INDIANAPOLIS — Jerry Coons Jr. can join Al Unser and the late Jimmy Bryan as the only drivers to win the prestigious Hoosier Hundred three consecutive years when the USAC Traxxas Silver Crown Series visits the Indiana State Fairgrounds May 23.
Coons qualified third fastest for last year’s race and led the final 86 laps in a dominant victory two nights before the 2012 Indianapolis 500, becoming the first back-to-back winner of the classic dirt car race in 11 years.
Coons, the 2008 USAC Silver Crown champion, returns with the same RW Motorsports team that joined him in victory lane at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in 2011 and 2012. The same team won the 2010 Hoosier Hundred with Shane Hmiel behind the wheel.
Defending USAC Silver Crown champ Bobby East is slated to give Coons a run to the checkered flag as East searches for his first mile dirt track win. Levi Jones is East’s teammate at Tony Stewart racing and a past two-time champion of the series. Jones is still in search of his first one mile dirt track win as well and holds the distinction of having led the most laps in Silver Crown cars at the Indiana State Fairgrounds (156 in three races) without scoring a victory on the tricky one-mile dirt track.
Other drivers expected to include three-time Hoosier Hundred (1995, 1996, 2004) winner Dave Darland, 2000 USAC Silver Crown champ Tracy Hines, A.J. Fike and Kody Swanson.
Auto racing at the Indiana State Fairgrounds has a lineage that dates back to the early 1900s including a 24-hour race and the first one-mile-per-minute lap on a closed oval course by Barney Oldfield in 1903.
It is thought that perhaps Carl Fisher gained some of the ideas for the future Indianapolis Motor Speedway from his competition days on the one-mile fairgrounds track. It wasn’t until 1946 that a true national championship race was held on the fairground mile, and it would be another seven years before the first Hoosier Hundred was contested in September of 1953.