Chris Windom (Dave Olson photo)

Lein Tabs Windom For Dirt Silver Crown Races

INDIANAPOLIS – Past USAC Silver Crown Series champion Chris Windom has agreed to terms with car owner Hans Lein to contest all seven dirt races on the Silver Crown schedule this year.

Windom, the 2016 Silver Crown titlist, will take over the reins of the black No. 97 that has been vacated by Tyler Courtney.

Courtney made 12 starts with the team between 2017-’20 and won twice, once at Eldora’s 4-Crown Nationals in 2017 and then at the Indiana State Fairgrounds during the 2019 Hoosier Hundred.

A veteran of eight wins in 74 Silver Crown starts with the likes of RW/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, RPM/Fred Gormly, Gene Kazmark, Nolen Racing, and most recently, Goodnight Racing, Windom looks forward to the new opportunity with the Edgerton, Wis.-based team and their one-race old DRC chassis powered by a brand-new Stanton Mopar engine.

“I feel good about it,” Windom said of his opportunity with Lein. “The car has had a lot of success.  They won the Hoosier Hundred and it’s always fast. I love running the dirt Crown races – the half miles and the miles, so I’m looking forward to having a seat in that. I’m just going to have fun and try to win as many races as possible.”

This won’t be Lein’s first time teaming up with the Canton, Ill., native who last year became one of seven drivers to have won USAC’s Silver Crown, AMSOIL National Sprint Car and NOS Energy Drink National Midget driving titles in his career.

Lein fielded a sprint car for Windom at the first six USAC events in 2015, finishing third and second in back-to-back nights at Ocala’s Bubba Raceway Park.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Lein noted. “Chris has always been right there with us.  (Crew chief) Greg Nelson knew him before I did. We’ve got a lot of pride winning the Hoosier Hundred and we’d like to repeat that again. I know we’ve got a good chance with Chris because he’s won just about everywhere. We’re fired up!”

Windom recalled his past racing experiences with Lein and Nelson fondly because of their approaches to racing, and anticipates picking up right where they left off six years ago.

“Hans is a very easy guy to get along with,” Windom explained. “He comes to have fun at the track, but he obviously brings nice equipment and wants to win as well. I worked with Greg at RFMS Motorsports when I ran their midget for a season and, when I ran the sprint car for Hans, Greg was the crew chief on that too. We get along really well.

“He’s the same way as Hans, easy-going and likes to have fun at the track, but he’s also a really good mechanic and, once we get there, they take it pretty seriously and I know they bring the best stuff they can.”

Windom has accomplished a treasure trove of achievements in the USAC Silver Crown division over the years, winning a title, twice at Eldora, twice at the DuQuoin mile, and once each at Springfield, Williams Grove, Terre Haute and Belleville.

However, there’s one event still lurking among the boxes Windom would like to check off, and he noted it without an ounce of hesitation.

“The Hoosier Hundred,” Windom said poignantly. “That’s the main one there. That’s the one that’s evaded me. I’ve won at Springfield and Du Quoin, but I really want to win the Hoosier Hundred. That’s definitely at the top of the list, but I just want to go out and have fun and win all the dirt races, if possible. I know we’ll have a lot of success as long as everything stays together.

“The Silver Crown races are a lot about attrition, so you’ve got to have something that’s there at the end. It doesn’t matter how fast you are early, how fast you are qualifying, any of that, you still have to be there at the end of the race,” Windom added. “That’s the big thing in these cars and, hopefully, we can accomplish that this year, and try to go through as many races with as few issues as possible.”

Lein also shared his checklist of items he’d like to hang on his banner with the USAC Silver Crown series.

While Lein has a Hoosier Hundred in the bag and Windom is still seeking that triumph, Lein has ambitions of winning an event that Windom already has on his personal resume.

“As a kid growing up, the miles were always important to me,” Lein said. “It’s where the big guys, where my heroes ran, and the history means so much. Springfield has always been a big deal to me, and the miles are a big deal. Chris is good at Eldora and Terre Haute, so with him being with us, we’ve got a good chance to do it.

“I’m not going to say we can sweep all seven races, but I think we’ve got a 50/50 chance of winning half of them.”

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