Hines And Swanson Tops In USAC Action At O’Reilly Raceway Park

Clermont, Ind. – At O’Reilly Raceway Park on a hot Thursday evening, Tracy Hines scored his first USAC Silver Crown victory on the tricky .686-mile oval and young Kody Swanson did the same thing in the USAC MOPAR National Midget Championship action – all part of the J. D. Byrider Classic.

Starting third in the John Vance Racing Team/Artistocrat Products Gaerte, Hines moved into second place on the 34th lap and overhauled Bobby East on the 64th lap, leading the final 36 circuits of the 100-lap event.

Hines now has 11 wins at ORP and his first win in the tough Silver Crown competition.

“It was a good night for us,” the victor said. “We practiced third or fourth, qualified third and I told my team ‘I think the car will be good at the end.’ It was as I never touched anything on the car it was that nice. ORP is a special place as it changes every minute of the day, so when you get a good set-up and it works, it is very gratifying.”

Levi Jones raced from seventh to second, doing so in the closing laps. With car owner Tony Stewart looking on, Jones had one of his better pavement performances.

“We had a good enough car but not good enough to beat Tracy (Hines),” Jones said. “We are getting our cars better and better, and we are becoming contenders on pavement.”

Jacob Wilson advanced from eighth to third place, barging into that position on the last lap.

Fast-qualifier Brad Sweet took fourth place ahead of Bobby East, who led 29 laps.

Sixth through 10th were Bobby Santos III, point leader Bud Kaeding, Shane Hmiel, Troy DeCaire and Bryan Clauson.

NASCAR stars Ryan Newman and Jason Leffler returned to their roots and competed in both events. On the Silver Crown side, Newman timed second fastest, led the opening lap and contended for the lead in the early part of the race before dropping out late in the race. He missed the midget feature.

Leffler finished 28th in the J. D. Byrider 100 and second in the midget fray.

In the midget feature, Swanson ran off and hid in the 30-lap race, to best the 24-car field. The winner drove the Wilke-Pak Motorsports Toyota car and his victory made history for the vaunted team, as it became the all-time winner in USAC history with 134 victories to its credit.
Previously, the team had been tied with the Steve Lewis organization, which scored all its victories in midget competition.

The Wilke name has been a prominent one in USAC circles for more than six decades, starting with Rodger Ward’s victory in the 1959 Indianapolis 500. Bob Wilke formed the team in the 1950s and he was succeeded first by Ralph Wilke and later on by Greg and Mark Wilke.

In its long history, the Wilke team has won with 30 drivers at 61 tracks in 16 states and Canada.

Said the victor, “I ran third in this car at the Night before the 500 race here, and I told the team, ‘If you give me another chance, I know how to make it better,’ and I did it.”

Regarding the victory for the Wilke team, he stated, “To be able to break the tie is like a dream come true.” Swanson also drove for Lewis and gave the team its 132nd victory.

Leffler raced to second place followed by Levi Roberts, Darren Hagen and Brad Sweet.

Daniel Bedford drove to second place with Jerry Coons Jr., Dakoda Armstrong, Clauson and Caleb Armstrong behind him.

The midgets return to action at Sun Prairie, Wisconsin on August 28 and 29 and the Silver Crown series travels to Oswego, New York, on August 4.

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