TOLEDO, Ohio — USAC has raced in Toledo since its inception in 1956, and over the past six decades, no driver has won more USAC races in the “Glass City” than hometown hero Rollie Beale.
Beale won five USAC sprint car races at Toledo between 1971 and 1976.
However, on July 28 at Toledo’s Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness Rollie Beale Classic, one driver has an opportunity to do something not even Beale was able to accomplish.
Bobby Santos is looking to become the first driver in history to win in all three USAC national divisions at the half-mile asphalt oval, following a USAC National sprint car victory in 2006 and a midget win in 2009.
The Franklin, Mass., native has two Silver Crown starts at Toledo, including a third-place run in 2012 and a 16th in 2015 after being involved in an early race accident, but Santos has seen a major resurgence this after not seeing USAC victory lane for two years.
He has two victories this season, coming at Phoenix Raceway in April and last Thursday at Lucas Oil Raceway.
In fact, Santos’ recent hot streak included a stop at Toledo last Friday, where he was victorious in the 40-lap King of the Wing Sprint Car Shootout Series.
The last time USAC was on hand at Toledo, Tanner Swanson walked away from a vicious turn one crash while leading at the halfway mark, and older brother Kody Swanson carried on after the incident to nab his second win there after a win in 2011.
The current Silver Crown point leader has already scored on the pavement once this season, at LOR in May. One more win would prove to be historic, though, as it would move him past Brian Tyler for second all-time in career Silver Crown wins with 18.
Arizona’s Jerry Coons Jr. has been “Mr. Consistency” throughout his career, but especially in his previous four trips to Toledo, where he’s been first, fourth, first and fourth.
Additional expected entrants who have previous Toledo Silver Crown experience include Shullsburg, Wisconsin’s David Byrne, who led 69 of the 100 laps at Phoenix before finishing third. Byrne is a veteran of two Silver Crown starts at Toledo – a 12th in 2011 and a sixth in 2015.
Aaron Pierce has one start and one top-five finish at Toledo – a fifth in 2015. The driver who owns the fastest official lap in Silver Crown racing history is coming off a strong third-place result at LOR last Thursday.
Jacob Wilson has yet to compete on the pavement this season with the Silver Crown Series, but the two-time Little 500 champion and Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial winner will certainly be a threat, as evidenced by his runner-up finishes in a National Sprint race in 2009 and the series’ most recent Silver Crown meeting at Toledo in 2015.
Chris Windom is the defending Silver Crown champion, but has yet to turn a wheel in Silver Crown competition at Toledo in his career.
CREDIT: USAC Media