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Photo by Diane Cox
Edwardsville native Patrick Lawson gets ready for a practice run at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 25. Lawson races in the USAC Silver Crown Series across the country.
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Photo by Diane Cox
Just moments before qualifying, Edwardsville native Patrick Lawson poses next to his car. The USAC Silver Crown Series was one of three races June 25 at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Edwardsville native Patrick Lawson learned the ropes of racing from his uncle and worked his way into the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) as a young man. He’s worked his way up to the United States Auto Club series (USAC) and now races with drivers from all over the country.
Before family and friends, Lawson recently took to the track on June 25 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison as part the Vatterott College Silver Crown Showdown before the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
The 1994 Edwardsville High graduate felt the financial tug most racers feel from actively competing and considered hanging up the helmet.
“My dad was always a USAC Silver Crown fan, so I decided to get a car and give it a whirl,” Lawson said. “We decided to at least drive in the three major USAC races in the area at Du Quoin, Springfield and Indianapolis. Of course, one thing turned into another and now I’m running as much as I can. We’ve only ran one full year and we fell just short of the rookie of the year title.”
After a rookie year of placing in the top 10 in points, Lawson ran a long run of bad luck in the racing circuit.
“We didn’t have mechanical issues and it wasn’t for a lack of hard work,” Lawson said. “I think we actually had the sophomore, junior and maybe even a senior jinx. We’d get caught up in a wreck or have a tire go down on us. It seemed like there was always something for a while there.”
Growing up close to Gateway Motorsports Park, Lawson said he feels like the 1.25-mile track is his home track and looks forward to the rare opportunities when family, friends and sponsors are able to lend support and enjoy the show.
“We race at Iowa, Kansas, and all sorts of places and most family and friends can’t go,” Lawson said. “It’s great to be here at Gateway and have everyone here to share this with me. My uncle, my dad and the Mittler brothers are here and they are one of my sponsors. I have local sponsors like Petrov as well as RC Stormwater. They are great sponsors and I couldn’t do it without sponsorship.”
As the temperatures climbed at Gateway on June 25, the many drivers in the field of USAC cars felt the burn as cars began to overheat and fall into the clutches of the more than 130-degree track temperature. Shane Cottle, driver of the No. 81 USAC car, really felt the heat as his car caught fire in the staging area before taking the track. Lawson was not one of the lucky ones. Qualifying in the 10th spot, Lawson finished 12th after he suffered an oil leak from a potentially cracked engine block.
“These things happen,” Lawson said. “When you get temperatures like this, it’s bound to happen once in a while. We hoped we could get it fixed. We definitely had a top five car.”
Lawson’s next race is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July and hopes to make a great showing for family, friends and fans. He resides in Edwardsville with his longtime girlfriend, Lauren Pierson, and his 5-year-old daughter Madison.
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