After setting fast time. Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, Calif. charged from tenth on the grid to win the $10,000 to win Riskon360! Open Wheel Showdown for Midgets. He passed teammate Todd Bertrand on lap 38 for the coveted win. 2023 Little 500 winner Jake Trainor, Tanner Swanson, and Two-time USAC National Sprint Car champion Justin Grant of Ione, Calif. rounded out the top-five.
“Yeah I mean it means a lot to me. You asked in terms of my career it certainly does. For me, racing is deeper than just myself. I’m so thankful for this,” Swanson said.
Photos by GWC Media and Gilberts Photography
SOUTHWICK, Mass., Oct. 30 — A dream came true for team owner Tim Bertrand when driver Kody Swanson and the rest of the Bertrand Motorsports team won a special 30-lap midget race at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) on Oct. 15.
Bertrand has always wanted to see one of his cars win a feature at the storied 0.686-mile asphalt oval in Brownsburg, Ind., but prior to that day his midgets had always come up shy of the top spot there. Despite his best efforts, an IRP victory remained an unchecked line on his bucket list.
So when Swanson took the checkered flag, both Bertrand and his driver got a little emotional.
The race was one-third of the Howard Companies Championship Sunday at IRP, and part of IRP’s three-race Browns Oil Service National Pavement Midget Championship. Since it was coupled with the USAC Silver Crown and the 500 Sprint Car Tour season finales, many of the nation’s top open-wheel asphalt drivers were on hand and had midget rides too.
But it was Swanson who took the checkered flag first after grabbing the lead from Davey Hamilton Jr. on lap seven and showing the way the rest of the race in one of the Bertrand Motorsports cars, as Todd Bertrand (Tim’s brother) and Nathan Byrd were his teammates. Swanson’s car is a Gerhardt chassis previously owned and meticulously maintained by Jerome Rodela with a Stanton SR-11X Mopar engine. Swanson had a whopping 4.593-second margin of victory over Justin Grant, who just sealed up his second consecutive USAC AMSOIL national sprint car championship.
Swanson, a native of Kingsburg, Calif., who resides in Indianapolis, and his brother, Tanner, are both masters at IRP. They have the most USAC Silver Crown victories ever at the track. Tanner just broke their tie with eight, and Kody currently has seven.
Kody Swanson is the winningest driver in USAC Silver Crown history with seven championships, and both brothers are also aces in an asphalt sprint or midget.
It marked the second year of Kody Swanson’s participation with the Southwick, Mass.-based Bertrand Motorsports, which has won 12 Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) championships, including this year. In fact, Bertrand Motorsports drivers Avery Stoehr of Lakeville, Mass. and Randy Cabral of Plymouth, Mass., finished first and second in the NEMA point standings this year, just like they did in 2022. Bertrand Motorsports now has 12 NEMA championships and 105 NEMA feature victories. That puts the team just one win away from the late Gene Angelillo, the all-time NEMA car owner winner, who has 106 feature victories.
Indy is a long tow from New England, but that didn’t dissuade Bertrand from wanting to see one of his cars in victory lane at IRP.
“Winning at IRP has been a life-long dream for our team,” he said. “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Kody and his family the last two seasons. He has helped to bring our program to the next level. It was also great to have our good friend Danny Drinan at the last IRP race. We would not have run as well as we did without him.
“IRP is one of the toughest tracks in the world,” Bertrand added. “One cloud that moves in and covers the sun before race time, and your day could be ruined. It is such a technical track — both from a setup and driving perspective.
“IRP also has a ton of history with the midgets. Newman, Stewart, Drinan, Vogler, Fedorcak — the list goes on of the amazing drivers who made their name at IRP. I recall watching ‘Thursday Night Thunder’ when I was a kid, and dreamed of either racing or owning a car that ran there some day,” Bertrand said. “I’ve been aiming for an IRP win my whole racing career.”
“Thursday Night Thunder,” which originally aired on ESPN and ESPN2 from 1989 to 2002, drew national attention to racing on short tracks, including IRP. The Emmy-awarding winning program also saw the birth of some of the sports’ legendary drivers.
“IRP can be such a challenging track, and winning in any division is tough, but I feel like the midgets can be the toughest,” Swanson said. “They seem to be the most affected by any changes in track conditions, and it makes them so difficult to keep up with on what the cars need on any particular day.
“Tim has never been shy with his passion for racing, or his drive to win, and he has never wavered in his pursuit to win at IRP,” Swanson continued. “His family and his entire team have continued to put in the time and effort— bringing multiple cars from such a distance to support this type of racing, and continue towards a chance to win. It has been a special team to be a part of, to witness how motivated everyone has been to work through the low spots, trying to get faster, or get better, or just find what might be missing.
“I'm really thankful for the opportunity to race with Tim, his family and this team, and I'm extremely excited to have been able to win one at IRP together.”
Bertrand Motorsports also started 2023 with a bang when it was part of a joint effort with Kevin Swindell and driver Logan Seavey that resulted in a victory in the 37th running of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., in January. The Chili Bowl is the biggest indoor dirt midget race in the world, and a winter happening.
The team has one more race in 2023, as it will field three midgets for Swanson, Todd Bertrand and Byrd in the first annual Open Wheel Showdown at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring, a three-eighths-mile asphalt track, on Dec. 1-2. A modern version of the former Copper World Classic, it’s a tripleheader for midgets, winged sprint cars and supermodifieds.
But no matter what happens in Vegas, it’s been a very good year for Bertrand Motorsports, especially now that IRP is finally crossed off its bucket list.
Team sponsors include Stanton, Lakeview Advisors LLC, Pinnacle Financial, Bass Plating, Eibach, and JRC Transportation.
BROWNBURG, Ind., Oct. 16 — Doran Binks Racing and driver Kody Swanson finished fourth in the USAC Silver Crown series’ 100-lap season finale Sunday at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park with their Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77. They placed second in the series’ point standings for 2023, coming up just seven points shy of repeating as the series’ champions.
The slim margin underscores how competitive the championship was. Driver Logan Seavey and the Rice Motorsports/Abacus Racing team won the title in USAC’s top class with 676 points to Swanson and Doran Binks Racing’s 669. A total of 836 points were up for grabs in the series’ 11 races.
Doran Binks Racing and Swanson also finished second in the 2023 edition of the 500 Sprint Car Tour Presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores after also winning that series’ inaugural championship last year. They had an eighth-place finish in the 500 Sprint Car Tour’s 40-lap race on Sunday at IRP. That championship’s margin was larger at 58 points, as Tyler Roahrig won the title with 1,818 points to Swanson’s 1,760 after nine races, unofficially.
Swanson guided the Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77 to five victories in 2023 within the two series, which started in April. In a combined total of 20 races within the two series, he was only out of the top five three times, which is a remarkable accomplishment for the Kingsburg, Calif., native and the team based in Lebanon, Ohio.
The team used two different engine manufacturers during the year. A Lanci-prepped Ford powered the Silver Crown car at IRP while the sprint car’s powerplant was a Binks-prepped Chevrolet.
USAC Silver Crown
The weekend’s races at IRP, which also included a midget feature that Swanson won driving for Bertrand Motorsports, were supposed to be held on Saturday. Practice and qualifying were completed on Saturday but the three main events of the program, which was sponsored by the Howard Companies, were pushed to Sunday afternoon due to rain.
On Saturday Swanson won the pole for the USAC Silver Crown race with a time of 20.838 seconds for the 0.686-mile asphalt oval. That was worth three bonus points, and it also extended his record for the most poles in the history of the series to 46. Bobby Santos III qualified second followed by Kody’s brother, Tanner Swanson; Justin Grant and Seavey in the 23-car field.
Kody Swanson and Santos were side by side entering Turn 1 on the first lap, but Swanson had the advantage as they exited the turn and he held the lead for almost a quarter of the race while Seavey slipped to seventh place. In the early going Kody Swanson set the fastest lap run by anyone in the race with a time of 21.289 on lap two, and on lap 17 he had a 0.810-second lead over Santos.
Around that point he was having some issues, however. “It got really tight out of nowhere around lap 20,” he related afterwards, and on lap 24 both his brother and Santos got around him to push him to third.
Tanner Swanson was never again headed, and he won the race by a whopping 9.799 seconds over Santos, Grant, Kody Swanson and C.J. Leary. His victory was his eighth USAC Silver Crown win at IRP, making him the series’ winningest driver at this track and edging Kody, who has seven Silver Crown triumphs at IRP.
Although Tanner had things going his way up front, his brother’s race was getting more complicated. On lap 26 Grant and Leary passed him to push him to fifth, and he remained in fifth through lap 47. That included a yellow-flag period from laps 45 through 53 when Trey Burke’s car began smoking. Although Kody was in fifth place before the yellow, he was some 4.462 seconds ahead of the only driver still in contention for the title, point leader Seavey, who ran in sixth. This was despite the fact Kody had hit the wall slightly in Turn 1 once due to handling issues.
That margin disappeared when Kody pulled off the track and went to the work area on lap 47 and lap 50 under yellow, hoping to make some adjustments to improve the car for a better chance at a good finish. He dropped from fifth to 11th place due to the stops, but he did not lose a lap due to the crew’s quick work.
The green waved again on lap 54, but it was short lived. When Kody entered Turn 1 the car wouldn’t turn properly and he hit the wall between Turns 1 and 2, unfortunately collecting the 15th-place car of Derek Bischak. Kody was able to continue but Bischak’s day was done. The yellow was the final one of the race, and it lasted from laps 55 through 60.
Although the handling of his car was still compromised, Kody was determined to do everything he could to gain every position possible and keep his title hopes alive. That resulted in a valiant effort that was definitely memorable.
He rose from 11th to ninth on lap 63 by passing Dakoda Armstrong and Kyle O’Gara. Two laps later he moved into eighth place by passing Kaylee Bryson, the series’ Rookie of the Year. Two laps after that he got seventh by passing Mario Clouser, and on lap 73 he moved into sixth by passing Davey Hamilton Jr.
The rest of the race was a battle royale for fourth between Seavey, Leary and Kody.
Kody pulled abreast of Seavey several times in Turn 1 and Turn 4 but couldn’t make a pass stick. But on lap 98 of 100 Kody passed Seavey on the backstretch and Leary going into Turn 3 to rise to fourth, which is where he finished.
“Our car was really good for a while,” Kody said after the race. “We changed the rear end before the race, and we had brake problems off and on all weekend. I got into the wall once in Turn 1. Then on the restart the same thing happened in the same turn as the car just wouldn’t turn, and Derek Bischak got collected in it. I hate to have made a mistake that put him out of the race.
“The car was a handful but I kept trying because it was the only chance we had. I kept moving around the track to try to find a line that would give us a chance.
“I want to congratulate Logan Seavey and his team for winning the championship. I also want to thank the Doran Binks crew for all their hard work this year. We came really close. I also want to thank all our sponsors, especially Mission Foods and Glenn Farms, for their support.”
500 Sprint Car Tour
Kody Swanson entered the weekend second to Roahrig by 13 points in the 500 Sprint Car Tour point standings. In addition to Roahrig and Swanson, Armstrong, O’Gara and Santos were still in the running for the title at the season finale.
Swanson qualified fourth on Saturday with a time of 20.536 seconds, just 0.225 off Roahrig’s fast time. The inversion was a six, so Swanson started third in the 23-car field for the 40-lapper, which was the 64th running of the Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial. Tanner Swanson started on the pole with Santos alongside him. Billy Wease started beside Kody, while Jake Trainor started fifth next to Roahrig.
Kody Swanson went low at the drop of the green. The Swanson brothers and Santos were three wide in Turn 2 but Kody had the lead by Turn 4 of the first lap with Santos second, while Wease edged ahead of Tanner Swanson for third.
Santos dropped from second to sixth on lap two, so the top five at that point were Kody Swanson, Wease, Tanner Swanson, Roahrig and Trainor.
Kody was able to build up a half-second lead over Wease by lap five. Two laps later Roahrig passed Tanner for third, and then Tanner dropped back to sixth.
Roahrig passed Wease for second place on lap 11, and then he got under Kody in Turn 4 for the lead working lap 13. Roahrig led the rest of the way.
O’Gara passed Wease for third on lap 17 and Kody for second on lap 18, and he ran in second place the rest of the race.
Yellow-flag laps didn’t count and there was only one caution, which came out with 18 laps down when the car that was 10th, driven by Bryan Gossel, started to smoke and he pitted. Santos also pitted at that point and he also retired.
Swanson kept up with Roahrig and O’Gara on the restart but on lap 20 he dropped from third to fifth when Wease and Tanner Swanson passed him. On the following lap he dropped to eighth when Trainor, Taylor Ferns and Jackson Macenko, the series’ Rookie of the Year, also got by, and that’s where he finished.
Roahrig had a 3.284-second margin of victory over O’Gara. Tanner Swanson was third followed by Wease, Ferns, Trainor and Macenko. Kody was pressured in the late stages by Nick Hamilton, but he held on for eighth. Brian Gerster rounded out the top 10.
“We struggled to get our car to handle,” Kody said afterwards. “We thought we had it closer, but it got way too tight.
“Congratulations to Tyler and his team for winning the title,” he said. “We had a good season, and I want to thank all the men and women on our team and our sponsors for their support.”
The weekend’s races were streamed live on Flo Racing.
For more information see DoranRacing.com.
ANDERSON, Ind., Oct. 8 — Doran Binks Racing’s Kody Swanson kept the Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77 in fourth place from start to finish in the Tony Elliott Classic Saturday at Anderson Speedway to retain second place in the 2023 point standings of the 500 Sprint Car Tour Presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores with one event remaining.
Dakoda Armstrong passed Taylor Ferns on lap 46 and went on to post his first series victory by 4.426 seconds over Ferns, who led the first 45 laps of the 100-lap race on the quarter-mile asphalt oval. They were the only drivers to lead. Point leader Tyler Roahrig won the pole and finished third, followed by Swanson and Caleb Armstrong. Billy Wease, Kyle O’Gara, Bobby Santos III, Brian Vaughn, and Trey Burke rounded out the top 10.
Unofficially Roahrig still leads the point standings going into the season finale this coming Saturday, Oct. 14, at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) in Brownsburg, Ind. He has a 13-point lead over Swanson, 1,598 points to 1,585 points. There are 220 points up for grabs at the season finale, so mathematically the title is up for grabs between the top five drivers, which includes Armstrong in third (1,521 points), O’Gara in fourth (1,520 points), and Santos (1,420 points). The different scenarios of possible point totals at IRP are too numerous to spell out since bonus points are awarded to the driver who wins the pole, leads a lap, and leads the most laps in addition to the points earned by finishing positions.
On Saturday at Anderson the top 10 ran mostly unchanged for the first 40 laps. The leader, Ferns, got loose between Turns 1 and 2 working lap 46. Roahrig, who was running second, checked up to avoid her but there was still light contact between them as they exited Turn 2. Armstrong capitalized on the situation and made the winning move by ducking under them both on the backstretch, vaulting from third to the lead while Ferns and Roahrig regrouped.
Swanson, whose car is powered by a Dan Binks-prepped Chevy engine, chased Roahrig for the remainder of the race. He had to fight off Caleb Armstrong in the second half of the event, but he was able to stay in fourth place until the checkered.
Swanson also set the fourth-fastest lap of the race with a 11.404 on lap eight, which was the same lap that Ferns set the fastest lap of the race with a 11.277.
Swanson topped the first of two practice sessions earlier in the day, which was sunny but cold with a steady wind.
“I’m thankful we finished fourth,” he said after the race. “I thought we had a good car in practice. We didn’t stray too far from that setup, but the handling just kept going away from us in the feature. Everything was mechanically sound with the car; we were just a little off what the track required in the feature.”
After a false start when Tim Creech spun in Turn 4, the pace only slowed three times. A yellow flew with four laps down when Brady Allum stopped on the backstretch due to a flat right-rear tire. Another yellow came out with 25 laps down when the 10th place driver, Tony Main, spun in Turn 2 as the leaders were about to lap him. A red flew with 52 laps down when Donnie Adams Jr. (10th) and Jackson Macenko (11th) collided on the backstretch at the opening to the pits. The back of Macenko’s car landed on the front of Adams’ car. Removing them caused a lengthy delay, but neither driver was hurt.
Doran Binks Racing also fields cars for Swanson in the USAC Silver Crown series, where the team and Swanson are also second in the current entrant and driver point standings, just 16 points out of first. That series’ season finale is also at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park this coming Saturday, Oct. 14.
Swanson and Doran Racing are the defending champions of both series.
ROSSBURG, Ohio, Sept. 24 — Kody Swanson trailed point leader Logan Seavey by just one point going into the USAC Silver Crown race that was part of the 41st 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway. Swanson drove the Doran Binks Racing Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77 to a solid fifth-place finish in the 50-lapper that ended in the wee hours of Sunday morning, but Seavey won the race and led the most laps to extend his lead to 16 points going into the season finale Oct. 14 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Brownsburg, Ind. No other drivers have enough points to contend for the title at the season finale. A maximum total of 76 points are up for grabs on Oct. 14.
Swanson qualified eighth but he actually started seventh behind polesitter Justin Grant, C.J. Leary, Jake Swanson, Chase Dietz, Seavey, and Matt Westfall. Brady Bacon qualified third but suffered an eye injury before the race, so Tyler Courtney substituted for him and went to the rear of the field for the green.
Jake Swanson (no relation) had a bad start and faded from third to seventh on the first lap, which elevated Kody Swanson to sixth place. He remained in sixth for the first 22 laps, which included a yellow with six laps down when Matt Mitchell drew the race’s only caution flag.
Although Grant won the pole, he had dropped to fifth by lap eight, which put him right in front of Swanson. The pair battled the rest of race as they experimented with their lines to try to find the fastest way around the half-mile clay oval.
Carmen Perigo passed both Grant and Swanson on lap 23 to push Swanson back to seventh. Perigo would go on to finish fourth.
Swanson passed Grant to regain sixth place on lap 24. He moved into the top five on lap 32 by passing Leary.
Seavey took the checkered with a 2.169-second margin of victory over Westfall. Seavey also won the USAC sprint and USAC midget features at Eldora Saturday night.
Dietz, who led the first nine laps, finished third in the Silver Crown race followed by Perigo. Swanson was fifth, 0.416 of a second ahead of Grant, with the No. 77, which is a Maxim with a Bob Hampshire-built Chevy engine. Mitchel Moles, Courtney, Leary and Chase Stockon rounded out the top 10 in the 28-car field.
Swanson set the sixth-fastest lap of the race with a time of 19.842 seconds.
On Friday Swanson qualified eighth with a time of 17.534 seconds, just 0.458 off Grant’s pole-winning lap.
On Oct. 14 Swanson, the winningest driver in series history, will go for an unprecedented eighth USAC Silver Crown title. Doran Racing and Swanson are the series’ defending champions and Swanson is its winningest driver ever, with 40 victories.
Doran Binks Racing and Swanson also compete in the 500 Sprint Tour. They’re currently second in that championship too, just three points behind. Its season finale will also be at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park on Oct. 14, but before that is another race Oct. 7 at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Ind. Swanson and Doran Racing won that series’ inaugural championship last year.
AMHERST, Ohio, Sept. 11 — The 500 Sprint Car Tour Presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores sanctioned a race at Lorain Raceway Park for the first time Saturday night. Many of the teams entered were seeing the three-eighths mile asphalt oval for the first time, so they didn’t have many notes to help determine their set-ups. That was the case with Doran Binks Racing, but it still recorded a top-five finish of fourth with driver Kody Swanson in the 50-lap main event.
Swanson qualified fifth in the 14-car field with a time of 14.067 seconds with the Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77, which was just 0.134 off Tyler Roahrig’s fast time of 13.933. That was a new track record for non-wing sprint cars here, as the old mark was 14.653 set by Bobby Santos III in 2017.
The inversion was a six, so Swanson started second beside polesitter Kyle O’Gara with the No. 77, which is powered by a Binks Chevy engine. O’Gara led all 50 laps of the race, which only had one yellow flag to condense the field.
DU QUOIN, Ill., Sept. 4 — Doran Binks Racing’s Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77 driven by Kody Swanson was the fastest car in the 69th running of the Ted Horn 100 USAC Silver Crown race at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds Saturday afternoon. Track position was everything, however. Swanson put on a stirring charge to advance to third at the checkered after starting eighth in a race that only had three caution flags once it got underway.
Justin Grant started on the pole and led all but the first lap of the 100-lapper, when C.J. Leary, who started second, had the point in the 29-car field on the 1-mile dirt oval.
But it was Swanson who set the fastest lap of anyone in the race. He gave it his all right up to the end with the No. 77, a Maxim with a Bob Hampshire-prepped Chevy engine, as he set the fastest race lap on lap 99 with a time of 31.363 seconds. He was also the fastest driver around the halfway point after he ran a lap in 31.675 on lap 58.
MADISON, Ill., Aug. 28 — It was an up-and-down day for Doran Binks Racing and driver Kody Swanson in USAC Silver Crown action Sunday in the shadows of the Gateway Arch at World Wide Technology Raceway. Swanson won the pole and led more than a quarter of the 80-lap/100-mile race on the 1.25-mile asphalt oval until a mechanical issue dropped the Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77 to 14th place in the official rundown of the Outfront Media USA 100.
The event shared the card with the NTT IndyCar Series’ Bommarito Automotive Group 500.
After leading the 22-car field to the green flag, Swanson dropped to third initially with the No. 77, which is powered by a Lanci-prepped Ford engine. He quickly moved into second before two laps were in the books as the top runners ran inches apart. He regained the lead from Logan Seavey as the top pack jockeyed for positions, but dropped to second again when C.J. Leary slipped under him coming out of Turn 1 on lap five.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Aug. 20 — Although Logan Seavey gained 15 points on Kody Swanson for winning the 60th annual Bettenhausen 100 USAC Silver Crown race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Swanson and the Doran Binks Racing team still lead the overall point standings due to their solid fourth-place finish in the 100-lapper on the 1-mile dirt oval Saturday afternoon.
Driving the Mission Foods No. 77 powered by a Lanci Ford engine, Swanson started tenth in the 31-car field, but he certainly didn’t stay there long once the green flag dropped.
He passed Davey Ray, Wayne Johnson and Mario Clouser on the first lap to rise to seventh place, and he got sixth by passing Jacob Wilson on lap two. The native of Kingsburg, Calif., who now lives in Indianapolis remained in sixth place through lap 10, and advanced to fifth on lap 11 by passing Justin Grant.
TOLEDO, Ohio, Aug. 6 — Kody Swanson is from Kingsburg, Calif., and he now lives in the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville, Ind., but he seems to own part of Toledo, Ohio too.
That part is on Benore Road where the half-mile Toledo Speedway is located. Swanson won an unprecedented fifth consecutive USAC Silver Crown race at Toledo Speedway Saturday night, and his seventh there in all (2011, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023). (There was no Silver Crown race there in 2020.)
The complete name of Saturday’s race on the high-banked asphalt oval was the tenth running of the Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness Rollie Beale Classic Fueled by Marco’s Pizza. It’s named in honor of the late Rollie Beale, a Toledo native, the 1973 USAC sprint car champion driver, a member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, and a longtime USAC official.
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 1 — Doran Binks Racing’s Kody Swanson qualified third, started fourth in the 40-lap feature, ran as high as second, and finished third
last Saturday night at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in the Pro Door Manufacturing 40. The 40-lap race was part of the 500 Sprint Car Tour Presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores, and unofficially with the podium finish with his Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77 Swanson retook the lead in the series’ championship.
The top six qualifiers were inverted for the start, which put Billy Wease on the pole. He led the whole race, which ran non-stop, for his first series victory.
In a car powered by a Binks Chevy engine, Swanson was able to soar from fourth to second on the first lap. He passed fellow row-two starter Dakoda Armstrong to the outside on the backstretch, and dipped under Bobby Santos III, who started second, on the frontstretch before the start-finish line.
MISSION FOODS TO SPONSOR SWANSON
In Doran Binks Racing No. 77 in 2023
For USAC Silver Crown and 500 Sprint Car Tour Series
LEBANON, Ohio, March 29 — Mission Foods, the leading producer of tortillas in the United States and the manufacturer of a variety of authentic Mexican products, will be the primary sponsor of Kody Swanson this year in both the USAC Silver Crown and the 500 Sprint Car Tour series.
Swanson is the defending champion of both series.
Swanson’s cars will be fielded by Kevin Doran and Dan Binks working together as Doran Binks Racing, and they will be based at Doran Racing’s headquarters in Lebanon, Ohio. Glenn Farms will be the team’s associate sponsor. The race cars will all be No. 77.
Doran Racing fielded Swanson’s asphalt USAC Silver Crown car last year. This year Doran Binks Racing will field both the asphalt and dirt USAC Silver Crown cars for Swanson.
Doran Binks Racing plans to compete in all 14 USAC Silver Crown races in 2023. As a seven-time champion, Swanson’s 37 victories make him the winningest driver in the history of this series, the top class of USAC.
Swanson, a native of Kingsburg, Calif., who now lives in Indianapolis, won three races enroute to last year’s USAC Silver Crown title. In August he beat his own world speed record for a traditional USAC Silver Crown car with a speed of 146.699 miles per hour during qualifying at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill.
The 500 Sprint Car Tour consists of 10 races this year. It includes the most prestigious asphalt sprint car race in the world, the 75th annual Lucas Oil Little 500 presented by UAW on May 27 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. Swanson is a three-time winner of the Little 500.
Last year Doran Racing and Swanson posted two victories, six podium finishes and won the inaugural 500 Sprint Car Tour championship using engines prepared by Binks.
"I'm excited about this year and the season ahead,” said Swanson. “This is a tremendous opportunity to work together with some great friends and talented racers, and do it all out of the same building. I'm thankful for the chance to partner with the Mission brand, and hope to represent an iconic company well while competing for wins and championships."
While Swanson is a legend in USAC, Doran and Binks are both legends in endurance sports car racing.
Doran has won the Rolex 24 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway as a crew chief, a team member, a team manager, a car owner, and even as a car manufacturer. Prior to fielding cars under Doran Racing, he had many victories with the late Al Holbert, a five-time IMSA Camel GT champion; the MOMO Ferrari team, and Doran Lista Racing.
Binks, of Brighton, Mich., was the crew chief for Corvette Racing’s factory sports car team for nearly 20 years. Under his direction that team won the 24 Hours of Le Mans six times and numerous IMSA championships.
Prior to becoming one of the most recognizable faces of Corvette Racing, Binks won IMSA GTU races with a Mazda RX-7 with various drivers; enjoyed great success in Trans Am, and even was a crew chief for Roush Fenway Racing in NASCAR.
The 500 Sprint Car Tour season opens Saturday, April 8 at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Ind.
The USAC Silver Crown series opens the following weekend with the 20th running of the Sumar Classic on Sunday, April 16 at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track.
About Mission Foods:
The Gruma Corporation began in 1949 and is today the leading tortilla manufacturer worldwide. Mission Foods is a proud subsidiary of Gruma, and as the #1 tortilla company in the United States, manufactures a wide variety of authentic Mexican products. Five years ago it opened a state-of-the-art plant in Dallas, Texas, with the capacity to produce 30 million tortillas daily. Today Mission Foods is a global company, with special emphasis not only on the United States but also Mexico, Central America, Europe, China, Malaysia, and Australia. Its products include flour and corn tortillas; tostadas; low-carb, whole wheat, organic and gluten-free items; wraps; flatbreads such as naan, pita and roti; tortilla chips and organic chips; chicharrones; salsa, and dips. For more information see missionfoods.com.