Swanson Dominates Rollie Beale Classic at Toledo

Kody Swanson Photo from DoranRacing.com

By Linda Mansfield
TOLEDO, Ohio, April 21 — Kody Swanson’s mastery of Toledo Speedway in a USAC Silver Crown car rocketed into another dimension Saturday afternoon when he led all 100 laps of the Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness Rollie Beale Classic in Doran Binks Racing’s Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77. He had a 3.441-second lead over runner-up C.J. Leary at the checkered flag and he lapped through eighth place in the 19-car contest on one of the fastest tracks on the series’ schedule.

He continued to set records with the achievement. It was the eighth time he’s won this particular race, and sixth straight. He extended his record as the winningest driver in series history to 41, and his record for the most poles in series history to 48.

After setting the fastest time in Saturday’s practice session with a 15.042-second lap, Swanson captured the Honest Abe Roofing pole with a time of 14.916 seconds (120.676 miles per hour average) for the round, half-mile asphalt track in qualifying. It didn’t break his own track record here, but it was enough to top the other top-five qualifiers — Tyler Roahrig, C.J. Leary, Bobby Santos III and Justin Grant, respectively. It was his eighth career pole for the Rollie Beale Classic.

Last year Leary led the most laps in this race before Swanson got the victory, but on Saturday Leary chased Swanson for all 100 laps to finish second for the second year in a row. Roahrig was only 0.162 behind Leary in third. Grant placed fourth for the second year in a row, and Santos finished fifth.

For the second year in a row there was also only one yellow in this race. On Saturday the caution flew from laps 32 through 35 after Jackson Macenko, who was making his first series start, spun in Turn 4.

Swanson had more than a 1-second lead by lap 20, aided in part by the fact that Leary and Grant were busy battling each other for second. Ten laps later Swanson had grown his advantage to over 2 seconds. That disappeared for the restart following the caution, but Swanson still had a 0.870-second advantage at the halfway point. He was able to pad his lead to 1.778 seconds by lap 60, and to almost 2 seconds by lap 65. He had a 2.252-second advantage on lap 85 and then extended that to 3.441 seconds by lap 100.

Swanson, a native of Kingsburg, Calif., who lives in Indianapolis, set the fastest lap of anyone in the race with a time of 15.593 seconds on lap 15. Roahrig was second-fastest with a 15.604 on lap 38.

Last year this race was held in August, but this year it opened the 2024 season and it was quite chilly on an April afternoon at a track very close to Lake Erie. But both Swanson and his car’s Lanci-prepped Ford engine seemed to not only take the colder temperatures in stride, they seem to revel in them.

“I love coming to Toledo Speedway,” Swanson said. “I know it’s cold today, and I appreciate everyone coming out. I also appreciate all the effort the Doran Binks crew did to give us a chance. It takes a total team effort. I’m also grateful for the support of our sponsors, Mission Foods and Glenn Farms.”

Swanson had to carefully pick his way around lapped traffic and choose the best lane to run as the clouds drifted overhead and the track conditions changed.

“This field is very deep and there are a lot of drivers who could win on any given day,” he noted. “It’s a long season, so I just feel very grateful that we were able to win today and get it off to a good start,” he concluded.

Saturday’s race, like all the USAC Silver Crown events, was livestreamed by Flo Racing.

There are three USAC Silver Crown events on the calendar in May: May 5 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway; May 17-18 at the Belleville (Kan.) High Banks, and May 24 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Brownsburg, Ind. Doran Binks Racing will also compete in the Little 500 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway on May 25, which is a non-points race sanctioned by the 500 Sprint Car Tour.

For more information see DoranRacing.com.

About Mission Foods:

The Gruma Corporation began in 1949 and is today the leading tortilla manufacturer worldwide. Mission Foods is a proud subsidiary of Gruma, and as the #1 tortilla company in the United States, manufactures a wide variety of authentic Mexican products. Five years ago it opened a state-of-the-art plant in Dallas, Texas, with the capacity to produce 30 million tortillas daily. Today Mission Foods is a global company, with special emphasis not only on the United States but also Mexico, Central America, Europe, China, Malaysia, and Australia. Its products include flour and corn tortillas; tostadas; low-carb, whole wheat, organic and gluten-free items; wraps; flatbreads such as naan, pita and roti; tortilla chips and organic chips; chicharrones; salsa, and dips. For more information see missionfoods.com.