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Wilson Returns to Silver Crown, Springfield after 3 Year Wait

Jacob Wilson returns to the Bettenhausen 100 after a 3-year wait. Photo courtesy USAC Media - Photographer: Rich Forman Photo

Series News Release - USAC Media

Springfield, Illinois (August 15, 2023) - The last time Jacob Wilson sat in a USAC Silver Crown car was on the Springfield Mile nearly three years ago when he finished with a solid top-five result.

Now the Crawfordsville, Ind. native and past dirt mile Silver Crown winner will make his return to the series for the first time since that day in 2020 at the very same spot for this Saturday’s 60th running of the Bettenhausen 100 Presented By Hunt Brothers Pizza at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on August 19.

Wilson, a veteran of 54 career Silver Crown starts, hasn’t exactly been sitting idle for the past handful of years. During his hiatus from racing, he’s been busy building up and expanding the family business, Wilson’s 24-Hour Towing. His brother and crew chief, Clint Wilson, recently got married and Jacob will tie the knot with his fiancée this September.

The busy off-track schedule may have taken him away from racing for a bit and made it a bit, but the drive is still there for the 33-year-old wheelman who also owns a pair of Little 500 Sprint Car victories at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway in 2013-14.

In May of this year, he made his first start in a racecar of any kind in several years, starting 17th and finishing 4th in the Little 500, but only after receiving a call to drive the car as a last-minute replacement the night before the first practice.

The fire never waned within Wilson, but that performance got the ball rolling, and just a few months later, he announced his return to the Silver Crown series.

“We’ve had the desire, but things just didn’t work out,” Wilson revealed. “When things calmed down a little bit for us at work, we were able to get things put back together.”

The dirt miles are special, and they hold a special place in Wilson’s racing career. Prior to his most recent Silver Crown start at Springfield in 2020, his last start before that was a victory on the Magic Mile at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in southern Illinois.

Known for a long time for his prowess on pavement tracks, the victory was a pleasant surprise for Wilson who soon discovered that the dirt miles fit him like a glove.

“It’s hard to believe that after all the Silver Crown races we’ve run and with all the pavement success we’ve had, that our first win would be on a dirt track,” Wilson remarked. “The dirt miles seem to fit my driving style as you’re playing the patience game with strategy. Hopefully we can replicate some of that and keep the fire going as far as our race team goes. Being out of it for a little bit, it’s going to be getting out there and knocking 10 laps out and then go from there.”

Wilson feels that rust won’t be a factor, but getting back into the swing of things as he did while racing regularly with USAC between 2008-2020 will be a change from what he’s been accustomed to over the past three years.

“Knocking the rust off is not really a huge issue but it’s one of those deals in which I’d rather be doing it every weekend instead of once every three years,” Wilson said with a laugh.

Saturday’s race at Springfield is the plan for a resumption of his USAC Silver Crown career, which will also include a stop in the Ted Horn 100 at Du Quoin on Saturday, September 2, plus even more to come in the future.

“We’re going to hit the stuff we know,” Wilson revealed. “We sold our dirt wing sprint cars. It’s something we tried, but really didn’t fit me at all. We’re trying to get back into stuff we know and love. The crown cars have always held a special place in our heart – the miles, the big pavement tracks – it fits our style, and it seems like the events themselves, there’s just more prestige and more hype around them. We’re looking to get back into some more and build into next year after having the winter to ramp up everything and take it from there.”

Wilson will take on Springfield with the same team, car and operation he left off with in 2020 during his last Silver Crown start aboard his Wilson Brothers Racing/RGT Sales – Lucas Oil – Wix Filters – FK Indy – JetStar/Maxim/Claxton Chevy. He’ll have his brother, Clint, on the wrenches as well as USAC’s National Chief Mechanic of the Year, Matt Hummel, by his side once again as well.

“We’re excited,” Wilson exclaimed. “Expectations are high, but we’re also realists about it. A top-five would be a win after being out for so long. But you’re never going to win with that as your goal, so we’ll see what we got.”

Jacob Wilson becomes the 44th entry for Saturday’s Bettenhausen 100 field at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, which is the largest assemblage of USAC Silver Crown cars for a series event since 2005. The Bettenhausen 100 will be streamed live Saturday on FloRacing.


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