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Swanson Concludes Busy Saturday
With Third-Place Finish in Little 500
In Doran Binks Racing’s Mission Foods No. 77


ANDERSON, Ind., May 28 — Kyle Larson was focused on trying to do “The Double” over the Memorial Day weekend, but Kody Swanson did “The Triple” on Saturday and recorded three podium finishes in one day in three different race cars.

In the morning he finished second in a 30-lap pavement midget race for Bertrand Motorsports at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. Shortly thereafter he led all 100 laps of the USAC Silver Crown race there driving for Doran Binks Racing. Then Swanson and the Lebanon, Ohio-based team traveled approximately 50 miles north to record a third-place finish in the largest asphalt sprint car race in the world, the 500-lap, 76th annual Little 500 Presented by UAW at Anderson Speedway, with Doran Binks Racing’s Mission Foods/Glenn Farms/Wilke Orthodontics pavement sprint car.

Swanson, a native of Kingsburg, Calif., who now lives in Indianapolis, led the second-most number of laps at the Little 500 with 107 to Dakoda Armstrong’s 194.

He started eighth in the 33-car Little 500 field in the No. 77, which is powered by a Binks-prepared Chevrolet V8 engine.

The first half of the race was punctuated by one red flag and nine yellow-flag periods, while the second half had only three yellows and one red. That made getting into a rhythm challenging for all. Swanson initially dropped back to ninth, and he ran in eighth or ninth place for the first 175 laps.

He advanced from eighth to sixth on lap 176 after Davey Hamilton Jr. got the lead on lap 173 and then was involved in an accident on lap 175 on the frontstretch. The driver who was fourth at the time, Tyler Roahrig, was also involved, which gave Swanson the other spot.

The rules stipulate each car must make at least one pit stop in each half of the race, and Swanson’s first stop came on lap 186. It was phenomenal, as the Doran Binks crew got their car serviced so fast that Swanson rose from sixth to third, behind only Shane Hollingsworth, who pitted later, and Caleb Armstrong.

Swanson moved into second on lap 188 when Caleb Armstrong pitted, and he trailed only Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth finally pitted on lap 227, which vaulted Swanson into the lead on lap 228.

He stayed there through lap 334, despite intense pressure from polesitter Emerson Axsom. Axsom was just 0.255 seconds behind at the halfway point. Around lap 263 there were 13 cars in the lead pack, and they were all close.

Swanson kept his head down and worked his way carefully through lapped traffic. He was able to build his lead to 1.114 seconds by lap 280, and that grew to 2.093 seconds by lap 285 as Axsom got bogged down in lapped traffic too.

Swanson’s lead dropped to 1.585 seconds by lap 290 and stayed about 1.6 seconds though lap 300. But four laps later it was down to only 0.230 again, and Axsom kept the pressure up until his car’s right front shock stud broke and sent him into the wall between Turns 1 and 2 working lap 327.

Swanson made his second pit stop under that yellow on lap 334, which gave the lead to last year’s winner, Jake Trainor, on lap 335. Swanson dropped to seventh after that stop.

He advanced to sixth on lap 377 by passing Roahrig. Trainor and the driver of a slower car had contact which caused Trainor to crash into the Turn 3 wall while leading on lap 391, which brought out another yellow and moved Swanson into fifth place.

He soared from fifth to third on lap 398 after the driver who was third, Ryan Newman, and the driver who was fourth, Bobby Santos III, pitted under that yellow. That left the leader, Dakoda Armstrong; the second-place driver, Dakoda’s cousin Caleb Armstrong, and Swanson as the only drivers on the lead lap for the restart on lap 402.

Swanson was able to stay in third place despite some contact with a lapped car, but he couldn’t catch the Armstrongs. Instead, Caleb Armstrong passed Dakoda Armstrong on the last lap to win the race by 0.261 seconds. Swanson crossed the line in third, 0.146 of a second behind Dakoda Armstrong. They were the only three drivers on the lead lap, and Swanson duplicated his third-place finish from one year ago.

Roahrig and Billy Wease rounded out the top five. Newman, Santos, Hollingsworth, Kyle O’Gara and Logan Seavey completed the top 10. Only 14 cars were running at the finish.

“Our car was pretty good, but it wasn’t quite good enough to control our destiny,” Swanson said afterwards.

“The Doran Binks guys gave me such a good pit stop on our first stop; that’s what put us into contention. We led some, but then lost a few spots. It was really close.

“I had some trouble with some of the medium-speed lapped cars. They were hard to pass, but then they were racing each other for position. You have to pick and choose your way around them, and hope you can get by whenever you can.

“I’m proud of the Doran Binks team. Everybody worked hard, and I appreciate the effort to get us close. I also appreciate the support of our sponsors, like Mission Foods and Glenn Farms.

“How tired am I? Well, if I had to run another 100 laps tonight I would. You have to rise to the challenge!”

The Little 500 was streamed live by DirtVision.

The Little 500 is part of the 500 Sprint Car Tour, but it’s a non-points-paying special event.

The next race on that schedule is June 8 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich., followed by a race June 28 at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway.

The USAC Silver Crown series also has two races in June: June 15 at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway, and June 21 at Madison Int’l Speedway in Oregon, Wis.

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.

 

 
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