BROWNSBURG, Ind., May 28 — Joe Axsom put a tentative foot in the water and drove one of Nolen Racing’s USAC Silver Crown cars in the Rich Vogler Classic last July at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. All went well, and he finished 12th.
On Friday the driver from Franklin, Ind. tackled his second USAC Silver Crown event at the same track and did even better, as he qualified 11th in the Nolen Racing #120 and finished eighth in the Carb Night Classic.
The team’s primary driver, Jerry Coons Jr., qualified third. Coons was running fourth on lap 19 of the 100-lap race on the 0.686-mile asphalt oval when his car’s throttle stuck, sending him into the wall in Turn 3. Luckily the Greencastle, Ind.-based driver escaped injury. The car, a Beast with a Tranter-prepared Chevy engine and support from Columbus Container and KECO Coatings just like Axsom’s car, suffered extensive right-side damage.
Axsom broke into the top 10 on lap seven by passing Joe Liguori. He got ninth with his teammate’s departure, and eighth when Jacob Wilson’s car had a problem and brought out the second caution two laps before the halfway point. He rose to seventh on lap 81 when the driver who had led from the onset, Bobby Santos, dropped out with mechanical difficulties.
Axsom had his hands full holding off Liguori and later Justin Grant the rest of the way. Grant finally got by on lap 90 to push Axsom back to eighth. He got as close as one-tenth of a second to the seventh-place driver, David Byrne, but he was eighth at the checkered.
“As the track got tight, the chassis did also,” Axsom said after the race. “But it all went well. We just needed some small adjustments.”
Coons’ qualifying time was a 21.462. He ran a 21.978 on lap five before the crash.
Axsom qualified with a 22.032 and set his fastest lap of the race on lap 39 with a 22.184.
The next USAC Silver Crown race is on the dirt at the legendary Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. on June 10. More information is available on the series’ Web site at usacracing.com.
Nolen Racing is fielding two asphalt sprint cars for Coons and Shane Hollingsworth to drive in tonight’s Little 500 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway.
The team is looking for marketing partners; for more information, call (317) 201-0729 or e-mail LKMRestart@gmail.com.