Austin Nemire has high hopes heading into the USAC Silver Crown Series season after recently confirming his full-time return to the series with Nemire/Lesko Racing, including the Hemelgarn Racing/SuperFitness Rollie Beale Classic 100 at Toledo Speedway Friday May 4.

Team owner Bob Lesko recently acquired a pair of new-to-him race cars, a relatively new 2017 dirt Silver Crown car previously owned by Mal Lane and an older but potent asphalt Silver Crown car previously piloted by 2000 Silver Crown champion Tracy Hines that was owned by Lightfoot Racing.

“I took a year off because we only had a dirt car,” said 18-year-old Nemire, who made just five Silver Crown starts in 2017. “Bob Lesko went out, and now we’ve got a dirt and pavement car for next year, so I’m really excited about that.”

The chance to return to full-time to Silver Crown has Nemire admittedly excited. He ran two full-time seasons in 2015 and ’16, fishing eighth in the standings each season.

In particular Nemire is looking forward to returning to asphalt tracks such as Lucas Oil Raceway and Toledo (Ohio) Speedway, venues where Nemire believes he’ll have a chance to shine.

“I’ve always raced pavement, so it is more my strong suit compared to the dirt,” Nemire said. “Being that it is a nice balanced schedule, half and half dirt and pavement, it’s definitely going to fall in my favor.”

If the combination of Nemire and Lesko sounds familiar, it’s because the two families have teamed up before. Nemire’s late grandfather, Jerry Nemire, previously drove for the Lesko family many years ago.

In a way, it’s kind of like Austin Nemire and Lesko are completing one big circle. In a manner of speaking, that is.

“My grandpa used to race for his dad back in the day for Lesko Racing, so we’re kind of bringing it all back. It’ll be kind of neat,” the younger Nemire said. “He (Bob) is out of New Jersey and he has always had cars. Last year we talked with them and he said, ‘Yeah, let’s go run the dirt since I only have a dirt car right now. We’ll see how we can do and go from there. At the end of this year he was impressed and said, ‘Lets go get two new cars and run for a championship.’”

Nemire plans to make the Silver Crown division his focus, but said he wouldn’t be against dabbling in other types of racing here or there as his schedule allows or as opportunities present themselves.

“I’m sure we’ll hit or miss some other stuff. We still have a winged sprint car we might mess around with a little bit,” Nemire said. “Being that I’m in school, it’s kind of slowing down a little bit. I need a backup plan of some sort.

But mainly we’ll do the Silver Crown stuff and see from there. I am running the Fort Wayne Rumble here in a few weeks for Tom O’Connell and I’m looking forward to getting back there.”

Rand Thompson

Looking forward to seeing Austin race this season