IN (October 15) -- On Saturday, J.J. Yeley claimed the 2002 USAC Weld
Racing Silver Crown Series championship after winning the final race
of the season at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY. Yeley
started 14th in the season finale before charging his way to the front
and capturing the Little Trees Salt City 100. The Phoenix, AZ driver
also pocketed $9,325 for the win. The 11-race Silver Crown schedule
had the teams competing on five asphalt tracks and six dirt tracks.
And while Hoosier tires are the "spec-tire" when USAC
competes on asphalt, there is no rule mandating a specific tire brand
be used on dirt. Still, Team-Hoosier won five out of six races on dirt
tracks this year in the USAC Silver Crown Series.
Twenty-eight cars started the event with Jerry Coons,
Jr. on the pole after setting a new track record on the 1-mile clay
oval. Coons' time was 31.255 seconds for an average speed of 115.182
mph. The five fastest times in qualifying were recorded by
Of the 28 feature starters, 20 of them competed on
Hoosier tires. At the drop of the green flag, Coons took the early
race lead from his pole position. He led the first 14 circuits before
giving way to Rich Tobias who led the middle stages of the race before
Yeley, who had started 14th, took over the race lead with just three
laps to go. The Phoenix, AZ driver used a Hoosier F55/F95 rear tire
compound combination en route to capturing the win and collecting
$9,325 in prize money.
Pole sitter Jerry Coons, Jr. took second followed by
Johnny Heydenreich, Aaron Fike, Dave Steele, Nick Lundgreen and Dane
Carter in third through seventh, respectively. The first seven
competitors to cross the finish line in the 100-lap event all used the
Hoosier brand. Other Hoosier-shod drivers finishing in the top ten
were Jonathan Venard (9th) and Russ Gamester (10th).
The win also earned Yeley the USAC Silver Crown Series
championship for 2002. Yeley beat out Dave Steele in the year-long
battle by 38 points.
Yeley was attempting to capture the USAC triple-crown
by winning titles in the USAC Silver Crown, Sprints, and Midget
series. Something that only one other driver has accomplished in the
series--Tony Stewart in 1995. But Yeley's triple-crown bid came up
short a week earlier in the Sprint Car Series when he ended the season
13 points behind Tracy Hines in that series points chase.
In the final USAC Silver Crown Series standings, the
top eight drivers and nine out of the top ten used Hoosier tires
exclusively in 2002. Congratulations to J.J. Yeley for winning the
Silver Crown championship and to all the competitors for making the
2002 USAC Silver Crown season a huge success.