News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

April 6, 2014

Swanson powers to Sumar win

Victory at ‘fabled place’ meaningful to California driver

TERRE HAUTE — For the first 45 laps, there was considerable doubt about which driver would win the 100-lap Sumar Classic for U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown cars Sunday night at the Terre Haute Action Track.

But with each passing lap after a restart on the 46th lap, Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, Calif., gradually erased that doubt.

He pulled away and crossed the finish line first on Lap 100 with room to spare over runner-up Tracy Hines to claim the first-place trophy and an $8,000 check.

“All the guys [in the crew] worked so hard on it,” said Swanson, who steered his mostly white (but splattered with mud from racing on the half-mile dirt oval) No. 63 DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital/Maxim/Hampshire car into Victory Lane afterward.

This was the first Action Track feature victory in the career of the 26-year-old Swanson, who leads the 2014 Silver Crown Series point standings by three (63-60) over the veteran Hines.

“It’s such a fabled place, a place I never was very good at,” he said of the Action Track, which conducted its first Sumar Classic in 1995. “I’ve got to give the credit to these guys [nodding toward his crew]. What a phenomenal race car. I was lucky enough to be the guy behind the wheel tonight.”

Swanson, who started next to fastest-qualifier Hines on the front row, battled Hines for first place on the first lap and ended up ahead for the first 35, although Hines and Chris Windom were breathing down his neck.

A red flag stopped action for a short time on the third lap when Dakota Jackson flipped in the fourth turn. Taylor Ferns’ car also was involved. Three yellows also kept the pack close during the first 35 laps.

After the restart on Lap 36, more than one pass resulted in Windom leading by the end of the lap. Then Hines maneuvered his way to the front by the end of Lap 37. Swanson led laps 38, 39 and 40, but not by much. Then another yellow caution flag on the 41st lap slowed the pace until the restart on Lap 46.

“Luckily, we were able to battle back and catch that caution [flag] and change our line and go down to the bottom,” Swanson told the Tribune-Star. “We just kinda followed where the race track needed us to be to be fast. What a great race car — to run the top [of the track] early and be just as good at the bottom.”

From there, Swanson started asserting his dominance. Hines remained about half a straightaway behind him for most of the final 54 caution-free laps and finished second.

“It was just a great-handling race car,” he insisted, basically refusing to accept any credit for the win. “The bottom was really tricky … a lot of holes. And so it was hard to feel like you hit it right. But when we did, it really launched off the corner like a rocket.”

Rounding out the top five behind Swanson and Hines were Jerry Coons Jr., 2012 Sumar Classic winner Bobby East and Zach Daum.

Veteran Kenny Schrader won the 15-lap UMP Modifieds feature after he also chalked up a victory in one of the three six-lap heat races.

There were no reported injuries from any of the flips, spins or crashes during the night. Temperatures during most of the daylight evening hours were in the upper 50s, making most of the estimated 2,000 fans in attendance slightly chilly but comfortable.

The next Action Track card, on April 27, will feature the King of Indiana Sprint Series, Midwest Sprint Car Series and UMP Modifieds. The next Silver Crown Series card will be the USAC Hall of Fame Classic on May 17 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.

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