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.
Swanson ran in second place until lap 22, when Billy Wease, who started third, snuck under him as they ran through Turns 3 and 4.
Todd McQuillen spun in Turn 4 with 34 laps down to bring out the only caution flag. Wease, who was lapping McQuillen around that time, took evasive action and in the scuffle Swanson got by him to regain second. Since Wease didn’t stop he restarted third, but on lap 38 Wease repassed Swanson to regain second and push Swanson back to third place again.
That set up an intense battle between Swanson and Roahrig, who are the top two drivers in the point standings, as they circumvented the track while trying to avoid the lapped cars. Roahrig finally got by on lap 44 to push Swanson to fourth, and that’s where the No. 77 finished. O’Gara had a 1.939-second margin of victory over Wease, who was followed by Roahrig, Swanson and Taylor Ferns. Top rookie contender Jackson Macenko was sixth followed by Dakoda Armstrong, Santos, Tony Main and Donnie Adams Jr.
Swanson ran only a few tenths of a second behind O’Gara in the early going, and most of the fastest race laps of the leaders were set early. Macenko posted the fastest race lap of anyone on lap nine with a 13.901 while Swanson was second-fastest on lap eight with a 13.973. Ferns was third fastest. O’Gara posted the fourth-fastest race lap.
Swanson, the series’ defending champion, led the point standings over Roahrig by eight points going into this race, but Roahrig topped the charts by three points afterwards. Roahrig now has 1,398 points to Swanson’s 1,395 and O’Gara’s 1,348.
The championship battle will continue at the series’ final two races of 2023, which will both be in Indiana next month: Oct. 7 at Anderson Speedway, and Oct. 14 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Brownsburg.
“We just didn’t get a handle on [our set-up] in time,” Swanson said afterwards. “A top-five finish is stout, but I wish we were a little further up the order. There are a bunch of great cars here; the field is getting deeper all the time. Congratulations to Kyle; he ran a great race. Tyler and I ran side by side for many laps. Hopefully we put on a good show for the fans. A big ‘thank you’ to Mission Foods, Glenn Farms, everyone on the Doran Binks team, and all the fans who came out tonight.”
Saturday’s race was livestreamed by MAVTV on Flo Racing.
Doran Binks Racing also fields cars for Swanson in the USAC Silver Crown series, where the team and Swanson are second in the current entrant and driver point standings, just one point out of first. That series also has two races remaining in 2023: Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio Sept. 22-23 and Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Brownsburg, Ind. on Oct. 14.
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.
Grant’s performance gave him the six bonus points available as well as the winner’s 70. Logan Seavey came in fifth and he still leads the point standings, but now it’s only by one point over Swanson. Going into the race Seavey led the standings over Swanson by seven points.
Only two more USAC Silver Crown events remain in 2023: Sept. 22-23 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and Oct. 14 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Brownsburg, Ind.
The Doran Binks team and Swanson had a scare on the grid on Saturday when the car wouldn’t fire off after the command was given, but luckily it eventually pulled away. If the car would have required a push Swanson would have had to start last.
A yellow flew before one lap was in the books after Casey Buckman was left facing the wrong way on the backstretch near Turn 2 after the initial start. Swanson remained in eighth initially but he moved to seventh on lap four by passing Chase Stockon. He moved into sixth on lap 10 when he got by Shane Cottle. He remained in sixth through lap 32, including three laps under yellow after Kaylee Bryson slowed in Turns 1 and 2 on lap 28.
Swanson was right on the back bumper of the fifth-place driver, Jerry Coons Jr., when that yellow waved, and he passed Coons for fifth on lap 33.
That put him right behind Seavey. He slid under him going into Turn 1 on lap 35, but Seavey crossed back ahead of him coming off Turn 2 before another attempt by Swanson worked going into Turn 3. That put him in fourth place behind Grant, Leary and Davey Ray.
At that point one of the fiercest battles of the race erupted between Ray, Swanson, and another driver who had gotten by Coons, Shane Cockrum. On lap 43 Swanson (fourth) was 0.237 behind Ray (third) and 0.182 ahead of Cockrum (fifth), and that battle continued for many laps.
Swanson slid past Ray going into Turn 3 on lap 48 in an attempt to get third, but drifted out past the rubber on the track so both Ray and Cockrum got by to push Swanson to fifth. However, on lap 53 Ray got loose and both Cockrum and Swanson passed him, which put Swanson back in fourth place.
Swanson stayed in fourth until lap 68, when Coons passed him to put him back to fifth, but he regained fourth on lap 73 when he passed Coons back. That segment had a yellow too, as it waved from laps 64 to 68 when Buckman spun in Turn 3.
There was only one other yellow, which flew from laps 82-84 when Stockon’s car suffered a flat right-rear tire. Two laps after the restart Cockrum, who was third, got loose and Swanson charged under him in Turn 4 for the final podium position.
Swanson was only 0.288 behind Leary at the checkered. He was a whopping 9.973 seconds ahead of the fourth-place finisher, Cockrum. Seavey was fifth, 0.347 behind Cockrum.
Coons, Emerson Axsom, hard-charger Wayne Johnson, Taylor Ferns and Kyle Steffens rounded out the top 10.
“We’re here to win, and we just weren’t fast enough today,” Swanson told the Flo Racing audience who watched the livestream. “Third will have to do. But we were a little better today than we were at Springfield.
“We’re learning more about this car and made some positive progress,” he added later. “I appreciate everyone on the Doran Binks team for their hard work, and Mission Foods and Glenn Farms for their support.”
Doran Racing and Swanson are the series’ defending champions and Swanson is its winningest driver ever, with 40 victories and seven championships to date.
Doran Binks Racing and Swanson also compete in the 500 Sprint Car Tour, where they lead the current team and driver standings, respectively. Three races remain in the 500 Sprint Car Tour series in 2023: Sept. 9 at Lorain Raceway Park in Amherst, Ohio, near Cleveland; Oct. 7 at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Ind., and Oct. 14 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Brownsburg, Ind. Swanson and Doran Racing won that series’ inaugural championship last year.
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.
Tom Paterson brought out the first of six yellows with six laps down when he stopped in Turn 2. Leary continued to have the upper hand after the restart on lap eight, but Leary brought out a yellow when he slowed on the frontstretch working lap 11, which gave the lead back to Swanson. The top five for the restart on lap 15 were Swanson, Mario Clouser, Davey Hamilton Jr., Bobby Santos III and Justin Grant.
Hamilton ducked under Clouser in Turn 2 to take second place on lap 16, and then he applied unrelenting pressure on Swanson for many laps. Swanson was only 0.112 ahead of Hamilton when the third yellow waved on lap 24 when Taylor Ferns spun between Turns 1 and 2 and Travis Welpott and Nathan Moore both slowed. Matt Westfall and Nathan Byrd reported to the pits for issues under that yellow too, as many teams were experiencing unexpected challenges.
Hamilton got alongside Swanson a couple of times following that restart on lap 28, but couldn’t make a pass stick. He made one work working lap 34 when he dipped under Swanson in Turn 3 for the lead, however, pushing Swanson to second followed by Grant, Derek Bischak, and Clouser.
Unfortunately two laps later one of those unexpected challenges struck the Doran Binks team too when Swanson had all he could handle to keep the car off the wall when he lost his brakes in Turns 1 and 2 at about 180 miles per hour. He saved it, but lost many positions before another caution waved on lap 38 for debris on the frontstretch.
Swanson pitted under yellow several times for emergency repairs and he was able to finish the race. He dropped as far back as 16th. Nathan Byrd’s car’s engine blew on the frontstretch on lap 50, and his departure moved Swanson up to 15th. He advanced one more spot on the last lap after Welpott brought out a final caution with 74 laps down when he stopped in Turn 2. That set up a green-white-checkered finish. Even Hamilton’s car was smoking at the end, but he held on for his first USAC Silver Crown victory ever. Santos was second, 0.169 behind. Grant finished third, Seavey was fourth, and Bischak rounded out the top five.
The weekend schedule was altered a bit due to rain on Saturday. USAC Silver Crown practice and qualifying were combined on Sunday morning into one session, with a driver’s fastest lap counting as his or her qualifying lap. Swanson topped the charts when his 14th of 21 laps run was done in only 30.745 seconds for an average speed of 146.365 miles per hour. It was his 46th career series pole, extending that record, and his fifth USAC Silver Crown pole so far this year. It did not beat the world record he set in winning the pole here last year, when he was clocked in 30.675 seconds for an average speed of 146.699 miles per hour. Seavey was the second-fastest qualifier on Sunday, just a tick behind with a 30.843. Santos was third with a 30.865.
Swanson disclosed that after qualifying his car experienced an overheated clutch which caused smoke in the cockpit. “Luckily we had the time to fix it, and the guys jumped on it, figured out what caused it, and made sure it was right before the race,” he said.
“Our car was OK when the race started, but some of the other guys had good cars too and I was third by Turn 1 on the first lap,” he said. “They were able to draft away, and that cost us. I got the lead for a second, and then C.J. got by. He seemed strong too, but his car ended up breaking and we inherited the lead.
“Davey had a strong car too, and I had to defend really hard because he applied a lot of pressure. We were still leading around lap 33 when he got by us going into Turn 3, but about a lap and a half later I passed him going into Turn 1. But as I got around him, the brake pedal went to the floor.
“I thought we were crashing, as fast as we were going,” he continued. “We still had a fair amount of fuel on board. When I got loose it got me up out of the groove and sideways enough to scrub off some speed. I weaved to the right to get closer to the wall to try to avoid getting anyone else involved. I turned it back to the left and I was grateful when it turned into the corner. At that point I was just trying to scrub off speed and keep it out of the wall. I crashed at this track in 2016, and honestly I think that experience helped me today. I was thrilled I didn’t have to meet the ambulance or the wrecker. All things considered, we were lucky. It was a big moment for us.
“After that we caught a few cautions and came down pit road and tried to repair it. We had lost a seal out of the rear caliper. We were able to get the rear brake line capped off in the pits, got back out, and had enough laps to get from 16th to 14th at the end. Everybody worked hard so we could at least finish, and I appreciate their effort.”
Swanson and the Doran Binks team are now second in the point standings, just seven behind, with 483 points to Seavey’s 490. Grant is third with 363 followed by Clouser with 353 and Kaylee Bryson with 344.
Three USAC Silver Crown races remain in the 2003 championship: this coming Saturday, Sept. 2 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in Du Quoin, Ill.; Sept. 22-23 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio; and Oct. 14 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Brownsburg, Ind.
Sunday’s race, like all the USAC Silver Crown events, was livestreamed by Flo Racing.
Doran Binks Racing and Swanson also compete in the 500 Sprint Car Tour, where they lead the current team and driver standings, respectively. Three races remain in that series too: Sept. 9 at Lorain Raceway Park in Amherst, Ohio, near Cleveland; Oct. 7 at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Ind., and Oct. 14 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
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.
The first of four cautions waved with 16 laps down when Shane Cockrum slowed on the frontstretch. Two laps following the restart, Grant got Swanson back to relegate him back to sixth, but Swanson was only 0.179 of a second behind Grant on lap 25.
Grant passed Chase Dietz for fourth on lap 36, but Swanson was able to stay right behind Dietz too. On lap 40 Swanson was just 0.361 behind Dietz and nearly 3 seconds ahead of the seventh-place runner, Wilson.
Following the second yellow, which was needed from laps 45-48 after Korey Weyant slowed, Swanson passed Dietz on the restart to regain fifth on lap 49. On the very next lap he passed Emerson Axsom for fourth place, and he remained in fourth for the second half of the race to finish in that position.
Travis Welpott spun between Turns 3 and 4 to set up a green-white-checkered finish, but the top five positions didn’t change at the end. Seavey took the checkered over Cottle with a 1.094-second margin of victory. Grant was third. Swanson was 0.636 behind Grant at the line and 0.497 ahead of Axsom.
C.J. Leary set the fastest lap of the race on lap 11 with a time of 34.144 before he had mechanical issues and brought out the third caution on lap 82. Swanson had the second-fastest lap of the race on lap nine with a time of 34.146.
Swanson’s qualifying time was a 31.797, just 0.480 off Seavey’s pole-winning time of 31.317.
“The way the racetrack was, it was really tricky and technical in spots,” Swanson said after the race. “It made it very hard to pass, and ultimately we just weren’t quite good enough to get farther forward. Sometimes that’s just how it goes, and we did what we could.
“We didn’t qualify real well, so we made some changes before the feature,” he added. “I have to thank the Doran Binks crew for all of their hard work, and Mission Foods and Glenn Farms for their support. We’ll keep after it and be ready to give it another shot next time.”
Swanson now leads the point standings with 445 points to Seavey’s 429. Clouser, who finished eighth on Saturday, is third with 307.
Prior to this event, Swanson had won the last three USAC Silver Crown races.
He has won the Bettenhausen 100 three times — 2014, 2015 and 2021. In 2021 he came from 23rd to first.
Saturday’s race, like all the USAC Silver Crown events, was livestreamed by Flo Racing.
The next USAC Silver Crown race is coming right up on Sunday, Aug. 27 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill., as part of its IndyCar weekend. Swanson is that race’s defending winner. He set a new world record in qualifying for that race last year with a 30.675 for an average speed of 146.699 miles per hour.
He is also the series’ winningest driver ever, with 40 victories and seven championships to date.
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.
It’s a long name for a long race of 100 laps. Swanson didn’t lead all of them this time, but he led the one that counted in Doran Binks Racing’s Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77, which is powered by a Lanci-prepared Ford engine. He extended his record as the winningest driver in USAC Silver Crown history with his 40th career series triumph.
Swanson started on the pole after he extended his record as the all-time pole winner in series history to 45 when he was the fastest qualifier with a time of 15.129 seconds. It was his seventh pole position at Toledo.
He led the first lap, but C.J. Leary, who started second, got the advantage on lap two with a move under the defending series champion coming out of Turn 4.
There was only one yellow, which flew from laps five through nine for Davey Hamilton Jr., who was fourth before mechanical issues forced him to stop amidst a great deal of smoke pouring out of his No. 19.
Swanson stayed very close to Leary initially, but when the race was 25 percent over Leary had a 0.965-second lead. Justin Grant was third, about 1.5 seconds behind Swanson. Five laps later Leary led by 1.522 seconds but Swanson was 2.3 seconds ahead of Grant as the top duo pulled away from the rest of the 22-car field.
Navigating through the lapped traffic was challenging, and by the halfway point Leary’s advantage had grown to 4.113 seconds. Derek Bischak, who had passed Grant for third two laps earlier, was 2.243 seconds behind Swanson at the end of lap 50.
Swanson put his head down, concentrated on getting through the lapped traffic unscathed, and tried to catch Leary. He had cut Leary’s lead to 1.896 seconds by lap 60, and was still 2.742 seconds ahead of Bischak.
By lap 67 Swanson was only 1 second behind, and three laps later he was only 0.599 of a second back. By lap 75 he was right on Leary’s tail, just 0.205 of a second back, while he was 3.895 seconds ahead of Bischak.
Swanson followed Leary intently looking for a way by. He almost passed him working lap 77, and he made the pass stick working lap 78 when he charged under Leary as they sped through Turns 1 and 2.
Swanson led the rest of the race. He took the checkered 1.158 seconds before Leary did, while Bischak finished third, 2.269 seconds behind Leary. Grant finished fourth and Logan Seavey rounded out the top five.
Swanson set the fastest lap of the race on lap 15 with a time of 15.437 seconds. Leary set the second-fastest lap with a 15.455 on lap 13.
“C.J. did a great job,” Swanson said. “His car was really strong early, and then the pace changed and maybe the race kind of came to us. There about six laps from the end we were just in the main line with everyone. We had a decent lead and I didn’t want to take any additional risks; I was just trying to make sure we finished this one.
“Lapped traffic is always tough because all the cars are pretty fast, and they’re racing other cars. At one point when C.J. had a big lead, I thought we would have to be happy with second. But I think lapped traffic helped us to race our way back into contention, and we were lucky to get away with one there in the end. We ran hard laps, and the chance to sort it out on the track was fun for me. I had to work hard for this one but it worked out, so no complaints.
“The Doran Binks team really worked hard and gave us a car that could win. I’m thankful to be a part of this team, and thankful for our sponsors like Mission Foods and Glenn Farms.”
Swanson padded his point lead and now has 384 points to Seavey’s 353 as he looks for an unprecedented eighth series championship. Doran Binks Racing also leads the entrant standings.
Saturday’s race, like all the USAC Silver Crown events, was livestreamed by Flo Racing.
There are two more USAC Silver Crown races in August; one on a dirt track and one on an asphalt track. The series’ next race is Aug. 19 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. It is followed by an event on Aug. 27 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill., near St. Louis. Both are daytime races.
By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Toledo, Ohio (August 5, 2023)………During his first six USAC Silver Crown victories at Ohio’s Toledo Speedway in 2012-15-18-19-21-22, Kody Swanson had led 611 out of a possible 650 laps (94%) in an absolutely dominant stretch at the half-mile paved oval.
Saturday’s running of the Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness Rollie Beale Classic Fueled By Marco’s Pizza was a quite different story, and was, undoubtedly, the most challenging he’d faced yet.
Nonetheless, when seemingly backed against the wall for the majority of the distance, the Kingsburg, Calif. native still managed to pull through and prevail in the 100-lapper, leading a total of 23 laps to score an astounding seventh career Rollie Beale Classic victory, and his fifth-in-a-row at Toledo with the champ cars dating back to 2018.
Toledo Speedway’s all-time winningest USAC driver also equaled a series record set by another series dominator, the late, great Dave Steele. Swanson’s performance marked just the third time in which a driver captured five consecutive USAC Silver Crown race wins at one track. Steele grabbed five-straight at Phoenix International Raceway between 2002-06 while Kody himself scored five-in-a-row at Indiana’s Salem Speedway between 2016-20.
Swanson’s third win of the season on Saturday was Swanson’s third series victory in a row, making it the fourth occasion in which he won at least three consecutive main events with the series. No other driver has more than one such streak.
Furthermore, Swanson’s 40th career USAC Silver Crown triumph came after gaining his 45th career pole award with the series during Honest Abe Qualifying where he joined Tanner Swanson as just the second driver to win seven career USAC Silver Crown poles at a single track, which his younger brother has achieved at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Aboard the Doran-Binks Racing/Mission Foods – Glenn Farms/Beast/Lanci Ford, Swanson endured a hellacious side-by-side battle for the lead with outside front row starter C.J. Leary during the first three laps.
Swanson edged Leary by a car length at the stripe to lead lap one before the duo swapped lanes when Leary wedged underneath Swanson exiting turn two on lap two then surged into the lead as they crossed the line separated by a half car length. Leary escaped the throes of Swanson on the third lap to gain a little bit of breathing room, which he’d enjoy for quite a while.
However, on lap four, the race’s only caution flag was displayed when fourth running Davey Hamilton Jr., making his debut for the Legacy Autosport team, saw his ride go up in smoke on the back straight. The Idahoan quickly stopped and hopped out, ending his day prematurely.
Leary continued to be a force up front throughout the first third of the event while, further back, 2017 Rollie Beale Classic USAC Silver Crown winner Bobby Santos had gained eight spots by lap 28 to advance from his 20th starting position to 12th. Santos was relegated to the tail for the start due to a driveline issue suffered during practice, and later, raced his way into the top-10 on lap 57, but dropped to 11th in the final running order during the waning laps.
Simultaneously, Leary began to work lapped traffic, but managed to extend his lead to more than four seconds over Swanson as the race neared the midway point. Mired in traffic on lap 48, 2020 series champion Justin Grant found himself lodged in-between the lapped machines of Nathan Byrd and Matt Westfall. Spotting a lane all to his own, Derek Bischak moved up a groove and drove around the outside of all three to move into second but remained a full five seconds out of the lead.
By lap 56, Leary had his hands full with a huge throng of cars in his path, including Santos, Billy Wease, Kyle O'Gara, Trey Burke, Mike McVetta and Taylor Ferns who earned hard charger honors by advancing from 17th to 8th. All the traffic managed to slash Leary’s lead from four seconds down to a mere 1.8 with just 40 circuits to go, all to the benefit of Swanson.
“Lapped traffic is always tough because all the cars are pretty fast, and they’re racing other cars,” Swanson explained. “At one point when C.J. had a big lead, I thought we would have to be happy with second. But I think lapped traffic helped us to race our way back into contention, and we were lucky to get away with one there in the end. We ran hard laps, and the chance to sort it out on the track was fun for me. I had to work hard for this one, but it worked out, so no complaints.”
On lap 75, the gap was zilch as Leary and Swanson raced around the joint nose-to-tail. By that point, Leary was hanging on by a thread after a bleeder failure caused his right rear tire to gain undesired air pressure and stagger, which made the car very loose in the corners. All Leary could do to keep Swanson at bay was to just make it as hard as possible for him to get by.
However, off the fourth turn on lap 77, Swanson was able to get a nose under Leary, yet Leary managed to maintain his lead for a full lap longer. However, at the exits of turns two and four, the rearend kicked out just a bit on Leary, pushing him off the bottom and allowing Swanson to get a nose in edgewise.
Ultimately, lap 79 told the tale as Swanson pulled even with Leary on entry into turn one for the first time. Swanson hugged the bottom and cleared Leary by turn two to take over the lead, a position he’d never surrender. Swanson immediately opened up his lead to a full second in the ensuing laps, but soon found himself amidst a gaggle of nine lapped cars running high, low and middle in front of him with just a handful laps to go.
“C.J. did a great job. His car was really strong early, and then the pace changed and maybe the race kind of came to us,” Swanson stated in a team press release. “About six laps from the end, we were just in the main line with everyone. We had a decent lead, and I didn’t want to take any additional risks. I was just trying to make sure we finished this one.”
Swanson stayed true to his word and played it smart as those in front of him kept it clean while also racing for position inside the top-10. Swanson completed the 100-lap distance in a blistering time of 28:35.61, which was slowed by just one caution with the final 91 laps going clean and green.
At the checkered, Swanson had lapped all but the top-10 and was 1.158 seconds ahead of runner-up C.J. Leary with Derek Bischak in third and Justin Grant in fourth while Logan Seavey rounded out the top-five in a completely rebuilt racecar which had been crashed 16 days earlier at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and had just a handful of pieces that didn’t need replacing before the Toledo round.
For the second consecutive race, C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) earned his best finish of the USAC Silver Crown season. He scored a fourth at Winchester and followed it up with a second on Saturday at Toledo after leading a race-high 77 laps in his Klatt Enterprises/Wilwood Disc Brakes – Lucas Oil Center– Brown & Miller Racing Solutions/Beast/Ford.
The story was much the same for Derek Bischak (Angola, Ind.) who collected his best career USAC Silver Crown finish of third in the most recent round at Winchester, then equaled it again on Saturday at Toledo in his Derek Bischak/Allstar Performance – Klotz Synthetic Lubricants – Complete Collision/Beast/J & D Chevy.
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.
Swanson then did his best to pass Wease too, but he was elusive. Instead, Santos regained second from Swanson with a move to the inside in Turn 1 working lap nine. Swanson remained third the rest of the way, and the podium finishers took the checkered flag nose to tail. Wease’s margin of victory over Santos was just 0.149 of a second, while Swanson was only 0.242 behind Santos. The driver who finished fourth, Kyle O’Gara, was further back, some 1.994 seconds behind Swanson at the end. Armstrong rounded out the top five and the driver who led the point standings going into this race, Tyler Roahrig, finished sixth.
The practice sessions on Friday and Saturday as well as Saturday’s qualifying session were held during the day while the race was at night. That, plus the fact this was the series’ first event at this 0.596-mile asphalt oval, made finding a good set-up challenging for the crews of the 19 feature starters.
The Doran Binks crew and Swanson carved 1.154 seconds off their fastest lap run during the first practice session on Friday and the 18.011-second lap Swanson ran in qualifying on Saturday. Swanson, a native of Kingsburg, Calif., who now lives in Indianapolis, was only 0.143 off the fastest lap set in qualifying. That was an automatic new track record of 17.868 for Jake Trainor.
The feature didn’t start until 9:25 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday night after a slight delay for rain. Swanson set the fastest lap of the race on lap two with a time of 18.182.
The race was streamed live by MAVTV for Flo Racing.
The 500 Sprint Car Tour doesn’t have any races in August, but it has events at Lorain Raceway Park in Amherst, Ohio on Sept. 9; Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Ind., on Oct. 7, and Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Brownsburg, Ind., on Oct. 14.
Doran Binks Racing also fields cars for Swanson in the USAC Silver Crown series, where the team and Swanson lead the current entrant and driver point standings. That series has three races in August: Toledo (Ohio) Speedway this Saturday, Aug. 5; Illinois State Fairgrounds Aug. 19, and World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill., near St. Louis on Aug. 27.
MARNE, Mich., July 24 — Doran Binks Racing’s Kody Swanson qualified third, started sixth due to the invert, and charged back up to finish third Saturday night at Berlin Raceway in a 40-lap feature sanctioned by the 500 Sprint Car Tour Presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores.
Driving the Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77 asphalt sprint car which is powered by a Binks Chevy engine, Swanson got right to work at the drop of the green flag. The Kingsburg, Calif., native who now lives in Indianapolis passed fellow row three starter Bobby Santos III for fifth on the first lap. He got around Jackson Macenko for fourth on lap two. In just one more lap Swanson, the defending series champion, passed Taylor Ferns for third on lap three.
Polesitter Derek Bischak led the first three laps, but his fellow front-row starter, Kyle O’Gara, got the lead from Bischak working lap four. Swanson passed Bischak for second place on lap six right before the event’s only caution flag waved with seven laps down, reportedly for debris on the track.
Swanson did his best to pass O’Gara on the restart, but O’Gara wouldn’t budge. Swanson was still only 0.322 of a second behind him on lap 10, but Tyler Roahrig, who was the fastest qualifier and started eighth, had made his way through the field too and was right on Swanson’s rear bumper.
Roahrig dipped under Swanson on the backstretch working lap 11 to relegate Swanson to third, and that’s where Swanson finished. Roahrig passed O’Gara for the lead on the following lap and then marched away from the field, taking the checkered flag 7.424 seconds ahead of O’Gara before a big crowd.
Swanson was 1.042 seconds behind O’Gara at the finish, and 0.436 ahead of the fourth-place finisher, Ferns. Dakoda Armstrong rounded out the top five.
Roahrig set the fastest lap of the race on lap 12 with a time of 15.894 seconds for the nearly circular and very challenging 0.4375-mile asphalt oval, which has 13-degree turns and 9-degree straightaways. Swanson set the second-fastest lap of the race on lap seven with a 16.022, while O’Gara was third-fastest with a 16.031 on lap five.
Roahrig topped the charts in qualifying with a lap in 15.507 followed by Armstrong with a 15.735 and Swanson with a 15.738. The top five qualifiers were within 0.340 of each other.
“Berlin is such a nice racetrack, but it is really quite unique and tricky too,” Swanson said. “Congrats to Tyler; he’s got a great handle on this place, and I just haven’t been able to get it figured out yet. I’m so thankful for this Doran Binks team; they’ve been working really hard to try to help us find what we need to make us better when we come here, so we’ll have to take the podium as a solid finish and get ready for Nashville this week. As always, I’m thankful for Mission Foods, Glenn Farms, and everyone who continues to support this team.”
The race was streamed live by MAVTV for Flo Racing.
Swanson led Roahrig by 11 points in the series’ standings going into Saturday’s race. Roahrig now leads Swanson by 13 points with four events remaining. O’Gara is currently third in points followed by Dakoda Armstrong and Santos.
The next 500 Sprint Car Tour race is in just a few days, as the series visits Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., this Saturday, July 29. The series doesn’t have any races in August, but it has events at Lorain Raceway Park in Amherst, Ohio on Sept. 9; Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Ind., on Oct. 7, and Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Brownsburg, Ind., on Oct. 14.
Doran Binks Racing also fields cars for Swanson in the USAC Silver Crown series, where the team and Swanson lead the current entrant and driver point standings. That series has three races in August: Toledo (Ohio) Speedway Aug. 5; Illinois State Fairgrounds Aug. 19, and World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill., near St. Louis on Aug. 27.