Shane Cockrum Usac Silver Crown Win Wg 061821
Shane Cockrum (TWC photo)

Cockrum, BLS Motorsports To Chase Silver Crown Title

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – For the first time in his career, Shane Cockrum and BLS Motorsports will chase the USAC Silver Crown championship this season.

The Benton, Ill., native and fire chief for the city by trade owns 47 career series starts since 2011, but only three have occurred on pavement. Now, the four-time Silver Crown winner is prepared to run all 11 races on dirt and pavement.

Cockrum has dirt wins in the Ted Horn 100 at the Du Quoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds in 2014-15, the Sumar Classic at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track in 2015 and the Williams Grove 100 at Pennsylvania’s Williams Grove Speedway last year.

The Williams Grove victory also came in Cockrum’s first career start for the new BLS team, and the instant success on the tour’s dirt tracks gave the team confidence to expand their operation.

“We knew that it would be a process,” Cockrum said.  “We have some experienced team members, but we had a new team, so getting them to jell and get good results quickly is sometimes easier said than done.  Fortunately, on the dirt side of things, we were pleasantly surprised it came around as fast as it did, which opened this thing up and allowed us to venture into the races that it’s going to take to win a championship.”

Cockrum is speaking of the pavement tracks, which make up six races on the Silver Crown schedule. Cockrum’s previous series starts on asphalt have come at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind., finishing 17th in 2014, and nine and 17th in 2016 for Hardy Boys Motorsports. 

“We got our feet wet in the pavement deal a few years ago and, honestly, we learned what we didn’t know,” Cockrum said.  “So, we’ve kind of had some time to prepare and change some things to where we can contend without one operation taking from the other. Obviously, it’s the same team for both (surfaces), but sometimes you can hurt your dirt program and help your pavement program when you’re a strong dirt team, and vice versa.

“Getting all those little issues worked out and understanding each program, I think that’s what’s going to help us be more successful than we have been in the past.”

Cockrum’s pavement experience is relatively limited, however, Cockrum feels his driving style lends itself to future success on both surfaces.

“I wouldn’t say my pavement experience is extensive by any means,” Cockrum said. “The pavement car really fits my smooth and straight driving style, so I’ve got my fingers crossed, but I certainly hope my style translates and we can battle the Swansons for some wins.”

Despite his role as a dirt specialist, Cockrum finished fifth in the series standings in 2015 and eighth in 2014, as well as in each of the past two seasons in 2020 and 2021.

Cockrum has point racing experience, too, winning three sprint car track championships at Putnamville, Indiana’s Lincoln Park Speedway in 2016, ’18 and ’19.

“I think I’m going to try to take an in-between approach,” Cockrum said. “I’m just going to try to win races and hope the points will follow. In any series I’ve ever been a part of, our mind set has been to go win races, and if we do that, everything else will take care of itself.”

In the meantime, Cockrum will compete in several USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship events for team owner Shane Wade.

Among the events scheduled for the team this year is the Eastern Storm in June, Indiana Sprint Week in July and the Western trip in November. His first foray in the car with USAC will come February 17-19 at Florida’s Bubba Raceway Park.

The new USAC Silver Crown season for Cockrum and his Maxim/Kistler dirt car begins on the dirt at Terre Haute on May 1. Pavement races, meanwhile, begin on May 27 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Brownsburg, Ind. 

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