“It’s Unbelievable!” Pursley Scores First USAC Silver Crown Win On Last Lap at Port Royal (2024)

By Richie Murray

PORT ROYAL, PA – It took only two races for Daison Pursley to transform himself from a USAC Silver Crown Rookie into a USAC Silver Crown winner following Saturday night’s thriller at Pennsylvania’s Port Royal Speedway.

Perhaps no other Rookie in series history has notched as spectacular of a victory as the Locust Grove, Okla. native did on the 1/2-mile dirt oval as he erased a two-plus second deficit over the final few laps, then took over the lead with a highwire high side pass of Justin Grant off the fourth and final turn on the 50th and final lap.

In doing so, Pursley became the first driver in 2024 to record feature victories in all three of USAC’s national divisions: USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars and USAC Silver Crown.

Not only was it the first victory for Pursley in Silver Crown competition, but it was also the same for Team AZ Racing who, similarly, was making its second ever start and came away with a spectacular score for their Team AZ Racing/Avanti Windows & Doors – Apache Transportation – Oak Craft Elegant Cabinetry/DRC/Ott Chevy.

Pursley showed glimpses of his immediate Silver Crown expertise in his series’ debut at the Belleville (Kan.) High Banks in May. After a mechanical issue stymied their start, Pursley charged from the tail of the 25-car field to finish fifth.

It’s easy to forget that while Pursley is winning, he’s also still learning on the fly, just as he did at Belleville and just as he did at Port Royal en route to a magical night at The Speed Palace.

“At Belleville, I felt like we had a really good piece, but then the clutch went out on it and the transmission and all that, which is new to all of us,” Pursley explained. “It’s different than micros or anything I’ve ever had to drive with it having a clutch and all that. To be able to start the race, which is the first step, let alone race for the win like that, it’s unbelievable.”

Initially, it was Brady Bacon who jumped out to the early lead after qualifying for the pole position for the first time since the 2016 Hoosier Hundred eight years earlier at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. But the first stoppage of the night came early on the second lap in turns three and four when contact between Chase Dietz (12th) and C.J. Leary (13th) resulted in a knocked out front end for Leary. As Leary skidded to a stop, 20th running Nathan Moore collided with Leary, knocking both drivers out of the race. Dietz continued onward to finish sixth.

For the third place running Logan Seavey, Port Royal has been a honey hole of sorts with him being the only winner in the two-year history of Silver Crown racing at the track. However, on this night, he suddenly slowed on the back straight on lap 14 with an apparent fuel leak, which prompted a caution. After a minute in the Indy Metal Finishing Work Area, he resumed his race, restarting at the tail before driving to a 10th place result.

Moments after the restart, Grant was on the move, working past Pursley for second with a drive off the bottom of turn two on lap 16. Grant promptly began to reel in Bacon for the race lead, and on lap 30, slid past Bacon in turn one to take over up front. Bacon attempted to return the favor in turn three, but Grant shot around the top side of turn four to rip the lead right back for himself.

At that point in time, Pursley was in full pursuit in what practically became a 50-lap sprint race all while trying to figure out a way to make ground on and pass USAC superstars Brady Bacon and Justin Grant.

“I felt like I was pushing hard the entire race,” Pursley acknowledged. “It didn’t really feel like a Silver Crown race there at all with how hard we were running. Brady was setting a pretty torrid pace there, and if I wanted to keep up with him, I had to do the same. I was able to match Brady’s pace for a little while, and honestly, I didn’t even know how to pass him. I tried a couple times to slide him, and it definitely felt like it wasn’t going to clear.”

In time, Pursley had regrouped and chased down Bacon for the second spot in turn three on the 33rd lap. Meanwhile, Grant had grown his lead to two full seconds as he swiftly cut through lapped traffic. With 10 to go, Grant’s lead had ballooned to 2.4 seconds over the high-riding Pursley. With five to go, Pursley had chopped Grant’s lead in half to a mere second, but it appeared time still might be too short for Pursley to both catch and pass Grant for the win.

As it turned out, he did, in fact, have time. As the pair navigated their way past the lapped car of Mark Smith with two to go, Pursley made his run at Grant in turn three. Pursley slid across the nose of Grant, but Grant turned underneath to the inside of Pursley. The two banged wheels as they exited turn four with chief starter Warren Alston’s white flag waving furiously ahead of them.

Grant led at the stripe by a car length with one half-mile trip remaining. Grant slid himself into turn one before sliding up in front of Pursley at the top of turn two, stifling Pursley’s momentum. Pursley remained committed to the high side entering turn three for the final time while Grant once again slid himself from the bottom of turn three to the top of turn four. However, Grant wasn’t able to get to the top quickly enough as Pursley rode momentum off the cushion to narrowly escape around Grant in turn four and bring it across the finish line 0.519 seconds ahead for the win.

Pursley was followed by Grant in the runner-up spot with Brady Bacon third, Matt Westfall fourth and series point leader Kody Swanson fifth.

For the versatile Pursley, it’s the fifth different division he’s won in this year: USAC Sprint Car, Midget, Silver Crown, Micro Sprint and Winged 410 Sprint Car. But Silver Crown is an entirely different animal than all the rest, but the process of getting to victory lane in all of them – getting up on the wheel – remains the same throughout.

“Silver Crown racing is definitely different and it’s something that I’ve wanted to win in when I signed up for the six dirt races,” Pursley admitted. “This thing was absolutely phenomenal. I just had to get up on the wheel there after Justin got by us and make it happen.”

Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) led a total of 20 laps in his Hemelgarn Racing/NOS Energy Drink – Super Fitness – Hemelgarn Enterprises/DRC/Speedway Chevy, but it didn’t include the one he wanted – the final one. Nonetheless, he earned his best finish of the USAC Silver Crown season to date, but it wasn’t of much consolation to the 2020 Silver Crown champ.

“It’s frustrating,” Grant lamented. “My guys gave me a car that could win the race and I didn’t win the race. That’s the end of it. It doesn’t really matter what happened between the start and finish; I didn’t do my job and we came home second. My car was really good tonight. I just feel like I let everybody down.”

In three career Port Royal USAC Silver Crown starts, Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) has now finished third in 2022, third in 2023 and third in 2024. This time, he led a race high 29 laps from the pole in his Chris Dyson/Concord American Flagpole – Macri Concrete – High Performance Lubricants/Maxim/Ott Chevy.

Making just his second career USAC Silver Crown start as well, Alex Bright (Collegeville, Pa.) picked up the night’s hard charger award, pocketing a $100 bonus courtesy of Irvin King after advancing from 13th to 8th.


USAC SILVER CROWN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 15, 2024 – Port Royal Speedway – Port Royal, Pennsylvania – 1/2-Mile Dirt Oval – USAC Eastern Blast

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: (top-16 locked into the feature) 1. Brady Bacon, 9, Dyson-19.816 (New Track Record); 2. Daison Pursley, 21, Team AZ-19.858; 3. Kody Swanson, 77, Doran/Binks-19.943; 4. Logan Seavey, 22, Rice/Abacus-20.042; 5. Matt Westfall, 54, Westfall-20.098; 6. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-20.264; 7. Mitchel Moles, 119, Reinbold/Underwood-20.285; 8. Chase Stockon, 69, Pink 69-20.342; 9. Chase Dietz, 86, Lee-20.361; 10. Shane Cottle, 53, Five Three-20.503; 11. Kyle Steffens, 08, Steffens-20.521; 12. Briggs Danner, 10, DMW-20.539; 13. Alex Bright, 24, Haggenbottom-20.593; 14. Brian Ruhlman, 49, Ruhlman-20.668; 15. Robert Ballou, 97, Lein-20.715; 16. Carmen Perigo, 52, Stehman-20.857; 17. Trey Osborne, 81, BCR-20.922; 18. Mark Smith, 01, L & M-21.111; 19. Chris Fetter, 15, Fetter-21.321; 20. Mark Bitner, 4, Yeska-21.361; 21. Nathan Moore, 48, Thomas/Moore-21.381; 22. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-21.533; 23. Tom Savage, 38, Savage-22.008; 24. C.J. Leary, 6, Klatt-NT; 24. C.J. Leary, 6, Klatt-NT (Time of 20.223 disallowed); 25. Kaylee Bryson, 26, Pierce-NT (Time of 20.272 disallowed); 26. Trey Burke, 60, Legacy/Wilson-NT (Time of 20.462 disallowed); 27. Gregg Cory, 32, Williams/Cory-NT (Time of 21.309 disallowed).

ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps, top-8 transfer to the feature) 1. Mark Smith, 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Trey Burke, 4. Mark Bitner, 5. Chris Fetter, 6. Nathan Moore, 7. Kaylee Bryson, 8. Trey Osborne, 9. Dave Berkheimer, 10. Tom Savage, 11. Gregg Cory. NT

FEATURE: (50 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Daison Pursley (2), 2. Justin Grant (6), 3. Brady Bacon (1), 4. Matt Westfall (5), 5. Kody Swanson (3), 6. Chase Dietz (9), 7. Mitchel Moles (7), 8. Alex Bright (13), 9. Briggs Danner (12), 10. Logan Seavey (4), 11. Kyle Steffens (11), 12. Carmen Perigo (16), 13. Mark Smith (17), 14. Trey Burke (19), 15. Brian Ruhlman (14), 16. Shane Cottle (10), 17. Robert Ballou (15), 18. Kaylee Bryson (23), 19. Chase Stockon (8), 20. Mark Bitner (20), 21. Chris Fetter (21), 22. Trey Osborne (24), 23. C.J. Leary (18), 24. Nathan Moore (22). 28:53.852 (New Track Record)

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-29 Brady Bacon, Laps 30-49 Justin Grant, Lap 50 Daison Pursley.

USAC SILVER CROWN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-321, 2-Justin Grant-291, 3-C.J. Leary-282, 4-Logan Seavey-248, 5-Kaylee Bryson-205, 6-Taylor Ferns-196, 7-Bobby Santos-183, 8-Mario Clouser-158, 9-Kyle Steffens-156, 10-Trey Burke-145.

USAC NATIONAL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-109, 2-Robert Ballou-100, 3-Logan Seavey-94, 4-C.J. Leary-85, 5-Joey Amantea-76, 6-Justin Grant-75, 7-Kyle Cummins-68, 8-Brady Bacon-60, 9-Matt Westfall-53, 10-Carson Garrett-50.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: June 21, 2024 – Madison International Speedway – Oregon, Wisconsin – 1/2-Mile Paved Oval


Dirt Draft Practice Fastest Driver: Brady Bacon (19.689)

Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier: Brady Bacon (19.816)

Irvin King Hard Charger: Alex Bright (13th to 8th)

Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Race: Daison Pursley

“It’s Unbelievable!” Pursley Scores First USAC Silver Crown Win On Last Lap at Port Royal (2024)


What is an USAC silver crown car? ›

The Silver Crown cars run a 355 (358) cu.in. engine with external self starting capability like an indy car. They are equipped with a clutch system like a Focus Midget. Wheelbase is longer than a spint car, and they run a larger tail tank for the extended distance races that are run in the division.

How fast is a silver crown car? ›

As more major races were held on 1.5-mile and larger superspeedways, USAC developed a new set of technical specifications for Silver Crown cars that reflected the safety, aerodynamic and other requirements for a car capable of 170+ mph laps around big racetracks.

Who has won the USAC Triple Crown? ›

Only two individuals have ever achieved a USAC Triple Crown season by winning driving titles in all three USAC national series: Tony Stewart in 1995 and J.J. Yeley in 2003. But here's the catch for Seavey in 2024.

What is the difference between a sprint car and a silver crown car? ›

Silver Crown cars are much larger than Sprint Cars, are roughly 200 pounds heavier, and carry a 75-gallon fuel cell as opposed to Sprint Car racing's typical 22-gallon fuel cell. Thus, Silver Crown cars are made for long-distance races and tailor-made for 100-mile races on mile-long dirt tracks.

How much horsepower does a USAC Silver Crown car have? ›

The Silver Crown is a car like no other. It's open wheel design, 2-speed gearbox, 819 horsepower engine, and its 68 gallon fuel tank make it so special.

Who is the winningest driver in USAC history? ›

Tom Bigelow. The Elkhorn, WI native was the all-time winningest sprint car driver in USAC history with 52 victories until Dave Darland surpassed him in 2014.

How big is the Silver Crown engine? ›

Bio: A monstrous power machine, the Silver Crown delivers all 800 horses on the track easily. With its 355 cubic inch, it never lacks power on any track that it runs at on the schedule. With a 75 gallon fuel tank and 1600 lbs this car can definitely go long distances very easily.

How fast do USAC Sprint Cars go? ›

and the track layout, these cars can achieve speeds in excess of 160 miles per hour (260 km/h). A lower-budget and very popular class of sprint cars uses 360-cubic-inch (5.9L) engines that produce up to 775 horsepower.

What is the top speed of a crown? ›

2024 Toyota Crown Performance

The top speed for the 2024 Toyota Crown is 116 mph.

Has anyone won the Triple Crown more than once? ›

Whirlaway (1941)

Jockeyed by Eddie Arcaro, the only two-time Triple Crown winner (more on him later). One of four horses to win the Kentucky Derby by eight lengths, a record.

Who has the fastest Triple Crown? ›

Records. Secretariat holds the stakes record for each of the Triple Crown races, the Kentucky Derby (1:59 2/5 ) the Preakness Stakes (1:53), and the Belmont Stakes (2:24). At 18, Steve Cauthen became the youngest jockey to win the Triple Crown, riding Affirmed in 1978.

Who has won the 4 crown in USAC? ›

4-Crown Nationals Winners
YearUSAC MidgetsUSAC Sprints
2019Tyler CourtneyTyler Courtney
2021Chris WindomTyler Courtney
2022Chris WindomJustin Grant
2023Logan SeaveyLogan Seavey
38 more rows

What fuel do sprint cars use? ›

What is a Sprint Car? A World of Outlaws Sprint Car is a purpose-built open-wheel race car that must weigh at least 1,400 pounds with the driver in the car. The 410-cubic inch engine is fueled by methanol and produces approximately 900 horsepower.

Who is the king of sprint cars? ›

Dennis Steven Kinser (born June 2, 1954), nicknamed "The King", is a former professional sprint car racing driver. He has won 20 championships in the World of Outlaws (WoO) series.

What is USAC silver crown? ›

The Silver Crown Car was designed originally to run a 100 mile race on a one mile track, however, with fewer and fewer one mile tracks available, they also run them on half mile tracks. The United States Auto Club (USAC) is one of the sanctioning bodies racing in States.

What is the difference between USAC midget and sprint car? ›

Midget cars are smaller versions of a full size sprint car, normally non-wing only. Midgets date back to the 1930s as a very common form of sprint car racing, still very popular today and also sanctioned by USAC, POWRI, and others.

What engine is in a USAC sprint car? ›

The 410 cubic engine specification currently is being utilized throughout USAC's National Sprint cars and the USAC/CRA Sprint Series based in California.

What does USAC stand for? ›

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 led to the creation of the Universal Service Administrative Company, or USAC, an independent, not-for-profit corporation designated as the administrator of the federal Universal Service Fund by the FCC.


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