Indianapolis, Indiana…….Levi Jones of Olney, Illinois finally broke through with his first-ever “Hoosier Hundred” win on Friday night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, capping an exciting 100-miler with a pass into turn-three on lap 94 to stop Jerry Coons, Jr. from making it three wins in a row at the historic Memorial Day weekend race.
Russ Gamester took the pole after setting B&W Auto Mart Fast Time to begin the night and led through the first half of the race. Brian Tyler was the early mover in the race as he jumped to third from ninth in the first fifteen laps. Coons came right along with him as he moved past Tyler to the third spot in the first 25 laps.
Coons then moved to second just before a restart around halfway, as front-row starter Tracy Hines went from second to fourth. Shortly after halfway, Coons pressured Gamester through traffic before taking the lead on lap 59. Gamester held onto second until the leaders encountered traffic again, as Tyler and Jones moved into the top-three.
The race changed quickly when Tyler’s race came to an end on the backstretch on lap 79 when contact between himself, a lapped car, and Coons left Tyler spun around and damaged. Coons With 18 to go, Coons led the field back to green with Gamester, Jones, Hines, and Shane Hollingsworth trailing. Jones jumped to second on the restart and took off, as the top-two checked out on the rest of the field.
Jones moved in on Coons, and Jones finally saw his opportunity on lap 94 as the two headed down the backstretch. The clinching move came in turn-three and Jones immediately drove away from the field. It was the first-ever win on a mile for Jones, coming aboard the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevrolet Performance #10 Maxim/Kistler Chevy.
“My car really didn’t feel very good early in the race,” Jones said, adding, “I really didn’t make that many adjustments, though. I saw Darland smoking the tire a bit early, and I knew I had to save stuff and maybe catch a couple cautions to be able to race for it at the end.”
“We got a great restart there at the end, and I could see him smoking his tire just a bit on that last run. I had this race won (in 2006) and a late restart led to me getting passed in turn-three on the last lap, so to get the lead in that very same spot feels pretty good,” Jones noted of his “Hoosier Hundred” history. A southern Illinoisan with a love for the dirt miles closed by saying “You hear it all the time, that words can’t describe it, but growing up going to the dirt miles with all my family, it means a lot to put my name on the list of winners here.”
For Coons, second-place was a disappointing end to his amazing run at the Fairgrounds in the Rotondo Weirich – Curb Records #27 Beast/Wallace Toyota, thinking the backstretch altercation late in the race may have been his undoing.
“We just found something wrong in the left-front suspension, and I can only assume it was from the contact on the backstretch. It definitely didn’t feel the same after that yellow. We were able to stay in a pretty good spot throughout the race and got Gamester in traffic, although he got us back in the exact same way later and I got lucky to be saved by a caution. I was doing all I could and wasn’t worried about saving tires or anything at the end, and Levi was really good at the end of the race. I’m not sure we could have held him off even without our issues, but I know it didn’t help. It’s definitely disappointing to miss out on winning three in a row, but I never like to get too optimistic and we knew it would be tough coming into this. We had a great race car, and it’s certainly disappointing to lose it in the last ten laps,” Coons said.
Hines came home third in the Lightfoot Racing #16 Beast/Stanton Mopar, rounding out a strong podium, while former race winner Shane Hollingsworth finished fourth in the Gene Nolen – Ray Skillman Auto Centers #20 Twister/Tranton Chevy. A.J. Fike rounded out the top-five in the RFMS Racing – Liberty Village #3 Beast/Foxco, and Justin Grant came home sixth in the Marc Longworth #19 Beast/Toyota to pick up the B&W Auto Mart “Hard Charger” Award.
TRAXXAS USAC SILVER CROWN RACE RESULTS: May 24, 2013 – Indianapolis, Indiana – Indiana State Fairgrounds – “Hoosier Hundred” presented by Federated Auto Parts
QUALIFYING: 1. Russ Gamester, 51, Gamester-32.937; 2. Casey Shuman, 15, Hardy-33.070; 3. Tracy Hines, 16, Lightfoot-33.245; 4. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-33.277; 5. Robert Ballou, 63, DePalma-33.313; 6. Levi Jones, 10, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-33.375; 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 27, RW/Curb-Agajanian-33.680; 8. Chris Windom, 17, RW/Curb-Agajanian-33.999; 9. Dave Darland, 14, McQuinn-34.061; 10. Shane Hollingsworth, 20, Nolen-34.085; 11. Brian Tyler, 21, Six-R-34.280; 12. A.J. Fike, 3, RFMS-34.398; 13. Bobby East, 22, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-34.427; 14. Tim Barber, 28, Finkenbinder-34.539; 15. Shane Cockrum, 114, Hardy-34.599; 16. Kody Swanson, 43, Nix-34.661; 17. Todd Kane, 78, Kane-34.738; 18. Justin Grant, 19, Longworth-34.974; 19. Randy Bateman, 55, Bateman-35.269; 20. Miranda Throckmorton, 25, Sachs-35.602; 21. Kellen Conover, 76, Conover-36.258; 22. Kenny Gentry, 18, Gentry-37.745; 23. Taylor Ferns, 35, Ferns-NT; 24. Tad Roach, 84, Spivey-NT.
FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Levi Jones, 2. Jerry Coons Jr., 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Shane Hollingsworth, 5. A.J. Fike, 6. Justin Grant, 7. Aaron Pierce, 8. Bobby East, 9. Miranda Throckmorton, 10. Kellen Conover, 11. Russ Gamester, 12. Kody Swanson, 13. Brian Tyler, 14. Dave Darland, 15. Casey Shuman, 16. Chris Windom, 17. Tim Barber, 18. Taylor Ferns, 19. Randy Bateman, 20. Tad Roach, 21. Shane Cockrum, 22. Kenny Gentry, 23. Todd Kane, 24. Robert Ballou. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-58 Gamester, Laps 59-93 Coons, Laps 94-100 Jones.
NEW TRAXXAS SILVER CROWN POINTS: 1-Jones-60, 2-Coons-57, 3-Hines-54, 4-Hollingsworth-51, 5-Fike-48, 6-Grant-45, 7-Pierce-42, 8-East-39, 9-Gamester-37, 10-Throckmorton-36.
NEXT TRAXXAS SILVER CROWN RACE: June 1 – Madison, IL – Gateway Motorsports Park