By Richie Murray
Salem, Indiana (August 6, 2019)………Kody Swanson is just a single start away from reaching a milestone mark in his racing career as the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series heads into the August 10 Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial at Indiana’s Salem Speedway this Saturday.
The Kingsburg, Calif. native stands at 99 career USAC Silver Crown starts, and with one more, would join the exclusive 100 start club for the series, a mark achieved by only 18 previous drivers: Dave Darland (201 starts), Russ Gamester & Brian Tyler (197), Jerry Coons, Jr. (175), Tracy Hines (172), Jack Hewitt (163), Johnny Parsons (151), Tony Elliott (147), Eric Gordon (136), George Snider (128), Gary Hieber (125), Chuck Gurney (114), Bud Kaeding & Jimmy Sills (113), Dave Steele (111), John Heydenreich (104), A.J. Fike (102) and Larry Rice (100).
It’s safe to say that no driver has accomplished more in those his first 100 than Swanson has. In that span, he’s won the pole position a record 28 times, reached victory lane on an all-time best 27 occasions and finished as the runner-up 20 times, giving him a remarkable mark of top-two finishes in 47 of his 99 starts thus far, just a tick under 50 percent!
He’s also added four Silver Crown driver titles (2014-15-17-18) and helped his team to five consecutive car owner championships in the past five years, another unprecedented mark that he’s added to his resume.
Salem Speedway has been the home of a slew of Swanson milestones since the Silver Crown series began revisiting the .555-mile high banks in the summer of 2016. That year, Swanson broke Rich Vogler’s long-standing one-lap track record in a Champ Car at Salem en route to victory. The following year in 2017, his 18th career victory moved him into second all-time on Silver Crown’s win list. In 2018, the ante was upped as Swanson became the series’ winningest driver following his Salem triumph, the 24th of his career.
We might also mention that Swanson’s Salem win a year ago was his fifth-straight at the time, another record for the books, if you’re keeping track at home.
This year, Swanson has tacked even more on to his resume with three victories (Memphis, Toledo & Madison), plus a second-place run at Williams Grove, and leads the series points entering Saturday’s Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial where he aims to join another exclusive club, as a winner of the prestigious event for the fourth-straight year, something only accomplished once before, by the great Pancho Carter between 1974 and 1977.
It’s a far cry from his first credited Silver Crown start at Iowa Speedway in 2008 where he suffered mechanical trouble, finishing last and the box score reading “0 laps competed.” Since that time, Swanson has rewritten seemingly every stat in the record books or reached what once seemed like a distant dream that’s now become a reality. For Swanson, another of those realities awaits this Saturday.
Silver Crown pits open at 1pm Eastern on Saturday, August 10. Spectator gates open at 3pm, vintage car warm-ups at 3pm, Silver Crown drivers meeting at 3:15pm, stock car practice from 3:30-3:50pm, first Silver Crown practice from 3:55-4:25pm, stock car practice from 4:30pm-4:45pm, final Silver Crown practice from 4:50-5:20pm, Qualifying at 5:45pm, opening ceremonies at 6:55pm followed by stock car and Silver Crown main events.
Advance adult general admission tickets are $23 for adults/teens and $5 for ages 7-12. Advance reserved tickets are $28.
Saturday’s prestigious event can be watched LIVE and on-demand on FloRacing, listened to via live audio on the USAC app as well as live timing and scoring on both the USAC app and the Race-Monitor app.