Kody Swanson’s run in the USAC Silver Crown Series has been nothing short of unbelievable. In a series that has seen names like Foyt, Unser, and Andretti win championships, the Kingsburg, California driver became the all-time winningest driver in Silver Crown history when he earned his 24th career win at Salem Speedway last August.
In addition to his long list of wins, Swanson has also won four out of the last five Silver Crown championships and has finished in the top 10 in all but five starts over that span.
Swanson now heads into the 2019 season with a new team. He has joined forces with Gene Nolen to take on the Silver Crown season after four championships with DePalma Motorsports. Swanson has found success with Nolen in recent years outside Silver Crown competition, having won the Little 500 at Anderson Speedway one year ago.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Swanson said on Speed51’s The Morning Bullring talk show Monday. “It’s been a very busy winter trying to get the Nolen Racing team ready for my first time running Silver Crown with them. Looking forward to my first trip to Memphis and hopefully we can have a good run there.”
The USAC Silver Crown series will be making their first trip to Memphis Motorsports Park on March 22-23 for the first time since 2004. As he looks for a fifth championship, Swanson has prepared away from the track, looking to start the 2019 campaign off with a win.
“I’ve been to the facility one time but we rained out, but I’ve done a lot of my homework and watched a lot of videos from when the Silver Crown series was there and when the NASCAR K&N Series was there the past two years,” he stated. “Trying to learn the track and the shape. The surface seems like it chews on tires a little bit, which is always a factor for our series. I’ve really been looking into it and looking forward to it.”
Despite being with a new team for 2019, he feels like he can duplicate his success with DePalma Motorsports. His recent run with Nolen in a Sprint Car also has him confident his team can compete right away.
“You go to give it your best shot and you hope you can win it again,” Swanson stated. “This year, it’ll be a new team for me but there’s twelve races on the schedule and if we give it our best in every one, then hopefully we’re there to take the title again.
“We had a very good run and a very fortunate relationship with the DePalma family team,” he continued. “We won their fifth straight owner’s title this year and set a USAC record with that. They’ve been in the sport for a long time and they decided the timing was right to go out on top and I don’t blame them at all and I sure appreciate the time we spent together. I’ve ran for Gene Nolen a couple times in the Little 500 and helped him win his first Little 500 this past year and he’s been someone whose kept in touch with me if an opening came in my Silver Crown schedule and when it did, we got in touch and I’m looking forward to trying to win him his first Silver Crown title this year.”
With 24 wins and four championships to his credit in Silver Crown competition, Swanson has become arguably the most successful Silver Crown racer of all time. He talked to Speed51.com’s Bob Dillner and special guest Brannon Earnest about what makes Silver Crown racing special to him.
“I think it’s the longer races and the heavier cars. We run a hundred miles at a time but no pit stops, so you have to make your tires count and strategize the entire duration of the race and be there at the end. Each one is different. I love the fact that we get to run both dirt and pavement in the same series still. It’s a great series and it’s the one that’s been my favorite.”
One of the unique things that makes Silver Crown racing special is its diverse schedule of both dirt and asphalt races. Having won at nearly every track on the 2019 schedule, Swanson is ready to take on the new season as he looks to extend his record for most series wins and championships.
“This year, we got twelve (races), six on the dirt and six pavement,” he said. “The dirt races, we have the three miles, Indianapolis, Springfield, and DuQuoin. We’ve got some pretty famous half miles like Terre Haute and Eldora and Williams Grove. Then on pavement we’re making our first trip to Memphis in quite some time, I think 2004 was our last time there. We’ll run at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indy a couple time. We’ll run at the high banks of Salem and at Madison in Wisconsin, and at Toledo in Ohio. All have been pretty good tracks to me except the ones I haven’t been to yet. I’m looking forward to them as well. It’s a neat variety and you got to be on your game for all of them.”
If there’s one driver who has been on his game in USAC Silver Crown competition, it’s been Kody Swanson. With a new team and another diverse schedule ahead of him, he’ll be looking to build on an already impressive resume in 2019.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Dallas Breeze