DUQUOIN, Ill. – official series release —
Shane Cockrum backed up his Ted Horn 100 win from last year on the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds dirt mile with a convincing victory on Sunday night in the USAC Silver Crown Championship.
The local Benton, Ill., driver again pleased the partisan crowd as he led the final 33 laps on his way to a 4.474-second victory in the Hardy Boys Motorsports – Financial Transportation Services No. 71 Maxim/Chevy.
“It’s so great to get another one in front of the hometown crowd,” said Cockrum. “Half my town is here, including our mayor, so it’s cool for me and for the series and Du Quoin. The Hampshire and DePalma bunch have set the bar in this series, and if you can beat them, you know you’ve got a good program. To race them for the win and pass the 63 for the lead is just a testament to the team we have and a car owner who is always happy but never satisfied, always wanting to find ways to be better. They told me we had a big lead, so I tried to just maintain and save some there towards the end, but when they go from saying ‘straightaway lead’ to all of a sudden ‘half straightaway,’ it was time to kick it back on.”
After taking his sixth ProSource Fast Qualifier Award of the year, Kody Swanson led at the start from the pole as Cockrum ducked under front-row starter Aaron Pierce off turn-four to take the second spot. That started a three-car breakaway battle that consumed the first sixty laps of the race.
Justin Grant and Levi Jones settled into early top-five spots, while Steve Buckwalter became the first major casualty on lap twelve, when he pulled off the race track while running 13th.
Dave Darland took the eleventh spot at lap ten, but he fell out of the race on lap 19, just before the first caution of the race for Joey Moughan, who stopped at the entrance to turn-three on lap 22. On this restart, Brian Tyler and Jerry Coons Jr. were the cars on the move, as they took the eighth and ninth spots, respectively.
While Swanson led, Cockrum and Pierce pushed him for the entirety of the first half of the race, resulting in a blistering pace and some torrid racing between Cockrum and Pierce for second. Pierce took second back on lap 34 and was all over the lead, but Swanson continued to hold him off.
Seventh-running Tyler went up in smoke on lap 37 to bring out the second caution, setting up a restart with forty laps in the books. Coons again grabbed a spot on the restart, and Chris Windom came down the hill in turn-four to sneak under Jones for the fifth spot.
Pierce continued his aggressive display as he stormed the corners in an effort to make a run on Swanson. He made contact with the outside concrete on both ends during this stretch, and Cockrum even had a run-in with the outside wall on lap 45. Neither were losing any ground to Swanson.
On lap 58, Cockrum cut under Pierce to take second down the front stretch and immediately started to pressure Swanson for the lead. He had a big run down the backstretch on lap 61, diving to the inside to slide up with the lead in turn-three, but behind the leaders, Pierce finally made too much contact with the outside wall. He pancaked against it and spun around, drawing a caution flag. Under yellow, Jones’ car started to pop and crack, and he came to a stop on the front stretch, his race done.
The restart came with 33 laps to go, and Cockrum wasted no time making a bid for the lead. He got a run down the front stretch and buried it into turn-one, sliding up in front of Swanson with the lead. Swanson crossed back under him off turn-two, but Cockrum held him off to lead lap 68. As Casey Shuman took sixth from Coons on lap 71, Cockrum’s lead was visibly growing.
By lap 83, Cockrum’s lead grew to nearly eight seconds as he began to negotiate slower cars. Windom had moved to the third spot on lap 82 and stayed with Swanson as they began to carve into that massive lead inside the final twenty laps. With six laps to go, the lead was down to 2.716 seconds for Cockrum, but he cleared two more lapped cars to give himself some breathing room. He pulled away over the final five laps with his second win of the season as the battle for second heated up.
With less than five laps to go, Windom used traffic to make his move on Swanson for second. The right-rear tire finally gave out on Windom as they rolled to the checkered, but he held on for second in the Fred Gormly – RPM Auto Enterprise No. 98 Maxim/Mopar.
“That was literally all we had to give there. I ran a really patient race early, just got in line for a while. It was actually kinda tough to pass with the way it was, so it just took a while to get past each car. I picked it up close to the end, and I think we were good enough at the end, but he’d just built such a big gap on us. Rob Hart brought a great car once again, and we’re beating on the door of getting another one. I didn’t think I’d ever pass the 63 for anything but the lead, but that’s a car you have to beat to win these races, and obviously Cockrum is in that group now, too,” Windom said.
Swanson lengthened his Silver Crown Championship lead with another strong podium finish aboard the DePalma Motorsports – Radio Hospital No. 63 Maxim/Hampshire.
“I was definitely concerned we were going too fast, too early. Running that high and that hard, fuel mileage was a concern very early. They were running really hard behind us, so we had to go faster just to stay in front. I just couldn’t keep the pace that he was, but towards the end, I don’t think I could have done what he was doing anyway. No shame in that. No complaints, but a good night to run third. I started to feel us catching him when he hit traffic, and I was giving it all I could. A couple of those cars cost us that momentum and eventually the second spot, but how can you complain about the great year we’ve had and another night towards the big prize we want. This place bit us last year, and we finished with about two gallons left tonight, so we gave ourselves a good night and can try to win Eldora back in Ohio next,” Swanson said.
Grant finished another strong run in the Chris Carli Motorsports – Finish Line Racing Equipment No. 8 Beast/Chevy to come home fourth, and Shuman slipped past Cottle to notch his first-career Silver Crown top-five in the Randy & Patty Bateman – Chance’s Chassis Repair No. 55 Beast/Chevy.
RESULTS: USAC Silver Crown Championship; Ted Horn 100; DuQuoin State Fairgrounds; September 6, 2015
FEATURE (100 Laps): 1. Shane Cockrum, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Kody Swanson, 4. Justin Grant, 5.Casey Shuman, 6. Shane Cottle, 7. A.J. Fike, 8. Jerry Coons Jr., 9. David Byrne, 10. Rickey Hood, 11. Chris Urish, 12. Austin Nemire, 13. Steven Russell, 14. Chris Fetter, 15. Richie Tobias, 16. Patrick Lawson, 17. Terry James, 18. J.C. Bland, 19. Levi Jones, 20. Aaron Pierce, 21. Brian Tyler, 22. Joey Moughan, 23. Dave Darland, 24. Steve Buckwalter, 25. Danny Long, 26. Kenny Gentry, 27. Charles Davis Jr., 28. Jacob Wilson, 29. Jackie Burke, 30. Terry Babb.
Time of Race: 1 hour, 7 minutes, 37.02 seconds
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-67 Swanson, Laps 68-100 Cockrum.
CREDIT: USAC Racing