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3-Time Winner! Swanson Sweeps to Vogler Classic Checkers


Kody Swanson celebrates winning the Vogler Classic at Winchester Speedway. The victory was his third Vogler Classic in a row and his second Silver Crown win in 2024. Photo courtesy: USAC Media - Photographer: David Nearpass Photo

Series News Release - USAC Media


Winchester, Indiana (May 5, 2024) - In his younger days, Kody Swanson was so inspired by the path Ryan Newman took on his way to racing stardom, that in some respects, Kody followed in his footsteps, and that even extended to his education off the racetrack.


Now firmly entrenched as the most successful USAC Silver Crown competitor of all-time, Swanson (Kingsburg, Calif.) has followed in Newman’s path on the racetrack as well, and like Newman, has become a dominator of the hallowed 37-degree banks of Indiana’s Winchester Speedway.


On Sunday afternoon, Swanson swept the entire program during the 33rd running of the Rich Vogler Classic, establishing the fastest time in practice, then capturing the pole in qualifying before leading all 100 laps around the half-mile paved oval in his Doran-Binks Racing/Mission Foods – Wilke Orthodontics – Glenn Farms/Beast/Lanci Ford en route to his third consecutive Winchester USAC Silver Crown victory after scoring the previous two editions in 2022 and 2023.


That brings in the connection with Newman who, before Swanson on Sunday, was the most recent driver to score three-straight USAC wins at Winchester, achieving the feat entirely within the 1999 season by collecting a sprint car win followed by two additional triumphs in the midgets. In 2000, Newman also swept both the sprint car and midget portion of the Vogler Classic at Winchester, which was sanctioned by NAMARS during that particular year.


“That’s really special because I remember how good Ryan was and how strong he was here,” Swanson said. “When I was growing up and getting into racing, I took a year of mechanical engineering because Ryan Newman did. He made his career by winning big races. He won on the high banks; he had a degree and he understood how to communicate with crew chiefs. I wanted to try and do that to see if I could make it very far. I sure am thankful that I have made it all the way to USAC, especially the Silver Crown division.”


Swanson’s fifth career Vogler Classic triumph (2016-19-22-23-24) spans across two venues – Indianapolis Raceway Park and Winchester – and now has him just one shy of Tracy Hines’ all-time win record of six in the event, which was set between 1996 and 2013. Furthermore, Swanson has jetted out to victories in the opening two races of the 2024 USAC Silver Crown season following his win in April’s opener at Ohio’s Toledo Speedway. It’s the third occasion in which he’s won the opening two rounds of the series (2015-19-24), and the previous two resulted in series championships.


Gridded alongside first time Silver Crown front row starter Dakoda Armstrong, Swanson gained the upper hand right from the start, establishing a healthy full second lead before the first stoppage on lap 16 as 12th running Travis Welpott made heavy contact against the outside wall in turns three and four before grinding to a halt with extensive damage on the right front of his familiar orange and white machine. Welpott, a middle school teacher and wrestling coach by day, walked away from the incident.


Throughout the first half of the contest, Armstrong kept Swanson relatively in check as he held steady in the second spot, far and away his best performance thus far with the series. In the back of Swanson’s mind was the notion that he wasn’t yet seeing the full scope of what his competition had to offer, and that they might be saving their equipment for a final push in the latter stages.


“These races are hard because not everybody shows their hand all the time,” Swanson explained. “Part of that is trying to figure out where you really stand. Bobby Santos comes through the field and he’s so good at it. C.J. came with him and Dakoda was really strong too. There are a bunch of good cars in this series, so you’re never really know until the end.”


One of those drivers who may have had something for him down the stretch was Armstrong. However, on lap 58, shortly after the yellow was displayed for the stalled car of 13th running Kyle Steffens, heartbreak befell Armstrong who was summoned to the pits by his fellow competitors and race officials who were signaling to him that his left rear wheel nut had come off. Remarkably, the wheel stayed on, and he was able to drive it back to the pits. But after surrendering the second spot, he returned to finish a disappointing 14th.


With Armstrong’s absence, Santos moved up to second while C.J. Leary slotted into third. Meanwhile, Swanson dropped the hammer and pulled out to a 2.865 second lead over Santos, and soon enough, that fact was carved into stone. In the end, Swanson merely had to navigate smoothly under and around a smidge of lapped traffic, which proved to be of no resistance as Swanson crossed under chief starter Jake Croxton’s checkered flag 5.554 seconds ahead of the field.


Bobby Santos took second in the final running order ahead of C.J. Leary while 2021 Vogler Classic winner Justin Grant made one last ditch effort around the outside of Taylor Ferns off the final turn to swipe the fourth spot just in the nick of time while Ferns rounded out the top-five.


As for Swanson, winning the Vogler Classic is always special, and this one in particular was special in its own way.


“The Rich Vogler Classic sure means an awful lot to me,” Swanson stated. “It means even more if you can see the FloRacing documentary and see all the little details about him. I hate that Eleanor (Rich Vogler’s mother) couldn’t be here but I’m glad to know she’s checking in on us. Plus, my grandfather turned 88 on Friday and he’s always been a good luck charm for me on his birthday weekend. It's a special weekend.”


In three of his four career USAC Silver Crown starts at Winchester, Bobby Santos (Franklin, Mass.) has stood on the podium as one of the top-three finishers. A third in 2021 was followed by a second in 2023 and yet another second on Sunday in his DJ Racing/Brown & Miller Racing Solutions – Simpson Race Products/Beast/Speedway Chevy.


“We’ve just got to get our car a little bit better here,” Santos noted. “We’re close but we’ve just got to keep working on it. C.J. raced me clean there and they were probably a little better than we were at the end, and I was probably holding them up a little bit.”


After consecutive fourth place finishes in his first two Winchester Silver Crown starts in 2022-23, C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) set a new benchmark on Sunday with a third-place result in his Klatt Enterprises/Wilwood Disc Brakes – Brown & Miller Racing Solutions – Penske – Hoosier Tire/Beast/Ford. It’s a fine start to his Silver Crown season as he recorded his second consecutive third-place result after finishing in the same spot at Toledo two weeks earlier.


“I had a spirited battle there with Bobby and I think we might’ve been a little bit better, but I just got sloppy at the end,” Leary admitted. “We were struggling on the restart and had a little bit of a stumble. It took me three or four laps to run him back down and get our tires hot. I was just going for it there at the end but didn’t get it done.”


Each successive Silver Crown start seemingly results in another record extending performance. Sunday marked his 49th career pole position with the series while his victory was his 42nd, both head and shoulders above the fray in the record books.



FEATURE: (100 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kody Swanson (1), 2. Bobby Santos (5), 3. C.J. Leary (6), 4. Justin Grant (7), 5. Taylor Ferns (3), 6. Logan Seavey (4), 7. Davey Hamilton Jr. (14), 8. Kyle Robbins (12), 9. Trey Osborne (16), 10. Jackson Macenko (15), 11. Nathan Byrd (19), 12. Kaylee Bryson (11), 13. Gregg Cory (20), 14. Dakoda Armstrong (2), 15. Kyle Steffens (18), 16. Derek Bischak (8), 17. Mario Clouser (10), 18. Trey Burke (9), 19. Travis Welpott (13), 20. Dave Berkheimer (21), 21. Nathan Moore (22), 22. Tyler Roahrig (17). 36:25.647


FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-100 Kody Swanson.


USAC SILVER CROWN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Kody Swanson-152, 2-C.J. Leary-131, 3-Bobby Santos-125, 4-Justin Grant-122, 5-Taylor Ferns-107, 6-Logan Seavey-107, 7-Davey Hamilton Jr.-95, 8-Tyler Roahrig-85, 9-Mario Clouser-84, 10-Kaylee Bryson-80.


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