DuQuoin: Event preview

J.J. Yeley eyes point lead September 1 as Silver Crown Series heads to the Duquoin State Fair. J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz., one of America's hottest open-wheel drivers this season, is hoping to secure the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown ...

J.J. Yeley eyes point lead September 1 as Silver Crown Series heads to the Duquoin State Fair.

J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz., one of America's hottest open-wheel drivers this season, is hoping to secure the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series point lead September 1 at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds. He trails series leader Dave Steele by only 11 points, with 66 available at DuQuoin.

Yeley is hoping to become the 12th driver to "sweep" the 100-mile Championship-car events at Illinois' two 1-mile dirt ovals at Springfield and DuQuoin in the same season. He won the "Tony Bettenhausen 100" at Springfield August 17 and rates the favorite's role for the September 1 "Ted Horn 100." The race honors the memory of 3-time AAA National Driving Champion Ted Horn, who lost his life at DuQuoin in 1948.

Yeley is attempting to duplicate Paul White's feat last year, winning both Illinois races and the series title. The Springfield win marked Ford's initial Silver Crown win since Brian Tyler won at Orlando, Fla. in 1996 and it was the 23rd Ford win in the series, dating back to A.J. Foyt's 1971 win at Springfield.

Yeley already has 10 USAC victories this year, six in Sprint Cars and three in Midgets to go with his Springfield Silver Crown win, leading all USAC drivers in the win column. He also leads the Earl's Pro-Lite 350 Hose Fast Qualifier Championship standings, which would earn him a $20,000 cash bonus at season's end!

Yeley's wire-to-wire victory at Springfield moved him to fifth on the all-time lap leaders list for the series with 789 laps led in 17 races. His Springfield pole was the sixth of his career.

J.J. finished fourth in last year's "Ted Horn 100" at DuQuoin after starting for the pole.

Previous Springfield-DuQuoin "sweeps" were recorded by Paul White (2001), Chuck Gurney (1989, 94 and 96), Jack Hewitt (1986, 87 and 93), Gary Bettenhausen (1983), Mario Andretti (1973 and 74), Al Unser (1970), A.J. Foyt (1964 and 67), Johnny Thomson (1958), Jimmy Bryan (1955 and 56), Sam Hanks (1953) and Tony Bettenhausen (1951).

Practice at the DuQuoin oval starts at 9 am and qualifying is set for 10:30. The 15-mile "qualifying race" gets under way at 12:30 pm and the "Ted Horn 100" starts at 1:30.

USAC WELD RACING SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS

1. Dave Steele 339
2. J.J. Yeley 328
3. Tracy Hines 294
4. Jason Leffler 245
5. Jason McCord 244
6. John Heydenreich 219
7. Jay Drake 201
8. Russ Gamester 188
9. Jerry Coons, Jr. 181
10. Tony Elliott 177

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Mario Andretti , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Jack Hewitt , Brian Tyler , Tony Elliott , Jay Drake , John Heydenreich , Russ Gamester , Paul White , Jason McCord , Jerry Coons , Tony Bettenhausen , A.J. Foyt , Al Unser