ROSSBURG, Ohio – The finale for Saturday night’s 4-Crown Nationals presented by NKT.tv at Eldora Speedway also serves as the finale for the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series season.
All Kody Swanson has to do is present at the start of the night’s 50-lap main event and he’ll clinch an unprecedented fifth driving title with the series.
Justin Grant is second in the series standings, 63 points back. Grant could gain the maximum 76 points for the night if he were to gain the three bonus points for fast qualifying time, three extra for leading the most laps and 70 points for winning the race to get him to 590 total points for the season.
However, the minimum points that a driver can gain in the feature event is 13. If Kody were to finish last in the feature, he would still gain 13 points to lift him from 577 to 590.
Though Swanson and Grant would be tied in that scenario, Swanson holds the tiebreaker due to his five feature wins during the Silver Crown season.
For the Silver Crown owner’s title, the Klatt Enterprises No. 6 driven by Brady Bacon is in the driver’s seat of the standings with a 15-point lead entering Saturday’s contest.
Of course, everything will be easier to sort out once the field is set following Friday’s qualifying session, but regardless of whether Swanson and Nolen Racing earn maximum points this weekend, if Bacon finishes third or better in Saturday’s race, the Klatt team clinches the owner’s title.
Swanson, a 29-time Silver Crown winner, was fifth in last year’s Eldora go. The half-mile remains the only track on the USAC Silver Crown schedule that Swanson hasn’t yet won at. His best USAC finish at Eldora came in a sprint car, when he was second in 2015.
Fellow Californian Grant was seventh last year at Eldora in the Champ Car. Grant has won three times in USAC National Sprint Car competition at Eldora, including once in the 4-Crown Nationals in 2016.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon took an eighth-place finish last in the Crown Car at Eldora. He owns two USAC National Sprint Car wins there, including at the 2014 4-Crown. Bacon won the All Star sprint car portion of the 4-Crown in 2016.
This past June, Bacon entered victory lane for the first time in Silver Crown competition at Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania.
C.J. Leary was spectacular in last year’s 4-Crown Silver Crown race, leaving nothing on the table as he swapped the lead seven times with Kevin Thomas Jr. over the final 20 laps to score the victory, the second of his career.
He’ll be competing in the same DRC/1-Way Toyota that won last year’s event, but renumbered 10 under the DMW Motorsports banner.
Kevin Thomas, Jr. steps into the Chris Dyson Racing No. 9 for Saturday’s 4-Crown Silver Crown event. Thomas took the runner-up position behind Leary in last year’s race and is eager to score both his first Silver Crown win and first Eldora USAC win in one fell swoop.
Jason McDougal drove the Dyson car last fall to a fourth place finish in his series debut. This weekend, he steps into the Foxco No. 56 with which Thomas drove to the second place finish at Eldora a year ago.
Back in May, McDougal charged his way from 25th to sixth at the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in his second series start.
Hoosier Hundred winner Tyler Courtney has been a dominant force at the 4-Crown over the past two seasons, with victories in all three USAC divisions: Silver Crown in 2017 and both the Midget and Sprint features in 2018.
The reigning USAC National Sprint Car champion also won the pole for the 2016 Silver Crown main at Eldora. His run last year came to a halt after he flipped on the eighth lap of the 50-lap feature.
Shane Cottle led a race-high 30 laps in last year’s event and finished third after starting from the pole. Chad Kemenah is a multi-time Eldora track champion who had his best outing in his third and most recent Silver Crown appearance, starting fourth and finishing ninth at DuQuoin.
Chris Windom, the 2016 USAC Silver Crown champion, has won twice in a champ car at Eldora, both in 2013 and in 2016, in addition to a pair of USAC Sprint wins in 2013 and 2018. He was 22nd after engine trouble befell his ride just five laps in during last year’s Silver Crown race at Eldora.
David Byrne has had another solid Silver Crown season, with a third place standing in series points entering Saturday. Last year at Eldora, trouble found him early on, as he flipped on lap three of the main event.
Past series feature winner Eric Gordon, sixth in the series standings, is poised to make his first Silver Crown start at Eldora since 2001. Mike Haggenbottom finished 15th in his Silver Crown debut run at Eldora last year and finished a career-best fourth at Williams Grove in June.
Kyle Robbins, the 2018 series Rookie of the Year, was ninth in his first run at Eldora in a Crown Car a year ago, while Austin Nemire – a veteran of all three USAC national divisions at Eldora – was 11th in the Crown car at the 2018 4-Crown.