Belleville, Kansas — After a heartbreaking defeat in last year’s “Hustle on the High Banks” at the Belleville High Banks, Chris Windom sealed the deal on Friday night with a wire-to-wire win in the 50-lapper for the Silver Crown Series. The Canton, Illinois driver made it his second career victory in dominating fashion aboard the Fred Gormly – RPM Auto Enterprise #98 Maxim/Mopar.
“After that last caution, I was just waiting on something to happen like last year. But Rob Hart gave me a great car, and I want to thank Fred Gormly and Tom Bliss for putting me in this car and giving me the opportunity to give them this win. I don’t know if you can really put this place into words. I try to be steady and smooth and on the gas, and it surely helps to be out front, which was where I planned to stay all race. I finally told myself to calm down when I was basically catching the whole field, but it was kinda sketchy riding behind those guys as they’re banging off the fence, so in that sense I was happy to see the caution. I backed it way down the last couple laps with such a big lead,” Windom said.
Windom took the ProSource “Fast Time Award” and jumped into the lead at the first corner, as Jerry Coons, Jr. pressured Kody Swanson for the runner-up spot on the opening lap. Windom quickly opened up his advantage as Coons, Swanson, Justin Grant, and Shane Cockrum fell in order on the high side around the top.
Windom took less than ten laps to reach the back end of the field, but his lead only grew. At lap 20, his lead was over five seconds as Kevin Thomas, Jr., C.J. Leary, and Brady Bacon had the best battle on the track for sixth through eighth, as Windom had lapped the rest of the field already.
Grant was pressuring Swanson through traffic as second through fifth raced all together, with Grant taking the third spot on lap 34, just as Windom rapped the outside guardrail in turn-four while working lapped traffic. He recovered and continued to build his lead.
With 9 laps to go, sixth-running Thomas, Jr. tried to throw a slider on Cockrum and spun in the middle of the track through turns one and two. That erased Windom’s 14-second lead and gave Coons and Grant a chance at him, although Windom had two lapped cars between himself and then.
Windom immediately stretched his lead away from them, but his final two laps slowed quite a bit as he crossed the line 1.297 seconds ahead of Coons, who brought home his best finsh of the season while taking over second in the points in the Nolen Racing – Columbus Container #20 Eagle/Chevy.
“They were in a league of their own tonight. We weren’t quite how I needed to be to run where he was through three and four, but even if we were a bit better, I’m not sure I had it in me to run it like he was. It can be very tough to pass here, so I knew the start would be important, and working traffic was difficult. I tried to be smart and do it right when going by those guys. Traffic may have helped me stay ahead of those guys through the race. You’re so close to the wall, and if you get a push in these cars, it’s very uncomfortable. That’s the biggest thing here, so it’s a fine line of being fast and being in the fence,” Coons said.
Grant filled the podium with his best career Silver Crown finish in the Chris Carli Motorsports – Finish Line Racing Equipment #8 Beast/Chevy.
“This was a little tougher than I thought it would be. I like places that are on the fence and slick, and then in the feature I realized just how extreme it was. It was a blast, just a lot of fun. I was trying to catch Kody, and even Jerry, in traffic just right or take advantage when he was working around them. I felt pretty good moving around. Windom obviously had us all covered, but other than that, I felt really good. Obviously, when you’re working hard and doing something, you expect to do well with it, but this is better than we expected to be out of the gate with this team, and it’s been really rewarding,” Grant said.
Series point leader and defending race winner Swanson finished fourth in the DePalma Motorsports – Radio Hospital #63 Maxim/Hampshire, and Cockrum rounded out the top-five in the Hardy Boys Motorsports – Financial Transportation Services #71 Maxim/Chevy.
-USAC Silver Crown Series Press Release. Photo credit: Lonnie Wheatley
USAC SILVER CROWN RACE RESULTS: July 31, 2015 – Belleville, Kansas – Belleville High Banks – ”Hustle on the High Banks”
QUALIFYING: 1. Chris Windom, 98, RPM/Gormly-17.356; 2. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-17.587; 3. Justin Grant, 8, Carli-17.745; 4. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-17.761; 5. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary/6R Racing-17.825; 6. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy Boys-17.844; 7. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-17.911; 8. Kevin Thomas Jr., 17, RW/Curb-Agajanian-18.026; 9. A.J. Fike, 3, RFMS-18.061; 10. Brady Bacon, 48, Martens-18.118; 11. Steve Buckwalter, 53, SET-18.255; 12. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-18.278; 13. Rex Norris III, 16, Norris-18.825; 14. Austin Nemire, 91, Hemelgarn-19.529; 15. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-19.739; 16. Chris Fetter, 89, Fetter-19.938; 17. Terry James, 23, Satterthwaite-20.679.
FEATURE: (50 Laps) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Jerry Coons Jr., 3. Justin Grant, 4. Kody Swanson, 5. Shane Cockrum, 6. C.J. Leary, 7. Brady Bacon, 8. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9. Steve Buckwalter, 10. Aaron Pierce, 11. A.J. Fike, 12. Austin Nemire, 13. Rex Norris III, 14. Terry James, 15. Chris Fetter, 16. Shane Cottle, 17. Patrick Lawson. NT