Springfield, IL……..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.
Hines finished second in the Lightfoot Racing – Hughs Brothers #16 Beast/Chevy and East third at the checkered flag in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance #10 Maxim/Kistler, with A.J. Fike fourth in the RFMS Racing – H.E. Mitchell Construction #3 Beast/Foxco and Chris Windom fifth in the Rotondo Weirich – Curb Records #17 Beast/Toyota. Sixteen of the 24 starters were still running at the finish of the 100 miles.
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 7, 2014 – Springfield, Illinois – Illinois State Fairgrounds – “Tony Bettenhausen 100”
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-31.999; 2. Jacob Wilson, 07, Wilson-32.140; 3. Tracy Hines, 16, Lightfoot-32.314; 4. Brady Bacon, 14, McQuinn-32.415; 5. Bobby East, 10, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-32.610; 6. A.J. Fike, 3, RFMS-32.923; 7. Shane Cockrum, 66, Hardy-33.046; 8. Bryan Clauson, 20, Nolen-33.101; 9. Dave Darland, 19, Longworth-33.235; 10. Steven Russell, 41, McQuinn-33.335; 11. Caleb Armstrong, 9, Armstrong-33.436; 12. Chris Windom, 17, RW/Curb-Agajanian-33.580; 13. Jerry Coons Jr., 98, RPM/Gormly-33.606; 14. David Byrne, 40, Byrne/SixR-33.705; 15. Davey Ray, 25, Sachs-33.877; 16. Levi Jones, 56, Fox-33.927; 17. Russ Gamester, 51, Gamester-34.347; 18. Chris Fetter, 88, Fetter-34.369; 19. Jackie Burke, 86, Burke-34.596; 20. Randy Bateman, 55, Bateman-34.656; 21. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-34.913; 22. John Hunt, 91, Hunt-35.558; 23. Chris Urish, 77, Urish-NT; 24. Kenny Gentry, 18, Gentry-NT.
FEATURE: (100 Laps) 1. Kody Swanson, 2. Tracy Hines, 3. Bobby East, 4. A.J. Fike, 5. Chris Windom, 6. Bryan Clauson, 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 8. Dave Darland, 9. Levi Jones, 10. Brady Bacon, 11. Russ Gamester, 12. Jacob Wilson, 13. Davey Ray, 14. Steven Russell, 15. Chris Fetter, 16. David Byrne, 17. Randy Bateman, 18. Jackie Burke, 19. Patrick Lawson, 20. Caleb Armstrong, 21. Shane Cockrum, 22. John Hunt, 23. Kenny Gentry, 24. Chris Urish. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-100 Swanson.
NEW USAC SILVER CROWN SERIES POINT STANDINGS: 1-Swanson-483, 2-Hines-456, 3-East-429, 4-Windom-363, 5-Coons-303, 6-Wilson-269, 7-Fike-263, 8-Darland-233, 9-Armstrong-228, 10-Cockrum-213.
NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN RACE: September 20 – Rossburg, OH – Eldora Speedway – “4-Crown Nationals”