CLERMONT, Ind. — official release — Gene Crucean photo — David Byrne etched his name in the books as the 100th different winner in USAC Silver Crown Series history on Thursday night in the J.D. Byrider 100 Rich Vogler Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway.
The Wisconsin driver made a dive to the inside of leader Tanner Swanson in the final set of corners and came out on top by .184-seconds at the line in the Truck Country Shullsburg – Bytec, Inc. No. 40 Beast/Chevy.
“It means so much that I can’t even put it into words,” Byrne said. “This is the best moment of my racing career, by far. There’s so much history in this series, so many teams out here doing it for so long, and so many big teams who make it tough to win these races. It’s the coolest feeling ever to join them as winners.”
Tanner Swanson, the May winner at LOR, took the pole for the 100-lapper and again looked like the one to beat, opening up an advantage before a red flag came out after a turn-one fracas on lap six led to extensive cleanup.
Tanner led his teammate Ryan Newman after that, as Tanner’s brother Kody slid from third to fifth as he, Bobby Santos and Byrne battled inside the top-five. Another yellow on lap 17 involved Tracy Hines and Jarett Andretti, and that led to a long green-flag run through the race’s middle stages.
As T. Swanson ran off to a huge lead, Newman held down second and the trio continued to race behind him for third through fifth. Byrne and K. Swanson cleared Santos at the halfway mark, and they continued to fight as they worked through traffic. Swanson finally pinned Byrne behind a slower car to take third with 25 to go.
The top fours were all turning about the same lap times under green with 20 to go, but the biggest shake-up came on lap 82 as Caleb Armstrong stopped in turn two, erasing T. Swanson’s huge lead.
On the restart, Byrne was the man on the move, as he went from fourth to second in two laps and started to reel in T. Swanson. Kody Swanson finally cleared Newman for third was making gains on the top-two, but time was running out.
Byrne finally got enough of a run down the backstretch on lap 99 to look to Tanner’s inside, but he couldn’t make it stick. Tanner moved a bit lower through turns one and two on the final lap, and Byrne came down the backstretch with a full head of steam and a big run into turn-three. He charged under Tanner and cleared him into turn-four, coming to the checkers with the crowd on their feet.
“I didn’t know what we had for the 11 at the end, but I thought we were better than the two in front of us on that last restart. After I got to second, he was struggling to drive off the corner, and then he’d pull me a couple times and I didn’t think I had enough. I dive-bombed him the lap before and he bobbled a little, just not having much drive. I knew we had a great shot at him going into three on the last lap, though, and I had to go for it,” Byrne continued.
Tanner Swanson just missed his third win at LOR in the last two seasons, finishing in the runner-up spot aboard the Bowman Racing – Banjo Corporation #11 Beast/Chevy.
“Sometimes, you just have the bad luck of catching a yellow with a few laps to go while you have a big lead. We just weren’t quite good enough at the end,” Tanner said.
His brother Kody rounded out the podium, increasing his point lead to 39 markers in the DePalma Motorsports – Radio Hospital No. 63 Beast/Hampshire.
“When your team works as hard as mine does, you want to win every race. We just came up a little bit short tonight. David ran a great race, though, and it’s good to see him get his first one,” Kody said.
Newman wound up fourth with Santos fifth.
RESULTS: USAC Silver Crown Series; July 24, 2014; Brownsburg, Indiana; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; “J.D. Byrider 100 Rich Vogler Classic”
FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. David Byrne, 2. Tanner Swanson, 3. Kody Swanson, 4. Ryan Newman, 5. Bobby Santos, 6. Chris Windom, 7. Jacob Wilson, 8. Bobby East, 9. Jarett Andretti, 10. Ken Schrader, 11. Davey Hamilton Jr., 12. Chris Phillips, 13. Jerry Coons Jr., 14. Davey Ray, 15. Patrick Lawson, 16. Kyle O’Gara, 17. Caleb Armstrong, 18. Cale Thomas, 19. Tracy Hines, 20. C.J. Leary, 21. Ryan Litt, 22. John Heydenreich, 23. A.J. Fike, 24. Jarid Blondel. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-99 T.Swanson, Lap 100 Byrne.