Thomas Roars To Eldora Silver Crown Pole

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Thomas Roars To Eldora
Kevin Thomas Jr. at speed during USAC Silver Crown Series qualifying Friday at Eldora Speedway. (Rich Forman photo)

ROSSBURG, Ohio – Tossing fear out of the cage on his way out to qualify Friday night, Kevin Thomas Jr. ripped off a lap around Eldora Speedway good enough to give him the pole for Saturday’s USAC Silver Crown Series season finale.

Driving the Chris Dyson Racing No. 9, Thomas toured the legendary half-mile dirt oval in a lightning-quick 16.054 seconds (112.122 mph). He was the final car among the 27 entrants to post a qualifying time Friday night.

The qualifying session began near midnight, after a rain shower following World of Outlaws hot laps delayed the proceedings for more than an hour.

Thomas will have nothing but clean track in front of him on Saturday evening when the 38th annual 4-Crown Nationals presented by NKT.tv goes green at Eldora, as he chases his first Silver Crown victory in his debut ride for team owner Chris Dyson.

Thomas will have a familiar face alongside him, as Jason McDougal – who served as Thomas’ roommate when he first moved to the Indianapolis area – will start on the front row alongside his friend and mentor.

McDougal, fourth from the end in the qualifying order, was just .016 seconds behind Thomas’ fast lap with a time of 16.070 seconds (112.010 mph) behind the wheel of the No. 56 Foxco Racing entry.

Driver points leader Kody Swanson, the first car out to qualify, ended up third fastest over the team he’s chasing in Nolen Racing’s pursuit of the owner’s title – the No. 6 Klatt Enterprises car of Brady Bacon.

Justin Grant completed the fast five for Hemelgarn Enterprises, followed by Chris Windom, Chad Kemenah, Kyle Robbins, Ronnie Wuerdeman and C.J. Leary.

Swanson will officially clinch his fifth Silver Crown driving title Saturday night by presenting his Nolen Racing No. 20 on the feature grid for competition. If Bacon finishes fourth or better, the Klatt team will lock up the owner’s championship.

PRELIMINARY RESULTS: USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series; Eldora Speedway; Sept. 27, 2019

Qualifying: 1. #9 – Kevin Thomas Jr., 16.054; 2. #56 – Jason McDougal, 16.070; 3. #20 – Kody Swanson, 16.176; 4. #6 – Brady Bacon, 16.250; 5. #91 – Justin Grant, 16.321; 6. #17 – Chris Windom, 16.366; 7. #15 – Chad Kemenah, 16.445; 8. #7 – Kyle Robbins, 16.483; 9. #33 – Ronnie Wuerdeman; 16.523; 10. #10 – C.J. Leary, 16.548; 11. #97 – Tyler Courtney, 16.562; 12. #18 – Travis Welpott, 16.992; 13. #40 – David Byrne, 17.048; 14. #123 – Jimmy Light, 17.074; 15. #53 – Steve Buckwalter, 17.078; 16. #66 – Bill Rose, 17.094; 17. #57 – Dallas Hewitt, 17.138; 18. #47 – Austin Mundie, 17.143; 19. #78 – Eric Gordon, 17.192; 20. #16 – Austin Nemire, 17.272; 21. #24 – Mike Haggenbottom, 17.279; 22. #34 – Terry Babb, 17.378; 23. #43 – John Heydenreich, 17.448; 24. #81 – Shane Cottle, 17.456; 25. #39 – Matt Goodnight, 17.569; 26. #31 – Dave Berkheimer, 18.941; 27. #54 – Matt Westfall, NT.