USAC racing

USAC’s Tyler sees
best season in Silver Crown Series

Michigan native moved to Indiana
to pursue his dream

By Konnie McCollum
Contributing Writer

(June 2006) – USAC Silver Crown series veteran Brian Tyler has started the 2006 season off with high hopes that this will be the year he finally wins the big one. Although Tyler has been competing in the series since 1996 and has finished second and third numerous times, he has never won the championship.

Brian Tyler

Photo provided by USAC

Brian Tyler led the
series in points in
mid-May. He will
compete in Sparta.

“I have been right there and let it slip at the end several times,” Tyler said in a telephone interview in late May.
He feels, however, that this season he may finally get that win.
By the looks of things so far this season, Tyler is certainly on track to reach his goal. In January at the 29th Copper World Class USAC Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Filters at Phoenix International Raceway, Tyler started in pole position and finished third.
In March at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, Tyler started in seventh position but worked his way to the lead with seven laps to go to win the USAC Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Engineering. It was his 10th series win and his first on pavement since 2002.
Tyler headed to the May 26 “Hoosier 100” at Indianapolis Fairgrounds with a six-point advantage over all other competitors in the series. After Indianapolis, Tyler heads to the Kentucky Speed-way on June 16 for the “Kentucky 100” USAC Silver Crown Series race. That 100-mile, 67-lap race will start at 9 p.m., but gates open at the track at 4 p.m. The “Insight Commu-nications Pole Night” NASCAR Busch Series practice is also scheduled for that night.
The Busch Series’ “Meijer 300 Presentedby Oreo” is scheduled for an 8 p.m. start on Saturday, June 17. The 200 lap, 300-mile race will be preceded by a Lonestar country music concert.

USAC Car Specs

• Weight: 1,500 pounds minimum, without driver
• Chassis: Tubular 4130 aircraft steel; minimum 1 1/2 inch O.D. and .095 wall thickness
• Horsepower: 700 to 730
• Engine: Normally aspirated, production based V-8’s. 355 cubic inch maximum
• Fuel: Methanol
• Capacities: Fuel-75 gallons maximum. Oil-11 quarts average.
• Speed: More than 170 mph straightaway speeds at the paved ovals
• Wheelbase: 96 inches minimum
• Overall Width: 80 inches maximum
• Overall Length: 15 feet maximum
• Overall Height: 61 inches average to top of roll cage
• Suspension: Solid front and rear axels with torsion bar or coil spring suspension
• Wheels: Aluminum-15 inches in diameter. Right rear 18 inches wide; left rear 14 inches wide; front wheels 10 inches wide.
• Tires: Bias-Ply racing tires
• Driveline: Hand operated clutch with direct drive or two-speed transmission. Quick-change gears are behind the rear end assembly.
• Described as the world’s most competitive major racing series by Auto Racing Analysis, the car continues to thrill fans nationwide. To compete in USAC’s premier series is the pinnacle for many American open-wheel competitors and to win the championship is a prestigious milestone in any driver’s career. Previous champions include Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and Al Unser Sr.
The Silver Crown cars are 1,500 pound, traditionally styled, front engine cars that were originally intended for the dirt surfaces of the famous one-mile dirt tracks such as the Indiana State Fairgrounds, along with the Springfield and DuQuoin fairgrounds in Illinois.
Until these cars were given their own series in 1971, they competed as part of the National Championship Trail, which included the Indianapolis 500. Today, these cars put on exciting shows at paved tracks across the nation in addition to the traditional dirt miles that are so integral to the history of open-wheel racing.
Versatility is the key to success in this series as it makes regular appearances at half-mile dirt and 5/8-mile paved tracks to one-mile dirt and 1.2-mile paved tracks. Silver Crown races are longer in distance than other USAC open wheel division races and distances are usually 100 miles or 100 laps, depending on the track.
A Silver Crown car looks somewhat like a sprint car at first glance, but in reality it is considerably larger. Their wheelbase is a minimum of 96 inches and they can carry as much as 75 gallons of methanol fuel, which lets them finish 100-mile races without a pit stop. Powering these machines are 355 cubic inch American production based engines modified for racing.
A typical Silver Crown engine produces more than 700 horsepower. All cars must have an on board or auxiliary starter and must be able to leave the pits or grid under their own power.
The cost of a new Silver Crown racecar can run as much as $80,000 for a pavement car and a little less for a car to run on the dirt ovals. This is truly a national circuit with races scheduled from California to Virginia.

At 37, Tyler has been racing for more than 20 years. He grew up at tracks around Michigan, his home state, while watching his brother race. After following his brother’s racing career for years, Tyler began racing in motocross. He finished fifth in the nation in 1979 and from there moved on to other types of racing.
“I have raced just about everything there is to race,” Tyler said. He added that he had “accomplished everything in Michigan racing that he could” and realized he would have to leave the state to make a career out of his passion.
Tyler packed up and moved to Indianapolis with absolutely no idea of where he was going to live or work. He met up with several other drivers and began racing around Indianapolis. His move certainly paid off because by 1996, Tyler was racing sprint cars and winning. He won back-to-back USAC Sprint Car Series Championships in 1996 and 1997. That led to his dabbling in Indy Racing League testing during 1998-1999.
In another career advancing move, Tyler and his family have recently relocated to Charlotte, N.C. He said that while he loves racing in the Silver Crown Series, he is interested in going beyond to another series. In 2005, Tyler raced in five ARCA RE/MAX Series and two NASCAR Busch Series races. He is talking with teams about possibilities in those series.
During his spare time, Tyler said he is an instructor for the Richard Petty Driving Experience and has invested in a late-model bumpers business. He also has two sons, Owen and Robert, with whom he loves to spend time.
Tyler said that while Owen, 11, is not all that interested in racing at this time, Robert, 5, sways back and forth about wanting to race. “I have a quarter-midget ready and waiting for the time when Robert is committed and ready.”
Dad doesn’t plan on pushing either of his sons into racing, though, because he said, “It is a really tough career.”
Tyler looks forward to the June 16 race at the Kentucky Speedway. He planned to be at the speedway May 22 for a day of practice. He said he appreciates all the support he is given by racing fans, and all fans are welcome to come on down to the pits.
“Come on down, say ‘hi’ and feel free to ask questions,” he urged the fans.

• For more information on the USAC Silver Crown sprint or midget series, visit: www.USACracing.com.

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