Nolen Racing's Axsom Runs as High as Seventh at Eldora
ROSSBURG, Ohio, Sept. 26 — Nolen Racing’s Emerson Axsom seemed poised for a top-10 finish or even a top five Saturday night in the USAC Silver Crown race at Eldora Speedway’s 40th annual 4-Crown Nationals until a mechanical issue forced him out of the competition while he was running seventh. It was only the second Silver Crown race ever for the 17-year-old Franklin, Ind.-based driver, and his first one ever at the famed half-mile dirt oval.
Announcer Dr. Pat Sullivan had just complimented Axsom on his good performance to the worldwide Flo Racing audience when a driveline issue developed on the famous Nolen Racing yellow No. 20 with 20 laps complete in the 50-lap race. Axsom was able to get the Maxim, which is sponsored by KECO Coating, K & N Filters and Driven2SaveLives and is powered by a Tranter-prepped Chevy engine, safely off the track without bringing out a caution flag.
His official finishing position was 22nd in the 27-car field.
He came from dead last to finish fifth in his first USAC Silver Crown race ever in May at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track in the same car.
Axsom qualified 13th on Saturday with a time of 17.773 seconds, which was just 0.485 off C.J. Leary’s pole-winning time.
Axsom moved up three positions before one lap was even in the books on Saturday night. He started 12th after Buddy Kofoid scratched from the race, which was presented by NK Telco and attracted a large crowd. Axsom gained two more positions when the drivers who started fifth and sixth, Kody Swanson and Carmen Perigo, made contact and Swanson hit the wall on the initial start. Swanson’s car had front-end damage and a bent axle and retired. Perigo restarted on the rear after changing a flat tire.
That put Axsom tenth for the complete restart, and he passed Kyle Robbins on the first lap to rise to ninth.
He moved into eighth working lap five by passing Nathan Moore right before the second yellow flag waved when Chase Stockon stopped in Turn 4 with an ignition problem.
Kaylee Bryson, who qualified fourth, was having some issues and dropping back by that time, and Axsom passed her with nine laps compete to move into seventh.
He remained in seventh place, running right behind Justin Grant, who went on to finish third, until Grant moved up. That put Brian Ruhlman in sixth place until he passed Jake Swanson. Axsom was still in seventh, right behind Swanson, until the mechanical issue caused him to pull off the track.
Logan Seavey won over Leary, Grant, Matt Westfall and Shane Cottle.
Axsom set the ninth-fastest lap of the race on lap five with a time of 19.702 seconds.
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Photo credit: USAC.