DUQUOIN, Ill. – Shane Cockrum of nearby Benton, Ill., became the first Southern Illinois driver to win the Ted Horn 100 as he came out on top of a wild USAC Silver Crown Series race Sunday night at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
It was the first USAC win of any kind for Cockrum, who has been active in all three National divisions.
“I don’t even think it’s sunk in yet that I’m a USAC winner. It’s great to represent southern Illinois and be able to put it on the front stretch at the end of the Ted Horn 100. It just couldn’t be any better feeling than right now,” Cockrum said.
The win for Cockrum came after a wild race. Bobby East took the lead at the start after securing the pole earlier in the day. Point leader Kody Swanson stayed with East early on, using a pick of a slower car down the front stretch on lap nine to grab the lead. Swanson, East and Dave Darland formed a three-car breakaway early in the race as they opened up a huge advantage over the rest of the field.
A caution on lap 16 for C.J. Leary brought the field back to them and East took advantage. He stayed glued to Swanson’s bumper as they again encountered slower traffic. East slid past for the lead on lap 32 and brought Darland along with him, dropping Swanson to third.
Just after, Caleb Armstrong stopped to bring out a caution on lap 34. Under the yellow, fourth-running Zach Daum first visited the pits to change a flat tire and then leader East pitted with suspension issues. Both cars returned, although Daum lost a lap in the process.
Darland led as Cockrum moved past Swanson for the second spot just as they hit the halfway mark, with Jerry Coons Jr. and a hard-charging Chris Windom, up from his 22nd starting spot, completing the top five.
East brought out a yellow just a couple laps later as Swanson also had issues after an encounter up in the rough stuff above the cushion. East returned a lap down, while Swanson came back out in attempt to salvage some points, six laps down to the leaders.
Darland led on the restart with 44 laps to go, but Cockrum immediately jumped on the opportunity and grabbed the point on lap 57. Coons followed him to take the second spot away from Darland, leading to a spirited battle between those two for the runner-up spot that culminated with a crash on lap 65 which put Darland upside-down and involved Coons and Levi Jones. Coons and Jones both were able to make repairs under red flag and resume the race. Darland was uninjured but done for the event.