Vintage Kody Swanson was on full display Saturday night on his way to his second-straight Dave Steele World Non-Wing Championship victory. The three-time Little 500 champion struck late in the 125-lap event, passing Friday night feature winner Kyle O’Gara late to kick off his Sprint Car tenure with Doran Racing in style.
After setting quick time in qualifying earlier in the evening, Swanson dodged early incidents and methodically worked his way through the field. Once in the runner-up spot, he hounded O’Gara for several laps before capitalizing on a mistake to take the lead for good with 25 to go.
“I was trying really hard, Kyle’s a great racer and he’s gotten so good at these Pavement Sprint Cars. He’s good at many disciplines and here at Showtime for sure,” Swanson said on the Speed51.TV broadcast. “I was trying really hard for a long time and the longer you go, the less laps you have left, the hourglass is running out of sand and you better figure something out. I just got lucky I timed it right, he got a push in one and two and we got the gap we needed.”
Swanson remains the only driver to have won the Dave Steele Memorial, also taking the checkered in last year’s inaugural event in his first Sprint Car start with Doran Racing. This year’s event saw a stout field of drivers from both Florida and Indiana taking the green flag to honor the former USAC Silver Crown champion.
“It means an awful lot. Kyle O’Gara and Tyler Roahrig and Joe Ligouri are some of the best that came down from the north to play with us, and LJ Grimm and Sport Allen and all these great Florida drivers are so good are here at Showtime, whether it’s with the wing or without. I’m thankful to be here and for everyone that puts this on. It takes a lot from everybody.”
After coming close several times at Anderson Speedway and with the Auto Value Super Sprints in the Midwest, Kyle O’Gara broke through for his first Sprint Car win in Friday night’s 30-lapper. He had dominated the majority of the Steele Memorial Saturday night, but would be relegated to second after a late-race pass.
“Not a bad trip for the guys. Hats off to Kody and the guys, they put up a hell of a fight. We lost the car there a little bit the last 20 laps but props to them,” O’Gara said. “Hopefully we’ll have more of them this year.
“It really gets the year started off on the right foot and we’ll hopefully keep the momentum rolling into the month of May.”
Florida racers LJ Grimm and Shane Butler followed O’Gara in third and fourth, while Tyler Roahrig rounded out the top-five.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo
Dave Steele World Non-Wing Championship 125 Results:
- Kody Swanson
- Kyle O’Gara
- LJ Grimm
- Shane Butler
- Tyler Roahrig
- Sport Allen
- Joe Ligouri
- Dude Teate
- Travis Bilmeister
- Tommy Nichols
- Johnny Gilbertson
- Stan Butler
- Troy Thompson
- Nick Andrade
- Dakoda Armstrong
- JJ Dutton
- Ronnie Wuerdeman
- Keith Butler