Silver Crown Feasibility Test At Bristol Proves Successful

It’s been 34 years since USAC open-wheel racing has occurred in northeastern Tennessee but last night’s K & N Silver Crown feasibility test at Bristol Motor Speedway could prove to be the first step toward a return in 2008.

PDM Racing of Indianapolis, Ind. and Carl Edwards/RE Technologies of Memphis, Tenn. fielded the cars for last night’s 10-lap exhibition and drivers Brian Tyler of Mount Pleasant, N.C. and Cameron Dodson of Greenfield, Ind. were ecstatic with the results. The test was held prior to the start of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race. An enthusiastic crowd was on hand to witness the test on the .533-mile paved oval.

Running the cars here at Bristol would be awesome, remarked Tyler. I can see a two-groove racetrack when we come back to race. We really didn’t know what to do wit the car so we just threw a basic setup on it and I was amazed how well it handled, even though it was moving around a lot. I’ve been here a few times but never had the opportunity to race here.

Walking into this place gave me a similar feeling as when we went to Darlington in May, added Dodson. We were turning laps in the low 16-second bracket and we didn’t even have the right gear in it! Although the track is pretty wild, it’s not like I anticipated. The banks here remind me of Winchester or Salem. It’s really a cool place and I look forward to coming back.

The last time USAC open-wheel competition occurred in northeastern Tennessee was in 1973 when Merle Bettenhausen and Tommy Astone captured feature victories in Midget races at Johnson City and Kingsport respectively. The race at Johnson City was particularly memorable as Bettenhausen came from behind to nip Billy Engelhart by inches in his first victory after recovering from injuries suffered in a 1972 Indy car race in Michigan.

It was indeed a privilege to be able to showcase these cars at one of the world’s most spectacular motorsports venues, said USAC President/CEO Rollie Helmling, who was on hand for the test. We look forward to continued discussions with Bristol Motor Speedway regarding a possible race in 2008 and are obviously excited about the prospects for this sensational opportunity. The racing produced by these new-generation Silver Crown machines has been excellent in 2007 and our participants welcome this opportunity to expand the series. After watching the K & N Silver Crown cars at Bristol, I can assure you if we are able to have a race it’ll be a must see for every race fan.

The only other previous USAC Silver Crown races in the Volunteer State were in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2004 at Memphis Motorsports Park, won by Dave Steele (2), Brad Noffsinger and Brian Tyler.

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