|2016 USAC National Sprint cars - Winter Dirt Games VII|
Bubba Raceway Park - Ocala, FL
Winter Dirt Games VII
February 18, 19, 20
Kody joined Kent Wolters' portion of the Phillips/Wolters Motorsports #71p for the USAC National Sprint car season opening Winter Dirt Games in Ocala, Florida. Teams were greeted with warm weather and sunshine for three nights of racing to kick off their 2016 tour... For the rest of the story on the Winter Dirt Games, and VIDEOS - CLICK HERE.
|2015 USAC Silver Crown Articles|
Back-To-Back Champion Swanson Seals Syracuse "Salt City 78" Win
October 10, 2015 - usacracing.com article - Syracuse, New York…….Completing what has been a magical two-year run, Kody Swanson won Saturday’s “Salt City 78” at the New York State Fairgrounds to make back-to-back wins on “The Moody Mile,” all while closing out his second-straight Silver Crown championship. The Kingsburg, California driver made it four wins on the year while turning the standings into a rout aboard the DePalma Motorsports – Radio Hospital #63 Maxim/Hampshire.
“Today, we were just here to win with points not being a factor at all. I had to run really hard to run those guys back down after we dropped to fifth and pass them back, so it was good to have nothing else weighing on my mind. I had some doubts if we could get back up there with as difficult as I thought it would be to pass, but I was able to dig a little deeper and get out of that hole and win this for my team. They’ve carried me to this level, and it’s been a dream to have these two seasons with them. You never know if it will keep going like this, but it’s wild to think of what we’ve accomplished,” said Swanson, who has accumulated nine wins and two championships with the DePalma family and crew chief Bob Hampshire.
Justin Grant used group qualifying during Saturday’s early-morning practice to secure his first series pole and the ProSource “Fast Time Award.” He led the field to the green after his initial start was called back, and he brought Shane Cockrum with him from row-two early in the race. Cockrum took the lead from Grant on lap ten just before the race’s first caution for Steve Buckwalter on lap ten.
On the restart, Swanson slid high and lost two spots to A.J. Fike and Jerry Coons, Jr., but he quickly regained one on the next lap. Fike took second from Grant on lap eighteen, and Swanson joined him a couple laps later as the Syracuse rookie Grant started to backslide.
Fike and Swanson were chipping into Cockrum’s lead before a lap-26 caution for Richie Tobias, who got up into the outside wall but restarted at the tail. Swanson wasted no time on the restart, disposing of Fike for the runner-up spot on lap 31. The major battle was behind them, with the latter half of the top-ten fighting hard.
Tenth-running Aaron Pierce brought out the third caution on lap 39 when he lost his right-front wheel in turn-one. Pierce somehow kept from incurring major damage as he came to a stop, but his race was over. Again the restart was key, as Coons took fourth from Grant as they entered turn-one.
Cockrum and Swanson checked out on the field during a 22-lap green-flag run, with traffic looming ahead and about to play a major factor in the race. On lap 54, Swanson shot to the outside off turn-four as Cockrum was bottle in traffic. The following lap, Swanson made his big move, powering to the outside of Cockrum at the flagstand and out-racing him to the bottom as they funneled down into turn-one, barely clearing Cockrum in the process.
Swanson was gone, slicing through what was left of the lapped cars while building a lead of over seven seconds in just five laps. He appeared well on his way to victory when Casey Shuman retired from the eleventh spot on lap 65, stopping in turn-one. The cars on the move were Shane Cottle and Chris Windom, who had just passed Cottle for fifth before the caution. Cottle had started the race from the rear after having to be push-started.
Windom nailed the restart with nine laps to go and grabbed fourth from Coons, then caught Fike to take third with six to go. Cottle was coming along with him, and he slipped into fourth right behind Windom. Windom’s teammate Stewart Friesen, the modified stalwart and defending big-block winner at “Super DIRT Week,” was also hooked to them and entered the top-five.
Brady Bacon necessitated the final slowing of the field on lap 73, and that set up a green-white-checkered restart. Swanson was flawless, completing another masterful drive to take a 1.184-second victory. In the process, Swanson had defending his race win on three dirt miles from the year before and joined Ralph DePalma, Rex Mays, Bob Sweikert, Rodger Ward, and J.J. Yeley as back-to-back Syracuse winners. His twelve career wins tie him with Jimmy Sills for seventh all-time.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of room when I went to the outside of him for the lead, but luckily I had the room and the run, and Shane ran me clean when I got back down in front of him. With that opportunity there, I knew I had to take it. To win the last one again this year feels great; we didn’t have as many wins this year, but I still feel we improved. The places where I let us down, I got a little better, and they have helped me along even more. The names this high on the list are some of the greatest ever, and they say they’re gonna ‘let me try again next year,’ so I’m looking forward to taking on the next challenges and seeing what is next for our team,” Swanson said.
August 22, 2015 - usacracing.com article - Springfield, Illinois…….Kody Swanson joined exclusive company on Saturday afternoon at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, as he became the seventh driver to go back-to-back in the “Tony Bettenhausen 100” with a spirited drive from 16th to a dominant win. It was the third win of the season for the defending series champion, which puts him at 11 career wins to tie Bobby East for 8th on the all-time list.
“Driving for a team like this with a crew chief like Bob Hampshire, I get to hear a lot of Jack Hewitt stories and what they were able to do back in the day. Today felt a little like that, coming from so far back and still being able to get it done. I’ve never thought of myself in regard to being with a group like the guys who have gone back-to-back in this race, or even the group of guys on the all-time win list, but it’s been so much fun and we’re just gonna enjoy this ride,” Swanson said.
Swanson took ProSource “Fast Time” for the day, but was relegated to the 16th starting spot after using a push start to make his qualifying attempt....Click Here for the rest of the Article.
Race Recap: Hustle on the High Banks
July 31, 2015 - Belleville High Banks, USAC Silver Crown - DePalma Motorsports #63:
The Hustle on the High Banks in Belleville Kansas may be one of the toughest events on the USAC Silver Crown series schedule. It is big, it is fast, and you have to run against the guardrail of the big half-mile if you want to compete. Kody qualified the #63 in the 2nd position, earning a front row spot for the 50-lap feature. In the opening lap, Kody slid toward the bottom of the racetrack in a bid for the lead, but lost the 2nd spot in the process. For much of the race, Kody trailed in the 3rd position, as 2nd through 6th all tightened up with the leaders in heavy lapped traffic. As the continued to work high and low around the slower cars, Kody lost the 3rd spot and slid to 4th, where he would eventually finish. "This place is tough, and I wish I had got the team better results to show for their effort. We're in this for the long haul, and hanging in there to finish 4th is still a good points day for us, and that'll have to be my silver lining. These guys all work really hard, and I'm looking forward to the next chance to win one," said Swanson.
Race Recap: Rich Vogler Classic
July 23, 2015 - Lucas Oil Raceway, USAC Silver Crown - DePalma Motorsports #63:
Since joining the Bowman Racing team in July of 2013, Tanner Swanson had led 385 of 400 laps and won 3 out of 4 USAC Silver Crown series races held at Lucas Oil Raceway, including a win in May of 2015 with over a 16 second margin of victory. In each one of those wins, Tanner's brother Kody has finished 2nd in the DePalma Motorsports #63.
In this year's Rich Vogler Classic, Kody qualified 3rd and Tanner 4th, making an all Swanson second row to start the 100-lap feature. At the drop of the green, Kody shot forward to the 2nd position, while Tanner was pinned in line, falling to 7th in the opening lap. By lap 3, Kody had worked his way to the lead, as Tanner began his march through the field. Tanner quickly drove to the top 5, and was up to 3rd before lap 20. On lap 32, Tanner drove past teammate and NASCAR star Ryan Newman for 2nd, and started his pursuit of the lead. Within a few laps, he was to Kody's back bumper, as the duo continued to pull away from the field. As the race neared halfway, the brothers encountered lapped traffic, often racing three-wide as Tanner applied pressure for the race lead. Kody held on until lap 67, when he committed to the bottom of the racetrack in traffic, and Tanner sailed around the outside.
For the next couple of laps, Kody trailed his brother by a few car-lengths before Tanner started to steadily pull away. By races end, Tanner lapped up to the 6th position, and took the victory by a margin of over 5 seconds. Kody finished 2nd to Tanner, over 6 seconds ahead of 3rd place Ryan Newman, and added to his series points lead.
Tanner's impressive streak now includes 4 wins and 1-2nd in the last 5 races at Lucas Oil Raceway in the Silver Crown series, leading 419 of the 500 laps.
Weekend Recap: BOSS Sprints at Lernerville, PPMS
July 4, 2015 - Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, BOSS Sprints - K&L Racing #21k:
SWANSON WINS BOSS FEATURE IN PENNSYLVANIA
The day started with the team finding and fixing the vibration from the night before, a faulty u-joint in the driveshaft assembly. Kody started deep in his heat race, but drove to 2nd to make the redraw for the first 8 positions in the feature. Kody drew the worst pill in the bucket, and would start 8th on a track that is known for being tough to pass. Kody found the outside lane around the monster half-mile and quickly began moving up, taking the lead with a handful of laps to go. Kody and the early leader continued to battle for the top spot through lapped traffic, with Kody holding on to score the win by just 0.102 seconds.
July 3, 2015 - Lernerville Speedway, BOSS Sprints - K&L Racing #21k:
In his first trip to Sarver, PA's Lernerville Speedway, Kody was fastest in series hot laps, but pulled off early with a vibration. The team worked to find anything it may have been, and Kody went out for his heat race. With the vibration still there, Kody paced conservatively finishing 2nd in the event. Before they were able to find the issue, or run the feature, rain showers washed out the remainder of the program.
July 2, 2015 - Terre Haute Action Track, USAC Silver Crown - DePalma Motorsports #63:
As the defending winner, Kody and the #63 looked strong in the Sumar Classic, setting quick time by nearly 4 tenths of a second and earning the pole starting position. Early in the race, Kody rode in the third position, saving his tires and equipment knowing the 100-lap distance would be a factor. However, on lap 20 his #63 began to experience some engine issues, stumbling and nearly shutting off in the corners. Kody held on to 3rd for a while, before fading to 5th. In the late going, a number of restarts made it even tougher for Kody to hold his ground, and he slipped to 7th by the races end. Even though it wasn't the result they were hoping for, Kody continued to build his series points lead.
Race Recap: Silver Crown at Iowa Speedway
June 20, 2015: Iowa Speedway, USAC Silver Crown - DePalma Motorsports #63:
After winning the pole with a lap averaging 140.581 mph, the 7/8 mile Iowa Speedway proved to be a tough go for Kody and the #63. A stumble at the start had the leaders racing 4-wide into turn 1, with Kody fading to 5th in the opening lap. After a few cautions, Kody had shuffled back even further, but was back up to the 7th spot when he felt a heavy vibration just before halfway. Kody was bringing the #63 to pit road when his rear axle snapped at the right rear tire, sending it down the racetrack while Kody slid to a stop and the end of his day. While it wasn't a great day at the racetrack, Kody still held on to the USAC Silver Crown series point lead leaving Iowa.
June 13, 2015 - Waynesfield Raceway Park, Non Wing Sprints - K&L Racing #21k: While tracks throughout the midwest were forced to cancel events due to weather, Waynesfield, Ohio was able to get their show in despite the threat of rain all around them. Driving the K&L Racing #21k, Kody would draw to start 6th in heat race #2, needing to advance to the top 2 to start in the front three rows of the night's A-Main event.
In the early going, a four car battle from 3rd to 6th kept the racing tight, and made it difficult for Kody to navigate through the pack. As the race neared half way, Kody had cleared the traffic into the 3rd position, and began to run down the lead duo. A few laps later, he rook over the 2nd spot, and had just one chance to catch the race leader. With a drag race to the checkered flag, Kody came up just 0.07 seconds short of winning the heat race, but would earn a 5th place starting spot in the A-Main event.
When the green flag flew on the 25-lap feature event, Kody was able move up a spot to the 4th position in the opening lap, and was pressuring for 3rd a lap later when the first caution came out. When the race resumed, Kody continued his attack for the 3rd spot, before taking the position and setting out after the lead duo as the top 3 rode the cushion at the top of the raceway. Within a few laps, Kody had caught the 2nd place car, and pulled along side before taking the position with a slide job through turns one and two. As the race approached the half way point, Kody had began to catch race leader Luke Hall in lapped traffic, who was going for his 3rd consecutive Waynesfield victory. On lap 18, Kody pulled along side the leader exiting turn two, only for the caution to come out, and revert him back to the second position. On the final restart, Hall pulled away a few car lengths, but with 5 laps to go the #21k began closing on the leader. With two laps to go, Kody took the lead with a slide job in turns one and two, and held the spot on the outside through three and four while Hall attempted to slide back for the lead. Kody held on for the final lap to take the win in the K&L Racing/Rosewood Machine & Tool/Sidney Bridge #21k. "It was a lot of fun to race on that kind of track tonight, and I'm thankful to have got the win for this team. Everyone that is a part of this worked really hard tonight and gave me a great car, so I'm really happy that everything worked out for us in the end," said Swanson.
May 21, 2015 - Indianapolis, Indiana…….Kody Swanson etched his name in the record books as a two-time “Hoosier Hundred” winner on Thursday night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, as he distanced himself from the field over the final laps to earn his tenth career Silver Crown Series victory, tying him for ninth on the all-time list with Mike Bliss and Gary Bettenhausen.
Swanson started from the pole after taking the ProSource “Fast Time Award,” but a first-corner tangle slowed the initial start of the race, and A.J. Fike claimed the lead as the race finally hit a green-flag run. C.J. Leary went with him early as Swanson held down the third spot. He was looking for second on lap eleven when fourth-running Tracy Hines slowed to a stop on the backstretch, bringing out a yellow.
After the restart, Swanson went after Leary, taking the second spot on lap 22 and chopping into Fike’s lead. Shane Cockrum was also quick early, as he battled for third with Leary. Meanwhile, Brian Tyler was on the move from the tail of the field after taking over Randy Bateman’s ride for the feature when his original mount experienced engine issues. Tyler ran from 27th up to the top-ten by lap 40.
Just after that, the third caution of the night appeared. The race hit halfway with Fike and Swanson building a lead over Cockrum and Jerry Coons, Jr., who had disposed of Leary for the fourth spot. Steve Buckwalter was also on the move, as he had driven up to sixth after starting 16th. Tyler found himself in seventh on the yellow.
A few laps later, Buckwalter’s night ended as he broke and met the turn-two concrete, flipping over and necessitating a red-flag period. Under red, both Leary and Dave Darland changed right-rear tires, costing them a one-lap penalty.
Swanson pressured Fike hard on the restart, but Fike was able to hold him off on lap 55. Behind them, Tyler was inside the top-five and passed Coons for the fourth spot.
Just as they completed lap 67, Swanson had a big run to the outside of Fike down the front-stretch, outracing him into the corner for the lead on lap 68. Tyler moved to third and began to run down Fike as the race hit the lap-75 mark. A caution on lap 84 set up an 11-lap race to the finish, and Swanson drew away from the field. Tyler jumped to the inside of Fike on lap 96 and made a daring move to take second. But Aaron Pierce was coming with him, and he wrestled the runner-up spot away from Tyler on the next lap.
With two laps to go, tenth-running race rookie Tyler Courtney lost a right-rear tire down the backstretch and brought out a final caution, setting up a two-lap race to the checkers. Swanson would not be threatened, however, and he motored to a 2.044-second victory over the final two laps in the DePalma Motorsports – Radio Hospital #63 Maxim/Hampshire.
“I’m not a ‘statement’ kinda guy, but we answered some questions from others and from ourselves tonight. After last year, it was hard to know what this year would be like, especially with the tire change. Nobody had a year like last year since Hewitt in 1986, and I’m no Jack Hewitt. To find out that we can get it done again this year, it’s exciting to me, and to win it a second time is just hard to believe. Every time we show up, I feel like we’ve got a shot to win, and it makes it a lot of fun. They worked really hard from last night when they were still assembling the engine – Bob Hampshire and Clark Lamme pulled an all-nighter and prepared a car capable of winning the Hoosier Hundred, which just sums up how incredible this DePalma family and team is,” Swanson said.
May 2, 2015 - The Buckeye Machine Non Wing Sprint Cars were first to take the track for the 2015 season. Michigan native Joshua Turner led the field to the first green flag of the season with Cody Gardner to his outside. As the field entered into turn number four to complete the opening lap, Mark Silva went upside down to stop the action. After cars pushed off for a second attempt to get the race underway, Kody Swanson began to make his way through the field, moving from his fourth starting spot to the lead by lap 2. A second red flag came for the 74 of Drew Rader when his car went upside down at the entrance way to the pit area. On the restart, Swanson began to to pull away over two seconds from Cody Gardner by the halfway point. Late in the race, Gardner managed to cut Swanson’s lead to just a half second, before Swanson pulled back away over the final few laps to pick up the opening night win. Cody Gardner finished second with Mike Dunlap finishing in third.
SWANSON CONTINUES SILVER CROWN DOMINATION, WIRES "ROLLIE BEALE CLASSIC"
Kody Swanson (left) of Kingsburg, California stands alongside race sponsor Ron Hemelgarn in victory lane after winning Friday night's Hemelgarn Racing Super Fitness "Rollie Beale Classic" USAC Silver Crown season opener at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway. The victory was Swanson's sixth victory in 11 series starts dating back to the beginning of the 2014 season.
May 1, 2015 - Kody Swanson continued his winning ways in the Silver Crown Series after five wins propelled him to the 2014 championship, as he led every lap in Friday's Hemelgarn Racing Super Fitness "Rollie Beale Classic" at Toledo Speedway. The Kingsburg, California driver forged a tie with Tracy Hines for 11th on the all-time series win list with his ninth career triumph.
"I had to hold up my end of the bargain to get this team a pavement win after we got them to bring this car out two years ago. I'm thankful to be with this team and work with them to strive for the same goal. They are the true definition of a good "team." Today is my grandfather's birthday, and yesterday was my anniversary with my wife Jordan, who is the ultimate partner and a big part of this team, too. My dad has been a huge part of this effort, getting the pavement car going well, and to reward him and all my guys is special to me," Swanson said.
Kody, who earned the pole after setting the ProSource "Fast Time," outgunned brother Tanner on the start at the start, as Jacob Wilson snuck to the second spot before a lap-six chain reaction sent Jerry Coons, Jr. and Austin Nemire spinning through the infield as both Kyle Hamilton and Tim Barber stopped in turn-four. Under yellow, Tracy Hines pitted for a right-front tire. All cars restarted except Hamilton.
Less than a lap later, Bobby Santos abruptly turned right in turn-three, stopping at the wall and giving up his fifth-place spot. From there, the Swanson brothers and Wilson disappeared into traffic, as Tanner passed Wilson for the runner-up spot on lap 41. As they neared halfway, Tanner jumped outside of brother Kody to race for the lead.
The two came up on a pack of cars on lap 49, with Tanner vaulting over the right-rear tire of C.J. Leary and somersaulting into the catchfence through turn-one. He came to a rest propped upon the inside wall in the middle of turns one and two, luckily able to walk away from a frightening crash that eft a fuel spill and some fence repair.
After the red, Wilson hung with Kody Swanson for the lead. Behind them, David Byrne tried to use the outside lane to look for third, but instead relinquished that spot to A.J. Fike. On lap 57, Coons continued his recovery by taking the fifth spot from Byrne.
After a final caution on lap 59, the lead duo again pulled away as Wilson stayed right on Swanson's back bumper. On lap 70, he looked to the outside but could not complete the pass. Swanson then gradually pulled away from Wilson, opening up a comfortable advantage before again reaching slower cars in the final circuits. He negotiated those flawlessly to post a 1.100-second victory in the DePalma Motorsports - Radio Hospital #63 Beast/Hampshire.
"I knew we had to keep pushing over the last half with Wilson coming at us the way he was. We finally got a little gap to give myself some time through traffic, with as difficult as that was and how it bit Tanner earlier in the race. It was a relief to see Tanner was okay after that big crash. He came up to me and told me it was up to me to get it done now. The red was a long time to sit and think, and get knocked out of your rhythm. Our job is to be good in those situations, though, and I love this series for those type of situations that make you go well all race long," Swanson said.
Wilson came home second in the Wilson Brothers Racing #07 Beast/Toyota.
"I tried to push Kody and try to make him run my pace, but I wore my stuff out a little bit to do it and he was able to save enough for the last half of the race. He ran a very smart race, and it's tough to beat him right now. We've gotten closer and closer; I can't thank my family and Keith Holsapple enough for getting us this strong. I really feel like we could get some wins if we can ever knock down the door for a Silver Crown win, and we'll have to beat Kody to do it," Wilson said.
Fike, who started 17th, came home third in the RFMS Racing - Liberty Village #3 Beast/Foxco.
"I really felt like we were just as fast as the leaders before the red, but I just screwed up qualifying to put us in a hole. We didn't need the red; our tire sealed up and we weren't as good after that. Starting last row, I had to use my stuff up a little bit to get to where we got. I can't complain, though - my group did a great job tonight," Fike said.
Coons came home fourth in the Nolen Racing - Columbus Container #20 Beast/Chevy, and Aaron Pierce rounded out the top-five in the Sam Pierce Chevrolet - G&G Oil #26 Beast/Chevy.
Victory Lane - John DaDalt Photo
October 11, 2014 - USAC Racing Article….Kody Swanson finished off a magical 2014 Silver Crown Series championship for he and DePalma Motorsports on Saturday in the “Salt City 78” on the New York State Fairgrounds mile. The Kingsburg, California driver was dominant all year, notching five wins in ten races to claim his first USAC National title.
“I can’t really believe this is how it’s all worked out. That’s what this is all about. To be able to go five-for-ten in Silver Crown and winning the championship is so special. They (DePalma Motorsports) hadn’t won a race in the series before this year, and they knew we had to find a way to make me better on dirt. They did everything they could do to make us better to compete for the championship, and it’s amazing to see a group that is such an epitome of “team.” These are great people, and we have a lot of fun racing together,” Swanson said of his team led by owner Tony DePalma and crew chief Bob Hampshire.
Swanson, who has been a series mainstay since 2009, put into words his pursuit of the series crown over the past six season, saying, “I’ve been trying for this for so long – I was a rookie in 2009 and had a shot at it a few different times. I lost a year to injury and then lost my full-time ride, so last year I got to drive for Ricky Nix and Eddie Sachs on dirt, and the DePalmas on pavement. I’m so grateful to all of them for keeping me on track last year, having a lot of fun, and putting me in position to have a year like this one. This is years and many people in the making, and I’m so happy to do it with the DePalmas, my family, our friends, and all the people who are involved and helped us accomplish what we have this year. It’s an incredible feeling to win the race and see all of them so happy and excited at what we’ve been able to do.”
Swanson immediately showed himself as a strong contender for the race win, as he jumped to the lead from outside the front row on the opening lap before a caution for Shane Cockrum. After a quick yellow, Swanson was off with the lead as two-time series champion Bobby East pressured him. East got a run down the frontstretch as they completed lap twelve to take the lead going into turn-one.
East pulled away as Swanson kept a conservative pace that stacked up the pack behind him racing for second through eighth. A.J. Fike stayed glued to Swanson through the first half of the race, as Rich Tobias, Stewart Friesen, Jerry Coons, Jr., and Steve Buckwalter raced just outside the top-five.
Swanson began to gain ground on East around lap 50, slowly reeling him in as Fike came along with him. He went to work quickly after catching him, using the difficult groove through turns one and two to slip underneath with the lead on lap 67.
Fike was the pursuer over the final ten laps, moving past East for second and coming after Swanson for the top spot. He had a shot at the win in the final two laps, but a move to the outside while negotiating a slower car sent him out of the groove through turns one and two, allowing Swanson to slip away.
The dream season for Swanson and the DePalma Motorsports – Radio Hospital #63 Maxim/Hampshire ended parked on the frontstretch of the “Moody Mile” with the win.
“I didn’t want to be too greedy and risk losing the championship by going too hard to win the race. We were almost in position to come here with a little safety net, but in the last two laps at Eldora, we blew a tire and put ourselves in jeopardy with the championship today. So that was on my mind throughout the race. We finally reeled Bobby (East) back in and the opportunity presented himself with that hole down there that could make you tight. Right when I got there, his car hit it and the hole opened up. I wanted to go harder at the end to fend off A.J. for the win, but I wanted to be sure I didn’t cost myself all of it by running the tire off,” Swanson said.
September 21, 2014 - When the USAC Silver Crown series rolled into Eldora Speedway for this year's "4-Crown Nationals," they were in for an adventure. The track was fast and tricky on Saturday night, seeing even veterans like Dave Darland get upside down in Hot Laps. Kody held the #63 near the front of the pack, timing in 2nd quick in qualifications. Persistent rain interrupted the program, forcing the feature event to be run on Sunday afternoon. At the drop of the green, Kody settled into the 2nd position, but didn't waste much time before pressuring Jerry Coons Jr. for the lead. On lap 13, Kody was able to slide for the lead into turn 1, only to fall back to 2nd in turn 2. A handful of laps later, Kody fought back to the lead with a similar move through turns 1 and 2. Late in the race, a flurry of caution flags waved, as competitors began blowing tires on the abrasive surface. With only green flag laps counting, and having to revert to the last completed lap, this added 8-10 actual laps to the race, and to the tires on the #63. A red flag flew on lap 45, with Kody already down to the cords on his right rear tire. He held the lead until lap 48, just trying to limp to the finish, and on the white flag lap it finally blew. Kody ran the last lap on the rim, and held on for a 9th place finish.
Phil Rider Photo
September 7, 2014 - USAC Racing Article…..Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, Calif. led wire-to-wire to win Sunday’s “Tony Bettenhausen 100” USAC Silver Crown race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. He won the pole in the DePalma Motorsports - Radio Hospital #63 Maxim/Hampshire and never trailed, finishing a half-lap ahead of runner-up Tracy Hines.
"I was pretty motivated today after I felt like I gave away a great opportunity to win at Du Quoin. I made an error in lapped traffic that ended up making us overheat and costing us the race. They gave me a car that could win there, too, and I needed to come back and win one for them. It's my job to find a way to win, with as good as my cars have been all season, and today gets us back on the track. This is a tough series to win races, so I'm thankful to be racing for this team," Swanson said.
Just two cautions in the race's first half kept the field close to Swanson, and he used the 54-lap green flag stretch to end the race as a way to show his dominance, leaving Hines quickly and eventually putting pressure on eighth-place Dave Darland to go a lap down in the final circuits. Swanson backed off with his huge lead, leaving eight cars on the lead lap.
The win was the fourth of Swanson's incredible season, which tallies him up to seven for his career. That puts him tied for 12th on the all-time USAC Silver Crown win list with Rick Hood and George Snider. Only all-time series win king Jack Hewitt (1986), Gary Bettenhausen (1980), J.J. Yeley (2003), and Dave Steele (2005) have matched four wins in a single Silver Crown season.
"Bob Hampshire (crew chief and engine builder) was a legend before I ever met him. To be teamed up with that, I've had a lot to live up to. I knew I had to get better on dirt and learn how to run as well as his cars can go. Now, we go to their home track and they always run well there. They've done everything they can to make me comfortable at a place like Eldora, so I hope we can keep building on what we've done. Our goal all along has been the championship, and we saw how easily it can get away from you a little bit in this deal, so we have to end strong to get it," Swanson said.
The point battle was affected only minimally, with second-place Hines and third-place Bobby East unable to close in on Swanson going into the September 20 “4-Crown Nationals” at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
August 31, 2014 - A tough night and a 13th place finish in the Ted Horn 100 hardly tells the story for Kody and the #63 car's trip to DuQuoin, IL. After practicing near the top of the speed charts, Kody was slated to be the 24th and final car out in qualifying. With a lap of 30.729 seconds, Kody timed in 2nd fastest, and earned a spot on the front row of the 100-mile feature event. At the drop of the green, polesitter Bobby East led the field into turn 1. Kody rode patiently in 2nd until the lead duo caught lapped traffic on lap 9. Kody shot to the inside, as he and East split a slower car on the frontrstraightaway, with the 63 taking over the top spot in turn 1. Kody would lead until after lap 30, when he was chased above the thick cushion in turn 1 while lapping a slower car, and damaged the front air scoop and bellypan on the #63. A few laps later, the engine showed increasing water temperature, eventually forcing Kody to take the car pit side. The DePalma team did a great job making the necessary repairs, cooling the car and getting back to the track just a few laps down. After restarting at the tail, Kody drove quickly through the field, proving the strength of his racecar. Unfortunately, their chance to win was foiled early in this one, and they were credited with 13th at the finish. "I just made a mistake early in this one, and I feel like it cost us a really good shot at the win tonight. The car was really fast tonight, and I hate it for the guys that I didn't get them a finish to show for it," said Swanson.
Chris Pedersen Photo - RacePhoto1.com
August 18, 2014 - Kody and the DePalma Motorsports/Hampshire Engines #63 followed the USAC Silver Crown series tour to Springfield, Illinois on Saturday for the annual "Tony Bettenhausen 100." With weather threatening in the area, and the possibility of practice times being used to set the field (if qualifying was rained out), Kody and the #63 went to the top of the board in hot laps. His lap of 29.061 was well below the official track record of 29.305 seconds around the famed mile oval.
As rain continued to hold off, the 26-car field took official time in qualifying. Kody went out near the half-way mark, posting a lap of 30.835 seconds on the drying racetrack. Just a few cars later, Tracy Hines went 30.646 seconds to earn the pole, with Kody scheduled to start to his outside. As the field prepared for green, the rain began to fall, washing out the remainder of the day's events. USAC and Track Enterprises announced the reschedule date of Sunday, September 7th. The next series event is Sunday night, August 31st at DuQuoin Illinois' "Magic Mile."
August 1, 2014 - USAC Racing Article - Belleville, Kansas…….Silver Crown Series point-leader Kody Swanson continued his dirt dominance of this season as he took his third win of the season on Friday night in the “Hustle on the High Banks” of Belleville, Kansas. The Kingsburg, California driver rallied from as deep as seventh to steal the win late in the race, running strong to the end as other front-runners experienced problems.
Chris Windom took the lead from outside the front-row as Swanson stumbled on the start after taking the pole for the 50-lapper. He dropped to fourth as Windom and Christopher Bell took off running the high side, and Tracy Hines moved from the third-row to third in the opening laps.
The first caution came on lap seven for Caleb Armstrong, who had an encounter with the turn-two cushion and had major rear-end damage. Windom still led Bell up front, as they opened up a gap over Hines, Jerry Coons, Jr., and Swanson.
The second and final caution came on lap 15 for Jacob Wilson, and this time on the restart, Swanson lost two more spots before regaining his momentum. With Swanson now in 7th, Windom and Bell displayed their strength on an extremely treacherous cushion around the vaunted half-mile, stretching it out to over half a track over third.
Bell fell off Windom’s pace after catching the turn-one guardrail just past halfway, and Windom’s lead appeared to be insurmountable. He toyed with the Belleville guardrail, running a wicked pace on the cushion and opening up his lead even more. With about 15 laps to go, Windom suddenly dropped down on the track for a lap, and after going back to the top a lap later it was apparent that he was slowing. Meanwhile, Swanson was moving back through the field as he stayed up top while others experienced tire problems or damage from banging the guardrail and had to move down.
Windom eventually moved to the bottom with ten to go as the RW Motorsports #17 was running out of fuel, but he held the lead through lap 44 before dropping to the bottom of the backstretch and exiting the race track just as Swanson sprinted by with the lead. He led with five to go and was virtually unchallenged over the final laps, winning by 5.361 seconds in the DePalma Motorsports – Radio Hospital #63 Maxim/Hampshire.
“Sometimes, it’s just your night. When they told me we were in the lead, I honestly didn’t believe it. You just never say die in Silver Crown racing, and especially with this team. We had an engine issue and switched to this one for tonight just to be sure we could finish the race, and we gave up a lot of ground on the restarts. It was hard to believe I was running them down late. I got into the wall pretty hard myself and it wasn’t the same from there. Luckily, the car was good enough to get us there. To win tonight, they said we’d have to run up there, and it feels great to deliver for my team on a track like tonight. I started racing for these guys and promised them I could win pavement races, and two years later I haven’t won a pavement race but we’ve got three dirt wins!” Swanson exclaimed.
Hines found his way by Bell for second but came up short in defending his Belleville Silver Crown victory from last year with the Lightfoot Racing – Hughs Brothers #16 Beast/Chevy.
“Belleville is always a little gnarly anyway, but when run a heavy champ car, it gets your attention. When it was four feet from the wall, it wasn’t a big deal, but when it stopped moving and we were banging the guardrail, that was tough. We paced well early and knew we were catching Bell, but I got into the wall hard and felt like I almost flipped it. I backed off at that point and the 63 went by us – I had nothing for him at that point,” Hines said.
Bell held on for third despite a violently shaking car due to a blistered right-rear tire and heavily packed right-rear wheel on the Fred Gormly – RPM Auto Enterprise #99 JEI/Chevy.
Bobby East recovered from changing an engine early in the day to move from 13th to finish fourth in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #10 Maxim/Kistler, and Dave Darland rounded out the top-five in the MTR Martco – Longworth Equipment #19 Beast/Toyota.
June 14, 2014 - Kody and the DePalma/Hampshire #63 lead the USAC Silver Crown series to the Gateway 100 at Gateway Motorsports Park, and left the event in a dead heat for the series points lead. After suffering from mechanical trouble in qualifying, Kody would start the #63 from the tail of the field for the 80-lap, 100-mile feature event. At the drop of the green, Kody began moving up the running order, still experiencing some trouble under the hood. As the race wore on, the #63 continued to hold together, allowing Kody to move a little further through the field, up to the 5th position with just 25 laps to go. As attrition plagued much of the competition, Kody and the #63 held on for a 5th place finish and helped the team salvage a solid finish in what could have been a tough day for their season hopes. The USAC Silver Crown series will return to action on Sunday, June 29th at the Memphis International Raceway.
May 22, 2014 - USAC Racing Release- Indianapolis, Indiana…….After three Silver Crown Series events this season, the scoreboard reads “Swanson Family: 3, Everybody Else: 0.” Point-leader Kody Swanson scored his second victory of the season on Thursday night as he came on to take the lead on lap 78 and win the “Hoosier Hundred” at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
“I’m not even sure if I know what to think about all this. This is something special. You come out here and just try to do your job and perform for your team without ever really thinking about this moment. This whole team is quite a story. My deal with them started with a pavement car out in a barn where they could have left it sitting forever. It’s just an amazing group of people from the DePalma family to (crew chief) Bob Hampshire to Clark and everybody else who comes and helps us,” said an elated Swanson on the famous fronstretch.
Bobby East led from outside the front row, although the original start ended when Jon Stanbrough got turned around in turn-one and Dakota Jackson ended up as the unlucky recipient of a meeting with the turn-one concrete. His race was over, but Stanbrough restarted.
East led and opened up a comfortable margin as Swanson quickly made his way from eighth into fourth within the first ten laps. Shortly after, Caleb Armstrong got into the turn-four wall just after Swanson had passed him for third. His night was done.
The race hit a longer green run as East led Hines, Swanson, Shane Cockrum, and Chris Windom. A red flag stopped the action on lap 30, however, as John Hunt turned over in turn-three. He walked away.
Two-time race winner Jerry Coons, Jr. joined the top-five as they broke away from the field during a 34-lap green run that saw East open up a commanding lead. Swanson moved in on Hines for second using a lapped car, but he made contact which forced a caution on lap 63.
The race restarted with 34 laps to go, and Coons made a big move into turn-one to take a top-five spot. Then, Swanson jumped to the higher groove and went to work on Hines, taking the second spot on lap 73. With clear track between him and East, the gap was shrinking rapidly, and Swanson went to the outside of East entering turn-one on lap 78 to take the lead.
From there, Swanson was untouchable, winning by 4.148 seconds aboard the DePalma Motorsports – Radio Hospital #63 Maxim/Hampshire.
“I felt like I messed up qualifying and told my guys I owed them some spots early. It was important to get those spots early. I was good for a while and stayed with Tracy, and then I’d have trouble keeping up. I knew if I was gonna get anything done, I’d have to get creative. Luckily, they pinched down more and I was using the outside, especially in turn-two,” Swanson said, further explaining his assault on the lead, “After working so hard to get Tracy. The closer we got to Bobby, the more he protected the bottom, and that probably helped a little. I got a good run to catch up to him, and I kinda thought I’d try the top and use my momentum to go after him quickly. I got a run to the outside and it stuck.”
May 17, 2014 - While Tanner Swanson stunned the Lucas Oil Raceway attendees " with one of the most spectacular USAC Silver Crown performances of all time," his brother Kody was having an exciting race of his own.
As the track opened for practice on Saturday, Kody and the DePalma Motorsports #63 found that something had gone awry with the driveline system. The team made changes to the driveshaft, hoping that would be the solution and they would get a few laps of practice before qualifying. It was to no avail. So, on pit road, the DePalma Motorsports team got their elbows up and had one of the most spectular performances of the day, even if no one in the stands knew it. Anything there was to change in that system, and they changed it, hoping to find the problem that had kept them off track before the feature event rolled off the grid. With just minutes to go, the car was buttoned back up, and the #63 came to life. Without posting a qualifying time, Kody started at the tail of the 19 car field, with 100-laps to match the outstanding job his team had given him on pit road. He wasted little time, making his first laps at speed while working his way through the back of the field. When the caution flag flew just 15 laps into the race, Kody had the #63 up to the 5th position. After a lengthy caution, the handling began to change on the car, slowing their progress as the race approached halfway. As tires became worn, and the fuel loads burned off, the #63 had Kody moving forward again, passing Bobby Santos III for 4th, and Tracy Hines to move into 3rd. Eventually, he tracked down David Byrne for the 2nd spot, making the pass in lapped traffic. With just laps to go, and fear of going a lap down to his brother, the caution flag flew and gave Kody a single chance at the top spot. On the restart, Kody dove low in turn 1, but Tanner took the run off of turn 2 and the victory. It was the third time that the Swanson brothers have swept a Silver Crown race 1st and 2nd, and was a great ending to a long day for the DePalma Motorsports/Hampshire Engines #63.
Kody’s finish enabled him to retain the series point lead by nine over Hines going into next Thursday night’s “Hoosier Hundred” at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Saturday’s festivities included the annual USAC “Hall of Fame” inductions, which saluted Rollie Beale, George Bignotti, Don Branson, Larry Dickson, Gus Hoffman, Jud Larson, Norm Nelson, Eddie Sachs, Don Smith, Bob Stroud, Rodger Ward and Bob Wente.
May 3, 2014 - BOSS Release - Fremont, Ohio - by Brian Liskai
– Kody Swanson gave his grandfather a wonderful birthday present Saturday. The Kingsburg, California driver scored the $5,000 top prize at Fremont Speedway to open the Buckeye Machine BOSS Series 2014 season.
There were 40 cars signed in to compete in the non-wing event on Smith Family Foods Night. The 33-lap feature was run in honor of the late Mike Hensel whose race cars carried that familiar number.
Swanson battled with fellow Californians Thomas Meseraull and Robert Ballou from lap 10 on until taking the lead for good on lap 24. He had to not only battle Meseraull and Ballou, but heavy lapped traffic to score the Mike Hensel Memorial 33-lap win on Smith Family Foods Night.
“What a phenomenal handling race car. Everyone who works on this did an outstanding job. What an opportunity for me to drive. I feel so lucky and happy to be here. I have to thank the DePalma family. One of their boys is getting married today and that’s why they aren’t here. Also thanks to Radio Hospital and I have to give a shout out to my grandfather at home. It’s his birthday today,” said Swanton beside his Hampshire Engines/K&N Filters backed #63.
“Thanks to the Hensel family for putting this on. It was pretty hairy out there. There was times when Robert and Thomas and I were three wide for the lead with a lapped car and everyone was touching wheels. It was a great view for a minute but I sure as heck wanted to get out of there,” added Swanson.
Tyler Gunn, a regular with Fremont Speedway’s winged 305 sprints who was making his non-wing debut, and Mike Galajda paced the field of 24 cars to the green in the feature. Gunn would lead the first lap as third place starter Meseraull grabbed second with Galajda, Chad Boespflug, Ballou and seventh starter Swanson in tow. Meseraull would slide into the lead on the second circuit, bringing Boespflug into second with Gunn, Ballou and Swanson staying close.
Action would grind to a halt on lap four as Fremont 410 winged regular Chris Andrews would take a wild ride down the back stretch. He would exit the machine unhurt. On the green Meseraull would continue to lead as Ballou drove into second with Gunn and Swanson battling for third. Andre Layfield would spin on lap six to bunch up the field.
When the green reappeared Meseraull and Ballou battled side by side with Gunn joining the fray on lap eight. Gun would slide off the high side of turn one a circuit later, losing a couple of positions as Swanson moved into third with Todd Keen taking fourth.
By lap 14 Swanson’s tire choice began to kick in as he reeled in Meseraull and Ballou. That trio then had the crowd on their feet as they raced three wide at times, rubbing wheels. The leaders caught lapped traffic by the 18th circuit but that did not slow their tremendous battle. On lap 24 Swanson dove under both Ballou and Meseraull and took the lead. Meseraull and Ballou stayed close over the next handful of laps but after clearing lapped traffic Swanson began to pull away.
Swanson would take the checkered for his first career Fremont win while Meseraull, Ballou, Michael Fischesser and Scotty Weir rounded out the top five. Fremont 410 winged sprint regular Brian Smith would charge from his 19th starting spot to finish sixth and earn a $333 hard charger bonus from the Hughes Racing in memory of Mike Hensel. Mike Miller, Gunn, Dustin Smith and Bryan Sebetto (up from 20th starting spot) would round out the top 10.
April 6, 2014 - USAC Racing Release - Terre Haute, Indiana…….After racing in pavement races last year for DePalma Motorsports, Kody Swanson took advantage of his first dirt start with the team in the Silver Crown Series presented by Traxxas by winning Sunday’s “Sumar Classic” at the Terre Haute Action Track. The Kingsburg, California driver retook the lead on lap 38 and and was untouchable over a long green-flag run to win in the Radio Hospital #63 Maxim/Hampshire.
“To be able to run with these guys all year, I don’t know if I can describe how excited I am to run for the championship with this team. I thought, ‘Man, wouldn’t we really surprise some people if we went to Terre Haute, a place that I shouldn’t be any good at, and pull off a win?’ We’ve put together a dirt sprint car and went to Florida and last night at Lawrenceburg, just trying to get me better, so to reward that the first race out is special. This group works so hard and has so much passion for Silver Crown racing, so I’m really proud to win here for them,” Swanson said.
Swanson led from the outset after qualifying second, but a flurry of early cautions posed restart after restart for him to hold of challenges. Chris Windom vaulted to second, as Bobby East also moved forward to shuffle polesitter Tracy Hines back to fourth. That foursome came to a pivotal restart on lap 35, when Swanson continued to lead on the high side.
USAC Racing - Rich Forman Photo
Windom hit the bottom to take the lead after the green came out, taking the lead as they completed lap 36. Hines was surging back to the front, as he bolted by Windom to claim the point on lap 37. By then, Swanson had regained his momentum on the top to take the lead as the field completed the 38th lap.
Hines was back to Swanson’s inside, about to take the lead as they finished lap forty, but a caution came out, giving Swanson the lead back. On the restart, he jumped to the bottom and pulled away from the field.
Swanson lapped up to fourth while distancing his lead, facing no challenges as the race went green the remainder of the 100-lap distance. For Swanson, it was his fourth career series win.
“I knew the top was getting awful thin, even early on, as I was leading. I thought I’d have to come down at some point, but it was great to race with those guys and battle my way back to the lead. I think changing with the race track, and being able to move around when you need to, is so important to win on dirt and I’m still learning that. To put together a whole race at Terre Haute and win is exciting for all of us,” Swanson said.