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Brady Bacon wins first career USAC Silver Crown Series race in dramatic fashion

Diverse open-wheel dirt racer Brady Bacon led only one lap Friday night: and it was the one that mattered en route to his first career USAC Silver Crown Series win at Williams Grove Speedway. Photo courtesy of Williams Grove Speedway.

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Brady Bacon has won in nearly every form of open-wheel dirt machine, but for some reason, a USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series victory has eluded him.

His 22nd series start, though, provided a different script. Amidst late-race dramatics between local Steve Buckwalter and 2016 champion Chris Windom, the seas parted for Bacon to stage his first career Silver Crown Series victory Friday night at the historic Williams Grove Speedway.

Windom led the first 47 laps and Buckwalter led from Laps 48 to 99, but on the final lap, Windom spun the Pennsylvania driver going into Turn 1, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Windom led the second-to-last lap, but on the final lap, in the middle of Turns 1 and 2, his right rear tire gave away and Bacon scooted by to lead the only circuit that mattered.

“It’s pretty cool,” Bacon said. “The tracks we race at, they’re all historic, but to come out here, the fans really like it when we come out here. The energy level is always up a little bit. Then to win my first Silver Crown race was cool, and to win it at Williams Grove is really cool.”

From the start, it seemed Bacon had a second-to-third-place car, running second in the first practice and then third in the final practice. He qualified third for the 100-lap event and bounced around from third to fifth up until Lap 85.

“I didn’t have a very good car at the beginning, but then the track started taking rubber and it came to us,” Bacon said.

Buckwalter led by as many as 3.1 seconds, but then his sizeable lead wiped away when the caution came out with 17 laps to go. Bacon restarted third, with Buckwalter, Kody Swanson, and Windom in front.

Bacon moved into third by Lap 99, and that’s when Windom got into Buckwalter, spinning the hometown driver around in Turn 1. Under caution, Bacon observed Windom’s right rear tire and noticed not much rubber was left.

“I was telling the guys on the radio, ‘I don’t know if he’s going to make it,'” Bacon said.

Windom led the field into Turn 1 on the final lap, but slowed in the middle of Turns 1 and 2, allowing Bacon to motor by and capture his first-ever Silver Crown Series victory. Now, there’s only one top-tier open-wheel dirt racing series that’s left for Bacon to take the checkered flag.

“I want to win a World of Outlaws Sprint Car race,” Bacon said “We’ve won an All-Star race, USAC Midget race, [USAC] Sprint Car race, Silver Crown race, but I’d really like to win a World of Outlaws Sprint Car race.”

First practice

Justin Grant was fastest in opening practice with a lap of 20.285. Brady Bacon (20.465) and Tyler Courtney (20.564) followed.

Final practice

Chris Windom topped final practice with a lap of 21.133. Justin Grant (21.253) and Brady Bacon (21.307) followed.

Qualifying

Justin Grant won the pole with a time of 21.799. Chris Windom (21.816), Brady Bacon (21.863), Tyler Courtney (21.938), Austin Nemire (22.123), Kody Swanson (22.245), Shane Cottle (22.325), Steve Buckwalter (22.428), Kyle Robbins (22.441), and Matt Goodnight (22.574) followed. Nineteen cars time-trialed.

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