the race, which was sponsored by Discover Scott County and the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers. Coons, a native of Tucson, Ariz., who now lives in Greencastle, Ind., took only 16.186 seconds to earn the outside starting spot on the front row. Windom, who lives in St. Louis, was only a tick slower with a 16.353 for the fifth starting spot. Both Coons and Windom drove Beast chassis with Tranter-prepared Chevrolet engines, and both of their cars carried KECO Coatings decals.
Coons ran in second place for the first three laps until David Byrne passed him on lap four and Bobby Santos III got by on lap eight. Coons was still in fourth place when the sole yellow waved working lap 15 when Matt Goodnight slowed on the course. Coons set the third-fastest lap of the race with a 16.877 on lap 24. Windom passed Coons for fourth two laps later. Coons regained fourth on lap 43 by passing Byrne, and held on to that position until the end. He was 1.200 seconds ahead of the fifth-place finisher, Hamilton, at the checkered.
Windom ran in fifth place for the first third of the race, or 25 laps, setting a duplicate time to Hamilton’s lap six on lap 24 with a time of 16.849. He got fourth by passing his teammate on lap 26, and then had a huge battle with Santos for third. The latter passed Byrne for second on lap 38, but Windom got by Byrne for third on the following lap and continued to pursue Santos relentlessly. His hard work paid off on lap 53 when he passed Santos for second between turns three and four. Windom was only 0.228 behind Swanson on lap 63, but with no more yellows to tighten up the field, Swanson was able to build up a healthy advantage at the checkered. Windom also pulled away from Santos, as he was a full lap ahead of him at the line.
“We had a bad, fast car tonight,” Windom said afterwards. “We just didn’t quite have the track position to put us in contention for the win without any cautions. I’m proud of everyone for their hard work. We will go try to win Springfield next weekend!”
“We had a great car right out of the trailer tonight,” Coons said. “The car was really stuck for qualifying. We’ve been chasing an issue with the car going extremely loose 30 to 40 laps into a race, and it did it again tonight. We aren’t sure if it’s in our set up or something mechanical, but the guys are doing a great job on the car and I know they will get it figured out.”
Windom is third in the point standings and Coons is sixth.
The next race is coming right up this coming Saturday afternoon, Aug. 18 on the 1-mile dirt track at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill.
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.
(Photos by Glenda Lacer and James Knapp of JimmyJeep.com)