Chet Fillip won tonight's "James River Grounds 100" USAC Silver Crown Championship Series race in decisive fashion. Starting from tenth position, the veteran driver, who has raced in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, passed cars on...
Chet Fillip won tonight's "James River Grounds 100" USAC Silver Crown Championship Series race in decisive fashion. Starting from tenth position, the veteran driver, who has raced in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, passed cars on both the high side and the low side. He took the lead on the 39th lap, then ran away from the field for his first Silver Crown victory in 49 tries. By race's end he held a lead of well over a straightaway and had lapped all but four other cars.
"It was like a few years ago when I won the Little 500," Fillip said after the race. "The car was that good that day, and that's the way this car was today. It's just a great car."
But the weekend didn't start that well. "We got only 5 laps of practice, then had the oil pan break on us," he said. "So we just went out and qualified, and didn't qualify so good. Then this afternoon in the warm up the car was really good. So we started the race. The car was real nice. It didn't feel like the car usually does around here, with a load of fuel, moving around. That was a nice feeling, so I was able to pass cars."
In an age of factory built cars, Fillip's #177 is unique. He built it himself, and has been running it for eight years.
"I don't really have anything against anybody's car that's sold out there," Chet explained. "This is what I enjoy - building cars and trying things. You look at my car - there's so many brackets welded on and cut off. We tried something before we came here. We changed the right rear suspension on the car, and we've been running it the same way for at least six years and we changed it for this race. It's just one of the things I like to do."
Cameron Dodson, last year's Silver Crown Rookie of the Year and winner of the season finale at Phoenix, finished a distant second to Fillip.
"The guys put a great car together," Dodson said. "It ran like it was on rails. We had a bad qualifying run. We got a shock package we tried, and it ended up not working out. So we started 14th and just moved up to the front. Kind of cruised there. I didn't think Chet was going to take off like that. By the time I got there it was too late - he was gone."
Third place went to A.J. Fike, who finished fourth here last year after leading 11 laps.
"We had a great race there," Fike said. "It was a little loose in the beginning. We waited, and it got a little tight later in the race. I cranked the weight down a bit, but couldn't do anything more."
Fourth place was taken by Tracy Hines, who started from the pole, fell behind outside pole man Ryan Smith for the first six laps, then led for 32 laps before being caught and passed by Fillip. He was followed home by Wayne Reutemann Jr., with Smith rounding out the top six.
Hines's fourth place finish put him in command of the Series Point Standings, with 102 points. Jerry Coons Jr, who finished twelfth tonight, is in second place with 89 points. He is followed by Levi Jones with 84 points and Mat Neely with 76 points.
The next USAC Silver Crown race will be the Sumar Classic at Terre Haute, IN, Action Track on July 23rd.