Four-time (2004, 05, 08, 11) winner Brian Tyler of Parma, Mich., should probably be sponsored by the Beef Producers Ass’n. Tyler has transplanted his family to North Carolina and become a ‘gentleman farmer’ who buys a cow for the farm after each Silver Crown victory. He currently has 17 USAC Silver Crown wins, second only to fellow four-time Bettenhausen 100 winner Jack Hewitt and Tyler would love to be in the market for another calf come Saturday afternoon. Ironically, he drives for the same team as Hewitt did when he won his fourth Bettenhausen 100 in 2000.
2008 USAC Silver Crown champ Jerry Coons Jr. is expected on Saturday, as is California’s Kody Swanson and Indiana’s Shane Hollingsworth. Another driver currently fifth in the USAC points is a teammate to Coons and part of a strong Illinois contingent that could find victory lane at Springfield. Canton’s Chris Windom is part of an RW Motorsports effort that could run 1-2 on Saturday and he has experience both in championship cars and ARCA stock cars at Springfield.
Other Illinois drivers possibly in the field include Elkhart’s Chris Urish, Benton’s Shane Cockrum, Pocahontas’ Zach Daum, Murphysboro’s Randy Bateman and Granite City’s Tad Roach. Cockrum and Fike may add to the weekend by pulling double duty in Sunday’s ARCA Allen Crowe 100 as well. Unfortunately Levi Jones, winner of the May Hoosier Hundred, has retired from racing.
The 52nd Bettenhausen 100 continues a national championship tradition at the Illinois State Fair that dates back to 1934. No less than nine Indianapolis 500 winners also won the championship dirt track race at the Illinois State Fair, including legends Jimmy Bryan, Rodger Ward, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Marion Andretti.