Doran Racing’s Jaeger and Swanson Get Endurance Challenge GTM Win at Daytona on Friday Among Numerous Other Class Wins During Classic 24 Weekend
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Nov. 10 — In a busy weekend of vintage sports car racing at Daytona International Speedway, Doran Racing’s Brad Jaeger and Kody Swanson won the GTM class of the B.R.M. Chronographes Endurance Challenge race Friday morning in the Lebanon, Ohio-based team’s 2008 Ford GT Mk 7 No. 12 sponsored by Glenn Farms of Woodland, Ga.
Jaeger, of Detroit, and Swanson, of Zionsville, Ind., placed fourth overall behind three Prototypes in the race on the 3.56-mile road course, which started at 10:40 a.m. Photo Credit: Patrick Tremblay
Late Thursday afternoon Jaeger finished second in the shorter Stoner Car Care Global GT Challenge race, just 0.539 of a second behind the winner, for another podium finish. His fastest race lap was a 1:50.391 on lap five of the eight-lap race, which was the fastest lap of any of the 24 entrants.
On Friday afternoon Swanson finished third overall and second in Group 10 in the first eight-lap race for Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Groups eight, nine and 10. His fastest race lap in that event, which featured 35 cars, was a 1:51.655 on lap four. He took the checkered flag 2.668 seconds after the overall runner-up did, and 13.910 seconds before the fourth-place finisher did.
On Saturday morning Swanson placed second overall and first in Group 10 in the second HSR race for the same groups, which was won overall by the entry of David Askew and Ryan Dalziel. Swanson’s best lap in that race was a 1:50.613 on lap seven of eight. That race featured 29 cars.
On Saturday and Sunday Jaeger and Swanson shared the driving duties in the sixth annual HSR Classic Daytona presented by IMSA. This event is run as a series of 24 separate races for different groups of vintage sports cars in a 24-hour time span, although this year’s event was stretched to 26 hours due to torrential rain and a power outage early Sunday morning.
Each group of cars competes in four races. The final group winners are determined by whoever covers the most distance in the shortest amount of time over the course of all four races combined. There are overall group winners as well as class winners within each race.
Doran Racing’s No. 12 was in Group F, which is for modern prototype and GT cars built from 2000 through 2018. It was the only Ford in the group.
Jaeger ran a terrific 1:49.765 in the Classic Daytona qualifying race on Friday afternoon, which was the fastest time set by the entry over the weekend. That was sixth fastest for Group F and was the fastest for GT in the group.
The team recorded outstanding runs in the race itself, winning the GT class in three of the four Group F races. It had overall finishes of fifth, sixth, 11th and fifth. When the cumulative results were tabulated the team finished seventh overall in Group F for the event and fourth in GT. The GT winner was the ASC Motorsports Corvette driven by Zach Arnold, which placed fourth overall.
Jaeger started fifth in the first race which kicked off the Classic Daytona at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon. He set the entry’s fastest lap of the race on lap 2 with a time of 1:51.486. He maintained fifth through lap 10 until a Protype shared by Chris Ronson Sr. and Jim Downing passed him, but on the next lap Jaeger passed that car back to regain fifth. That race ended under a full-course caution on lap 22 with Jaeger as the GT winner.
Swanson started fourth in the second race, which was held under the lights at 11 p.m. Saturday night. The Prototype of Carlos and Michael deQuesada and Scooter Gabel passed him working lap three to push him to fifth overall, but Swanson regained fourth on lap 12 when the leading Prototype of J.C. France, Joao Barbosa and Tim Jenurm fell back. He found himself in third overall with 14 laps down when difficulties struck a LMP2 car shared by James Hagan and Tommy Bryne.
The France Prototype got by Swanson and others and stormed back into the overall lead on lap 15, pushing Swanson back to fourth. Two other faster cars got by on lap 16 to relegate him to sixth, and he was still in that spot when the checkered waved on lap 23 with Swanson as the GT winner. Arnold finished seventh overall, 26.079 seconds behind Swanson. Swanson’s best lap was lap 11, which he turned in 1:52.146.
The team’s third race was supposed to start at 5 a.m. Sunday morning, but that’s when the storm and power outage occurred. Since this is vintage racing the original plan was to not compete should it rain, but at the last minute the team decided to go out on a drying but still wet track when the race actually began at 7 a.m. Jaeger joined the field in 12th place and two laps down, which was a deficient that was impossible to make up. Jaeger passed Alejandro Pimentel’s Porsche 997.1 Cup car on lap 18 for 11th place overall before the race ended under a full-course caution with 18 laps complete.
The fourth and final race started at 1 p.m. with Swanson seventh on the grid. He had an excellent start, rising to third by the end of lap one, and he was 0.583 of a second ahead of Arnold. He kept getting faster, surpassing his fastest lap of the race on laps two, three, four and five while in third place.
A Prototype shared by William Hubbell and Eric Curran passed him on lap seven to push him back to fourth. He set his fastest lap of the race on lap eight with a time of 1:51.271, right before the Ronson/Downing Prototype got by on lap nine to relegate him to fifth, but he was a whopping 17.271 seconds ahead of Arnold, who was running sixth.
Swanson was still fifth when a full-course caution waved with 11 laps down to tighten up the field and put Arnold right behind him, but Swanson kept Arnold behind him the rest of the way to finish fifth overall and first in class. He was 13.641 seconds ahead of Arnold at the checkered on lap 21.
Brad Jaeger: “The car was quick, and the Doran team did a fantastic job to give us another reliable, fast car. It was an absolute pleasure to drive the Ford GT with Kody again.
“We turned some incredibly fast times. It was only Kody’s second weekend on a road course, and it was a pleasure to coach him throughout the weekend. His times were so fast and so consistent. We would talk about something, and the next session he would go out and do it. He was consistent and right where he needed to be considering the life of the tires. He was getting more comfortable in the car throughout the weekend too."
“One of my highlights was winning the B.R.M. Chronographes Endurance Challenge race on Friday, which was great. Then in qualifying for the Classic I ran a 49.7 which was great for me, so that was another highlight. We had changed tire compounds from what we ran here last year, and we did a fair amount of work on the balance of the car early. The Michelins gave us plenty of grip throughout the weekend."
“I think we were in line to win the class in the Classic except for that third race. Our plan was never to run in the rain. A huge downpour took out the power for most of the infield, including the timing and scoring system and most of the garages. It took them two hours to get that back on. It wasn’t actively raining when we went out, but the track was totally saturated. It was a drying track, but very wet. But we kept the car in one piece and it rolled back on the transporter at the end of the weekend in good shape. We turned in some very fast times and had some fun with it. Hopefully we’ll be back next year and win it! I’ve enjoyed all the opportunities I’ve had to run the Doran Racing Ford GT.”
Kody Swanson: “I had a great time in Daytona with HSR and the Classic 24 Hour. It is such a unique event for me personally, and with it being my first chance to return, it was something I was really looking forward to all year. I felt like I continued to learn about the car and this type of racing, and made every effort to improve each time on the track. "
“Thanks to Kevin, the crew at Doran Racing for their effort, and everyone who makes it all possible for us! And to Brad Jaeger; he has been a great teammate and lead driver. Over the past two years he has helped me improve as a driver, and the two of us as a team for these co-driver endurance events. I'm thankful for his willingness to coach me along the way. I know I enjoyed the entire event from the time on the track to being in the garage with the team, and am looking forward to a chance to do it again!" Restart Communications.
Nov. 2, 2020 - Lebanon, Ohio — Doran Racing is pleased to announce it has signed Kody Swanson, the winningest driver in USAC Silver Crown history, as its driver for the asphalt USAC Silver Crown races in 2021, as well as for selected asphalt sprint car events including the Pay Less Little 500 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. Photo Credit: Mike Horne
Swanson, a native of Kingsburg, Calif. now living in Zionsville, Ind., is a five-time USAC Silver Crown champion and a three-time winner of the Little 500, the world’s richest asphalt sprint car race. He has virtually rewritten the USAC Silver Crown history book, and has 30 victories in USAC’s premier division. He won the series’ driver championship in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and finished second this year in an abbreviated season due to the pandemic and rain.
The association is not new, as Swanson has run selected sprint car and sports car events for the Lebanon, Ohio-based Doran Racing team in the past. In fact, Swanson and Brad Jaeger will co-drive the Doran Racing 2008 Ford GT in the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic Daytona presented by IMSA Nov. 4-8 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. The pair won their class in the same car at that event last year, and finished third in GT.
“We plan to run 10-14 races in 2021 with Kody between the pavement USAC Silver Crown schedule and selected asphalt sprint car races,” said Kevin Doran, head of Doran Racing. “We’ll compete in the Silver Crown and sprint car races at Lucas Oil Raceway [Brownsburg, Ind.], and of course the Little 500 at Anderson Speedway,” he said. “We’ll likely do a couple of the other sprint car races at Anderson next year too,” he said. “We’ll look closely at all the big-event pavement sprint car races to add in as the 2021 schedule firms up. “We may run the sprint car race at Showtime Speedway [Pinellas Park, Fla.] in February,” he added. Swanson drove a Doran Racing sprint car to victory in the Dave Steele World Non-Wing Sprint Car Championship 125 there this past February.
The team is sponsored in part by Glenn Farms of Woodland, Ga.
Doran Racing has prepared and fielded race cars in a wide variety of series for many years, from Indy cars to NASCAR trucks, and it is extremely well-known in sports car racing. Kevin Doran has won the Rolex 24 at Daytona as a crewmember, a chief mechanic, a crew chief, a team owner and even as a car manufacturer. Under Kevin Doran’s direction the Doran Racing-prepared MOMO Ferrari was the first team in U.S. history to win the 24 Hours at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Watkins Glen Six-Hour race in the same year. Doran-Lista Racing won the Rolex 24 in 2002, propelling its lead driver, Didier Theys, to the driver championship. And a Doran-designed and built Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype won the Rolex championship and took Forest Barber and Terry Borcheller to the 24 Hours of Daytona win in 2004.
"I'm very excited to join the Doran Racing team, and appreciate the opportunities we've had to race together already,” Swanson said. “They have had success in several racing series and bring a unique perspective to short-track racing. They have a great team and a professional approach, and I believe they will help me continue to improve as a driver as we venture into additional types of racing. I'm looking forward to racing together in the Silver Crown and sprint car divisions, continuing with their sports car program, and anything else that next year has in store for us."
For more information on Doran Racing see DoranRacing.com. Restart Communications.
BROWNSBURG, Ind. - Simply put, things couldn’t have gone any better for Nolen Racing Saturday night at the Night Before the 500 at Lucas Oil Raceway, which was a special non-points USAC sprint and midget event. Nolen Racing competed in the sprint car portion. Photo Credit: Lucas Oil Raceway
After winning a Must See Racing asphalt sprint car race at the same track in June with a V6 Tranter-prepped Chevrolet engine, the team installed a Tranter V8 in its Beast chassis for Saturday’s contest.
Swanson won the pole with a time of 20.973 seconds, which was 0.046 better than fellow front-row starter Aaron Pierce’s 21.019, and he led all 40 laps of the race for the top prize of $10,000.
There was only one yellow, which occurred at the start when Ken Schrader and Nick Hamilton tangled in Turn 2. Neither were hurt.
Pierce chased Swanson the whole way. At first Pierce was 0.4 or 0.5 behind Swanson’s yellow No. 4, but he was only 0.247 behind on lap 17 as Swanson had to slow a bit due to traffic he was lapping. But by lap 25 the lapped cars weren’t a problem and Swanson was able to extend his lead to 1.135 seconds. He then padded his advantage. He was 2.170 ahead by lap 29, 3.110 seconds ahead by lap 38, and his margin of victory over Pierce was a whopping 4.092 seconds.
Kyle Hamilton finished third, Tyler Roahrig was fourth and Tanner Swanson, Kody Swanson’s younger brother, was fifth in the 23-car field.
Kody Swanson and Pierce both set their fastest race laps on lap 4, with Swanson again faster with a 21.202 to Pierce’s 21.251.
“I’m so thankful to everyone on this Nolen Racing team; they worked hard and we had a great sprint car,” Swanson said afterwards. “It was tight, but I have no complaints. We do this in memory of Gene [Nolen], and I’m so thankful for his son, Greg, who is carrying the torch for us and doing a great job of running a race team. These guys are first class and I’m thankful to be racing for them.” Restart Communications.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – August 21, 2020 – Wow! Kody Swanson has been striving for years to gain an opportunity to compete in the Indianapolis 500. Now 32, from Kingsburg in California’s Central Valley, Swanson is a five-time USAC Silver Crown Series champion. Photo Credit: Road to Indy
This evening at Lucas Oil Raceway, a 0.686-mile oval situated only 15 minutes or so from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Swanson took a big step toward that goal by winning the Cooper Tires Freedom 90. Remarkably, it was Swanson’s very first race on the highly acclaimed Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder – and in a rear-engined car, a Tatuus PM-18 entered by Legacy Autosport and co-owned by Mike Meyer, whose great-grandfather Louis was the first-ever three-time Indy 500 winner.
After qualifying second last night, Swanson swept into the lead on Lap 40 of the 90-lap race, run entirely under green-flag conditions, and controlled the remainder of the 90-lap distance to secure an emotional victory in what was also the very first start in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires for Legacy Autosport.
New Zealander Hunter McElrea also drove a fine race, rising from sixth on the grid to take second for Pabst Racing. Polesitter Manuel Sulaiman, from Puebla, Mexico, had to be content with third for DEForce Racing.
The effectiveness of Swanson’s sublime performance cannot be overstated. Sure, he had plenty of experience at Lucas Oil Raceway, but he had never before raced on radial tires. The driving style necessary to extract the maximum performance from his 275-horsepower, 2.0-liter Elite Engines-powered Tatuus was completely different to that demanded by his usual thunderous V8-powered steed. Yet he took to the new discipline immediately.
By his own admission, and unsurprisingly, Swanson struggled to come to grips with the car in the early stages of the race. He almost lost control early in Turns One and Two, under intense pressure from series veteran Sting Ray Robb (Juncos Racing), from Payette, Idaho, but quickly settled down.
Sulaiman, who claimed his second Cooper Tires Pole Award last night, took advantage of his greater familiarity with the car to pull out a useful advantage of almost three seconds over the course of the opening 20 laps. But by then Swanson was into his groove. The margin between them shrank steadily. By Lap 35, the two leaders were nose-to-tail, with Robb hanging on gamely in third.
Five laps later, as the leading trio worked to put a lap on Canadian Antoine Comeau (Turn 3 Motorsport) in Turns Three and Four, Swanson used his wealth of oval-track experience to sneak alongside Sulaiman on the preferred outside line. He then edged ahead as they crossed the stripe to begin another lap. Swanson never looked back, eventually taking the checkered flag almost a quarter-lap clear of the field to secure a first-ever PFC Award for Meyer and his father, Butch, as the winning car owners.
Then, after the victory celebrations, Swanson calmly headed off to climb aboard his USAC Silver Crown car in pursuit of yet another race victory. With Swanson long gone in the lead, the focus centered instead on the battle for second. Sulaiman had seemed to be in control, but McElrea had other ideas. After making up one position at the start, the New Zealander had to wait until the 60th lap to make any more progress, when he scythed past Robb in Turns One and Two. Ten laps later he overtook Frost, whereupon it took only another handful of laps to reel in Sulaiman, whom he again passed in Turns One and Two.
There was no catching Swanson but it was still a fine drive by McElrea, earning him the Tilton Hard Charger Award. Sulaiman held on for third, his maiden Indy Pro 2000 podium, while championship leader Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport), from Toronto, Ont., Canada, in his first-ever oval race, somehow found a way past Frost – a dominant winner at Lucas Oil Raceway one year ago – on the final lap to finish fourth. Robb slipped to sixth at the finish ahead of Braden Eves (Exclusive Autosport), from New Albany, Ohio, who narrowly held off Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing), from Homer Glen, Ill., and Russian Artem Petrov (Juncos Racing). Canadian Parker Thompson (DEForce Racing) was the final unlapped finisher in 10th.
The Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires will return to action next week with the second oval race of the season, the Indy Pro 2000 Oval Challenge of St. Louis Presented by Cooper Tires on Saturday evening, August 29, at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill.
BROWNSBURG, Ind., Aug. 22 — Nolen Racing’s Kody Swanson extended his record as the driver who has won more USAC Silver Crown pole positions than anyone in history when he got number 31 Friday at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Later that night the five-time and reigning series champion led the 100-lap race that headlined the Dave Steele Carb Night Classic from laps 1-40. However, a problem with his car’s rear brake caliper then forced him to give up the lead to his brother and fellow front-row starter, Tanner Swanson, who went on to win the race. Kody was still in second place when he pitted under a yellow that flew on lap 56 when John Heydenreich spun in Turn 2 and hit the inside wall on the backstretch. Photo Credit: DB3 Images
The Nolen Racing crew quickly went to work to replace the brake caliper, Kody returned to action, and came from the rear of the field to finish tenth. Prior to the mechanical issue Kody was flying. He had over a 1-second lead by lap 4, and he had built up a 10-car-length lead over his younger brother before he pitted.
Tanner Swanson went on to win over Aaron Pierce, Kyle Hamilton, Bobby Santos III, Justin Grant, Eric Gordon, Patrick Lawson, Russ Gamester, Chris Windom and Kody. The Swanson brothers were the only leaders of the race on the 0.686-mile asphalt oval.
Kody Swanson won the Fatheadz pole award with a time of 20.732 seconds, which was 0.245 of a second faster than Tanner’s best time. That accomplishment earned him a $1,000 bonus from Mac and Carol Steele, parents of the late Dave Steele, for whom this race is named. Restart Communications.
Salem, Indiana, August 15, 2020………Throughout the annals of USAC Silver Crown’s 50-year history, no driver’s statistical output stacks up to Kody Swanson’s. That has been proven time and time again as the Kingsburg, Calif. native has illustrated his very own record book during his illustrious career. Photo Credit: SPARC
On an evening when he became the first driver in series history to reach 30 poles and 30 wins in a career, Swanson once again reached another record that once seemed unbreakable – that being Pancho Carter’s four consecutive Joe James-Pat O’Connor Memorial victories between 1974-77.
Swanson did just that on Saturday night at Salem Speedway, pressing leader Bobby Santos throughout the first two-thirds of the 75-lap race before taking the lead in traffic with a spectacular three-wide pass on the outside of turn one on the 50th lap, then holding serve on a couple of late-race restarts to capture the win after previous victories in the event in 2016-17-18-19.
“Being second, you have the benefit because you can go where they aren’t,” Swanson explained. “Tonight, a couple times it got a little hairy and didn’t work. I don’t know if there’s anything more “Pancho” for me than taking the lead three-wide in turn one on the outside at Salem. I don’t know if I deserve to be in the company (of Pancho), but I sure do appreciate the honor.”
The victory for Swanson aboard the Nolen Racing/KECO Coatings – Goodridge – K & N Filters/Beast/Tranter Chevy was a welcome sight for the team after an uncharacteristic performance just six days prior in the Silver Crown season opener at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway. There, the final result was an 11th place finish after running outside of the top-ten all throughout the 74-lap race. That result put into motion a meeting of the minds for driver and team as a whole to get back on the same page and right the ship after an auspicious start in rocky waters.
“We had a meeting after Selinsgrove,” Swanson recalled. “It was a tough conversation to have with all that led up to it with our results that night. The way we ended (the meeting) was that it already happened, so I want that to be our rock bottom. Everybody’s got a rock bottom and I am hoping that would be ours and everyone could pull together, and we could come out here this week and prove that we are better than we were in Pennsylvania.”A similar scenario greeted Swanson on Saturday as it did just one year prior with the team utilizing two different racecars in practice. This time, it was the brakes that were creating havoc with the primary car in practice, forcing the team to roll the second car out of the trailer.
In the second practice session, Swanson took the “backup” to the top of the charts, then proceeded to clock in with the fastest qualifying time in Fatheadz Qualifying, thus earning him the pole position. However, at the start of the main event, it was Santos who got the jump on Swanson from his outside front row starting position while Swanson slotted into second.
“I did not want him to get the lead on the start and he didn’t want me to either,” Swanson remembered. “We raced hard that first lap and I know I was sideways and trying to keep it down off him.” Third-running David Byrne was right in the thick of the hunt with Santos and Swanson before he slowed dramatically with mechanical trouble just eight laps into the event, the second time in two starts this year that the 2019 third-place Silver Crown points finisher’s race has met an early end.
Swanson had hounded Santos throughout, running nose-to-tail with the former NASCAR Modified Champion during the mid-stages, turning up the wick with attempted bids for the lead on the 44th and 47th laps, thwarted by the presence of gridlock style traffic on each occasion, the latter involving a stifling five-car shuffle in which Santos and Swanson had to dance their way through.
“I tried hard to get him early; I didn’t want to wait for lapped traffic; I didn’t want to wait until the end, but I had no choice,” Swanson explained. “I was getting a run on him on the outside of four, and I thought ‘that’s not very smart.’ It gets awful narrow there. Bobby is a very smart racer and he’s not going to give you any of the racetrack you need to pass him. What he was giving me there, I was trying to make work, but it couldn’t unless I just got lucky one time. Maybe I got lucky a couple times that I didn’t wreck trying it.”
With the heady Santos, a winner of 10 Silver Crown races in his own right, holding down the fort up front, all Swanson needed was one moment to make his break. Approaching the 10th place car of Joe Liguori, Santos became boxed in behind entering the middle of turn one. Swanson swung high to the outside of both cars to paste his ride in the number one position.
With a clear track ahead, Swanson built his lead to over a second ahead of Santos when one-time Silver Crown winner and 9th place running Kyle Hamilton slowed on the front straightaway with smoke coming from the car, putting him out of the race. That, plus a Liguori turn two spin with two laps remaining, set up a green-white-checkered finish with yellow flag laps counting for 73 laps of the 75-lap distance.
Santos had multiple shots at his one shot to defeat Swanson on the last couple of restarts, but couldn’t quite muster enough to put his car past Swanson, who drove to s 1.013 sec. margin of victory over Santos, with Aaron Pierce, Justin Grant and a career-best series finish for 2019 Silver Crown Rooke of the Year, Derek Bischak, who rounded out the top-five.
Meanwhile, Austin Nemire earned KSE Racing Products Hard Charger honors following his charge from 15th to 6th in his first series start of the season. By Richie Murray - USAC Media
SELINSGROVE, Pa., Aug. 11 — Considering that the Nolen Racing No. 20 qualified tenth and went to the work area three times during the 74-lap USAC Silver Crown season opener, the team and its driver, Kody Swanson, were glad to salvage an 11th-place finish in the inaugural Bill Holland Classic at Selinsgrove Speedway Sunday night.
“It was a tough day for sure,” Swanson said. “I’m really proud of the effort put in by everyone on this race team. They continued to dig all day to try to help us be the best we could be. We came in during a couple cautions late in the race to try to make the car better. The only thing we could confirm is it was some part issue that was failing in the suspension and causing our grief. We gave it our best effort to salvage what we could both in the work area and on the track to get as many positions as we could. I’m thankful for the effort by everyone. We look forward to running Salem on Saturday and trying to improve.”
The team’s next race in a very busy month is the 61st annual Joe James-Pat O’Connor Memorial this coming Saturday, Aug. 15, at Salem Speedway in Salem, Ind. The team led every lap of that race from the pole last year. In fact, Swanson has won the Silver Crown race at Salem every year for the last four years.
Sunday at Selinsgrove Swanson was third fastest in the final practice session with a 22.324. He qualified tenth in the 24-car field with a time of 22.274 seconds. That was just 0.598 off C.J. Leary’s new track record of 21.676. Swanson’s best lap during the race was lap 43, which he turned in 23.478 with about a half load of fuel. The race had two red flags; once at the start when David Byrne and Casey Buckman tangled in Turns 3 and 4, and once with 30 laps down when Dave Berkheimer flipped on the frontstretch and his car caught on fire. Luckily no one was hurt in any of the accidents.
Swanson got off to a good start initially and was able to run in the top 10 for the first 10 laps before the problems surfaced with the team’s bright yellow Maxim, which has a Tranter-prepared Chevy engine. Its sponsors include KECO Coatings, Goodridge and K&N Filters.
Swanson went to the work area under the red for Berkheimer’s accident, again under a yellow with 52 laps down, and a third time when he got a flat tire with just a handful of laps remaining.
The pitstop with 52 laps down came under a yellow after an accident involving the drivers who were fourth and fifth at the time, Chris Windom and Kevin Thomas Jr., in Turn 3.
Each time Swanson had to restart at the rear of the field, but he still finished on the lead lap and took the checkered just one spot out of the top 10.
Other top runners had problems too. In addition to Windom and Thomas, Justin Grant stopped in Turn 2 with four laps to go while running second. (Swanson pitted under that yellow to have his flat tire changed.) Brady Bacon and Logan Seavey had flat tires on the last lap while running third and fourth, respectively. Leary led the whole race until a restart with two laps to go, when Shane Cottle passed him with a fresher tire. Restart Communications.
July 15, 2020 - NEWTON, Ia.: Five-time and defending USAC Silver Crown Series champion Kody Swanson will make his ARCA Menards Series debut for Chad Bryant Racing (CBR) in Saturday afternoon’s Shore Lunch 150 at Iowa Speedway.
A three-time and reigning Little 500 winner, Swanson will drive the No. 22 Fatheadz Eyewear Ford Fusion and is eager to add success in the ARCA Menards Series to an already impressive Motorsports resume.
Following his first USAC Silver Crown Series championship in 2014, Swanson had the opportunity to test an ARCA car at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in preseason testing, but Saturday’s race will be the first in the series’ composite-style race car.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity for me,” said Swanson. “I’m excited to take this next leap in my racing career and compete in the ARCA Menards Series at Iowa Speedway with a winning-race team.”
Longtime marketing partner Fatheadz Eyewear has expanded its relationship with Swanson for his ARCA debut in a primary role.
Founded in March 2004 under the direction of Rico Elmore, Fatheadz first started by catering to men with heads too large to fit in standard width sunglasses comfortably. To solve this issue, Elmore created a product line with four oversized sunglasses available in varying colors.
Fatheadz has now grown to encompass five distinct lines of eyewear of all sizes for both men and women. With over 1000 unique product offerings, innovation continues to drive Fatheadz’s customer centric business.
“We are excited to extend and grow our relationship with Kody this year as he embarks on this next opportunity in the ARCA Menards Series,” said Rico Elmore, Founder and CEO of Fatheadz Inc.
“Kody has been a great ambassador of our brands for the past few years and we’re excited to be associated again with him as he transitions into stock car racing with Chad Bryant Racing.” While Swanson, 32, does not have any prior stock car experience at Iowa, the Kingsburg, Calif. native has turned laps at the 0.875-mile race track in open wheel competition.
A 29-time race winner in Silver Crown competition (all-time leader), he also holds the track record at Iowa Speedway in Silver Crown competition, as well as boasting two second place efforts and a third. While the vehicles are quite different, Swanson is hoping that some of his prior track knowledge will pay some dividends during his ARCA debut weekend.
“I’m sure that our only hour of practice will go by really fast,” added Swanson, who resides near Indianapolis, Ind. “I’m thankful to have some experience with this racetrack and hoping that background will help me feel comfortable in my new surroundings and transition to the different characteristics of these ARCA Menards cars more quickly.”
ARCA will not hold General Tire pole qualifying this weekend, so Swanson will likely start by owners’ points – putting him just outside the top-10 to start.
With the 150-lap race being broken into three segments with a competition caution at the end or near Laps 50 and 100, Swanson realizes if his car isn’t to his liking at the start, veteran and championship winning crew chief Paul Andrews will have the ability to adjust on it.
“With no qualifying, it definitely changes your perspective. Looking at the positives, with a short practice schedule already, we can continue to work through that entire session on getting me comfortable in the car, and what I should expect in the race. I hope that I can become familiar enough with the car to provide Paul with good information, and we can continue to improve every chance we get.
“I’d like to get this team a win on Saturday – that’s what every racer sets out to do, but I realize that I will have an awful lot to learn in a short amount of time. I am thankful to have this opportunity with the Chad Bryant Racing team, and I know they are familiar with Victory Lane in the ARCA Menards series and Iowa Speedway. I hope I can adapt quickly, continue to improve with each lap, and can be in a good position to contend for a win for this team. “I am extremely grateful for the effort Chad Bryant and Rico Elmore have made to give me an opportunity like this, and thankful for everyone who has joined us to help make it happen.”
Team owner Chad Bryant is ecstatic to work with a driver of Swanson’s potential and be the platform for his first stock car start. “To bring Kody onboard to our Chad Bryant Racing team to Iowa is huge,” offered Bryant. “He comes from an open wheel discipline, but I think he will capitalize on it tremendously this weekend in Iowa.
“He’s a deeply knowledgeable driver and wants to perform not only for the team but his partners too. Paul and the guys have been working hard on his race car and I cannot wait to get to the race track and see what kind of performance he can put together. I think we can contend for a win.”
In other open wheel accolades, Swanson, the 2009 USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year joined Al Unser Sr. in 2018 as one of the only two drivers in history to win four consecutive Hoosier Hundred USAC Silver Crown Series race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
In addition to Fatheadz, Rosewood Machine & Tool, Lyons Transportation, Matthews Family Racers, Beyond Designs and Radio Hospital will serve as additional sponsors on the No. 22 Ford Fusion for the 14th ARCA race held at the 0.0875-mile oval.
The Shore Lunch 150 (100 laps | 150 miles) is the seventh of 20 races on the 2020 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Sat., Jul. 18 with a one-hour practice session from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 4:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV and NBC Sports Gold while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (Central).
I don’t think it has been a secret that I’ve been working hard to continue a career in racing. Today, I took a step. I want to extend a huge thank you to Metalloid Corporation and Legacy Autosport! They gave me a chance, and I made my first laps in an Indy Pro 2000. -Kody
Clermont, IN – June 20, 2020: In perhaps one of the most thrilling battles in the history of the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro, Kody Swanson outdueled Bobby Santos to win the inaugural Indy Summer Nationals on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Raceway. Photo Credit: Indy Racing Images
The event was the first to be broadcast on MustSeeRacing.TV, part of the SPEED SPORT Network, and the first single-day non-winged event in series history. It did not pay points toward the championship.
Swanson and Santos put on a show from the drop of the green flag for the 30-lap feature, starting third and fourth but racing their way to the top-two spots within the first lap and a half. Once they got there, it was a game of cat and mouse the rest of the way, as the two longtime rivals sized one another up and did whatever it took to try and outfox the other.
Swanson led the first 17 laps in succession, spending most of that time no more than two tenths of a second out in front. However, his Nolen Racing No. 4 finally started to pull away from Santos at halfway, and Swanson was nearly a second ahead when a game-changing yellow waved with 13 laps to go. That caution, which was displayed for a spin by Nick Hamilton in turn two that saw Caleb Armstrong collected with nowhere to go, set up a double-file restart with Swanson electing the inside lane. However, when the green flag returned the one drawback of Swanson’s Tranter V6 engine was displayed, as it struggled to fire off as well as Santos’ Speedway Chevy V8 did, allowing Santos to take control of the race from the top groove.
But Swanson dug his heels in and went back to work. He tried to pitch his car to Santos’ inside in turn three coming to 10 to go, but Santos powered back around the outside and forced Swanson to reset for another go. Swanson continued to chip away at Santos with the shorter groove, and finally found success working lap 24, when he got just clear of Santos in turn two and slid across the front nerf bar of the No. 22a for the top spot. However, a spin by 10th-running Ronnie Wuerdeman before the lap could be completed negated the brilliant move, giving Santos the lead back and forcing Swanson to try yet again to pounce.
A subsequent caution on the restart, for the looped car of Bobby Komisarski on the backstretch, gave the feeling that the race was Santos’ to lose, but Swanson had none of it when action resumed for the seven-lap dash to the checkered flag. After falling into second when Santos got the launch off the top groove, Swanson pitched his Nolen Racing No. 4 to the inside of the second corner with five laps left and completed a sliding pass the likes of which any dirt sprint car driver would be proud of – powering to the lead and never looking back. Swanson pulled away from there to win by 1.859 seconds at the twin checkers, earning his first Must See Racing win and becoming the 20th different driver to win a feature in series history. Kody also joined his brother, Tanner Swanson, as a Must See Racing winner Saturday night. Tanner won his lone Must See Racing event at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., in March of 2012.
Once he got to victory lane, the emotion surrounding not only Swanson’s victory – but the never-say-die manner in which he got the job done – was palpable. Tears of joy rolled down his face as he hugged every member of the Nolen Racing crew and cried, “We did it! We did it!” amid a mob of well wishers. The win was a perfect tribute to late Nolen Racing team owner Gene Nolen, who passed away on April 8 and stated in his last wishes that he wanted his eponymous race team to continue with Swanson driving.
Saturday night, that team – led by Swanson – banded together and did just that for their fallen leader. “This win is for Gene,” an emotional Swanson affirmed. “It’s been a long offseason for everyone with this virus mess, and I hate that we’re here without Gene, but we wanted to win for him so badly. I’m excited for Greg (Nolen, Gene’s son), and everyone on this team. They’ve been a part of this family for a long time, and I’ve only been here for a little while, but I’ve sure been thankful to be a part of it.
“I love these V6s, even though I had a little doubt in the back of my mind (whether the smaller engine would have enough speed at the .686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway),” Swanson continued. “But these guys are like the little engine that could. They said, ‘I think we can (win). And gosh dang it, we did. I sure wasn’t going to lose it like that, on a late restart, and I’ve got to thank Bobby Santos for running me so clean. I know I ran him really hard, but I really wanted this one. I wasn’t going to lose it lik e that, and we didn’t.
Santos came home as the runner-up, and though disappointed, gave a nod of respect to Swanson and the whole Nolen Racing crew for the fierce battle between the two sides all race long. “They were just handling a little better than we were at the end,” noted Santos. “Honestly, I needed those yellows. The yellows and the short runs were our friend, but we’ve just gotta be better next time. You always want to have good, hard, clean racing and we know we’re going to get that with those guys every time.” by Jacob Seelman.
Our first race of the summer was worth the wait. Thanks to
Jordan for capturing some of these moments and putting this clip together, and thanks again to the Nolen Racing team for the effort! -Kody
Pinellas Park, Florida – February 20, 2020 – by Dave Sink – Kody Swanson captured Thursday nights inaugural “Dave Steele World Non-Wing Sprint Car Championship 125” at Showtime Speedway and officially ended the sprint car portion of 2020 Florida Speedweeks. Swanson’s win came aboard the Doran Enterprises #77 V-6 powered entry.
Swanson set quick time earlier in the day with a lap of 13.410 seconds around the quarter-mile semi-banked speedway near St. Petersburg, Florida. The 125-lap feature was scheduled to start straight up but Swanson elected to start the race from the outside front row.
When the green flagged dropped Swanson took command of the event but surrendered the lead to Kyle O’Gara just prior to lap 10. O’Gara began to build a sizeable lead over Swanson during the next 40 laps, despite apparent brake issues. The car appeared to be locking up the front brakes entering the corners.
Just after the 50-lap mark, Swanson began reeling in race leader O’Gara at a rapid pace. By lap 66 Swanson had taken the lead back and began to build a small cushion. Unfortunately for Swanson, a lap 84 red flag to clean up fluid on the track, would bunch the field up when the race resumed. Bobby Santos III had quietly worked himself into the runner up position after starting the race from inside the third row. It appeared as if a classic Swanson versus Santos III battle was brewing for the final 25 laps.
When the race resumed, Swanson wasted no time getting around lapped cars and kept Santos III at a comfortable distance the final 25 laps to capture the victory and a $5,000 payday.
Swanson beat Santos III across the line by 1.077 seconds followed by O’Gara, Joe Ligouri, and John Inman rounding out the top five.
In victory lane Swanson alluded to the fact he was patient at the start of the race and let O’Gara set the pace early on. ”I kinda play these races by ear” explained Swanson. ”The ideal is to lead the whole thing from start to finish. But as good as he was early, I wasn’t good enough to do what he was doing early. I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again. I didn’t know if he’d fade and I’d have a chance. Luckily, the longer the race went it kinda played back to us. I tried not to lose sight of him but there was period there where I really couldn’t even see him”.
With 25 laps remaining, Swanson indicated he was concerned, with Santos III right behind him and $5,000 on the line. ”I knew Bobby had come from fifth. Bobby is an incredible racer and does a great job saving his equipment. You know he’s gonna be there at the end and he's coming. I knew he would be very tough to hold off. At that point I felt fortunate to get a good start. There was no more saving after that. I wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be, or as in control as I wanted to be. I kept moving around the racetrack to find a little bit of speed, wherever I could, just to stay in front of him”.
The race paid tribute to Dave Steele, who lost his life in an accident at a track in nearby Bradenton nearly three years ago. Swanson was quick to share what the victory meant to him personally. “It means a lot to win this race because Dave was a friend, teammate, and someone I had Thanksgiving dinner with during Turkey Night. He was someone who is truly missed and someone I think of often. The chance to win one in his memory is really special” concluded Swanson.