ROSSBURG, Ohio — Two drivers are prepared to race in all four classes during Saturday night’s 35th running of the 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway.
Brady Bacon and Tyler Courtney have secured rides in the USAC Silver Crown, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car, USAC National Midget and Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions ranks.
Bacon will be behind the wheel of four machines that he is quite familiar with: the Paul Martens No. 48 Silver Crown car, the Hoffman Auto Racing/Dynamics No. 69 AMSOIL Sprint Car, the FMR Racing No. 76m midget and his own No. 99 winged sprint car in the All Star portion of the program.
In addition to his duties piloting the four machines on Saturday, Bacon is involved in two different USAC National points races. He has a commanding 219-point lead in the AMSOIL National Sprint Car standings and also sits third in National Midget points, just 66 markers out of the lead.
Courtney, on the other hand, has dabbled in several different series this season with the TOPP Motorsports No. 23c sprint car that he will wheel in both the USAC Sprint and All Star divisions. But this Saturday night, he will make his return to the Silver Crown and midget series with his debut in the RPM/Fred Gormly No. 99 champ car and the Kenny Irwin Sr. No. 7k — a car in which made a handful of starts in during the 2015 season.
It will be the first time Bacon has done quadruple duty in one night, which he notes is actually more mentally taxing than it is physical.
“Mental fatigue and trying to think about all of the different cars and circumstances you are in is the most tiring part,” Bacon said. “Physical fatigue isn’t as big of an issue at Eldora as the mental aspect.”
Courtney will also run four cars in the same night for the first time.
“I’ve never done all four classes before, so I’m not sure if the fatigue is going to play a factor,” Courtney wondered. “If I had to guess, though, your adrenaline is going to be pumping all night. It’s Eldora! If that place doesn’t pump your adrenaline, then I don’t know what will.”
All four cars running Saturday night are similar, yet have their own unique characteristics.
“From talking to Kyle Larson a few times, he says the more cars you run there, it doesn’t necessarily get easier throughout the night, but it does help you the more laps you run just figuring out the track and how to get around it,” Courtney said.
Bacon, on the other hand, says that things begin to slow down for you after stepping foot in a sprint car at Eldora.
“Running the wing and non-wing sprint car helps a lot with the other classes and slows things down for you because the sprint cars are so much faster at Eldora than the other divisions,” Bacon explained.
Bacon, the 2014 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National champion, relishes the opportunity to be in such good equipment night-in and night-out that has propelled him to become the only driver to occupy a spot in the top-12 in all three USAC National standings.
“I am extremely excited about having great car owners and equipment to have a legitimate shot at every division,” Bacon beamed. “I think the hardest part is having cars capable of winning in every class. It would be a huge accomplishment to put my name on the same list as Jack Hewitt winning all four or even Kyle Larson by winning three.”
Courtney has been an outlaw racer this year behind the wheel of a sprint car, running non-wing and wing races whenever and wherever he can without a single thought of points racing running through his mind.
“I think it does give me a slight advantage racing a little bit of everything this year,” Courtney believes. “Seat time in anything is always beneficial; I think the best example of that was Bryan Clauson. Bryan was always one of the best, but this year, he got to race over 100 times and really got to fine tune his craft and it truly showed. He kicked our butts even worse than before! I believe racing a little bit of everything this year has helped me get prepared for this weekend and I think myself and the teams I’m running for are ready to go.”
Jack Hewitt is the only driver in history to sweep all four crowns on the same night, accomplishing the unbelievable feat in 1998.
If either Bacon or Courtney can replicate the feat, they will net a $100,000 bonus. If one driver wins three of the four events, they will pocket $25,000.
CREDIT: USAC Media