SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Fans of the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series know the names Bateman and Shuman very well.
Ron Shuman and Randy Bateman were long-time competitors in the big car series and raced against each other numerous times.
While both came from different parts of the country, both shared a love for the championship dirt cars that has been passed on to family and friends.
Randy passed away in 2017, a victim of ALS while Ron retired a number of years ago. Randy’s wife Patty and brother Mark continue the Bateman Racing legacy while Ron Shuman’s son Casey became the driver of the familiar Bateman number No. 55.
Bateman and Shuman will team up again in the rescheduled Bettenhausen 100 presented by Fatheadz Eyewear on Sunday, Oct. 18, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Randy Bateman made his series debut in 1983 and had 60 starts in 27 years as a Silver Crown competitor, mostly on the mile dirt tracks. Randy made his first start at Springfield in 1984 and made the Bettenhausen 100 12 times over the next 30 seasons.
Ron Shuman made his series debut in the late 1970’s and managed to capture the prestigious Hoosier Hundred in 1992. The “Flying Shoe” qualified third in his 1977 Bettenhausen debut and ran nine times at Springfield with a second place run in 1983.
Shuman retired to become the series chief of the California Racing Ass’n, while Bateman continued racing until the effects of ALS forced his retirement after the 2014 campaign.
Casey Shuman made his mile track debut in a second car as a teammate to Shane Cockrum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in 2013. He ran near the front until the engine gave way on lap 72.
When the Hardy team decided to become a one-car team later in the year Shuman was out of a ride, but continued to run sprint cars and midgets.
Patty and Mark Bateman continued the team while Randy battled the effects of ALS. Veteran Brian Tyler took the wheel of the No. 55 at the last minute for the 2015 Hoosier Hundred and went from 27th to third at the end of 100 miles.
Later that year Bateman Racing needed a driver, and landed on Casey Shuman, who picked up a seventh at Springfield and a fifth at Du Quoin.
It turned out to be a good choice for both parties. Shuman won Rookie of the Year in the Silver Crown division, with four top-10 finishes in nine starts, including a fourth at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Shuman and Bateman ran limited schedules in 2017 and 2018, before Shuman’s career went in a slightly different direction in 2019, as he took over as series director for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series.
Bateman Racing acquired a new car for 2019, which made its debut at DuQuoin with Jerry Coons Jr. behind the wheel.
As COVID-19 played havoc with USAC racing schedules this year, Bateman Racing planned on taking off the year, but when the reschedule of the Bettenhausen 100 was announced for Oct. 18, Patty and the crew began getting the white, red-trimmed and gold-leaf lettered car ready.
She quickly announced Casey Shuman would once again be behind the wheel, and feels team and driver have a strong shot at their first victory.
On Sunday, grandstand ticket sales will be limited to 20-percent capacity in order to promote a safe atmosphere and allow for proper social distancing.
In addition, face coverings will be required, temperatures will be checked upon arrival, and multiple handwashing and sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the venue.
Pit gates will open at 8 a.m. CT Sunday, with the grandstands and ticket office following at 11 a.m., practice rolling off at noon, qualifying hitting the track at 1:15 p.m., the last chance race scheduled for 2:15 p.m. and the 57th running of the Bettenhausen 100 presented by Fatheadz Eyewear taking the green at 3 p.m.