The 56th running of the Ted Horn 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds could play an important role in the United States Auto Club Silver Crown Series title chase as the points available could determine the winners share of a $250,000 point fund in...
The 56th running of the Ted Horn 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds could play an important role in the United States Auto Club Silver Crown Series title chase as the points available could determine the winners share of a $250,000 point fund in the K & N Filters sponsored series. Coming into the eleventh round of the fourteen race schedule just 26 points separate the two lead drivers who have been tied for or swapped the point lead three times in the last three races. Promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises has posted a purse of over $40,000 for the Ted Horn 100 as the DuQuoin "Magic Mile' celebrates its sixtieth anniversary, with over $9000 going to the winner of the Ted Horn 100.
2006 marks a USAC Silver Crown title chase that has been as close as any point race in the 35-year history of the division. Thirty-eight year old Brian Tyler of Parma, Michigan moved to North Carolina to pursue a stock car career but has developed into one of the front-runners in the USAC Silver Crown Series, winning at Homestead and Indianapolis Raceway Park to take a twenty-six point lead after finishing second in his quest for a third consecutive Tony Bettenhausen 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds two weeks ago. Tyler, also the stock car qualifying record holder at DuQuoin, won on the high banks of Homestead Speedway earlier this year and is after his first Ted Horn 100 victory which could vault him to the series title. Campbell, California third generation driver Bud Kaeding has reemerged as a title contender on the strength of wins at the Kentucky Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and the Sumar Classic at Terre Haute. Teaming this year with former series champion and current NASCAR Busch series driver Jason Leffler as his car owner, Kaeding held the points lead until an accident at Springfield ended his day on lap 66 and handed the point lead to Tyler.
Several roadblocks stand in the way of the title hopes of Bud Kaeding and Brian Tyler in the form of one of the strongest DuQuoin entry lists in Ted Horn 100 history. An entry list of approximately forty cars is expected to be dotted with former race winners, former USAC champions, youngsters, veterans and local favorites is expected for the 56th Ted Horn 100.
Tracy Hines of New Castle, Indiana added his name to the hall of fame list of championship race winners on the one mile dirt tracks when he passed 2004 Horn 100 winner Tyler Walker on lap 50 on his way to victory lane in the 2005 Ted Horn 100. Hines won the Tony Bettenhausen 100 two weeks ago at Springfield after Dave Steele's apparent win was taken away after it was discovered that Steele's car did not meet the minimum weight requirement. Hines recently vacated his NASCAR Busch Series ride and has returned to the seat of the Indiana Underground Construction automobile that won the 2000 Silver Crown title with Hines at the wheel and last year's Ted Horn 100. Should Hines be able to repeat as Ted Horn 100 champion he would be the fourteenth driver since 1946 to sweep both the Tony Bettenhausen 100 and the Ted Horn 100 in the same year.
Hines should be joined on September 3 by 1997 Ted Horn 100 winner Russ Gamester of Peru, Indiana, 1999 Horn 100 winner Tony Elliot of Kokomo, Indiana, 2001 Horn 100 winner and 2001 USAC Silver Crown champ Paul White of Temple, Texas and popular veteran and two-time Horn 100 winner Johnny Parsons of Speedway, Indiana. Parsons, who will turn 62 in the week prior to the Horn 100 won at DuQuoin in 1992 and 1995. A veteran of several Indianapolis 500 mile races Parsons drives for Benton, Illinois car owner Ricky Nix. Another popular former winner recently returned to the championship dirt car wars as Memphis, Tennessee driver Jeff Swindell has reunited with O'Fallon, Illinois car owner Bob Galas. Swindell is making his first starts in the USAC Silver Crown Series since he left in 1993, at that time he and Galas were a potent combination working for the Delrose-Holt Racing Team out of Chicago. Swindell won the 1990 Ted Horn 100 for Delrose-Holt with Galas as chief mechanic. 2003 winner Rich Tobias of Annville, Pennsylvania has apparently retired from the Silver Crown cars and Tyler Walker, the 2004 winner, had his car owner Kasey Kahne leave the USAC Silver Crown Series at the end of the 2005 season and it is unknown at this time if Walker will have a ride at DuQuoin.
Several veterans also have a shot at making history with their first win at DuQuoin as well. Former USAC Silver Crown champ Dave Darland of Indiana is looking to become the fourteenth man in auto racing history to post wins on the dirt miles at Indianapolis, Springfield and DuQuoin lacking only a win on the "Magic Mile". Two time and defending series champion Dave Steele of Tampa, Florida is also expected to make the trek to DuQuoin in an attempt to secure his first one-mile dirt track win after his Springfield disqualification. Steele won at Phoenix to open the year and is currently fifth in the points behind the leaders. Fellow Floridian Wayne Reutimann Jr. got his first ever USAC Silver Crown win at Milwaukee and has moved to fourth in series points dropping to 104 points behind the lead after a poor Springfield showing.
Twenty three year old Californian Josh Wise had shot at becoming the first American open wheel "triple Crown" winner in twenty eight years after winning the prestigious Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in May. Former USAC car owner and First Financial Bank of Terre Haute, Indiana president Don Smith posted a $25,000 award to any USAC Silver Crown driver who could win the Hoosier Hundred, Tony Bettenhausen 100 at Springfield and the upcoming Ted Horn 100 at DuQuoin. Unfortunately Wise, who drives one of two Tony Stewart owned and Mopar supported machines was unable to win at Springfield after driving his mount to a thrilling win in the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in May, passing teammate Levi Jones on the last turn of the last lap. Wise currently sits sixth in the points and should be joined at DuQuoin by another youngster, Indiana's Aaron Pierce, the winner at the Chicagoland Speedway in July. Pierce is currently third in the Silver Crown standings.
Veterans such as former DuQuoin pole winner Jerry Coons of Arizona, Jay Drake of California (ninth in points), John Heydenreich of Pennsylvania and Kevin Huntley of Indiana are expected to be entered, as are youngsters such as third generation driver Cole Carter of Indiana and fellow Hoosiers Ron Gregory, Shane Hollingsworth and Shane Cottle. Former DuQuoin track record holder Teddy Beach of Ohio should be at DuQuoin as well as rookie and second generation driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driving for the Carl Edwards-RE Technologies team.
A number of area drivers have rides in the Silver Crown division and stand a good chance at a top finish or pulling into victory lane. Hard charging Levi Jones of Olney, Illinois is the defending USAC National Sprint Car champion and teammate to Josh Wise on the Tony Stewart Mopar team. The former Olney High School basketball star led 99 of the 100 laps of the Hoosier Hundred and appeared on his way to victory before Wise passed him for the win. Springfield's Justin Allgaier led several laps of last year's ARCA Southern Illinois 100 and is the stock car track record holder at Springfield. Allgaier could be one of three drivers pulling double duty in dirt cars and stock cars Labor Day weekend. Other Illinois drivers who have Silver Crown rides include veteran Randy Bateman of Murphysboro, former Midwest Sprint Car Series champion Alex Shanks of Marion, Chris Urish of Elkhart, Mat Neely of Robinson and A.J. Fike of Galesburg. Fike has driven ARCA stock cars on both the Springfield and DuQuoin miles and in 2004 became the first driver in 33 years to drive three different race cars at DuQuoin on Labor Day weekend. The Harris Racing Team of Sikeston, Missouri has installed midget ace Derrick King of Vienna, Illinois behind the wheel of their machine for the remainder of 2006.
The entrants of the Horn 100 have not only an abundance of cash and prizes to race for at DuQuoin on September 3 but also a place in auto racing immortality as well in the memorial race to the legendary Ted Horn. The auto racing legacy of Ted Horn is well documented, a master craftsman who designed and built his own race cars Horn never finished lower than fourth in any Indianapolis 500 he competed in from 1936 through 1948, a record that likely will be unequaled. Horn once won 23 of the 24 sprint car events he entered in one year and is the only man to ever win three consecutive national championships winning American Automobile Association crowns in 1946, 1947 and 1948.
Horn had clinched his last AAA title when he pulled into the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in October of 1948 for the second of two national championship events that year on the "Magic Mile" The race was only seconds old when a spindle on Horn's machine gave way and the crash in the third and fourth turn resulted in fatal injuries to the great champion. As a lasting tribute the Hayes family named the DuQuoin State Fair championship event in his honor.
Over the last 58 years Hall of Fame racers like Tony Bettenhausen, Jimmy Bryan, Rodger Ward, Mario Andretti and Al Unser won national championship races by moving DuQuoin's dirt. The great A.J. Foyt endeared himself to DuQuoin race fans with a record six victories, four in succession. After the dirt cars became the Silver Crown Series in 1971, drivers such as George Snider, Pancho Carter, Jack Hewitt, Gary Bettenhausen and Chuck Gurney all tasted victory in Ted Horn's memorial event at DuQuoin.
Brian Tyler, Bud Kaeding and a cast of talented racers will all be trying to add their names to the DuQuoin win list as well on Sunday night, September 3. Practice is slated to begin at approximately 5:00 p.m. with qualifications for the USAC Silver Crown Series at 6:00 and drivers shooting for Tyler Walker's 2004 world record of 29.138 seconds or 123.550 miles an hour. The 100 mile race record is also a world record for the championship cars on the dirt, set by Johnny Parsons in 1992 at 56:03 for an average speed of 107.047 miles an hour. Heat races for the UMP Modified Oldani Memorial will take place prior to the 56th Ted Horn 100, which is slated to be pushed off at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at the DuQuoin State Fair Box office at 618-542-1535 and are $20 in advance for adults and children $10 in advance. Tickets are also available at Track Enterprises at 217-764-3200 and at any Ticketmaster location. Additional information can be found on the web at www.trackenterprises.com or www.usacracing.com.