Illinois: Race report

HINES CLAIMS "TONY BETTENHAUSEN 100" AFTER STEELE FAILS POST-RACE TECH SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Tracy Hines was awarded Saturday's USAC Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Engineering "Tony Bettenhausen 100" at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, his...

HINES CLAIMS "TONY BETTENHAUSEN 100" AFTER STEELE FAILS POST-RACE TECH

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Tracy Hines was awarded Saturday's USAC Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Engineering "Tony Bettenhausen 100" at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, his fifth career victory and first at the one-mile track.

Hines, who started on the pole, was credited with leading all 100 laps after Dave Steele -- who originally crossed under the checkered flags first -- was disqualified after failing to pass post-race technical inspection. Steele's car did not meet minimum weight, giving Hines the victory.

He drove the No. 37 Indiana Underground Construction Beast/Chevy.

The New Castle, Ind. native led the first 64 laps before being overhauled by Steele, who rocketed around the track without any trouble. Steele had been ahead of Hines by upwards of two seconds before a late-race caution bunched the field.

On the Lap 97 restart, Steele, Hines and two-time reigning race winner and Brian Tyler stayed in file, while Donnie Beechler and Josh Wise traded positions after contact in Turns 1 and 2. Wise assumed the fourth position and Beechler the fifth before the repositioning following the race.

Prior to Steele's pass, Hines dealt with other competitors. For the first 40 laps, he held off repeated attempts by Dave Darland and Shane Hollingsworth. Darland held Hollingsworth at bay for 37 of those laps before Hollingsworth got by. Darland's efforts to regain second were sliced when he cut a right rear tire on Lap 41. His car, and that of Davey Ray's -- who had also just suffered a cut right rear in the same place -- stopped on the track, bringing out one of seven cautions.

Hines stretched his lead again ahead of Hollingsworth, Tyler and Steele, before Steele charged thru the field. Hollingsworth slid out of the groove in Turn 2 on Lap 63, falling back to fifth and giving Steele second.

That helped Steele -- who had started 16th -- catch Hines, and he took the lead going into Turn 3.

Several drivers running high in the pack also found trouble. Hollingsworth hit the Turn 2 wall on Lap 84. Levi Jones, who started 10th, charged up to fifth in the first 10 laps, but also suffered mechanical failure.

Bud Kaeding, who led the points by 18 going into the event, crashed on Lap 67, hitting the outside wall after his right rear tire exploded. He was credited with 20th.

Wise ended up third, following contact with Beechler after diving underneath the hometown and multiple-time Indianapolis 500 starter. Beechler was credited with fourth, while Jerry Coons Jr. claimed fifth.

Hines said his tires were shot before the halfway mark, and said he had his hands full just trying to keep up with Steele after the pass.

"I felt we had a good car, but with the tires the way they were, I knew it'd be hard to catch him after he passed us," said Hines, who set a track record of 122.846 mph (29.305 seconds). "When he passed me, I tried to run harder, but I couldn't keep up."

Tyler took the lead by 26 over Kaeding heading into the "Ted Horn 100" on Sept. 3 at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds.

-credit: usac

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Series USAC
Drivers Donnie Beechler , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Bud Kaeding , Levi Jones , Josh Wise , Davey Ray , Shane Hollingsworth , Tony Bettenhausen , Jerry Coons Jr.