By Richie Murray
Brownsburg, Indiana (July 3, 2021)………Kody Swanson admitted he needed to take a bit of a different approach than the one he took in his most recent midget outing after finishing second at Brownsburg, Indiana’s Lucas Oil Raceway in June.
On Saturday night, he figured he needed to hit the “go” button just a little quicker.
The Kingsburg, Calif. native did just that in the Independence Showdown at the .686-mile paved oval en route to victory in the Brown’s Oil Champion / USAC Midget non-points special event, revisiting LOR victory lane for already the third time this season, and the second time in midget competition.
“I owed (car owner Jerome (Rodela) one,” Swanson said. “Last time, I brought a Silver Crown driver. He needed a midget driver to get it done early and I was too patient and too kind. Today, I knew I needed to be aggressive. I’ve been watching old videos to try and figure out how to race midgets again. I’m pretty pumped about this one. That was pretty cool working through the traffic.”
After setting quick time in qualifying, the eight-car inversion put Swanson on the outside of row four. By the end of lap one, Swanson had charged to third while third-starting Josh Wise had raced to second past pole sitter Jake Trainor in turn one, then dove under outside front row starter Cole Carter in turn three for the early lead.
Swanson worked his way by Carter on the inside of turn two on lap two, then spent the following 18 laps stalking his prey while Wise led the opening laps at LOR for the second-straight race after leading the first two circuits in June.
“The first 10 (laps) make all the difference,” Swanson stated. “By me being too slow early (in June’s race), I didn’t even give myself a chance. Tonight, I didn’t want to make that mistake again. I knew it was time to be up on it from the very first corner and to put this car in places it could go and try to make my way through there and put on a show.”
Applying constant pressure to Wise, Swanson made his bid for the lead on the 19th lap by swinging to the bottom of turn one and drifting up in front of the 2005 USAC National Midget champion at the entry to turn two. Wise ducked under Swanson and the pair raced side-by-side the entire length of the back straightaway before Swanson emerged with the advantage in turn three.
Swanson was able to pull away thereafter to earn his 11th career win at LOR (3 Midget, 2 Sprint, 6 Silver Crown), winning by a relatively comfortable 2.096 second margin over Wise, Nick Hamilton, Bobby Santos and Tanner Swanson.
After leading all 30 laps during his May midget triumph at LOR, it took Swanson two-thirds of the race to get to the head of the pack. Swanson acknowledged it wasn’t merely about being patient in his pursuit of Wise, he simply wasn’t “there” just quite yet.
“I wasn’t good enough in the middle of the race,” Swanson recalled. “I got distracted and was watching Josh instead of where I needed to be. Jerome’s car deserves to go faster than what I was giving it and I was glad to figure it out and finish it for him.”
USAC MIDGET SPECIAL EVENT RACE RESULTS: July 3, 2021 – Lucas Oil Raceway – Brownsburg, Indiana – .686-Mile Paved Track – Independence Showdown
QUALIFYING: 1. Kody Swanson, 25, Rodela-20.966; 2. Nick Hamilton, 7KR, Irwin/Petry-21.138; 3. Tanner Swanson, 7K, Irwin/Petry-21.170; 4. Dalton Armstrong, 7A, C & A-21.269; 5. Thomas Meseraull, 7x, RMS-21.278; 6. Cole Carter, 7, Bertrand-21.297; 7. Josh Wise, 55, Bowman-21.313; 8. Jake Trainor, 8, Trainor-21.403; 9. Tyler Roahrig, 4, Klatt-21.405; 10. Bobby Santos, 29, Seymour/West-21.420; 11. Taylor Ferns, 55F, Ferns-21.621; 12. Johnny Zych, 9, Zych-21.689; 13. Jason McDougal, 80, Breidinger-21.766; 14. Cody Gerhardt, 60, Western Speed-21.782; 15. Blake Brannon, 40, Brannon-22.172; 16. John Sluss, 14AJ, RayPro-22.403; 17. Kyle O’Gara, 1BR, SFHR-NT; 18. Nathan Byrd, 33, RayPro-NT.
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kody Swanson, 2. Josh Wise, 3. Nick Hamilton, 4. Bobby Santos, 5. Tanner Swanson, 6. Cole Carter, 7. Thomas Meseraull, 8. Dalton Armstrong, 9. Jake Trainor, 10. Cody Gerhardt, 11. Tyler Roahrig, 12. Taylor Ferns, 13. Blake Brannon, 14. Nathan Byrd, 15. Johnny Zych, 16. John Sluss, 17. Jason McDougal, 18. Kyle O’Gara. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-18 Josh Wise, Laps 19-30 Kody Swanson.
NEXT USAC MIDGET SPECIAL EVENT: August 14, 2021 – Lucas Oil Raceway – Brownsburg, Indiana – .686-Mile Paved Track – Hoosier Classic