USAC HEADS FOR THE ROCKIES JUNE 29 AS SILVER CROWN, MIDGETS RETURN TO PIKES PEAK
The famed “Race to the Clouds” has been a fixture on the Pikes Peak slopes for 97 years and the shadows of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado will once again welcome USAC participants as part of the annual festivities surrounding the Pikes Peak extravaganza.
On Saturday, June 29, Pikes Peak International Raceway will once again reverberate to the sounds of USAC racing engines as they challenge the one-mile paved oval which last hosted USAC racing in 2005.
Race five of the 2013 TRAXXAS Silver Crown calendar will feature a 100-mile race expected to produce the same type of spectacular competition for which the track has been known since its opening in 1997 when Kenny Irwin and Ryan Newman swept to victories in the USAC “doubleheader.” The USAC National Midgets will join the day’s “doubleheader.”
Coupled with one of America’s most revered motorsports weekends, the event will serve to open the 2013 “Pikes Peak International Hill Climb” activities which will stretch from June 30-August 15.
Nine years of USAC racing at PPIR included victories by current stars Tracy Hines and Brian Tyler, plus the late Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, veteran Jason Leffler and five-time PPIR winner Dave Steele, who won the last USAC Silver Crown race in 2005. Hines continues to hold the one-lap track record speed of 143.227 mph, set in 2005, which could be challenged in June.
Hines’ record stands among the fastest in series history utilizing the “traditional” Silver Crown machines on a mile or larger. It is currently eclipsed only by the 143.967 set by Steele at Madison, Ill. in 2001. Newman holds the Midget record of 139.265 mph set in 1997. It should also be noted that Kody Swanson holds the ultimate Silver Crown record for "traditional" cars of 146.212 mph set this year at Iowa Speedway (a 7/8-mile oval). Ironically, his brother Tanner posted the second-fastest speed of 146.124 mph the same day!
“Adding Pikes Peak to the Traxxas Silver Crown schedule is something we have been working on for a while,” states Silver Crown Director James Spink. “We are excited to have this pavement to solidify a reinvigorated schedule for 2013.”
Defending series champion Bobby East of Brownsburg, Ind. remembers PPIR where he finished eighth in the 2005 Silver Crown race and seventh in the Midgets. The winner of last year’s finale at Terre Haute, Ind. and a 100-miler on the paved Iowa Speedway in 2012, East ranks eighth all-time with 10 series wins in his 11-year USAC Silver Crown career. “I’d like nothing more than to win at PPIR,” says East. “I’ve had some great runs there in Midgets but never could do well in the Silver Crown. It’ll be interesting to see what the years (since 2005) have done to the surface. I expect the grip will be different. It’s a little like Iowa Speedway but the track has its own idiosyncrasies. The thinner air has a little effect on engines but not as much as with the Midgets. I’m excited to get back.”