By Jay Hardin
Springfield, IL (August 15, 2021)-Five-time USAC Silver Crown champion Kody Swanson had a plan to limit his Silver Crown events to just the pavement events coming into 2021. Limiting time in the big cars would allow Swanson to pursue other forms of the sport including stock cars and road racing. However, Swanson won twice on the pavement at Lucas Oil Raceway Park and finished second at Winchester. Swanson’s pavement finishes, combined with the loss of two dirt events from the schedule, put him atop the 2021 standings.
A call from Chris Dyson altered Swanson’s 2021 plans. A chance at topflight equipment on dirt was too much to pass up and Swanson ran the Dyson car to 6th at Selinsgrove and has a 1-point lead in the standings prior to the August 14 event at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. Swanson also let on that the dirt ride with Dyson was not a one race deal, the two plan on teaming up for an assault on the August 21 Bettenhausen 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Not only will the Californian be looking for a third Bettenhausen win he would be in the running for an unprecedented sixth Silver Crown Series title.
Dyson crew chief Sean Michael ran a second car for two races in 2020 with Michael listed as the entrant. Michael teamed with Kyle Larson and the two were unbeatable in the races they entered. Larson won the Hoosier Hundred and then dominated the Bettenhausen 100 leading 90 of the 100 miles. Swanson stands a good chance of becoming a three-time winner at Springfield with Michael preparing Dyson’s car.
The new Doran Enterprises team entered its first ever Silver Crown event at LORP in May with Swanson moving from his 2020 Nolen ride to Doran. The combination clicked immediately as Kody set second quick time and took the lead from Bobby Santos on lap 65 on the way to his 31st Silver Crown series win. The Doran/Swanson combination set a new track record at Winchester in late July and the driver battled with defending Silver Crown national champion Justin Grant losing to Grant by just a few feet at the finish. Just yesterday Swanson won a $50,000 bonus capturing the Silver Crown portion of the Hoosier Classic.
Only fourteen drivers have more than one championship race win in the 86-year history of national championship racing at the Illinois State Fair. Kody Swanson is one of the fourteen as are Tony Bettenhausen, Gary Bettenhausen, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Jack Hewitt and Chuck Gurney. Swanson’s first race on the Springfield Mile came in 2008 when he finished 4th. He led all 100 miles in his 6th start for his first win in 2014 and led 43 after coming from the 16th spot for win number two in 2015. Swanson is 12th on the all-time money won list in Springfield Silver Crown races.
Saturday, August 21 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Silver Crown Series race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and coincides with the 50th anniversary of the series itself. Practice for the big cars begins at 10 a.m. with Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying at 11:30. The Bettenhausen 100 is scheduled to push off at approximately 2 p.m. Tickets are available by calling Track Enterprises at 217-764-3200 or at the Illinois State Fair Box Office.
The event is all part of a huge racing weekend in Central Illinois featuring Lincoln Speedway with MOWA Sprint Cars on Friday night, Silver Crown Saturday at the Springfield Mile, Jack Hewitt Night featuring POWRi Midgets at Macon Speedway Saturday night, and the ARCA Menards Series Sunday afternoon at the Springfield Mile.
Full information on the events can be found at www.trackenterprises.com.