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100 Laps in the Dairyland! Madison Awaits USAC Silver Crown Friday

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Oregon, Wisconsin (June 19, 2024)………The first official weekend of summer symbolizes numerous aspects of life to many people. The warm weather, the beaches, the outdoors, the waterpark and other things.

For racing fans, it symbolizes the fact that the season is in full swing, and that’s no exception for USAC drivers, teams, officials and fans who hit the highway to head northbound to Wisconsin for the first time during the 2024 season.

This Friday night, June 21, the focus turns to the USAC Silver Crown National Championship as the series takes the show to the half-mile paved battlefield of Oregon, Wisconsin’s Madison International Speedway.

The fifth running of the Bytec Dairyland 100 is on tap for 100 laps as the most versatile oval series in the land switches back to the pavement after racing just six nights earlier on Pennsylvania dirt.

Now, without further ado, Let’s go over six of the storylines we’ll be paying full attention to this Friday night at Madison!

SWANSON’S 300-LAP STREAK

Kody Swanson has accomplished many things in his illustrious USAC Silver Crown career. One of those items he’s checked off over the years is winning four-straight pavement USAC Silver Crown races in 2018.

Swanson (Kingsburg, Calif.) can match that effort with a win this Friday at Madison where he’s won three of the four events held at the track in 2018-19-23. In fact, Swanson’s 2018 pavement domination included a victory in the inaugural series race at Madison. Dave Steele is the only other driver to achieve the feat, having won the first four pavement rounds of the 2005 campaign.

Swanson has led all 300 laps run on the pavement this year on pavement at Toledo, Winchester and IRP which has aided him immensely in propelling him to the top of the standings entering Friday’s Madison race where he now holds a 30-point lead over Justin Grant.

LEARY’S TWO-WAY ROAD OF REDEMPTION

C.J. Leary proved he wasn’t just a “dirt guy” when he obliterated the Madison field in 2022. From start to finish, Leary was picture perfect. He was the fastest in practice and qualifying, then led all 100 laps in wire-to-wire fashion aboard his Klatt Enterprises No. 6.

Leary experienced a stellar start to the 2024, finishing on the podium in each of his initial four starts, including pavement results of 2nd at Toledo, 3rd at Winchester and 3rd at IRP after starting deep from the 22nd position, all of which thrusted him to the top of the standings.

However, an opening lap incident in the most recent round last Saturday on the dirt at Port Royal relegated him to the 23rd position in the race and knocked him down to a distant 3rd in the standings, 39 points back.  Leary is vying for redemption in multiple ways after being sidelined from action during the 2023 Madison round following due to an engine issue.

SEAVEY STAYING IN THE FIGHT VIA PAVEMENT

For the drivers on the top rung of the series standings, it’s crunch time in their pursuit of a championship. Defending Silver Crown champ Logan Seavey finds himself in this group after some unsmooth sailing on the dirt tracks with the division thus far.

Interestingly enough, Seavey’s three best performances to date this season have come on pavement with a 7th at Toledo, a 6th at Winchester and a 2nd most recently at IRP.

Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) occupies the fourth spot in the standings, a distant 73 points out of the lead at the moment. He ran 5th on Madison’s asphalt a year ago, and another fine performance this Friday can help push him and his Rice Motorsports-Abacus Racing team back into title contention at the halfway point of the season.

GRANT STILL CHASING

Speaking of all of the above regarding redemption and making a surge toward the season championship. All of that can be bundled into one for Justin Grant.

Last Saturday on the dirt at Port Royal, he led 20 laps, and was leading on the final corner of the final lap when he was passed on the outside by Daison Pursley for the win. Grant finished second in the race, but as a consolation, he did move up one more spot in the pecking order of the championship standings.

Grant, the 2020 USAC Silver Crown champ, is now just 30 points out of the lead and makes his return to Madison where he finished 3rd in 2018 and 5th in 2022. Additionally, he captured the pole for the Madison event in 2018, leading 42 laps along the way.

SANTOS WANTS MORE

In Bobby Santos’ career, he’s won at five different pavement tracks with the USAC Silver Crown series: IRP, Gateway, Iowa, Phoenix and Toledo. However, one that’s missing from the resume is Madison.

Four career Silver Crown starts at Madison for Santos have netted an average finish of 2.5 following runner-up results in 2018-2022-2023  to go along with a fourth in 2019. Perhaps Friday is the night he takes care of some Madison business.

As has often been the case throughout his incredible career, the pavement specialist is the lone driver with three or more starts this season to finish inside the top-five in all of them. A 5th at Toledo was followed by a 2nd at Winchester and another 5th at IRP.

THE VET & THE ROOK

Friday’s Madison field includes a stark contrast of drivers in the field.

Russ Gamester (Peru, Ind.) ranks number one in terms of starts with the USAC Silver Crown series over the years, racking up an incredible 214 since his series debut in 1989. In his most recent outing, he recorded his best pavement Silver Crown finish in 20 years, finishing 4th at IRP. Both of his Madison Silver Crown starts have resulted in top-10s, a 9th in 2019 and a 10th in 2023.

Meanwhile, Trey Osborne (Columbus, Ohio) is on the opposite end of the experience spectrum, having just six career starts dating back to the end of the 2023 season. Thus far, he leads the USAC Silver Crown Rookie standings and is 13th overall in points. His two pavement outings this year have been his best thus far, finishing 9th at both Winchester and IRP. Friday will present his first Madison appearance.

RACE DETAILS:

Friday night’s Salute to America Night / Bytec Dairyland 100 features the USAC Silver Crown National Championship, Late Models, MISfitz plus Fireworks.

The pits open at 2:30pm Central and grandstands at 4pm with the drivers meeting taking place at 4pm and practice sessions running form 4:45-5:15pm and 5:40-6:10, followed by qualifying and racing.

Advance tickets on sale at https://misracing.com/tickets/. Advance ticket prices are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $15 for students age 12-17, $5 for kids age 6-11 & free for children age 5 and under.

Race day ticket prices are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors, $15 for students age 12-17, $5 for kids age 6-11 & free for children age 5 and under. Pit passes are $30 for members & $40 for non-members.

The event will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/usac.

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2024 MADISON USAC SILVER CROWN ENTRY LIST:

08 KYLE STEFFENS/St. Charles, MO (Steffens Motorsports)

5 DAKODA ARMSTRONG/New Castle, IN (C & A Motorsports)

6 C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN (Klatt Enterprises)

22 LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA (Rice Motorsports-Abacus Racing)

31 DAVE BERKHEIMER/Mechanicsburg, PA (Berkheimer Racing)

32 GREGG CORY/Shelbyville, IN (Williams-Cory Racing)

48 ®NATHAN MOORE/Kaufman, TX (Chip Thomas-Joe Moore)

51 RUSS GAMESTER/Peru, IN (Gamester Racing)

60 TREY BURKE/Alvin, TX (Legacy Autosport-Robert Wilson Racing)

77 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA (Doran-Binks Racing)

81 ®TREY OSBORNE/Columbus, OH (BCR Group)

91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (Hemelgarn Racing)

98 BOBBY SANTOS/Franklin, MA (DJ Racing)

124 ®JACKSON MACENKO/Cincinnati, OH (Brad Hayes-Nick Bohanon Racing)

555 TAYLOR FERNS/Shelby Township, MI (Taylor Ferns Racing)

® represents a USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year contender

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USAC SILVER CROWN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-321, 2-Justin Grant-291, 3-C.J. Leary-282, 4-Logan Seavey-248, 5-Kaylee Bryson-205, 6-Taylor Ferns-196, 7-Bobby Santos-183, 8-Mario Clouser-158, 9-Kyle Steffens-156, 10-Trey Burke-145.