Indy IRP: Thursday night preview

'84 Silver Crown Champ Blaney Returns to Compete in "J.D. Byrider 100" Thursday at IRP Dave Blaney of Hartford, Ohio, USAC's 1984 Silver Crown driving champion, returns to the series this Thursday night to compete in the "J.D. Byrider 100" at...

'84 Silver Crown Champ Blaney Returns to Compete in "J.D. Byrider 100" Thursday at IRP

Dave Blaney of Hartford, Ohio, USAC's 1984 Silver Crown driving champion, returns to the series this Thursday night to compete in the "J.D. Byrider 100" at Indianapolis Raceway Park, part of the track's big "Kroger SpeedFest."

Blaney will join USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series point leader Dave Steele and others for the 100-lap contest on the .686-mile paved oval. Practice at IRP begins at 3:30 pm, with qualifying slated at 5 and racing at 7. A 15-lap "qualifying race" precedes the 100-lap feature.

Blaney is slated to drive for the famous S & S Racing Team from Marlboro, Mass. and ironically will be seeking his first series triumph despite winning the 1984 title. In 1984 he had seconds at St. Paul, Minn. on the pavement and Springfield, Ill. on the dirt.

The IRP race marks a six-year hiatus for Blaney in Silver Crown competition. In 1998 he completed 24 laps at IRP before retiring with handling problems. In four previous IRP Silver Crown starts he posted thirds in 1985 and 1996 and a fourth in 1986. Despite lacking a feature victory in series competition, he won pole starting spots at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in 1987 and at Tampa, Fla. in 1988 and has seven career "podium" finishes to his credit.

Jason McCord of Anderson, Ind. is the defending winner of the "J.D. Byrider 100" and ranks third in the standings, 87 behind Steele.

Also expected to be among drivers to watch Thursday is Brian Tyler of Parma, Mich, who ranks fourth in the standings. He charged from 19th starting spot to third at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in May before encountering mechanical problems, then came from ninth to second at Richmond, Va. and from 22nd to win at Terre Haute, Ind. in July.

Bobby East of Brownsburg, Ind., fifth in the series points, won USAC's National Sprint Car race at IRP July 10 and is among pre-race favorites. He has already won a dozen USAC events in various series this season.

Jason Leffler holds the 1-lap IRP Silver Crown qualifying record of 121.667 mph, established in 2000, while Mike Bliss holds the 100-lap race record of 115.326 mph, set in 2001.

Bliss, the winningest USAC driver in IRP history with 12 feature victories to his credit, also returns for Thursday night's race and will pilot the Zarounian Motorsports Beast/Wesmar.

WELD RACING USAC SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS

1.-Dave Steele-360
2.-Bud Kaeding-283
3.-Jason McCord-273
4.-Brian Tyler-265
5.-Bobby East-207
6.-Tracy Hines-201
7.-Jay Drake-200
8.-Dave Darland-198
9.-Boston Reid-183
10.-John Heydenreich-177

-usac-

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Bud Kaeding , Mike Bliss , Jay Drake , Bobby East , John Heydenreich , Jason McCord , Boston Reid , Dave Blaney