INDIANAPOLIS – Good things come in pairs, so they say, and that was the case for Bud Kaeding during the 2007 USAC Silver Crown Series season.
A second consecutive Silver Crown championship in 2007 made Kaeding the third consecutive driver to win two straight titles with the series, following in the steps of J.J Yeley and Dave Steele.
Overall, Kaeding was the fourth to earn back-to-back titles with the series. The first was Jack Hewitt in 1986 and 1987, the same Hewitt who once babysat a young Kaeding.
Kaeding never won during the season, becoming the first driver since Tony Stewart in 1995 to do so and win the Silver Crown championship in the same year.
Furthermore, Kaeding didn’t lead a single lap on the 13-race schedule, yet consistency led him to his 38-point final margin over Wayne Reutimann Jr.
For much of the season, Kaeding was mired around third to fourth in points, as five different drivers led the standings in the first five races of the season: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Tracy Hines, Paul White, Aaron Pierce and Reutimann.
Stenhouse led off the campaign by winning his first career USAC Silver Crown event in just his sixth series start at the Copper on Dirt at Manzanita Speedway in Arizona in February.
Hines brought car owner A.J. Foyt back to victory lane by controlling the final four laps of the first pavement event of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March.
It was the same car, different driver taking the glory on the Iowa hardtop in early May, with Bobby East’s domination in the No. 14 for the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and 1972 Silver Crown titlist.
Pierce captured the victory in a thrilling debut at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway in May, while Brian Tyler earned his lone victory of the season at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in June, a year after winning in a sprint car at the same three-quarter-mile paved oval.
Reutimann surged to the point lead at the Richmond stop and stood atop the standings longer than anybody not named Kaeding during the season.
The Foyt car continued its prowess of the pavement at Chicagoland Speedway in July, with its merry-go-round of star drivers stepping in and producing immediate results.
Yeley led every lap in winning his 13th career Silver Crown race following capturing his 13th career series pole, all of which occurred on Friday the 13th.
The Foyt team delivered a 1-2 sweep in August at O’Reilly Raceway Park (now Lucas Oil Raceway), with East leading wire-to-wire over Chilean teammate Pablo Donoso, who finished in the runner-up spot.
A steady Kaeding, who hadn’t finished better than fourth in the first seven races, stepped to the top of the heap to take the championship point lead following his best run of the year, a third-place finish in mid-August at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, a time-shortened event won by Stenhouse.
Shane Cottle was the next in line to corral a first career Silver Crown victory in an impressive performance under the lights on the Magic Mile of the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds, where Kaeding once again finished third.
Yeley gave car owner Foyt wins five and six of the season with September pavement scores at the series debut on the one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway and again at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.
Jerry Coons Jr. was dominant at Eldora Speedway, leading all 50 laps for his first career Silver Crown triumph at the 4-Crown Nationals.
In the finale, Indiana’s Cameron Dodson became the fourth driver to win his first career Silver Crown race during the 2007 season, leading the final 17 laps of the Copper World Classic at Phoenix Int’l Raceway.
Dodson was named Silver Crown Rookie of the Year, while Mat Neely was tabbed as the series’ Most Improved Driver.