Bacon Last-Lap Victor In Williams Grove 100

Williams Grove 100 winner Brady Bacon raises one finger in celebration of his first Silver Crown win. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Williams Grove 100 winner Brady Bacon raises one finger in celebration of his first Silver Crown win. [Joe Jennings Photo]

By Joe Jennings

Mechanicsburg, PA – Just when it seemed that Pennsylvania ace Steve Buckwalter was going to gain an upset victory at the legendary Williams Grove Speedway, late-race action turned the tables and Brady Bacon dodged the bullets to win his first career USAC Silver Crown victory.

“This win means a lot to me,” Bacon noted in the victory circle. “I have won a midget race here but to win a big-car race at a historic place like Williams Grove (Speedway) is pretty special. And to win my first Silver Crown race after being close so many times is great. We finally had some good luck.”

Bacon’s win came in his 23rd start with the Klatt Enterprises Beast. For the Klatt team, it won for the first time on dirt to go along with their most recent victory on the pavement at the Lucas Oil Raceway, in Indianapolis.

The action took place during the running of the Williams Grove 100.

Bacon led only one lap, an overtime circuit, no less. Until the late going, Bacon didn’t seem to be in contention until the front-runners took turns eliminating each other.

Buckwalter came from eighth to first by lap 48 and held command until the fateful 99th time around when he was punted out of the coveted spot by hard-charging Chris Windom, who led the opening 47 laps. The Windom maneuver incurred the wrath of the many Buckwalter faithful.

Windom said he made a mistake in judgment and apologized to Buckwalter for his transgression. Said Buckwalter, “He just drove over me.”

In the final tally, Buckwalter came home eighth and Windom ninth.

Going into the final laps, Buckwalter led Windom, Justin Grant, Kody Swanson and Bacon. On lap 98, Swanson, second at the time, made a desperate attempt to overhaul Buckwalter but slid wide, losing positions instead of gaining. Subsequently, the championship point leader made contact with Windom, who blew a tire.

Bacon watched all of these goings on and made his move when it counted. “I thought we had made mistakes that had cost us the race but as rubber got laid down, we kept getting better and better, plus we had more tire than those other guys. When Windom got into Buckwalter, it gave us the perfect spot,” the victor said. “Obviously, there were a lot of things happened that enabled us to win.”

Swanson battled back to gain the runner-up spot. “We struggled early but in Silver Crown races, you are never out of it. I raced Buckwalter as cleanly as I could but he was obviously fading. I tried to pass him but couldn’t hold on, falling back to 5th or 6th and had to rally to salvage a night. I hate not to win.”

Fast qualifier Grant came home third.

Mike Haggenbottom vaulted from 15th to fourth and pavement ace Eric Gordon earned fifth.

The second five were Austin Nemire, David Byrne, Buckwalter, Windom and Matt Goodnight.

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