May 27, 2018
What a week for Kody Swanson in Indianapolis
Race car drivers are like basketball players in the sense that when basketball players were young they would dream about being on the foul line with no time left on the clock and the score tied. Taking that winning shot drove them to practice and dream of those moments.
Kody Swanson as mentioned in last week’s episode was looking forward to this week in fact he called it his, “favorite week of the year”. Swanson moved to the Indianapolis area several years ago to pursue a career as a part-time race driver. When I talked to him about five years ago, he said he would like to get a ride in NASCAR, maybe the Xfinity series.
Swanson came from California with limited dirt track experience and got the reputation that he was good on asphalt and not a dirt track driver. He buckled down and worked on his dirt game. His results from this week prove that point. Summary of races:
Thursday USAC Silver Crown Hoosier 100 at Indiana State Fairgrounds (1 mile dirt) first place, 21st career win, and fourth straight Hoosier 100 win.
Friday USAC Silver Crown Dave Steele Classic, Lucas Oil Raceway (.686 mile asphalt) first place and 22nd career win. The 22 wins in Silver Crown place him second to Jack Hewitt who finished his career with 23. He is the first driver to get three Silver Crown races in a row since Dave Steele did it in 2005. Swanson is only one of three drivers to win two nights in a row, Mario Andretti in 1974 and JJ Yeley in 2003.
Saturday Little 500 at Anderson Speedway (1/4 mile asphalt) Second win in three years. This was Nolen Racing’s first Little 500 victory. Two years ago Swanson, driving for the Hoffman Racing team won their first Little 500.
Sunday Bob Hampshire Classic at Waynesfield Raceway Park, Waynesfield, Ohio results unknown at time of publishing. This race is to honor Kody Swanson’s car owner and engine builder.
Dave Steele’s memory honored by USAC at Lucas Oil Raceway’s Carb Day Classic
One of my highlights was the Dave Steele Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway. The race was named after Dave Steele, who died in a crash at Desoto Speedway, Bradenton, Florida, March 25, 2017. Steele’s wife Lynn was at the track encouraging the drivers and crew and was in Victory Circle congratulating Swanson on his win.
Kody joined by brother Tanner for two races
Kody’s brother Tanner Swanson runs a limited schedule, however, since USAC was racing at Lucas Oil Raceway (LOR) he made that race and the Little 500 a part of his 2018 race season. Between Kody and Tanner they have won 8 of the last 9 races at LOR.
Tanner set fastest time in qualifications at LOR. An additional incentive for the fastest qualifier was opportunity to move to the rear of the 22 car field and get a $5,000 bonus should they win the race. Tanner made it all the way to second place. I would have loved to hear some of the comments from the two brothers after the race!
“We had a great race at IRP (Lucas Oil Raceway’s old name) last night,” said Tanner. “We took the challenge and unfortunately came up short. Hopefully it was a good show for the fans, we ran short on fuel at the end of the race which hindered our chances of passing Kody at the end.”
Mainer takes win at New Brunswick track
Drew Greenlaw from Eastport, Maine makes “international” racing one of his specialties as he crosses the border every race day to compete in the Sportsman class at Geary, New Brunswick’s Speedway 660. Last year Greenlaw, a student at the University of Maine-Orono, finished second to John Rankin in the Martin Home Heating Sportsman class after a season long battle.
“It was a great first night of the season,” said Greenlaw. “Couldn’t have gone any smoother.”
“I managed to get up to second in the heat race which put us starting 4th in the feature. I squeezed my way to second on the first lap, battled with the leader for five or six laps and finally cleared him around lap ten. From there I didn’t look back and won without putting a scratch on the car.”
“Is was a great weekend and was really nice to get back on the track!” Greenlaw’s season continues next Sunday June 3rd, Kids Day.
High school racer takes second at Speedway 660 Pro Stock class
From the RYAN Motorsports press release, “SOLID. The word of the day at RYAN Motorsports is SOLID! We worked hard on the new car all day and slowly made improvements. Started 6th and raced to second in the early going and proceeded to give one of the long time veterans, Dave O’Blenis, all he could handle running hard on his outside throughout the middle stages of the race.
“Although Ryan was unable to get past him, he brought home a SOLID second place finish. Thanks to all of the crew, sponsors and fans. Looking forward to next week.”
Penske’s Will Powers becomes first Aussie to win the Indy 500
“On the white flag lap, I started screaming because I just knew I was going to win it,” Power said of the final 2.5-mile trip around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. “Unbelievable! Never been so excited.”
“This month was one of the best months I’ve had,” said Power, the 2014 series champion. “Very relaxed, in tune with my engineer, just working really well. It just came together.”
Power led 59 of the 200 laps Sunday and outlasted a trio of competitors – Oriol Servia, Stefan Wilson and Jack Harvey – who unsuccessfully tried to stretch fuel loads to the finish. Running fourth on the final restart from a caution period with seven laps to go, Power quickly passed Servia and then delighted in watching as Wilson and Harvey both had to stop for splashes of ethanol with four laps remaining.
“They both pit; it’s like the gates opened,” Power said. “It was amazing.”
Power’s first Indy 500 win was also the 34th victory of his 14-year Indy car career, tying the 37-year-old with Al Unser Jr. for eighth place on the all-time list. It also marked the 17th Indy 500 win for Team Penske and 201st Indy car triumph for the storied team – both records.
“He won this race today because he was the best,” team owner Roger Penske said.
In Victory Circle Power had a bit of an “agricultural” moment. The drivers pick their milk, whole, two percent, or fat-free before the race. This year dairy farmers Kim Minich and Andrew Kuehnert delivered Power’s milk. I do not know what type since he wrote no preference as his choice. The milk in Victory Lane tradition is sponsored by American Dairy Association-Indiana.
Power hesitated a few moments when handed the milk almost like he did not know what to do with it. “No, I knew you drink milk here,” said the first time Indy 500 winner. “Believe me. I’ve seen a few of my competitors do it. Yeah, no, I just hesitated a bit because I’m not supposed to eat dairy, but I didn’t care. I just drank it.”
Power took a swig and poured it over his head which sloshed onto the dairy princess directly behind him. He remarked,”I felt bad. When I turned around, she was covered in milk. I didn’t realize she was behind me. I’m so sorry. What could I do? I didn’t see you behind me. She was all good.”
I never said I was a woodworker nor a speedy builder. After working many hours this winter in my basement,I finished this tool board for a friend and installed it in his garage. This project began as an attempt to keep him organized.
NMKA Season Opener next Saturday June 2 at 11 am
The fifth season of kart racing at Spud Speedway gets underway next Saturday when the Northern Maine Karting Association season begins with the season opener Presented by Pat’s Automotive.
Expected to defend their titles will be Aroostook Trusses Junior Cage Kart Champion Bryan Searles, Presque Isle and Aroostook Savings and Loan Senior Cage Kart Champion Damian Theriault, Caribou. Both have raced downstate getting ready for the opener.
Pit gates open at 9:30 am with driver’s meeting at 10:30 and racing beginning at 11:00. Pit gate admission is $10 per person. Anyone under 18 years of age must get parental permission to enter the pits. Grandstands will be open for viewing the races at no charge.
Let’s go racing,
Soli Deo Gloria