St. Charles, Missouri’s Kyle Steffens is more than 20 years removed from his “upset” victory on the Magic Mile at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. The anniversary of his stirring 2000 Oldani Memorial win comes Saturday night when the USAC Silver Crown Series teams unload for the annual Ted Horn 100. This time Steffens won’t be in a UMP Modified, he will be behind the wheel of his own Silver Crown machine and comes in riding the wave of a top 5 finish at Springfield. On August 21, Steffens qualified a strong ninth and ran to fifth at the end, his first ever top five in a Silver Crown car on one of the dirt miles.
Steffens was a raw sixteen-year-old in 2000 when he battled his far more experienced friend Kevin Gundaker, Jeff Leka, and Jeff Parks in the UMP Modified event held just before the Ted Horn 100. Steffens was hardly one of the odds-on favorites that cloudy day but showed no fear of the high speeds or the stellar field he faced on the Magic Mile. Steffens started twelfth and took the lead with seven to go in the main event. It was a wild celebration in victory lane with Steffens hugging everyone he could find including announcer Jim Childers.
Steffens went on to run UMP late models and modifieds on the short tracks in Missouri and Illinois and developed a fan following. He also raced some of the larger events but never lost his desire to run in the dirt miles in a championship dirt car. Steffens returned in a family-owned car for his Du Quoin Silver Crown debut in 2001 but failed to make the show. The same result occurred in 2002.
The Steffens family sold their dirt car but Kyle was able to pick up occasional rides with Bob Galas and Chuck Hartenstein. Steffens made his first Ted Horn 100 with Galas in 2005 finishing 26th after completing 35 miles. Steffens best finish on any of the dirt miles prior to the 2021 Bettenhausen 100 was a couple of 13th place runs, the last of those coming in the 2019 Ted Horn 100 at Du Quoin which coincided with his return to the series in his own machine.
The Steffens team has been improving each event since Kyle came back on a regular basis in 2019. Steffens finished 14th at Springfield in the 2020 COVID interrupted season completing all 100 miles. His car was very strong in the Bettenhausen 100 this year. He was 23rd fastest out of 38 in the practice session and going out 15th in the order qualified nearly as fast as he practiced setting 13th quick time. He drove a steady race and was still running near the front when the red came out for an accident and then rain.
With the entry list for the 69th Ted Horn 100 being similar to the Bettenhausen 100 at Springfield, at least six drivers who have victories on the Magic Mile would be part of the field with four having won the Ted Horn 100. Steffens would be one of two who have wins on the big track, just not in the mighty uprights. Kyle Steffens would love to add his name to the list of Ted Horn 100 winners at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.
His quest starts Saturday night with practice for the USAC Silver Crown championship cars at 5 p.m., qualifying slated at 6:30 and the Ted Horn 100 at 8:15 p.m. Tickets will be available on race day or by calling the Du Quoin Fair office at 618-542-1535. Info and tickets can also be obtained by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.
Track Enterprises PR