Nolen Racing Cars Had Great Pace at Eldora's Four-Crown Nationals
ROSSBURG, Ohio, Sept. 24 — The Nolen Racing USAC Silver Crown cars were the second- and third-fastest cars for that series’ portion of the 37th annual Four-Crown Nationals presented by NKT.tv Friday and Saturday at Eldora Speedway, but they ended up sixth and 22nd in the series’ last race of the season Saturday night.
The Whiteland, Ind.-based team’s Chris Windom was third in points going into the season finale with two victories, while his teammate, Jerry Coons Jr., was fifth, and they remained in those positions when the final points for the year were tabulated.
Windom set the second-fastest lap of Saturday’s 50-lap race with an 18.143 and Coons set the third-fastest lap of it with a 19.240.
Both ran as high as second in the race.
They were also second and third in qualifying on Friday. Coons qualified second while Windom, of St. Louis, qualified third. Coons was only 0.124 off the pole-winning time when the native of Tucson, Ariz., who now lives in Greencastle, Ind. toured the half-mile clay oval in 16.888. Windom’s qualifying time was 16.935.
But Coons finished sixth in Saturday’s race after his car’s handling went south, and Windom prematurely retired with just five laps complete for 22nd place due to rear-end issues with his No. 17 just after he attempted to take the lead.
Both Coons and Windom drove Maxim chassis with Tranter-prepared Chevrolet engines. The team is sponsored in part by KECO Coatings and Indy Race Parts.
“My car was very good at the beginning, and went very loose about 20 laps in,” Coons said afterwards. “We just needed to have the car set up tighter all around to be better at the end of the race.”
Coons remained in second place for the first three laps, which included a red-flag period with two laps down when David Byrne flipped in Turn 4. Luckily Byrne walked away, but the race was delayed while the fence was repaired.
Coons held Windom off on the restart but Windom took second on lap four. Windom drew near the polesitter and initial leader, Shane Cottle, on lap five but then pulled into the infield with his mechanical issues.
That put Coons back in second place, which he held through another red-flag period when Tyler Courtney flipped in Turn 2 with seven laps complete. He was also unhurt.
Coons stayed in second and was only 0.246 off the leader, Cottle, on lap 10. But Cottle’s advantage began to grow when Coons’ car developed handling issues.
C.J. Leary was able to get around Coons for second on lap 15, and Kevin Thomas Jr. slipped by on the following lap to relegate Coons to fourth. The series’ champion, Kody Swanson, passed him on lap 19 to push him to fifth, but he was able to hold that spot until Jason McDougal passed him on lap 30.
Coons had to fight off Justin Grant for the remaining 20 laps, but he successfully did that even though Grant was just 0.361 behind him at the checkered.
The team's Web site is at nolenracing.com. It also has a Facebook page and it’s on Twitter. For information on marketing partnerships contact Restart Communications at LKMRestart@gmail.com. USAC's Web site is at usacracing.com.