Archive for USAC Silver Crown

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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

Kody Swanson celebrates after scoring his record-setting 24th career USAC Silver Crown win Saturday night at Indiana's Salem Speedway in the 59th running of the 'Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial.' (Rich Forman Photo)



SWANSON BECOMES WINNINGEST SILVER CROWN DRIVER WITH SALEM SCORE

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Salem, Indiana.....August 11, 2018 - On a night when he was in a class of his own on the Salem Speedway high banks, Kody Swanson put himself in a class of his own in the record books.

The Kingsburg, California native led the 59th "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial" from start to finish in a landslide, perhaps the best on-track performance he's displayed of all 24 of his series victories, to surpass Jack Hewitt and become the USAC Silver Crown division's winningest driver.

Swanson set additional records, including notching his fifth consecutive series win, which passed the four-straight wins accomplished by Hewitt in 1986 and Tom Bigelow between 1975 and 1976. His third-straight "James/O'Connor" triumph slotted him into exclusive company as only the second driver to win that many consecutively. Pancho Carter won four-in-a-row between 1974 and 1977.

Twenty-one of those 24 wins have come behind the wheel of the DePalma Motorsports/Bob Hampshire-wrenched No. 63. Hampshire was also the crew chief on Hewitt's win streak and the majority of his Silver Crown wins over the years. Swanson is quick to credit his crew on the Lima, Ohio-based team. It's something he doesn't take for granted.

"It's so hard to believe," Swanson exclaimed. "It's what you dream about and what you wish for, but you never really give it a real chance. Silver Crown cars have long been my favorite, so to be on that list is special, let alone be at the top. But I didn't do it alone, though. Not a single one."

After all the preparation and anticipation between races, the anxiousness and butterflies dissipate once the green flag drops. It becomes all business. Swanson was proficient right from the outset, setting quick time in qualifying, then jumping out to the lead at the start.

David Byrne was pretty much the lone challenger to Swanson's throne early on, driving through an impressive shower of sparks that engulfed the nighttime sky to second by lap four and was routinely challenging for the race lead throughout the first third of the 75-lapper.

Following a lap 15 yellow for a slowing Matt Goodnight, Byrne remained relentless on the lone restart of the night, diving inside Swanson multiple times to no avail before slotting back in as the leader of the high-wire act displayed by Swanson's pursuers, followed by Bobby Santos, Chris Windom and Jerry Coons, Jr.

Between laps 30 and 40, Swanson extended his lead from a mere half-second to a 2.5 second challenge as he cut through the lapped traffic with the precision of a laser-guided missile.

#63 Kody Swanson battles #07 Jacob Wilson during Saturday 'Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial' at Salem (Ind.) Speedway. (Sean Cavanah Photo)

On the 53rd lap, Windom grabbed second from Santos and began shrinking Swanson's lead ever so slightly over the next handful of laps. Yet, the shrinkage didn't last long, and Swanson opened up the lead once again, upping the interval to over six seconds and a near half-straightaway advantage that would simply not be overcome, challenging and lapping cars that were competing for the lead with him seemingly just moments earlier.

Swanson was flawless all night long, winning by just a tick under 8.5 seconds, and setting a new 75-lap track record in the process, over Windom, Santos, Coons and a career-best finish for Kyle Hamilton.

You couldn't script a better performance than Swanson showcased on a fairytale night in which the record books were cast aside, and a new edition was published. From dirt to pavement, this team seems to be on the same page much more often than not and Saturday night's performance at Salem certainly showed.

"Salem is such a tough and challenging racetrack, not only physically as a driver, but man it's hard on everything to have a car that will be good the whole race," Swanson said. "These guys go the distance for me every time and we do it together. My wife and I drive to the shop and put in the effort with them. As far as a team, we're all in it together. That's what makes it so special."

There are many things that make Swanson appreciate the efforts of his crew, including his spotter, and wife, Jordan. But it's the competition that keeps Swanson and crew challenging themselves to be better every time they hit the racetrack.

"Part of the reason every win is special in Silver Crown is because of who you're racing against," Swanson said. "Everyone's here. Our crew goes the extra mile and they're always trying something to get better because you know they are. Every win is special because they're all great competitors and they're here to win just like any of us. If you're going to beat them, you're going to have to put in the extra time and you're going to have to have a little bit of luck too."

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 11, 2018 - Salem Speedway - Salem, Indiana - Discover Scott County "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial" presented by Kentuckiana Ford Dealers

QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-16.001; 2. Jerry Coons, Jr., 20, Nolen-16.186; 3. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-16.264; 4. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-16.298; 5. Chris Windom, 17, Nolen-16.353; 6. Eric Gordon, 21, Armstrong-16.479; 7. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-16.493; 8. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-16.540; 9. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-16.566; 10. Dave Darland, 32, Williams/Wright-16.922; 11. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-17.061; 12. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott/Gorman-17.194; 13. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-17.329; 14. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-17.434; 15. John Heydenreich, 43, Felker/Nix-18.008; 16. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-18.497; 17. Toni Breidinger, 80, Breidinger-19.065; 18. Cody Gallogly, 81, Williams-20.881; 19. Terry James, 16, Logan-NT

FEATURE: (75 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kody Swanson (1), 2. Chris Windom (5), 3. Bobby Santos (3), 4. Jerry Coons, Jr. (2), 5. Kyle Hamilton (7), 6. Justin Grant (8), 7. Jacob Wilson (9), 8. David Byrne (4), 9. Dave Darland (10), 10. Travis Welpott (12), 11. John Heydenreich (15), 12. Mike Haggenbottom (16), 13. Patrick Lawson (14), 14. Eric Gordon (6), 15. Matt Goodnight (13), 16. Toni Breidinger (17), 17. Kyle Robbins (11), 18. Cody Gallogly (18), 19. Terry James (19). 24:06.27 (New Track Record)
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-75 Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER AWARD: John Heydenreich (15th to 11th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Patrick Lawson

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Swanson-508, 2-Grant-382, 3-Windom-363, 4-Byrne-341, 5-Santos-329, 6-Coons-286, 7-Welpott-280, 8-Goodnight-263, 9-Aaron Pierce-239, 10-Robbins-228.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: August 18 - Illinois State Fairgrounds - Springfield, Illinois - "Bettenhausen 100"

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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

With his victory Friday night at Wisconsin's Madison International Speedway, Kody Swanson tied Jack Hewitt atop the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series win list with his 23rd career triumph. It was also his fourth-straight win of the season. (Gene Crucean Photo)



SWANSON EQUALS HEWITT AS ALL-TIME SILVER CROWN KING WITH 23RD WIN AT MADISON

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Oregon, Wisconsin....June 29, 2018 - History has been a major part of his story for quite a while, but now the record books will forever reflect the fact that Kody Swanson made good on two pieces of USAC Silver Crown history in Friday night's debut at Madison International Speedway.

Swanson won his 23rd career race to tie Jack Hewitt atop the all-time series' victory list. Meanwhile, it was also the Kingsburg, California's fourth-straight Silver Crown victory of the season, becoming the third driver to accomplish the feat and the first since Hewitt in 1986.

These are stats that the humble Swanson doesn't take for granted and is quick to spread the credit around to the teams who've helped him along the way from the first one to number 23: Six-R Racing, the team whose car he piloted to his first back in 2010 and the ride in which Kody has become synonymous with - the DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital - Hampshire Racing Engines/Beast/Hampshire Chevy - that he raced to victory lane at the Bytec "Dairyland 100" for the 23rd win of his career.

"I'm just extremely grateful," Swanson said. "There's 23, but I've done zero of them alone. That's how I feel about it. It takes a team, it takes a family and it takes support from people no one will ever see. I've been fortunate that 23 times those great people have carried me to victory lane. Racing's as big of a team sport as any. It's like a relay race and I get the baton last. This team puts in the work and deserves to win races. I take pride in being a part of that."

Though USAC's National Sprint and Midget divisions had made a smattering of visits over the years to the track, this was the first visit for the Silver Crown cars, putting everyone on mostly equal footing entering the gates of the half-mile paved oval.

"I put more into coming to Madison because it's such an opportunity to have a clean slate," Swanson explained. "No one's got any more laps than me. No one's got any more notes than me. You get a chance to go out and be the first one to get it done. But I was not getting it done early on. I didn't have the car handling very good. That's on me. These guys never quit on me. They jumped through hoops for me. We changed four springs during practice and changed another one before qualifying. We changed the left rear tire because I didn't think we were going to be good enough."

Despite the slight pessimism early on, Swanson sped to the lead from his outside front row starting spot, securing the lead from pole sitter Justin Grant by the time the two hit turn three on the opening lap.

Grant wasn't content to play it conservatively and let Kody ride into the Badger State sunset. Grant remained within arm's reach of Swanson, and on lap six, used an inside move to snare the lead away from Swanson at the stripe where he would remain for the ensuing 41 circuits.

Winner Kody Swanson (middle) is joined in victory lane by 2nd place finisher Bobby Santos (right) and 3rd place finisher Justin Grant (left) following Friday night's Bytec 'Dairyland 100' at Wisconsin's Madison International Speedway. (Gene Crucean Photo)

Swanson had remained within five car lengths of Grant as the front runners began to encounter lapped traffic just prior to midway. Grant encountered the lapped car of leading series Rookie contender Travis Welpott and tried to race past him using the lower groove, but no room was vacant, and Grant's ride got squirrelly off turn two. All the while, Swanson was steadfast up top and smoothly drove by both to capture the lead.

"When racecars that are equal are battling up front, you have to look for opportunities. Lapped cars are opportunities," Swanson dissects. "Lapped cars are opportunities. As a driver, where I can help this team is being the best prepared I can be ahead of time to capitalize on those opportunities. I saw he was going to choose low, so we chose high. It's hard to know exactly where they're going to go, but it's your job to know the drivers you're racing against. You got to have that feeling, that instinct, that it was time to sail it around the top."

"I got lucky (Justin) got pinned in and I was close enough to capitalize and get alongside of him so that he couldn't change lanes and occupy the space," Swanson continued. "He's someone I love racing against because he races me clean every time. At that point, you're committed and it's your job to see it to the end. I was fortunate to have a good handling car through the middle to keep it going on a long run."

Once Swanson was clear of Grant, the space between grew incrementally to 1 second, to 1.5, to 2 and ultimately more than 2.5 seconds with 30 laps remaining following a lengthy 60-lap green-flag stint. The construction of the lead would meet the wrecking ball when Toni Breidinger's machine went up in smoke with 14 laps remaining.

That put second-running Santos right on the tail tank of Swanson for the lap 92 restart. Santos was able to mount a furious challenge as he pulled alongside Swanson to the inside on the front straightaway. Swanson was able to flex enough muscle to ward off the challenge into turn one.

With four to go, Kyle Hamilton slowed to bring out the yellow and set up one last restart for a green-white-checkered finish. This time, Swanson never allowed Santos an opportunity to make a move, jetting away to lock up the lead as Santos followed single-file into one.

"I didn't do a good enough job on the first restart," Swanson admitted. "You're not going to beat Bobby Santos very many times. If you give him an opportunity with five to go, you know he's going to be there. I didn't do a great job on that first restart. I maybe brought the pace down too slow and I spun the tires. When it stood up, I slid out, and I drove it all the way down there into turn one and plumb missed the corner. I just got lucky that he couldn't carve it good enough to get by me, just back to me, and I had another opportunity to do a better job in turn three than I did in turn one. I surely wouldn't make the same mistake twice, so I got in hard to make sure he couldn't get a run, got on the brakes well to hit the bottom and do it like I was supposed to. On the second restart, I didn't do it perfect, but I got it a little better and was able to bring it home."

It was game, set, match as Swanson went on to stamp his place alongside and atop the USAC record books with a victory margin of seven tenths over Santos, Grant, a career-best finish for Jim Anderson in fourth and Chris Windom rounding out the top-five.

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: June 29, 2018 - Oregon, Wisconsin - Madison International Speedway - Bytec "Dairyland 100"

QUALIFYING: 1. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-16.870; 2. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-16.930; 3. Eric Gordon, 21, Armstrong-16.982; 4. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-17.171; 5. Chris Windom, 17, Nolen-17.181; 6. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-17.184; 7. Jerry Coons, Jr., 20, Nolen-17.201; 8. Jim Anderson, 92, Kazmark-17.263; 9. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott/Gorman-17.403; 10. Dave Darland, 32, Williams/Wright-17.452; 11. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-17.516; 12. Derek Bischak, 31, Bischak-17.584; 13. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-17.694; 14. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-17.773; 15. Toni Breidinger, 80, Breidinger-17.849; 16. Austin Blair, 96, Blair-17.865; 17. Mike Haggenbottom, 24, Haggenbottom-18.815; 18. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-(Time of 17.128 disallowed); 19. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-(Time of 17.202 disallowed); 20. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kody Swanson (2), 2. Bobby Santos (6), 3. Justin Grant (1), 4. Jim Anderson (8), 5. Chris Windom (5), 6. Jerry Coons, Jr. (7), 7. David Byrne (19), 8. Travis Welpott (9), 9. Matt Goodnight (11), 10. Kyle Robbins (14), 11. Kyle Hamilton (4), 12. Toni Breidinger (15), 13. Aaron Pierce (18), 14. Patrick Lawson (13), 15. Mike Haggenbottom (17), 16. Dave Darland (10), 17. Austin Blair (16), 18. Derek Bischak (12), 19. Eric Gordon (3). 36:49.04
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Swanson, Laps 6-47 Grant, Laps 48-100 Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER AWARD: David Byrne (19th to 7th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Aaron Pierce

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Swanson-432, 2-Grant-327, 3-Windom-296, 4-Byrne-292, 5-Santos-265, 6-Pierce-239, 7-Welpott-237, 8-Goodnight-230, 9-Coons-225, 10-Robbins-199.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE August 11 - Salem, Indiana - Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery - Discover Scott County "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial" Presented by Kentuckiana Ford Dealers

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

Kody Swanson (in black) battles with brother Tanner Swanson on his way to his third-straight USAC Silver Crown victory in Friday night's 'Dave Steele Carb Night Classic' at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. (David Nearpass Photo)



KODY SWANSON WINS 3RD STRAIGHT IN "DAVE STEELE CARB NIGHT CLASSIC"

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Brownsburg, Indiana....May 25, 2018 - Winning three USAC Silver Crown Champ Car races in a row is an accomplishment of epic proportions. In fact, it's a feat that occurs so rarely, it took 13 seasons for it to happen again.

Perhaps there was something in the air that had Friday night's "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic" at Lucas Oil Raceway pegged as the spot where the monumental task would be accomplished.

After all, the last one to win three consecutive was none other than Dave Steele in 2005, the man who used the .686-mile paved oval as his personal playground and ATM between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s in USAC competition and the man whose life was honored Friday night.

Perhaps no driver marvels at the significance of the event more than Kody Swanson. One night following his fourth-straight "Hoosier Hundred" victory, Swanson was again on a mission to get the coveted trophy and winner's share totaling $17,000. But, this night had an extra emotional incentive factored in, winning the 100-lap event in memory of his late friend and mentor.

"Dave was an incredible competitor and his resume speaks for itself on the racetrack," Swanson praised. "He was a friend and a guy I looked up to. I miss him dearly. It's truly special to be able to compete in a race in his honor, and to win it is something else. Lynn and the Steele family are ones I care about so much. It's great to see them here tonight and to see what they put into this event as well. You could feel the buzz from the crowd. I really hope this is something that everyone enjoyed not only for the Silver Crown series, but in memory of Dave."

On this night, not only was a statistical accomplishment on the line, so were bragging rights among brothers. Tanner Swanson cashed in the fastest time in qualifying for a $1000 bonus, then elected to start the main event from the tail of the 22-car field, which would net him another bonus of $5000 if he could take the checkered flag.

A furious start saw new pole sitter Kody Swanson swap the lead with fellow front row starter Bobby Santos where they exchanged the lead multiple times in the opening laps before Kody cleared the most recent Silver Crown race winner at the track on lap three.

Meanwhile, Tanner was hauling the mail and, by lap 32, had moved into the top-five. Just like clockwork, three laps later, he was fourth. Another four laps clicked by, he was third.

By midway, it had become a three-car race at the front with Kody leading Aaron Pierce and Tanner who were stacking 'em deep and selling 'em cheap in rush traffic, running nose-to-tail one-two-three.

Kody went to the low line often to work around the lappers, keeping his ears tuned in to his wife, Jordan, for direction as she served as his eyes in the sky as a spotter for the DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital - Hampshire Racing Engines/Beast/Hampshire Chevy No. 63.

"My wife does an amazing job spotting," Swanson said. "On a night like this where strategy is so important, I could try whatever strategy I had because I knew they were coming. That played a huge role. You hate to say it's a radio race, but it is a strategy race. I feel like the Silver Crown series is open wheel's big-time. You can't ever give up. If you never do, breaks will go your way. And if you're close, maybe you'll come away with one here and there."

'If you even think about making a mistake, Tanner's going by you. I was fortunate that a couple of the spots played out in my favor and I was able to get clear. I had one spot where I knew he got to my outside. My only move left was to try and stay there on the bottom and do some sort of pick and roll and just hope that the lapped car occupied the space because I had been had.' - Kody Swanson (Dallas Breeze Photo)

After relentlessly working on Pierce for nearly one-third of the race, Tanner finally made the move on lap 68, sliding up in front of Pierce for second with an inside move in turn three. However, Tanner drifted up the racetrack, nearly collecting the outside SAFER barrier in the process. Pierce got back by momentarily, but it would be only four more laps before Tanner found a little bit of redemption, passing Pierce again, this time on the outside of turn two to take second.

"My goodness, multiple times I was three-wide in lapped traffic for the lead. Man, I sure hope people enjoyed that. I don't know how it could get any more nail-biting. If I hadn't have had both hands on the wheel, I think I would've been in the same boat. We survived that and were better after the caution. The longer it went, the tighter I got and, all the while, I have to withstand all these charges knowing Tanner's still coming and that maybe we hadn't seen anything yet."

The final sprint to the finish would now be a showdown between Kody and younger brother Tanner, the way it has so many times before. Kody had been the dominant force thus far, but Tanner was the show throughout the race, bringing the fans to their feet with several daring passes on his charge to the front past 20 other competitors in the first 72 laps, something that didn't surprise Kody one bit.

"I knew it wouldn't be long," Swanson admitted. "I've told people Dave (Steele) might've been the greatest of all-time in a pavement open wheel car. Tanner's got to be next. For as little as he races, the fact that he comes out and he's the guy. I'm biased, but I have to be. He's my brother and he's earned it, I think. He's put it on us for how many years out here now? Tonight, he spotted us the field! Not only has he been special in a Silver Crown car at this racetrack, he's been great in everything even as little as he gets to go."

On lap 87, with the laps winding down, Kody took every avenue he could to keep his hard-charging younger brother at bay. It looked like a race from the Thursday/Saturday Night Thunder era of the early 1990s with Kody using the Steve Butler line at the entry of turn one in an effort to get around the lapped car of Chris Windom, nearly clipping the grass with his left side tires. Meanwhile, Tanner was running the old groove that was popular before the repave job in the late 1990s, right up against the outside wall in the corners.

"If you even think about making a mistake, Tanner's going by you," Swanson pointed out. "I was fortunate that a couple of the spots played out in my favor and I was able to get clear. I had one spot where I knew he got to my outside. My only move left was to try and stay there on the bottom and do some sort of pick and roll and just hope that the lapped car occupied the space because I had been had."

Tanner was relentless in his approach, pulling alongside Kody on several occasions and appeared poised to make the winning pass with 10 laps remaining on the outside at the exit of turn two, but was shielded by a lapped car that shackled his momentum, allowing Kody to breakaway.

Simultaneously, Tanner's car began to run low on fuel, causing the engine of his Bowman/Elmore Racing #02 to sputter as Kody began to put a gap on the rest of the field and would finish it out with Silver Crown win number 22, which stands just one behind Jack Hewitt for the all-time series lead.

Tanner just missed an opportunity to become the track's winningest Silver Crown driver. He still stands at five alongside Mike Bliss. Aaron Pierce finished third with Bobby Santos and Chris Windom rounding out the top-five.

Only eight times previously has a driver gone back-to-back-to-back within the same season in Silver Crown competition, Mario Andretti (1974), Tom Bigelow (1975), Rick Hood (1985), Jack Hewitt (1986), J.J. Yeley (2003), Jay Drake (2004), Tyler Walker (2004) and Steele (2005).

Even rarer, though, is the driver who's won two Silver Crown races in two nights: Andretti at the Missouri and Illinois State Fairgrounds in 1974 and J.J. Yeley at Indianapolis Raceway Park and the Indiana State Fairgrounds in 2003.

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: May 25, 2018 - Brownsburg, Indiana - Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis - "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic"

QUALIFYING: 1. Tanner Swanson, 02, Bowman/Elmore-21.010; 2. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-21.043; 3. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-21.083; 4. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-21.258; 5. Derek Bischak, 131, Bischak-21.438; 6. Chris Windom, 17, Nolen-21.451; 7. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-21.503; 8. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-21.518; 9. Jerry Coons, Jr., 20, Nolen-21.529; 10. Jim Anderson, 92, Kazmark-21.602; 11. Eric Gordon, 21, Armstrong-21.621; 12. Austin Blair, 96, Blair-21.903; 13. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-21.974; 14. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-22.073; 15. Dave Darland, 32, Williams/Wright-22.084; 16. Cody Gerhardt, 60, Gerhardt-22.211; 17. Toni Breidinger, 80, Breidinger-22.262; 18. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-22.366; 19. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-22.385; 20. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott-22.461; 21. Bill Rose, 66, Rose-22.481; 22. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-NT; 23. Mike Haggenbottom, 124, Haggenbottom-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Kody Swanson (1), 2. Tanner Swanson (22), 3. Aaron Pierce (6), 4. Bobby Santos (2), 5. Chris Windom (4), 6. Justin Grant (5), 7. David Byrne (3), 8. Jim Anderson (8), 9. Eric Gordon (9), 10. Kyle Hamilton (21), 11. Travis Welpott (17), 12. Patrick Lawson (16), 13. Cody Gerhardt (14), 14. Dave Darland (13), 15. Kyle Robbins (11), 16. Toni Breidinger (15), 17. Matt Goodnight (12), 18. Bill Rose (18), 19. Jerry Coons Jr. (7), 20. Derek Bischak (20), 21. Austin Blair (10), 22. Mike Haggenbottom (19).
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Santos, Laps 2-100 K. Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER AWARD: Tanner Swanson (22nd-2nd)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Cody Gerhardt

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR POINTS: 1-K. Swanson-359, 2-Grant-260, 3-Byrne-240, 4-Windom-238, 5-Pierce-202, 6-Santos-198, 7-Welpott-188, 8-Goodnight-184, 9-Nemire-178, 10-Coons-170.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR RACE: June 29 - Oregon, Wisconsin - Madison International Speedway - "Bytec Dairyland 100"

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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Kody Swanson celebrates his fourth-straight 'Hoosier Hundred' win Thursday night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. (Dallas Breeze Photo)



SWANSON EQUALS UNSER WITH 4TH STRAIGHT HOOSIER HUNDRED WIN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Indianapolis, Indiana.....May 24, 2018 -Al Unser and Kody Swanson. Of course, Al Unser's place in the history of the sport has long ago been cemented. Kody Swanson's legacy continues to grow with each race, each year.

Following Thursday night's 63rd running of the "Hoosier Hundred," those two names will forever be linked as drivers who've mastered the 100-mile event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in four consecutive attempts. Unser got the job done in 1970-71-72-73 and now Swanson in 2014-15-16-18 (2017 was rained out).

It's a feat that the Kingsburg, California driver admits he's unsure will ever sink in. But this had a slightly different feel for the three-time Silver Crown champion. Rather than settling in and then pouncing to the lead about two-thirds of the way in as he had during his first three wins, Swanson became the rabbit early on after starting from the pole position, setting the pace.

"Sometimes coming from fourth or sixth is ideal here," Swanson explained. "Winning the pole is important and getting those three bonus points is important. Two years ago, it proved that every point counts. I've won the pole before and still rode in third or fourth for a while. Tonight, the racetrack was different. I know the other three all came about the same way, but believe it or not, it wasn't just by design. You try to run each race independently, try to manage your tires, your situation, your brakes and they happened to work out the same as those ones. I'd say it's coincidence as much as anything."

"Obviously, the later it gets, the more time becomes of the essence," Swanson continued. "The way the racetrack was, I didn't feel like I wanted to be fourth or sixth because there are a lot of good cars and maybe you don't have as many passing opportunities to get them back. I was okay with leading early, for a little while, but the harder they wanted to press, the less I was okay with it. I didn't want to get off my game because of what was going on behind me."

At the start, Swanson set the tone, but two-time Du Quoin "Ted Horn 100" winner Shane Cockrum was an early challenger, peeking the nose of his No. 71 high and low on both ends of the racetrack on lap 12 before falling into line. There wasn't much time for riding around, though, and eight laps later, two-time USAC National Sprint Car champ Brian Tyler stormed to second past Cockrum and quickly closed in on leader Swanson.

A yellow on lap 21 slowed the pace for a moment, but not Tyler's. Tyler checked high, he checked low and, on lap 29, got a run on Swanson down the front straightaway that propelled him into the lead on lap 29. Tyler quickly put a large gap between he and Swanson which grew to four-plus seconds by lap 40 when the yellow flag flew following series Rookie Kyle Robbins' turn three wall contact.

Sometimes plans change mid-stream and, when constant pressure was being applied to from Tyler, Swanson admitted that the game plan changed.

"It's hard," Swanson admits. "I'm trying to win the Depalmas a fifth-straight title, which has never been done. If I had let somebody outthink me, and I blow a tire and give it away, then that's on me. I got to a spot where I couldn't do it anymore. He got a big run and that seemed like the right time to change strategy a little bit and I tried to save as much as I could. If I'm going to be behind, I might as well save everything I can."

Kody Swanson equaled Al Unser's record of four-straight 'Hoosier Hundred' wins set from 1970-73. (Rich Forman Photo)

"The racetrack was different and what it was going to require was different," Swanson continued. "I hated leading early. I mean, I just hated it. Cockrum was good and (Shane) Cottle was good. I knew Tyler would be good too. If Tyler qualifies in the top-18, he's going to be good. I know that from being his teammate. He was pushing hard, and I wasn't going to hold him off for 70 (laps) in a row. He wanted to go faster than I felt I could go at the time."

Following the lap 44 restart, Tyler reestablished a stranglehold at the front, but in racing, things can change in a hurry. On the 56th lap, Tyler made contact with a piece of brake rotor that came off Chris Windom's car, sending Tyler hard into the outside wall and ending dreams of a first "Hoosier Hundred" victory for the veteran driver.

During that 12-lap stint following the restart, Swanson was fully-entrenched in his game plan, hanging a little bit closer to Tyler than before the yellow.

"We caught a caution there and I felt like I tried to stay with him a little bit and felt like I could," Swanson said. "It wasn't as easy to run him down as I was hoping. I felt like we could stay with him, and maybe the longer it went, the more things would come to us. You watch their cars and I could tell he was very good through the corner and good off the corner. I felt like we were running awful hard and I absolutely hated to see that happen to him. Brian's been a teammate, he's a friend of mine and I know he's been after a "Hoosier Hundred" win for a long time. I can't say that I would've gotten him, but I was going to give it everything I had at the end, but so would he, and he's very good."

When racing resumed, the show came down to a two-horse race between Swanson and Cockrum. Swanson established his dominance by never wavering from 10-15 car-length lead as the two orchestrated a cat-and-mouse chase through lapped traffic. However, each time Cockrum seemed to move his chess piece past one obstacle, Swanson picked one off himself and never gave Cockrum an opportunity to shave off any of the interval.

A lap 88 yellow for a turn three crash involving Jerry Coons, Jr. erased the gap, albeit momentarily. Swanson never allowed Cockrum to get close enough to challenge, finishing out an incredible run of success on the Indy Mile, winning by 2.7 seconds over Cockrum, Tyler Courtney, Cottle and a career-best finish for birthday boy Johnny Petrozelle.

The win was the 21st of Swanson's Silver Crown career, moving him to within two of Jack Hewitt's record 23 victories.

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: May 24, 2018 - Indianapolis, Indiana - Indiana State Fairgrounds - 63rd "Hoosier Hundred"

QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-33.522; 2. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-33.722; 3. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy Boys-33.921; 4. Chris Windom, 17, Nolen-34.496; 5. Brian Tyler, 12, Galas-34.626; 6. Tyler Courtney, 97, Lein-34.749; 7. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-34.808; 8. Chris Dyson, 9, Dyson-34.843; 9. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-34.946; 10. A.J. Fike, 711, Hardy-Boys-35.049; 11. Joe Liguori, 4, Liguori-35.053; 12. Jeff Swindell, 21, Swanson-35.089; 13. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR Racing-35.136; 14. Coleman Gulick, 114, Team Scorpion-35.251; 15. Kevin Thomas Jr., 56, Foxco-35.307; 16. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-35.370; 17. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-35.400; 18. Johnny Petrozelle, 8, Cornell/Petrozelle-35.484; 19. Mike Haggenbottom, 124, Haggenbottom-35.563; 20. Russ Gamester, 51, Gamester-35.651; 21. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-35.723; 22. J.C. Bland, 5, BBE-35.730; 23. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-35.745; 24. Austin Mundie, 47, Butler-35.818; 25. Brady Bacon, 6, Klatt-35.985; 26. Neil Shepherd, 04, Shepherd-36.021; 27. Dave Darland, 75, Rose-36.244; 28. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-36,297; 29. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-36.306; 30. Steve Buckwalter, 53, Five-Three-36.415; 31. Bill Rose, 66, Rose-36.556; 32. Korey Weyant, 99, Weyant-36.722; 33. Daniel Robinson, 43, Felker/Nix-37.476; 34. Ken Schrader, 14, McQuinn-37.525; 35. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-38.843; 36. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott-39.734; 37. Dave Berkheimer, 31, Berkheimer-41.079; 38. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-NT.

QUALIFYING RACE: (12 laps, top-6 transfer) 1. Shepherd, 2. Shuman, 3. Bacon, 4. Darland, 5. Buckwalter, 6. Weyant, 7. Lawson, 8. Rose, 9. Robinson, 10. Welpott, 11. Schrader, 12. Nemire, 13. Berkheimer.

FEATURE: (100 laps - starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kody Swanson (1), 2. Shane Cockrum (3), 3. Tyler Courtney (6), 4. Shane Cottle (2), 5. Johnny Petrozelle (18), 6. Jacob Wilson (21), 7. Joe Liguori (11), 8. David Byrne (15), 9. Dave Darland (28), 10. Austin Mundie (24), 11. Austin Nemire (29), 12. Matt Goodnight (19), 13. Chris Windom (4), 14. Mike Haggenbottom (17), 15. Casey Shuman (26), 16. Chris Dyson (8), 17. Korey Weyant (30), 18. Jerry Coons Jr. (9), 19. Brady Bacon (25), 20. Steve Buckwalter (27), 21. Justin Grant (16), 22. Travis Welpott (32), 23. Brian Tyler (5), 24. C.J. Leary (7), 25. Kyle Robbins (31), 26. Kevin Thomas Jr. (13), 27. J.C. Bland (22), 28. Russ Gamester (20), 29. Jeff Swindell (12), 30. Neil Shepherd (23), 31. Coleman Gulick (14), 32. A.J. Fike (10).
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-28 Swanson, Laps 29-55 Tyler, Laps 56-100 Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER AWARD: Dave Darland (28th to 9th)
WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Chris Windom

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Swanson-286, 2-Grant-205, 3-Byrne-188, 4-Windom-180, 5-Nemire-168, 6-Goodnight-155, 7-Welpott-147, 8-Coons-145, 9-Pierce-138, 10-Bobby Santos-137.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR RACE: May 25 - Brownsburg, IN - Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis - "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic"

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

#14 Ken Schrader (Rich Forman Photo)



TWO-TIME WINNER SWINDELL, SILVER CROWN CHAMP SCHRADER RETURN TO HOOSIER HUNDRED THURSDAY

By: Jay Hardin - Track Enterprises Staff

Indianapolis, Indiana.........Eleven rookies on this year's Hoosier Hundred entry list have the opportunity of a lifetime to learn from two legendary drivers who competed in the big cars long before many of the rookies were even born.

If the return of 1991 & 1993 race winner Jeff Swindell wasn't enough news, the return of 1982 Silver Crown champion Ken Schrader has only added to the buzz created by the continued upward swing of USAC's top tier series.

Swindell continues to hold the 60-mile track record set here in May of 1987 when he drove from the back of the pack to capture a spectacular race win in the "Hulman 100" and went on to turn heads that year setting a world record at Springfield and nearly winning at Du Quoin. His performance led to a full-time ride with Tim Delrose and Bob Galas in 1990 and, in 1991, they captured the first of two "Hoosier Hundred" races.

Swindell was mostly absent from the series after the 1993 season, but returned in 2006 to run at Springfield and Du Quoin for Galas. Jeff came back to Indianapolis in 2010 and 2011, and again in 2016. In 2016, he was marching toward the front when he was caught up in an accident on lap 84. Later that year, he led 55 miles at Du Quoin before finishing second and nearly won at Du Quoin last year, showing that there is still gas left in the tank of the Tennessee native.

1982 Silver Crown champ Ken Schrader made his series debut at Terre Haute, ironically, driving for Tim Delrose and Bob Galas. The 1979 USAC Stock Car Rookie of the Year and the 1983 USAC Sprint Car champ would eventually go on to become a NASCAR Rookie of the Year and a multi-time NASCAR Cup winner before scaling back to run dirt tracks and a part-time ARCA schedule. He toyed with the idea of getting back into one of the dirt champ cars back in 2016. The idea became a reality in 2017 when Springfield, Illinois car owner Dennis McQuinn offered him the seat of the familiar orange 14 and Schrader willingly accepted running both Springfield and Du Quoin.

Kenny first appeared on the Indy mile in the May 1982 "Hulman 100," starting second and finishing third while leading 37 miles. He finished ninth in the 1982 "Hoosier Hundred," then won the pole in 1983 and led the first nine laps before blowing an engine in front of the grandstand on lap 33. His best finish in the event came in 1984 when he started and finished seventh, his last appearance in a dirt car on the fairgrounds mile. He has since, however, won in ARCA stock cars and UMP Modifieds at the fairgrounds.

The "Hoosier Hundred" presented by TBA Oil & Warehouse begins with the pits opening at noon, grandstands opening at 3pm, practice at 5pm and racing at 7pm. The 100-mile main event is scheduled for an 8pm start.

The "Hoosier Hundred" is the second of three events in USAC's "Week of Indy," featuring the "Tony Hulman Classic" at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track on Wednesday, May 23, the "Hoosier Hundred" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis on Thursday, May 24, and the "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic" at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana on Friday, May 25.

A great deal is available for those who don't want to miss a single lap of "The Week of Indy". A Superticket is being sold for a savings of 25% off of the regular three-day prices. For just $60, a savings of $20, a fan will receive general admission at Terre Haute and Lucas Oil Raceway as well as a reserved seat for the "Hoosier Hundred." To purchase a Superticket, visit https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2018-week-of-indy or call 217-764-3200.

The "Hoosier Hundred" will be streamed LIVE on www.SpeedShiftTV.com/. A day later, you can watch it again, on-demand, at http://www.Loudpedal.TV/. You can also listen to all the action LIVE on the USAC app.

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"HOOSIER HUNDRED" ENTRY LIST:
04 (R) NEIL SHEPHERD/Warsaw, IN (Shepherd Racing)
07 JACOB WILSON/Crawfordsville, IN (Wilson Brothers Racing)
2 PATRICK LAWSON/Edwardsville, IL (Patrick Lawson)
4 JOE LIGUORI/Tampa, FL (Liguori Racing)
5 J.C. BLAND/Springfield, IL (Bland Brothers Enterprises)
6 BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK (Klatt Enterprises)
7 (R) KYLE ROBBINS/New Castle, IN (KR Racing)
8 (R) JOHNNY PETROZELLE/Denton, NC (Cornell-Petrozelle Racing)
9 (R) CHRIS DYSON/Pleasant Valley, NY (Chris Dyson Racing)
12 BRIAN TYLER/Mt. Pleasant, NC (Galas Motorsports)
14 KEN SCHRADER/Fenton, MO (Dennis & Dave McQuinn)
16 AUSTIN NEMIRE/Sylvania, OH (Nemire-Lesko Racing)
17 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL (Gene Nolen Racing)
18 KENNY GENTRY/Henderson, KY (Kenny Gentry)
20 JERRY COONS, JR./Tucson, AZ (Gene Nolen Racing)
21 JEFF SWINDELL/Germantown, TN (Swanson Racing)
26 AARON PIERCE/Muncie, IN (Sam Pierce)
30 C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN (Leary Racing)
31 (R) DAVE BERKHEIMER/Mechanicsburg, PA (Berkheimer Racing)
39 MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN (Goodnight Racing)
40 DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI (Byrne Racing)
43 (R) DANIEL ROBINSON/Ewing, IL (Ricky Nix/A.J. Felker)
44 DANNY LONG/Bonne Terre, MO (Danny Long)
47 (R) AUSTIN MUNDIE/Dallas, TX (Les Butler)
51 RUSS GAMESTER/Peru, IN (Gamester Racing)
53 STEVE BUCKWALTER/Royersford, PA (SET Racing)
55 CASEY SHUMAN/Tempe, AZ (Bateman Racing)
56 (R) KEVIN THOMAS, JR./Cullman, AL (Foxco Racing)
63 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA (DePalma Motorsports)
66 BILL ROSE/Plainfield, IN (Bill Rose Racing)
71 SHANE COCKRUM/Benton, IL (Hardy Boys Racing)
81 SHANE COTTLE/Kokomo, IN (Curtis Williams)
91 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (Hemelgarn Racing)
97 TYLER COURTNEY/Indianapolis, IN (Hans Lein)
99 (R) KOREY WEYANT/Springfield, IL (Scott Weyant)
114 COLEMAN GULICK/Binghamton, NY (Team Scorpion)
118 (R) TRAVIS WELPOTT/Pendleton, IN (Welpott Racing)
124 (R) MIKE HAGGENBOTTOM/Levittown, PA (Haggenbottom Racing)
(R) represents a USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series Rookie of the Year contender.

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Dave Steele Carb Night Classic

USAC SILVER CROWN CARB NIGHT CLASSIC TO HONOR DAVE STEELE MAY 25

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Brownsburg, Indiana.........Dave Steele made most any pavement track his personal playground during the 1990s and 2000s. Yet, no track was more closely associated with the "Man of Steele" than Indianapolis Raceway Park (now known as Lucas Oil Raceway).

It is fitting now that the May 25 "Carb Night Classic" featuring the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series will be named after the two-time Silver Crown champion who passed away in a racing crash in 2017.

Steele won 12 combined USAC National Sprint Car, Midget and Silver Crown races at the .686-mile oval between 1997 and 2006. One of those victories was aboard a Silver Crown car back in 1999 on ESPN's Thunder series.

This year's "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic" is expected to fetch the largest field for a pavement Silver Crown in several seasons. Plus, more money is on the line with over $4000 in lap money already pledged for the driver who leads that respective lap of the 100-lap main event. Among the perks are that every Silver Crown driver will have their free pit pass covered for the event. Additionally, the night gets started with a bang with the driver recording fast time set to take home a sweet $1000 bonus.

The largest potential prize is presented for the main event in which an opportunity will be presented to the drivers starting in the first two rows of the Silver Crown 100-lapper. The option will be given to the pole winner first. He or she can elect to start from the tail of the field. If that driver can win the race, the driver will receive a $5000 bonus tacked onto their winnings for the evening. If the pole sitter declines, the option will be presented to the driver starting 2nd, then 3rd and then 4th.

If you would like to sponsor a lap for the "Carb Night Classic," please contact USAC Series Director Levi Jones at levi@usacracing.com.

Steele was one of the United States Auto Club's most accomplished drivers during the 1990s and 2000s. The Tampa, Fla. native ranks 14th on USAC's national win list with 60 victories between 1996 and 2007. He was a dominant force on the pavement tracks, which accounted for all 60 of his USAC National wins. Despite only competing in half the races, or less, on the schedule throughout most of his career, Steele's win totals rank in the top echelon of USAC's record book. His 16 Silver Crown wins are the fourth most all-time while his 26 Sprint Car victories rank 16th and his 18 Midget wins put him 35th on the list.

Steele gained a reputation as the man to beat on the pavement, winning a staggering 12 USAC features at Indianapolis Raceway Park (1 Silver Crown, 6 Sprint, 4 Midget and 1 Midget special event) during his career. His first USAC National Midget win came during the "Night Before the 500" at the .686-mile oval in 1998. In 2002, Steele put on one of the most memorable performances in USAC history when he won two National Midget features in one night at IRP. After winning the first feature, Steele started the second event from the 22nd position. Quickly cutting his way through the field, Steele took the lead by lap 12 and, by the end of the 25-lap feature, was $50,000 richer. He remains the most recent driver to win two USAC National Midget points races in a single day.

Steele stands behind only Jack Hewitt, Kody Swanson and Brian Tyler on the USAC Silver Crown career win list. Yet, no driver has led more laps or owns more pavement wins (16) in the series than does Steele.

The accolades for Steele within USAC are nearly endless. He was a two-time winner of the "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway in 2001 and 2003. He was a force on the Indiana high banks, winning eight Sprint features at Winchester Speedway and three times at Salem Speedway. He captured three Silver Crown races at Richmond, Va. in a four-year span between 2002 and 2005. Steele won at least one race in all three of USAC's national divisions in the same season on six occasions (1998, 2001-2005), the most in club history.

Steele was a three-time Tampa Bay Area Racing Association Sprint Car champ in 2005, 2009 and 2013. He also made his way into other racing avenues with the Indy Racing League, where he made three starts in 1998, as well as NASCAR's Busch Grand National Series (now Xfinity Series) in which he made a pair of starts during the 2000 season.

Thus far, through three races on the 2018 USAC Silver Crown calendar, two races have been contested on the pavement. Bobby Santos won the season opener at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz. over Kody Swanson. In the most recent series event at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway, Swanson turned the tables, winning the main event ahead of Santos. On the dirt, Justin Grant captured his second-career Silver Crown victory, doing so at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track's "Sumar Classic."

The "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic" gets underway on Friday, May 25 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind. The pits open at noon while the grandstands open at 2:45pm. Practice begins at 3pm, with qualifying set for 5pm. Main events for the Pro Mazda and USF2000 series begin at 6pm. The Silver Crown main event is slated for an 8:15pm start.

Tickets can be obtained by calling Track Enterprises at 217-764-3200 or at the gate on raceday. A three-day special Superticket for the full week of Indy including the "Tony Hulman Classic" at the Terre Haute Action Track on Wednesday, May 23, the "Hoosier Hundred" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Thursday, May 24 and the "Carb Night Classic" at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday, May 25 is also available at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2018-week-of-indy.

Tanner Swanson won the race back in 2015 and repeated in 2016. His older brother Kody Swanson collected the triumph in 2017.

The "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic" will be streamed LIVE on www.SpeedShiftTV.com/. A day later, you can watch it again, on-demand, at www.Loudpedal.TV./

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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

Kody Swanson won his third career Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness 'Rollie Beale Classic' Friday night at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway. (Rich Forman Photo)

SWANSON'S 20/20 VISION NETS MILESTONE USAC SILVER CROWN WIN AT TOLEDO

Toledo, Ohio.........Twenty wins. Count 'em up and you'll find that in the annals of USAC Silver Crown racing, only two individuals have reached such a mark - two individuals who've also become synonymous with car number 63 and crew chief Bob Hampshire, which have graced victory lane so many times over the past three decades in the division.

Kody Swanson has now entered the lexicon following his victory in Friday night's Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness "Rollie Beale Classic" at Toledo Speedway as he put on a performance as smooth as glass in the city clearly made famous for its production. The Kingsburg, Calif. driver now stands just three behind series king Jack Hewitt's long-standing record of 23 victories.

Swanson's performance came just five days after a topsy-turvy, tumultuous outing during the "Sumar Classic" at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track. Alea iacta est for Swanson's legacy in the history of Silver Crown racing as he arrived in the 2018 season and was reiterated at Terre Haute. It's a trait that has molded Swanson and the DePalma Motorsports team into three-time series champs, something they reinforced to all at Toledo after overcoming a subpar qualifying run (for them) that placed them mid-pack for the start of the main event.

"It's hard to believe we had to make such big changes after practice," Swanson reflects. "We were pretty speedy, but knew it just wasn't right. I thought I screwed up and gave it all away. I had to start behind eight very good racecars and drivers. At Toledo, that's pretty tricky. We made even more changes after qualifying. I'm not sure if we were going too far or if it hadn't come in yet. We were kind of in the dark. We all huddled around and gave it our best shot. The consensus was, right, wrong or indifferent; I was going to have 100 laps to figure out how to get whatever we could get."

By the end of the first lap, Swanson had already advanced three positions to the sixth spot, taking evasive action when Kyle Hamilton's ride was hesitant to take off. causing the inside row to check up momentarily. Meanwhile, outside front row starter Jerry Coons, Jr. bolted to the lead at the start to lead the opening laps for the second consecutive race.

Swanson steadily moved forward to fifth on lap five and fourth on lap 15 where he maintained position for the remainder of the first third of the race as the first caution of the night came out on the 33rd lap for the stopped car of sixth-running Hamilton. If the Swanson/DePalma team had any chink in its armor in recent years, it was restarts. But for the lap 37 restart in Friday night's race, this was where the team won the thing.

"Something we've struggled with at times is taking off on starts," Swanson acknowledges. "Tonight, this thing took off the best it has in four or five years. We got a couple spots and some good runs on restarts because of the effort these guys put in at the shop."

Second-running Santos didn't quite launch on the restart, so Swanson went where they weren't. By turn two, Swanson had muscled the banks to take third from Byrne and second from defending race winner Santos in the snap of a finger. Just three laps later, Swanson had roped in the race leader, Coons, and sped around him for the top spot exiting turn two on the 40th circuit.

"I don't know if it was the motivation or driving angry or whatever you want to call it, but whether that was a good move or bad, I went to the top," Swanson justified. "It happened to work out and I kind of got a run on the outside and got into second with a two-for-one in one turn. I don't know why it seemed like a good idea at the time. I thought, 'well, I'll just go for more.' Bobby almost got back to the inside of me and that pretty much solidified that it's now or never. You're either first or third at that point."

Moments later, Coons had his race end abruptly when he began to slow before steering his ride back to the pit area. Swanson, though, was on complete cruise control, ramping up his lead to a half-straightaway by midway. Swanson continuously extended his lead throughout the second half as he checked off a succession of lapped cars until the final yellow flag fell with three laps remaining when Austin Nemire and Travis Welpott made contact in turn four, sending Welpott into a spin.

On the final restart, by rule, the lapped cars would be removed from the equation and start from the tail. The frightening proposition for Swanson was that the two drivers directly behind him had found another life.

"Bobby (Santos) and David (Byrne) were second and third and are really good racers," Swanson said. "They'll both race you really hard and really clean, but you're not safe with them behind you. They've proven they can pass anybody at any time. It's just one of things where you must focus. I've got my wife on the radio, and we had the best car during the race. It was my job to hit two good laps."

"The engine took off great on the restart and got me a little bit of a gap, which is huge into turn one knowing that they're not already on your bumper," Swanson detailed. "If you make any sort of mistake, you can run it in there and try to build some momentum. Luckily, the thing re-fired up really well and we were able to pull away in the last two laps to seal it. What a wild night, what a wild weekend it's been. It's all the reasons why I love Silver Crown racing."

Swanson finished out the deal, winning his third career "Rollie Beale Classic" by just a tick under a second over Santos, Byrne, Eric Gordon and Aaron Pierce. Swanson had previously won the annual event back in 2011 and 2015, a race that has a special personal meaning to him.

"The first one I won, I got my picture taken with Rollie in victory lane and met his whole family, which was really cool," Swanson remembers. "Not only does this race mean a lot, but now we race in his memory. The legacy that he left in open wheel racing just means that much more and it's always cool to come back and race in Toledo in his honor."

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: May 4, 2018 - Toledo, Ohio - Toledo Speedway - "Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness Rollie Beale Classic"

QUALIFYING: 1. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-15.170; 2. Eric Gordon, 21, Armstrong-15.205; 3. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-15.222; 4. Jerry Coons, Jr., 20, Nolen-15.269; 5. Chris Windom, 17, Nolen-15.311; 6. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ-15.370; 7. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-15.427; 8. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-15.436; 9. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-15.538; 10. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-15.698; 11. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott/Gorman-15.753; 12. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-15.759; 13. Dave Darland, 32, Williams & Wright-15.974; 14. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR-15.983; 15. Cody Gerhardt, 60, Gerhardt-16.049; 16. Toni Breidinger, 80, Breidinger-17.239; 17. Cody Gallogly, 81, Williams-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Kody Swanson (9), 2. Bobby Santos (4), 3. David Byrne (7), 4. Eric Gordon (16), 5. Aaron Pierce (6), 6. Austin Nemire (8), 7. Cody Gerhardt (15), 8. Matt Goodnight (10), 9. Travis Welpott (11), 10. Justin Grant (1), 11. Kyle Robbins (12), 12. Toni Breidinger (14), 13. Jerry Coons, Jr. (2), 14. Kyle Hamilton (3), 15. Chris Windom (5), 16. Dave Darland (13). 32:00.90
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-39 Coons, Laps 40-100 Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER AWARD: Eric Gordon (16th to 4th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Jerry Coons, Jr.

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES POINTS: 1-Swanson-210, 2-Grant-183. 3-Windom-143, 4-Byrne-139, 5-Santos-137, 6-Pierce-128, 7-Nemire-127, 8-Welpott-126, 9-Gordon-122, 10-Coons-118.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE: May 24 - Indianapolis, Indiana - Indiana State Fairgrounds - "Hoosier Hundred"

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