Brownsburg, Indiana (May 17, 2019).........The Dave Steele "Carb Night Classic" honors one of USAC's most accomplished drivers and one who attained much of that success on the .686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway paved oval, where his race, in his memory, returns Friday night, May 24.
Last year's event was memorable in a number of ways, specifically for the Swanson family. Kody's personal "Week of Indy" a year ago began with a Hoosier Hundred victory on Thursday, followed by a Carb Night Classic win on Friday and a Little 500 Sprint Car win at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway on Saturday to become the first driver to win all three of those within a three-day span - a feat in which the Kingsburg, Calif. native hopes to repeat once again this May.
Kody and Nolen Racing are two-for-two in USAC Silver Crown competition in 2019, winning both at Memphis and Toledo, giving him an 18-point advantage in the standings.
Kody's younger brother, Tanner, perhaps you could say, was the one who stole the show in last year's "Carb Night Classic." After claiming the pole by posting the quickest lap in qualifying, the Kingsburg, Calif. driver elected to start from the tail for an opportunity to win bonus money. Tanner nearly did the deal, storming to the front of the pack and was hounding Kody throughout the last several laps until fuel became an issue for him, costing him a possible victory, but still advanced 20 positions to take second at the checkered.
The "Come from the Back Challenge" is back again this year, providing a driver the option on whether they would prefer to start in their qualified position or start from the tail with a chance to take home a $10,000 bonus courtesy of Legacy Motorsports and Gatekeeper Services.
In fact, the challenge is just one of several contingency bonuses added exclusively for the event. $19,000 in lap money has been added by a number of sponsors, a fitting number as Steele won numerous races in Bob Gratton-owned No. 19 Sprint Cars and Silver Crown cars during his career. Additionally, the fastest qualifier will earn a $1,000 bonus from Mac and Carol Steele. Carl Edwards has added $1,000 in hard charger money for the driver advancing the most positions from his or her starting spot during the night's 100-lap main event ("Come from the Back Challenge" taker is excluded). Finally, Steele Performance Parts is paying for all Silver Crown driver pit passes.
Aaron Pierce, of Muncie, Ind., finished third in last year's race and is seventh in the series standings after a third place run in the most recent race at Toledo. Following the race, he and second-place finisher Bobby Santos of Franklin, Mass. had a heated exchange on the front-straightaway that made for some entertaining post-race fodder. Santos, a four-time winner at Lucas Oil Raceway, finished second at both Memphis and Toledo and is the most recent driver not named Kody Swanson to win a pavement Silver Crown race. Kody's won six-in-a-row on the blacktop dating back to last May.
Ione, California's Justin Grant resides third in the standings with third and fourth place finishes in his first two outings and remains on the hunt for his first career Silver Crown win on pavement. He took sixth at LOR in 2018, but he's won two on the dirt, in 2017 at Springfield and in 2018 at Terre Haute.
Pavement specialists are a unique breed, running for glory and race wins without a concentration on championship points. Santos is one in that group as is Danville, Indiana's Kyle Hamilton who stands fourth in the standings right now following fourth and sixth place results in Memphis and Toledo, respectively, and was 10th last Spring at LOR. Derek Bischak, of Angola, Ind., is another of the specialists, finishing eighth in each of the first two events.
Series Rookie Joey Schmidt of Ellisville, Miss. has been a pleasant surprise in the early season, driving to fifth and ninth place finishes in his first two career starts and runs fifth overall in points.
Past Silver Crown champion Chris Windom of Canton, Ill. has a new team in Byrd/Goodnight Racing this year. After a rough first start at Memphis where mechanical trouble befell them, the team and the 2016 titlist dug in for a fifth place run at Toledo to move up to ninth in the standings coming into LOR where he had a fifth place run a year ago.
Austin Nemire of Sylvania, Ohio is eighth in the standings following a strong seventh place finish at his "hometown" track of Toledo. Sprint Car standouts Kevin Thomas, Jr. (15th) and C.J. Leary (18th) have fallen into early season misfortune after a massive crash at Toledo that involved both. Thomas, Cullman, Ala., is aiming to make his first start at LOR while Greenfield, Indiana's Leary seeks his first start at the track since 2015.
Fortville, Indiana's Eric Gordon is a three-time winner at LOR, all in a Sprint Car, back in 1990-91-92, and finished ninth in last year's 100-lap Silver Crown race. He's tenth in the standings following a seventh-place finish at Memphis and a front-running effort at Toledo after a driveline issues put the nine-time Little 500 winner out of contention.
David Byrne, of Shullsburg, Wisc., is a past LOR Silver Crown winner, picking up the victory in last-lap fashion during the summer of 2014. He was 10th in the Memphis opener and 19th at Toledo after suffering engine issues. He ran seventh in last year's LOR trip.
Tanner Swanson has won five times in USAC Silver Crown competition at Lucas Oil Raceway and needs one more to overtake Mike Bliss as the winningest Silver Crown driver at the track. Kody Swanson, meanwhile, has won four.
The event will mark just the sixth time in the 49-year history of the Silver Crown Champ Car Series that races have been held on consecutive days, with four of the previous five having included the versatility of having to race one night on dirt and one on pavement.
In 1974, Mario Andretti won both ends of a dirt doubleheader one night at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, then won the next afternoon at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. In 2003, J.J. Yeley won at Lucas Oil Raceway's paved oval, then followed up with a win on dirt at the Indiana State Fairgrounds less than 24 hours later to pick up a $50,000 bonus for winning both. In 2008, Dave Darland captured the dirt end at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track with Bobby East scoring the victory the following night on pavement at LOR. Brothers Kody and Tanner owned late May of 2016 with Kody winning the "Hoosier Hundred" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Tanner claiming the victory at LOR. In 2018, Kody followed in Andretti and Yeley's footsteps by becoming the third driver to sweep both nights, winning Thursday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and again Friday at LOR.
Dave Steele "Carb Night Classic" activities get underway with USAC pits opening at Noon eastern, drivers meeting at 2:30pm, front gates at 2:50pm, Silver Crown practice one from 3:15pm-3:55pm, USF2000 practice from 4:05-4:25pm, Pro Mazda practice from 4:30-4:50pm, Silver Crown practice two from 5-5:30pm, Qualifying from 5:45-6:30pm, Freedom 75 USF2000 race at 6:45p, Freedom 90 Pro Mazda race at 7:50pm and the USAC Silver Crown Dave Steele "Carb Night Classic" at 9pm.
Tickets are $25 for adult general admission and $10 for children 11 and under. Pit passes are $30 for members and $35 for non-members.
A great deal is available for those who don't want to miss a single lap of "The Week of Indy." A Superticket is being sold for a savings of 25% off of the regular three-day prices for the Wednesday, May 22 "Tony Hulman Classic" for USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars at the Terre Haute Action Track, the Thursday, May 23 "Hoosier Hundred" for USAC Silver Crown at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and on Friday, May 24 for the Dave Steele "Carb Night Classic" Silver Crown race at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
For just $60, a savings of $20, a fan will receive general admission at Terre Haute and Lucas Oil Raceway as well as a reserved seat for the Hoosier Hundred. To purchase a Superticket, visit https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2019-week-of-indy-ticket-sales.
For more information on any of the events, visit http://www.trackenterprises.com/, http://www.usacracing.com/, or call the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.
The Terre Haute Action Track is located at 3901 South US Hwy 41, Terre Haute, IN 47807. You can reach the promoter, Track Enterprises, by phone at (217) 764-3200 and on race day at (812) 232-4040.
Watch the race live and on-demand at http://www.FloRacing.com/. Listen live on the USAC app. Follow along with live updates on https://www.facebook.com/usacracing/ and https://twitter.com/USACNation, plus live timing and scoring on the Race Monitor app.
USAC Press Release
Photo Credit: David Nearpass