A late top five battle ended in disaster for Jerry Coons Jr. in Thursday’s Hoosier Hundred.
After starting ninth, the veteran Coons had methodically marched toward the front of the field, sitting seventh at the halfway point and rising into the top five as the race entered the final 40 laps. The 46-year-old was challenging Tyler Courtney for fourth on Lap 88 when he saw an opportunity to make the pass.
Coons dove under Courtney going down the long back straightaway. The duo went into Turn 3 side-by-side, but they quickly made contact.
The resulting force sent Coons’ No. 20 Gene Nolen Racing car careening up the track and into the outside wall. The veteran’s machine flipped once before coming to a stop on the outer edge of the track.
Coons took a hard hit in the crash, but claimed he was “just sore with a junked race car.”
The collision eliminated Coons from the race, relegating him to an 18th-place result. The 2008 USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series champion didn’t mince words afterwards.
“Tyler Courtney drove flat over me,” he told Short Track Scene.
“He knows he drove over me. It’s pretty clear.”
One day removed from a win in the Tony Hulman Classic, Courtney continued on to claim a third-place result.
The Hans Lein driver quickly took blame for the incident with Coons in the aftermath of the race, claiming that radio issues contributed to his mistake.
“He did (get dumped),” Courtney said of Coons. “I didn’t do that on purpose. We struggled with the radios all night. I couldn’t hear my spotter except for on the frontstretch, and that happened in (Turn) 3.
“I don’t race like that. I hope he knows I didn’t do that on purpose. It was just a bad deal that he got the raw end of. I feel bad for it.”
Neither driver expressed an immediate urge to talk to the other afterward.
“There’s not going to be any talking,” Coons said. “(Courtney) knows he drove over me. There’s a very nice video on Twitter. It’s already out there. Pretty clear what happened.”
While frustrations were high, Courtney believed the two drivers would sort their problems out quickly.
“It’s part of racing,” he said. “Fortunately we race a lot together. We’ll get it worked out.”