Kyle Hamilton Hopes to Jumpstart Season at Memphis

As Kyle Hamilton counts down the days to the launch of the 2019 USAC Silver Crown season, he recalls last year’s opener when he and his Klatt Enterprises team were the class of the field, leading a race-high 54 laps.

What seemed like such a bright beginning for the Hamilton and Klatt combo came to halt two-thirds of the way through the race when engine trouble put the clamps on a could’ve-would’ve-should’ve-been victory.  From that point forward, the team would continue on the same general flight-path throughout 2018, showing flashes of speed early on in the night before being plagued by mechanical trouble, save for a top-five run at Salem in which their abilities and luck finally came to fruition.

This year provides a new outlook and an eagerness to take a different path, the path in which the team travelled in the first two-thirds of last year’s season-starter, starting with the same first step in the 2019 opener, March 22-23 at Memphis International Raceway.

“Last year, leading all those laps at Phoenix was not a surprise to us,” Hamilton, the 2017 Little 500 winner, admitted.  “It may have been a surprise to other people, but it wasn’t to us because I’ve been on the big tracks in Midgets and Silver Crown.  (Crew Chief) Bob East has been to a lot of racetracks with that car and engine combination, so he knew what the car needed to be that fast.”

Though this will mark the Danville, Indiana racer’s first drive at Memphis, it’s certainly not for USAC Hall of Famer, East.  Hamilton will pilot a Beast chassis, the same build of car that’s won all four previous Silver Crown outings at Memphis, including the last visit in 2004 when East was the winning car owner with driver Dave Steele.

“I felt like it was good way for us to start off the year,” Hamilton continued regarding last year’s first event.  “We’re both in a position where we felt confident and I think we’ll be the same way at Memphis.  We have a whole year under our belt together now.  (Memphis) is a big track, but Bob’s been to a lot of big tracks and he’s good at going to a track for the first time and getting it in the ballpark.  He’s proven that over the years.”

Hamilton’s outlook on this season is rosy despite the difficulties that the he and the team had to battle through time and time again.  He knows he’s got a fast car, a great crew behind him and, finally, some luck will have to fall the way of the two-time USAC National Midget feature winner.

“There’s no doubt that you can’t write up last year any different other than to say it was a disappointment from the mechanical side of things,” Hamilton said.  “We were plagued by issues that don’t happen very often, but all of them kind of happened within the same year to us.  That was tough to deal with.  Just when you get into a rhythm with your setup or with driving, it seems like we’d have a mechanical issue that would pull us out of the race, so we didn’t get as many good finishes as we’d have liked.  I won’t call it a complete loss because we learned a lot at some of the new tracks we went to.  We had a good run at Salem that helped me build some skills on a momentum-based track that’s going to help me at tracks like Lucas Oil Raceway and Memphis this year.”

Among the new tracks on the docket for the 2012 Silver Crown Rookie of the Year is Memphis, a unique ¾-mile, D-shaped track that has produced great racing in year’s past.  Hamilton likened the track to Iowa Speedway, in which he competed at on three occasions, including a front row Silver Crown start in 2015 and an 8thplace Midget run in 2011.

“You notice the D-shape vs. the backstretch being straight,” Hamilton pointed out.  “You kind of compare that to a track like Iowa how you’re wanting to get into the corner because you’re already coming into the corner at an angle.  You can take bits and pieces of each track we run at and compare them to past setups, but you are on zero as far as a complete setup.  You’re definitely taking a gamble there.  I got to put it into Bob’s hands.  He’s been to so many tracks over the years, I feel he’s going to get me really close without too much of an issue.”

On-track action at Memphis International Raceway gets underway on Friday, March 22, with pits opening at 10am Central, leading into a practice which begins at noon. 

On Saturday, March 23, the pits open at 8am, with practice sessions running from 10-10:30am and 11-11:30am.  Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying hits the track at 11:45am.  An autograph session in the main concourse is set for 12:30 to 1:15pm.  Driver intros are slated for 2pm with the green flag for the “Memphis 100” set to fly at 2:20pm.

Tickets can be purchased at  Adult General Admission tickets are $25.  Kids 12 and under General Admission tickets are $5.  Single-day pit passes are $40.  A two-day pit pass is $70.

The entirety of the “Memphis 100” will be streamed LIVE on

Guardino Wins Ventura's Battle of the Beach #1

After trading the lead with Jake Swanson, Tristan Guardino (Fremont, CA) sailed to his first USAC West Coast Sprint Car victory of the year at Ventura Raceway. Racing the family owned #15T Dorso’s Automotive / Allied Auto Stores Maxim, Tristan’s earned $1,500 for his efforts.

Swanson Perseveres in Memphis 100 Win

It takes a master of a craft for an individual to adapt to anything thrown at them.

Swanson Debuts with Nolen at the Top in Memphis Practice

Kody Swanson used Friday’s practice session at Memphis International Raceway to get acquainted with his new ride in the Nolen Racing No. 20 for the 2019 season.

Master Sprint Wrench Jack French Passes

Prolific crew chief Jack French passed away Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at home following a lengthy illness.  He was 75 years old.

Gordon the Most Experienced in Memphis Field

Of all the drivers in this weekend’s USAC Silver Crown field, no driver has more starts than Eric Gordon at 130 coming into the March 22-23 season-opening “Memphis 100” at Memphis International Raceway.

Leary Heads to Memphis to Begin Triple Crown Pursuit

Thus far in 2019, C.J. Leary has already established himself as a prime contender in USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget and AMSOIL National Sprint Car competition with a bright showing in Ocala, Fla., scoring a pair of top-five runs in the midget and a victory in the sprint car.

Dyson Races Uncommon Road to Silver Crown

Chris Dyson’s road to becoming a regular on the USAC Silver Crown circuit is quite unique.  Born into road racing heritage as the son of Sports Car racer and owner Rob Dyson, Chris eventually found his way to the top, capturing a pair of American Le Mans Series titles - the LMP675 driver's title in 2003 and the LMP1 championship in 2011.

Ventura Hosts Battle at the Beach Saturday

After last Saturday’s battle at Bakersfield, the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars will clash with the Ventura Racing Association (VRA) this Saturday, March 23rd at Ventura Raceway.

Swanson Begins New Era at Memphis 100

After finishing off the most successful run between a driver and team in the history of the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series with DePalma Motorsports, Kody Swanson is preparing for this coming season nearly from scratch, with a new team, new cars, new engines and a new home with Nolen Racing, beginning with this weekend’s “Memphis 100” at Tennessee’s Memphis International Raceway on March 22-23.

10-Time USAC Sprint Winning Owner Hillin Passes

Bobby Hillin, whose Longhorn Racing team notched 10 USAC National Sprint Car victories with drivers Bruce Walkup, Jackie Howerton, Jan Opperman and Bubby Jones between 1975 and 1977, passed away last weekend.  He was 79 years old.