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Cottle Dials Five-Three on the Dirt for 2024 USAC Silver Crown Season

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (December 14, 2023)………Shane Cottle has teamed with Five Three Motorsports to tackle the dirt portion of the USAC Silver Crown National Championship schedule during the 2024 season.

Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) is one of the sport’s most enduring drivers, having accumulated 75 starts and a pair of victories throughout a Silver Crown career which began in 2006. After a season in which he bounced around between three different rides, Cottle will finally have a full-time home with the series in 2024.

FTM and Cottle came to an agreement to compete in last year’s 4-Crown Nationals at Rossburg, Ohio’s Eldora Speedway. But those plans were scratched due to an engine issue on the dyno prior to race day that prevented the pairing’s debut.

“I love the Silver Crown cars, so it’s nice to have something secure where we’re going to be doing it all year instead of jumping around like we did last year,” Cottle explained. “So, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Likewise, the Joliet, Illinois based Five Three Motorsports team fielded three drivers during the 2023 season, including Kevin Thomas Jr., Steve Buckwalter and A.J. Fike. Their plan over the past couple of years has been to have one driver on the half-miles and one for the miles. But for FTM, Cottle is the complete package for their operation.

“Everyone was easy to work with but bouncing back and forth between drivers made it hard to jell as a team from race-to-race,” FTM’s Matt Schuck revealed. “We kept in touch with Shane over the last couple of months and worked out a deal right after PRI.  We are very excited to have Shane in our car for the upcoming season. We have seen him run some great races over the year, and he always seems to be right in the thick of things by the end and competing for wins.”

FTM has two new Kistler engines prepared for Cottle’s campaign which begins on the dirt on May 17-18 at the Belleville (Kan.) High Banks where they expect to be in contention and hungry for the team’s first ever victory after making their series debut in 2014.

“That’s our goal,” Schuck stated. “We want to be up front race-in and race-out.  We feel Shane is the right man for the job and we hope we can make this pairing one that our competitors know will be hard to beat.”

Cottle loves the USAC Silver Crown series and reminded us that there’s nothing quite like it in his book. The long-distance races, the big fuel loads, the aggressiveness balanced with nuanced finesse, it’s all a thrill for one of the sport’s most popular competitors.

“I don’t really know what it is, but it’s so much fun,” Cottle exclaimed. “It’s the prestige of them with the miles and the bigger cars; they’re fun to race on the half miles too. They’re a little trickier than a sprint car because they’re so big and they don’t slow down as fast, but they’re just a lot of fun to race.”

Entering 2024, the appetite for victory is stronger than it’s ever been for the 52-year-old Cottle. There’s one in particular he’d like to make up for after seeing the lead and the race win slip through his fingers on a late-race restart in August of 2023 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Since that point, he’s had that moment, and redemption, on his mind.

“After last year, the appetite is really big,” Cottle noted. “I let that one go, and I hate it for the whole Dyson Racing crew and (crew chief) Sean Michael. I still have sleepless nights over it and I wake up thinking about it. I definitely want to go get another one for sure. I’m looking forward to getting to know these guys, and hopefully, put them in victory lane.”