ROSSBURG, Ohio – Oklahoma has produced its share of auto racing talent, especially in Tulsa and its suburbs.
Names like Lance Blevins, Andy Hillenberg, Daryn Pittman, Stevie Smith and Shane Stewart all hail from northwestern Oklahoma, as does Brady Bacon.
But none have tried what Bacon will attempt Saturday at Eldora Speedway: sweeping the 4-Crown Nationals.
Only one driver — the legendary Jack Hewitt — has ever won all four features in the same night on Eldora’s historic high-banked, half-mile clay oval.
However Bacon, who grew up in Broken Arrow and now lives in Winchester, Indiana, figures if it’s going to happen again … why not “Sooner” than later?
The 35th annual 4-Crown Nationals weekend kicks off Friday with the BeFour The Crowns Showdown featuring the winged World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars and Eldora Stocks.
Saturday’s show features three USAC divisions with the Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midget tours alongside the winged sprint cars of the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions, which join the slate for the first time.
26-year-old Bacon plans to compete with the Outlaws on Friday and run all four divisions Saturday.
Indiana’s Tyler Courtney also plans to run all four divisions Saturday in pursuit of additional 4-Crown cash.
Any driver that sweeps all four divisions earns the extra $100,000 bonus posted by track owner Tony Stewart. Winning three of the four nets $25,000.
USAC veterans Dave Darland and Jerry Coons, Jr. have registered to run all three USAC divisions, but Bacon thinks he has the cars to deny both of them and ultimately complete the four-peat.
He’ll drive Paul Martens-owned No. 48 Silver Crown car, the No. 69 Hoffman Auto Racing/Dynamics AMSOIL sprint car, the No. 76m Frank Manafort Racing midget and his own No. 99 winged sprint in with the ASCoC.
Bacon will also drive the No. 99 with the Outlaws Friday evening.
“I’m excited about the Outlaws race. I think my engine program with my personal cars is a lot better than what I’ve been at Eldora in the past,” Bacon said. “That’s extremely important at Eldora. Friday night we’re looking to get the weekend going in a positive direction.
“Saturday is a little more stressful than it has been in the past because one of the cars is my own. I’m kind of the head of that so I’ll spend a little more time trying to make sure that’s right. Fortunately I have three other really, really good cars. Everything I have is capable of winning. We have a really good shot of winning every class. This is the first time I’ve been in that position, having a car in every class capable of winning.”
Running with the World of Outlaws Friday could help Bacon’s bid for the 4-Crown sweep Saturday. The winged and non-wing sprints carry more speed, especially at Eldora, so when he climbs into a midget or Silver Crown car Bacon said it feels like the action slows down.
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