Coons Set To Defend Gold Crown Title

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Jerry Coons, Jr. (11) charges under Bobby East to win the inaugural Gold Crown Nationals at Tri-City Speedway in 2008. (Allen Horcher photo).
Jerry Coons, Jr. (11) charges under Bobby East to win the inaugural Gold Crown Nationals at Tri-City Speedway in 2008. (Allen Horcher photo).

PONTOON BEACH, Ill. — A check in the amount of $15,000 awaits the winner of the Gold Crown Midget Nationals 50-lap feature Saturday night at Tri-City Speedway.

Jerry Coons, Jr. won the first running of the event in 2008 and the event was a complete washout last year. Action will get under way with full programs on Thursday and Friday at the three-eighths-mile dirt track and concludes with Saturday’s big-money finale.

The payoff for Saturday night’s race is spectacular, with the winner receiving $15,000, second $8,000, third $5,000, fourth $4,000 and fifth $3,000 and a guarantee of $1,000 to start.

Thursday and Friday’s preliminary features each award $1,500 to the winner. The only midget race to offer more to a winner was the 1999 Summer Sizzle at 16th Street Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind., where Jason Leffler picked up $20,000 for his victory

Tri-City’s rich USAC racing history began in 1961 when Danny Frye won a 30-lap Midget race. Fifty-one races later, 35 different drivers have won in USAC competition at the Illinois oval. The late Bob Tattersall leads the list with four wins, while Mel Kenyon, Jack Hewitt and Doug Wolfgang have won three times there in USAC competition.

Co-sanctioned by the USAC and POWRi Midget Series, top threats for victory in the Gold Crown Midget Nationals will include USAC point-leader Bryan Clauson and POWRi kingpin Brad Loyet.

Clauson has already proven he can win at Pontoon Beach, claiming victory in the Kevin Doty Classic there in June. He also won this year’s Hut Hundred and Hall of Fame Classics and added a win at Burlington, Iowa, in USAC competition.

Loyet owns six POWRi feature wins in 2010 and was ninth in the Kevin Doty Classic at Tri-City in June.

Coons won last week’s USAC Mopar National Midget Series race at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway. It was the 135th USAC triumph for the Wilke-PAK Racing team.

The three nights of racing at Tri-City will also figure significantly into the battle for the inaugural USAC National Drivers Championship, with Clauson 29 points ahead of Levi Jones.