With his fourth-straight victory in the USAC Silver Crown Hoosier Hundred on Thursday night at the famed Indiana State Fairgrounds, Kody Swanson joined some pretty elite company within the motorsports spectrum.
He became only the second driver since Al Unser Sr. to win four consecutive ‘100s’ (1970-1973) with both trailing the legendary AJ Foyt with six overall wins in the annual event held three days before the Indianapolis 500. The win was also the 21st of Swanson’s Silver Crown career, moving him to within two of Jack Hewitt’s record 23.
“It’s incredible,” Swanson told Short Track Scene in Victory Lane. “I don’t belong with those guys. I’m just a nobody. But being a part of this race team gives you a chance to be somebody. I work right along with them. We’re in the shop all the time. Everyone wants to win and it’s something special to be a part of, to be in the trenches with these guys.”
AJ Foyt (6 wins)
Al Unser (4 in a row)@KodySwanson (4 in a row)
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) May 25, 2018
Even though Swanson captured the pole earlier in the afternoon, it looked like the night would belong to Brian Tyler. The two-time USAC National Sprint Car driver passed Swanson on Lap 25 and held it until Lap 56 when something broke and sent his Champ Car hard into the Turn 1 concrete barrier.
Swanson reassumed the lead and never looked back, despite a caution with 10 laps to go. Even without the misfortune to Tyler, Swanson expected to get back in the mix.
“I think,” Swanson said. “Typically, I’m not in one of the top two spots until 30 laps to go here. But, the way the race track was, and the groove being so narrow, I didn’t want to fall too far behind. I knew tire wear was going to be different than usual.
“I didn’t think you could push as hard as Brian did. So once he passed me, we went into full conserve mode. I hated to see his brake rotor explode. But even then I was still saving because we had 40 miles to go which is a lot here and we had been pushing hard in the corners. Brian is a good friend and a former teammate so I just hated to see that.”
He hated to see the caution with 12 to go, even if it played out in his favor. Swanson defended against Shane Cockrum into Turn 1 and pulled away to win by 2.5 seconds.
“I was pretty nervous there because he seemed pretty good in lap traffic,” Swanson said. “We were pushing pretty hard and you just never know, right, on restarts. To win four in a row, you have to have a little bit of luck, and we made some of our own, but yeah, I didn’t want to see that caution.”
It’s a quick turnaround for the full-time drivers as they will compete again with their asphalt cars on Friday night in the main event of the Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana.
The complete results can be found below.
FEATURE: (100 laps – starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kody Swanson (1), 2. Shane Cockrum (3), 3. Tyler Courtney (6), 4. Shane Cottle (2), 5. Johnny Petrozelle (18), 6. Jacob Wilson (21), 7. Joe Liguori (11), 8. David Byrne (15), 9. Dave Darland (28), 10. Austin Mundie (24), 11. Austin Nemire (29), 12. Matt Goodnight (19), 13. Chris Windom (4), 14. Mike Haggenbottom (17), 15. Casey Shuman (26), 16. Chris Dyson (8), 17. Korey Weyant (30), 18. Jerry Coons Jr. (9), 19. Brady Bacon (25), 20. Steve Buckwalter (27), 21. Justin Grant (16), 22. Travis Welpott (32), 23. Brian Tyler (5), 24. C.J. Leary (7), 25. Kyle Robbins (31), 26. Kevin Thomas Jr. (13), 27. J.C. Bland (22), 28. Russ Gamester (20), 29. Jeff Swindell (12), 30. Neil Shepherd (23), 31. Coleman Gulick (14), 32. A.J. Fike (10).
SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Swanson-286, 2-Grant-205, 3-Byrne-188, 4-Windom-180, 5-Nemire-168, 6-Goodnight-155, 7-Welpott-147, 8-Coons-145, 9-Bobby Santos-137, 10-Courtney-131.