Swanson Comes from the Rear to Finish Fourth
In 500 Sprint Car Tour Race Saturday Night at Berlin Raceway
In Doran Binks Racing’s Mission Foods No. 77
MARNE, Mich., June 11 — Doran Binks Racing’s Kody Swanson qualified third, started at the rear due to a tire change, and flew through the field to finish fourth Saturday night at Berlin Raceway in a 40-lap feature sanctioned by the 500 Sprint Car Tour Presented by Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores.
Driving the Mission Foods/Glenn Farms No. 77 asphalt sprint car, Swanson was always among the top drivers in practice and qualifying, setting the fastest time in the second practice session and qualifying third, just 0.390 off fastest qualifier Tyler Roahrig’s 15.493.
But Swanson, a native of Kingsburg, Calif., who now lives in Indianapolis, had to start at the rear of the 18-car field for the feature per the rules after the Doran Binks crew changed a tire prior to the start of the race. It was the right decision, as the handling of the car was immediately better after the switch.
His start was spectacular. Powered by a Binks Chevy engine, Swanson’s No. 77 was already in the top 10 by lap two. The defending series champ took ninth on lap four, eighth on lap eight, seventh on lap nine and sixth on lap 11 as the cars blazed around the nearly circular and very challenging 0.4375-mile asphalt oval, which has 13-degree turns and 9-degree straightaways.
He stayed in sixth place from lap 11 through lap 16, running between Dakoda Armstrong and Jake McElfresh. He moved into the top five on lap 17 when he got around Armstrong, and then he set his sights on the driver in fourth, Billy Wease.
Three laps after the halfway point, on lap 23, he passed Wease for fourth place, and that’s where he finished.
There was only one caution flag, which flew on lap 32 when Taylor Ferns stopped in Turn 4 while running tenth. She was able to restart. The caution was welcomed by most of the top runners, as it meant they didn’t have to deal with lapped traffic in the seven-lap run to the checkered.
There was some shuffling of positions right after the restart in the pack of cars Swanson was running with, although the positions remained the same at the start-finish line.
“On the restart I got a good run to the outside of Kyle [O’Gara] for third, but Billy [Wease] ended up being able to get past us both on the bottom, so that left us trying to race our way back to fourth," Swanson explained afterwards. “We never made any contact; it was just hard racing.”
Roahrig won handily over Bobby Santos III, Wease, Swanson and O’Gara. Armstrong, McElfresh, Shane Butler, Jackson Macenko and Justin Harper rounded out the top 10.
“All things considered, we had a decent night," Swanson said. “We chose to start in the back with the tire issue, but the car was pretty good during the race. That’s probably the best we’ve had the car at Berlin, so I feel like we at least made progress. I'm optimistic that we learned more about what we're missing, but I feel like we've all got a way to go to catch up to Roahrig at this track.”
He can take consolation in the fact that the team is very close. Roahrig set the fastest lap of the race on lap 37 with a time of 15.802. Swanson set the second-fastest lap of the race on lap 4 with a 15.997.
The race was streamed live by MAVTV for Flo Racing.
The next race on the 500 Sprint Car Tour schedule is coming right up June 18 at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway. The evening before that the team also plans to compete in the USAC Silver Crown race at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway. Another event in the busy month of June is the USAC Silver Crown race June 23 at Madison Int’l Speedway in Oregon, Wis.
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.
For more information on Doran Racing, see DoranRacing.com.
The team also has a Facebook page.