By: Richie Murray - USAC Media
Speedway, Indiana (January 9, 2019).........Davey Hamilton Racing will field a talented roster of drivers with Kevin Thomas, Jr., Davey Hamilton, Jr. and Jason Conn all set to take the wheel for the new Silver Crown team which hits the track for the first time in 2019.
Thomas, of Cullman, Ala., has teamed up with team owners Hamilton and David Byrd to compete in all six pavement races on the Silver Crown schedule this season aboard the No. 11. Thomas has just a handful of Silver Crown starts in his career, but the 2018 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car runner-up made the most of his experiences last year, finishing second in each of the last three races to conclude the season behind the wheel of the Foxco Racing No. 56, a ride in which he returns to on the dirt for 2019.
Each of Thomas' previous Silver Crown starts have come on the dirt and, aside from a pair of starts in an ARCA Stock Car in 2016 and his debut in the "Little 500" Sprint Car race a year ago, this marks new territory for the talented driver who captured nine USAC National victories in 2018 (7 Sprint and 2 Midget).
"I had a short stint there at the Little 500 of some pavement action and I really enjoyed it," Thomas said. "I think going out and running the big cars on the pavement is going to be quite different than what I'm used to. Getting into a racecar and having a new challenge is always a lot of fun. I'm going to take it as it comes. I'm going to have to gain a lot of experience, basically on the fly, on raceday. We race dirt 80-90 times a year and you kind of know what to expect, so it's going to be fun being able to more or less react to things instead of knowing what to expect every time you hit the racetrack."
Davey Hamilton, Jr. of Idaho returns to the series as a teammate to KT and will compete on both the dirt and the pavement in car No. 14 while pavement wing sprint car standout Jason Conn of Prince George, British Columbia makes his series debut in the No. 88 and will compete solely on the asphalt.
"It's exciting," team owner Davey Hamilton exclaimed. "I haven't been a Silver Crown owner in the past. I've driven them and have always had interest in them and I've wanted to put a program together for a while. I just feel it's growing momentum and I feel like there's growth there. I really wanted to focus on one car, then we had interest with Jason (Conn) and ended up making a deal, then an opportunity came along with KT and Byrd and we ended up making it a three car deal, which coming into the first year, is a challenge, but I feel very optimistic with the quality of the cars and the people we have."
Meanwhile, the Byrd name is synonymous with Rich Vogler's success in USAC Midgets in the 1980s. Now, David Byrd returns the family name to competition in conjunction with KT's Silver Crown plans for 2019.
"It's been a long time coming for us to come back to USAC as an entry," Byrd said. KT has been so successful in sprint cars the last several years and has really shown what he can do in the midgets and the Silver Crown cars. I wanted to make sure we were involved with all of KT's programs top to bottom. Davey Hamilton has a fantastic record in big track pavement racing, knows how to put the car together and will be a great mentor for KT to really learn pavement racing. I think he'll be challenging for wins right off the bat."
2019 USAC SILVER CROWN SCHEDULE
Mar 22-23: (P#) Memphis International Raceway (Millington, TN)
Apr 14: (D) Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Apr 27: (P) Toledo Speedway (Toledo, OH)
May 23: (D) Indiana State Fairgrounds (Indianapolis, IN)
May 24: (P) Lucas Oil Raceway (Brownsburg, IN)
Jun 14: (D) Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Jun 28: (P) Madison International Speedway (Oregon, WI)
Aug 10: (P) Salem Speedway (Salem, IN)
Aug 17: (D#) Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, IL)
Sep 1: (D) Du Quoin State Fairgrounds (Du Quoin, IL)
Sep 7: (P) Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (Brownsburg, IN)
Sep 27-28: (D) Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
(P) = Pavement Race
(D) = Dirt Race
# = Daytime Race