Belleville, KS – Silver Crown Series point-leader 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.
“I followed Darland into one and tagged the guardrail too hard, and it was instant. Going down the back straightaway, I knew we were in trouble. My insides hurt, it was shaking so bad. I honestly almost pulled in, but Rico was spotting for me and told me I had a half-lap behind us. I’m glad he was spotting for me and thankful to get a chance to run this race car. I ran it pretty soft there on the opening lap and Chris drove away from us, so I knew that’s how it was going to be and drove thirty laps or whatever without lifting up there,” Bell said.
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.
USAC SILVER CROWN SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 1, 2014 – Belleville, Kansas – Belleville High Banks – “Hustle on the High Banks”
QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-17.221; 2. Chris Windom, 17, RW/Curb-Agajanian-17.227; 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 98, RPM/Gormly-17.283; 4. Christopher Bell, 99, RPM/Gormly-17.324; 5. Dave Darland, 19, Longworth-17.370; 6. Tracy Hines, 16, Lightfoot-17.414; 7. Caleb Armstrong, 9, Armstrong-17.772; 8. Chris Urish, 77, Urish-17.846; 9. C.J. Leary, 21, Team Six-R-18.149; 10. Jacob Wilson, 07, Wilson-18.809; 11. Jake Simmons, 31, Simmons-19.277; 12. Grant Simpson, 96, Simpson-21.119; 13. Davey Ray, 25, Sachs-NT; 14. Bobby East, 10, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-NT; 15. Tim Barber, 28, Pierson-NT.
FEATURE: (50 Laps) 1. Kody Swanson, 2. Tracy Hines, 3. Christopher Bell, 4. Bobby East, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Jerry Coons Jr., 7. Chris Urish, 8. Jacob Wilson, 9. Chris Windom, 10. Jake Simmons, 11. Caleb Armstrong, 12. C.J. Leary, 13. Grant Simpson, 14. Davey Ray. 24:35.13
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-44 Windom, Lap 45-50 K.Swanson.
NEW USAC SILVER CROWN SERIES POINT STANDINGS: 1-K.Swanson-345, 2-Hines-300, 3-East-291, 4-Windom-243, 5-Wilson-195, 6-Coons-177, 7-Tanner Swanson-165, 8-Bobby Santos-159, 9-Armtsrong-155, 10-David Byrne-147.
NEXT SILVER CROWN RACE: August 16 – Springfield, Illinois – Illinois State Fairgrounds – “Tony Bettenhausen 100”
USAC PR – Photo Credit: Rich Forman