And He Wins, USAC Silver Crown Champ Crowned and More

Episode 26

October 12, 2014

Kingsburg, California's Kody Swanson with family and DePalma Motorsports crew celebrate after winning the Salt City 75 and the USAC Silver Crown Series title at New York State Fairgrounds at Syracuse, New York Photo courtesy USAC and John DaDalt.

Kingsburg, California’s Kody Swanson with family and DePalma Motorsports crew celebrate after winning the Salt City 75 and the USAC Silver Crown Series title at New York State Fairgrounds at Syracuse, New York Photo courtesy USAC and John DaDalt.

Swanson Wins!

My friend Kody Swanson from California, now living in Indiana, came through with a win and a championship on the “Moody Mile” at the New York Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York last Saturday. Swanson swapped the lead with two time Silver Crown champ Bobby East until late in the race when he powered by on the tricky outside groove to win the Salt City 78.Followers of this blog have heard about this young man multiple times as I reported his success this season.
Swanson won 5 of the 10 races that make up the United States Auto Club (USAC) Silver Crown Series. The majority of the races were on dirt which was not Swanson’s specialty when I met him in 2008. He has worked extremely hard honing his skills on dirt as the results indicate. He already was fast on asphalt tracks.
This is what Swanson said according to the official USAC press release:
“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.”

The Swanson family visiting Niagara Falls on their way home to Indiana after winning the Salt City 78 and the USAC Silver Crown National Championship  at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York.  L to R Kody and wife Jordan Swanson, and Darla and Mike Swanson parents of Kody.

The Swanson family visiting Niagara Falls on their way home to Indiana after winning the Salt City 78 and the USAC Silver Crown National Championship at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York.
L to R Kody and wife Jordan Swanson, and Darla and Mike Swanson parents of Kody.

My hope is that someone will give this young man a sponsored ride in one of the major series in 2015. He can make a race car “dance”. I fully realize there are hundreds of talented young men with race skills; Swanson is the complete package that sponsors look for.

Theriault soldiers on despite loss of power steering

Maine’s Austin Theriault was running fifth in the Winchester 400 when his Crooks Racing Late Model Sportsman “Maine” car lost the power steering. The Winchester, Indiana 1/2 mile banked track is tricky enough with power steering. Imagine your car losing power steering and having to run at high speeds on a crowded interstate with 30 or so of your “best” friends who are trying to pass you continuously. That is the condition Theriault faced as he muscled the car to the race end.
Here is another young man with extreme talent who deserves a sponsored ride in one of the championship series in NASCAR. A sponsor, or sponsors, would not go wrong with him representing their company.

Hall of Famer Alexander not done yet.

Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame's Class of 2014, Bobby Alexander of Ellsworth, competed in the Triple 20's at Unity Raceway last weekend placing 8th overall Photo courtesy Wyatt Alexander Racing.

Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, Bobby Alexander of Ellsworth, competed in the Triple 20’s at Unity Raceway last weekend placing 8th overall Photo courtesy Wyatt Alexander Racing.

Bobby Alexander, formerly from Mars Hill now residing in Ellsworth, competed in the Triple 20’s Legends Car races at Unity Raceway this past weekend. Alexander was in the #27 Mike Humphrey Legends car. He placed 7th in the first race, 11th in the second segment, and 6th in the third race to finish 8th overall.
Alexander, the Grandfather of Wyatt Alexander, is also the crew-chief on the #96 Late Model that Wyatt will race in 2015. The team will make Wiscasset Speedway their “home track” for the year.

Brawling in Charlotte

I can guarantee the ratings for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race at Talladega will be going up next weekend. The best part of the race took place after the checkered flag was thrown. Brad Keselowski must have thought when instead of a checkered flag he saw a red flag similar to what a bull in a bullring might be taunted with. Without a scorecard it is hard to tell who hit who and why, however, the exploits of these drivers will be shown in media reports over and over all week enticing more viewers to tune in to the Sprint Cup race at Talladega.
Talladega is a tough track to make predictions about with its characteristic nose-to-tail packs and multiple car pileups which often claim innocent drivers who happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. Combine this with the feuds brewing as the final race in this segment is run to determine the eight finalists for the next three races. Good stuff!

Racing thoughts…

All week I thought of words to describe what is like to drive in a race whether it is a kart race or stock car race. having experience in both I thought I might try to describe my own feelings.
I went to Maine Indoor Karting(MIK) in Scarborough this evening since I was in the neighborhood visiting with my whole family, adult kids and grandkids.
As I prepared for my first of four 8 minute sprint races on the 1000 foot road course I tried to catalog those feelings as well as those from races I have been in over the last 40 plus years.
I feel more alive when that visor is flipped down on that helmet than I have been all week. Aches and pains dissipate as the gloves are pushed tight on my fingers. My concentration flows from scrubbing tires on the warm up lap to anticipation of what kind of jump I will get at the start.
My vision funnels from a wide view to one of a relative narrow field. My experience tells me to look ahead for trouble on the track yet beware of the racers behind nipping on my heels to get by. The troubles of the day disappear as the heart and respiration rate rises.
I remind myself to not get so full of adrenaline that I make rash moves, rather make a series of smooth non-erratic yet decisive thrusts to set me into position to pass or prevent those behind from passing easily. I size up those in front and try to anticipate where they are weak or if a feint to their inside or outside will cause them to make a mistake.
I find when I am leading is when I have the hardest time concentrating and hitting my marks on the course. Often at MIK I will focus on running fast enough to lap the next kart thus forcing me to focus. I need to get in better shape for the race since by the end of a 20 lap stint my arms are somewhat tired.

After the race I try to thank those in it for the privilege of racing with them. One never knows how much longer opportunities will present themselves and I want to savor every one.I want to thank Aaron for trying to match me up with some tough competition while at MIK.

I had the chance to race against two young men from New York City who were making their first visit to Maine and Maine Indoor Karting. That's me on the left with Travis in the center and Phil on the right.  I averaged 22.049 for the 20 laps while Travis averaged 23.598 and Phil 25.6. Not bad for their first time. Travis is a Formula 1 fan.

I had the chance to race against two young men from New York City who were making their first visit to Maine and Maine Indoor Karting. That’s me on the left with Travis in the center and Phil on the right. I averaged 22.049 for the 20 laps while Travis averaged 23.598 and Phil 25.6. Not bad for their first time. Travis is a Formula 1 fan.

Next week I interview Steve Doody from Washburn who was a mobile events manager for the Penske Verizon Indy Car of Champion Will Power.

Lets Go Racing!

Tom Hale
Soli Deo Gloria

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing.