Windom Hopes Bettenhausen 100 Jump Starts Season

The ups and downs involved in auto racing are undeniable.  Defending Bettenhausen 100 winner Chris Windom has certainly had his share of obstacles this season as he prepares for this Saturday’s 58th running of the “Bettenhausen 100” at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

It’s been a rocky road thus far that’s included crashes and mechanical gremlins among final results that don’t indicate how fast they’ve actually been before misfortune arose.

Last Saturday at Salem Speedway, Windom’s right rear shock broke in half while running 8th, putting another damper on a season that sees him 11th in the standings with only one top-five finish entering this weekend’s event on the Springfield Mile, a place that's a welcoming sight to the Canton, Ill. native who’s earned three of his eight career Silver Crown wins on Illinois soil following victories in 2016 and 2018 at Du Quoin and last year at Springfield where a repeat victory this Saturday would be a God-send in more ways than one.

“It would be huge,” Windom admitted.  “We’ve had our fair share of struggles with the car, but we’ve definitely had the speed at every dirt race.  We’ve led both dirt races so far and fell out.  I know we’ve got the car to do it, but we’ve just got to keep all the components together and I know we can repeat and get another win there.”

In his last trip to a one-mile dirt oval, Windom started from the outside of the front row and led the opening five laps before enduring a terrifying incident down the front straightaway that saw him flip several times.  In June at Williams Grove Speedway, Windom led 48 laps from the outside of the front row before a controversial moment with Steve Buckwalter ensued on the final lap.  Windom picked up the lead and appeared headed for victory on the last lap when his right rear tire went flat.

His two most recent series victories both came in Illinois a year ago, but his first at Springfield was particularly special as he became the second Illinois native to repeat his victory at Springfield and first since A.J. Fike in 2012-13.

“It was awesome,” Windom remembers.  “A lot of my family and friends were there.  The miles feel a little cooler winning for whatever reason.  I don’t know if it’s the attrition of the long races, but it always feels more rewarding when you can run a full 100 laps and win like that.  I love the Crown cars on the mile tracks.  It’s one of my favorite types of racing to do.  I’m definitely looking forward to this one; I look forward to it every year on the schedule.  I’m so ready to get back there.”

Windom has gotten the proverbial ball rolling in USAC’s AMSOIL National Sprint Car and NOS Energy Drink National Midget divisions this year, winning three times in the Sprint and resides 5th in the standings while winning twice in the midget where he stands runner-up in the points at the moment.

Without question, he still knows how to get to the front, which can prove to be a different animal in Silver Crown racing on a dirt mile where the fine line of patience and when to “go” face off.  Last year, Windom started 13th at Springfield and only worked his way into the lead with eight laps remaining past Kevin Thomas, Jr. for the win.  With changing track conditions, starting further back and having to concentrate on running your own race with 30 or more cars surrounding yourself, that can be a tricky proposition, but Windom’s 66 starts in the series have helped him immensely in figuring out this puzzle.

“You kind of pick and choose,” Windom explained.  “Sometimes, it depends on the track’s state, obviously.  I’ve had my fair share of being on the other end of the spectrum, running out of fuel or running too hard the first half of the race and not being there at the end and I’ve learned how to pass pretty well on the miles.  If I know I have the car, I can just drive around and hang out for the first half of the race, really the first three quarters of the race, so I’m in a position to be there in the end.  That’s just huge in these cars.  It takes experience and seat time in order to learn how to do that.  You’ve seen guys who go out and lead the first half of the race and you’re able to get them there at the end.  That’ s what I’ve learned how to do over the last few years in the mile races.”

That experience is what helped him reach victory lane at Springfield in 2018.  It’s also the type of strategy that can help propel him to better fortune and better days ahead beginning Saturday at Springfield.

The Bettenhausen 100 in Springfield gets underway with pits opening and registration starting at 7am (Central), the ticket office and grandstands opening at 9am, the drivers meeting at 9:30am, Silver Crown practice from 10am to 11:10am, Fatheadz Silver Crown Qualifying at 11:30am, Sportsman hot laps at noon, the Silver Crown Qualifying Race at 12:30pm, Sportsman heats at 1pm, pre-race ceremonies at 1:30pm and the Bettenhausen 100-mile race at 2pm.

Tickets will be available on raceday or by calling the State Fair office at 217-782-1979. Info and tickets can also be obtained by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.  Discount tickets for Sunday also available at Menards.  Advance Tickets (Presale) are $25 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under.  On race day, tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under.  Infield tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children 11 and under.  Pit passes are $35 for adults and $20 for children 11 and under.  Infield parking is $5 for those parking in the infield with no infield or pit passes.

This Saturday’s Springfield race can be watched LIVE and on-demand on FloRacing, listened to via live audio on the USAC app as well as live timing and scoring on both the USAC app and the Race-Monitor app.

BC39 Entry List Rises to 83!

The entry list for the Driven2SaveLives BC39 powered by NOS Energy Drink continues to grow by leaps and bounds and now stands at 83 cars for the September 4-5 event at The Dirt Track at IMS.  Just one week remains until the entry cutoff on Thursday night, August 29 at The BC39.

Grant Gasses it to #GYATK Night Triumph

Sprint Car Smackdown week began just as it left off the year before with Justin Grant racing to victory Wednesday in #GYATK Night following the Ione, California driver’s victory in the Smackdown finale in 2018.

#GYATK Night Fires Off Big Week at Kokomo

#GYATK Night comes to life this Wednesday night, August 21, at Kokomo Speedway, igniting a stacked weeklong racing docket at the quarter-mile oval leading into Sprint Car Smackdown VIII Aug. 22-23-24.

Smackdown VIII Race Preview

Sprint Car Smackdown VIII arrives with a bang this week as one of the most prestigious events on the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car calendar gets underway for its eighth edition Aug. 22-24 with the kickoff companion event, #GYATK Night, beginning the racing feast on Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Ironman Stockon in Line for Record at Kokomo

One of the ultimate ironman streaks is on the line for Chase Stockon as he prepares to equal the series’ most consecutive starts streaks this week during Sprint Car Smackdown VIII at Aug. 22-24 at Kokomo Speedway.

BC39 Kicks Off with Draft Party on Sept. 3

The Driven2SaveLives BC39 powered by NOS Energy Drink gets amped up on Tuesday, Sept. 3, the night before the dirt flies at The Dirt Track at IMS.

Busch Named Darlington USAC.25 Grand Marshal

Kyle Busch, the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion, has been named the Honorary Grand Marshal for the USAC.25 Se-ries event at Darlington Raceway, Aug. 29 - Sept.1. He is scheduled to visit the USAC.25 track across from Darlington Raceway at the Manheim Auction lot on Satur-day, Aug. 31.

USAC Stat Book: Smackdown Edition

We’re on the road and headed to Indiana's Kokomo Speedway for four-straight-events for the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, beginning with the non-points #GYATK Night on Wednesday, Aug. 21 and three consecutive nights of Sprint Car Smackdown VIII Aug. 22-23-24.

Briscoe Enters BC39 as List Grows to Near 70

Chase Briscoe, who currently ranks sixth in NASCAR Xfinity Series standings, has filed his entry for the Driven2SaveLives BC39 powered by NOS Energy Drink on September 4-5 at The Dirt Track at IMS, as the list of cars for the mega event has risen to 69 with less than two weeks remaining until the entry cutoff on Thursday night, August 29 at TheBC39.com.

Darland a Smackdown Master Over the Past Decade

To be a consistent front runner on a race-by-race basis is a task that drivers and teams are constantly faced with in pursuit of feature wins and season championships.