The Hoosier Classic Is Classic Swanson;
Doran Racing’s Driver Wins Two of Three Features
For the Largest USAC Payout Ever at Lucas Oil Raceway
BROWNSBURG, Ind., Aug. 16 — Two out of three isn’t bad at all.
Although it’s hard to win any feature at Lucas Oil Raceway, Doran Racing’s Kody Swanson won two of the three features at the inaugural Hoosier Classic Saturday night there, and finished third in the other one.
He earned half of the $100,000 Fatheadz Eyewear posted for anyone able to win all three races, and went home with a whopping $77,600 check for his day’s work on the 0.686-mile asphalt oval. It was the biggest payoff for any USAC driver ever at this track, surpassing the $60,280 the late Dave Steele earned after sweeping the Mopar Twin 25 midget races 19 years ago.
The two features Swanson won came in Doran Racing cars entered in the 100-lap USAC Silver Crown headliner and the 50-lap champion sprint car feature. He finished third in the 50-lap Brown’s Oil champion midget feature driving for Jerome Rodela.
In the USAC Silver Crown competition the Kingsburg, Calif., native who now lives in Indianapolis extended his series records to 33 Fatheadz Eyewear poles and 32 main event victories, the most of all time. Although he hasn’t been running for a record-extending sixth championship in 2021 in order to get more stock car experience, he padded his lead in the USAC Silver Crown point standings by 48 points, 335 to 287, over Logan Seavey with four races remaining on the 2021 schedule.
He also surpassed his record held by his brother, Tanner Swanson, as the USAC Silver Crown driver with the most victories on the oval at Lucas Oil Raceway with seven. He is second on the track’s all-time USAC win list with 13, two less than Tracy Hines.
He won the track’s A.J. Foyt Racing Championship for the fourth time. And in winning the sprint car feature, he received the Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Trophy presented by the late driver’s parents, Kenny and Reva Irwin.
The races he won came in blue Doran Racing No. 77s sponsored by Glenn Farms and Lykins Energy Solutions and prepped at the team’s base in Lebanon, Ohio. They are both Beast chassis, but they have two different engine manufacturers. The USAC Silver Crown car is powered by a Lanci Ford. The pavement sprint car uses a Chevy tuned by Dan Binks.
The complexion of the two victories differed dramatically.
USAC Silver Crown
Swanson started on the pole and led all 100 laps of the USAC Silver Crown race, fighting off all challengers, weaving through lapped traffic, managing his tires, and surviving five yellows and their five restarts which allowed the field to pack up behind him. Even fuel management came into play, but he had enough in the tank when a late accident forced a green-white-checkered finish. Endurance was also involved, since this was the last race of the evening and double the length of the other two features.
For the first 16 laps his main rival was his brother, Tanner Swanson, who started second and ran in that spot, about 0.4, 0.5 or 0.6 of a second behind him. Tanner Swanson was even closer after the first restart on lap 16 (0.186 second), but rather than passing his brother he himself was passed by David Byrne in Turn 3.
Byrne was about the same distance back as Tanner Swanson had been initially, but by lap 23 Kody Swanson had extended his lead by 1.055 seconds. Despite another restart, Byrne was still 0.890 seconds behind on lap 45 when Tyler Roahrig passed Tanner Swanson for third.
The halfway point was notable because that’s when Roahrig passed Byrne for second, but the Doran Racing No. 77 was still 1.723 seconds ahead.
Kody Swanson’s lead grew to over 2 seconds for the first time by lap 52, and stayed over 2 seconds consistently from laps 56 through lap 72. Roahrig would close it a bit now and then, but by lap 77, ironically Swanson’s number, he enjoyed over a 3-second lead.
He didn’t enjoy it long. Four laps later the defending Silver Crown champion, Justin Grant, hit the wall hard on the frontstretch close to Turn 4 to bring out the third yellow. That did a number on both Grant’s car and Swanson’s lead, giving Roahrig another chance to pass on the restart on lap 87, but he couldn’t get by.
The action had barely resumed before seventh-running Derek Bischak slowed and couldn’t get back to pit lane, causing another yellow. The green waved again on lap 93, but then there was a multi-car accident that started in Turn 1, extended to Turn 2, and ended on the backstretch. Tanner Swanson (who was fifth), Aaron Pierce (who was sixth) as well as Nathan Byrd (tenth) were all involved. No one was hurt, but Pierce and Byrd’s cars were too damaged to continue. At the same time Eric Gordon (ninth) had mechanical difficulties that forced him out.
They stopped counting laps when they were still under yellow cleaning things up on lap 98, setting up a green-white-checkered finish and allowing Roahrig one final shot at passing Swanson. He couldn’t do it, and Swanson had a 0.988-second margin of victory over Roahrig at the end. Bobby Santos III completed the podium. Tanner Swanson passed Byrne for fourth on the last lap.
Kody Swanson set the fastest lap of anyone in the race on lap two with a time of 21.354. His Fatheadz Eyewear pole-winning time was a two-lap average of 20.803.
Earlier in the evening Swanson won the 50-lap sprint car feature after starting seventh. It was a non-point special event in the USAC AMSOIL national sprint car series.
The team struggled with various problems earlier in the day with the sprint car, and missed some practice due to them.
Fatheadz qualifying was also a thrash for the No. 77. The rules allowed a second qualifying run for anyone who wanted to see if they could improve upon their earlier time. The Doran crew went for it, but time ran out before Swanson was able to make a second attempt so they had to be content with ranking fourth behind Roahrig, Santos and Kyle O’Gara with a two-lap combined average time of 21.051 seconds. A 10-car inversion further complicated things and dropped Swanson to seventh for the start.
As he’s famous for doing, Swanson got to work immediately. He was fifth by the end of lap one, fourth by lap two, and third by lap three to trail only Pierce and Taylor Ferns.
He powered under Ferns in Turn 1 for second on lap 12. Pierce was his next target, but Pierce was having none of it. They raced hard with Swanson right on Pierce’s tail until the first yellow waved on lap 19 for Ferns, who had stopped in Turn 4 with mechanical difficulties after slipping through about half the field.
Yellow-flag laps didn’t count in this race, and Swanson made the most of the opportunity the restart provided. Pierce and Swanson ran side-by-side for a lap after the restart until Swanson was finally able to nose ahead on lap 22.
“I felt like the only place I was really gaining on Aaron, at that point in time, was on entry,” Swanson said. “I had to just get in there and try to get beside him. He left me room and I tried to leave him room too. Once I got there, I had to finish it because if I didn’t clear him then, I may not ever get another chance. It was a hard race, and hard coming from seventh.”
O’Gara passed Pierce for second on lap 23. At the halfway point Swanson had a 0.773 lead over O’Gara. Santos, who had taken third from Pierce on lap 24, was next in line. Pierce was fourth and Tanner Swanson fifth.
After that Swanson concentrated on building his lead. It had grown to over 1 second by lap 32, to over 2 seconds by lap 43, and to over 3 seconds by lap 48. His margin of victory over O’Gara was 3.729 seconds. Santos finished third, Tanner Swanson fourth, and Pierce finished fifth.
“I want to thank everyone on the Doran Racing team for their hard work,” Swanson concluded. “God has blessed me with wonderful people. Kevin Doran and everyone on this team worked so hard. I want to thank Glenn Farms, Lykins and Fatheadz Eyewear too. I’m grateful to be part of this team, and just very thankful.”
The program was livestreamed on Flo Racing.
For more information on Doran Racing, see DoranRacing.com.
The team also has a Facebook page.