Kody Swanson made his return to racing and Victory Lane all in one night during Thursday’s Kroger Speedfest at Lucas Oil Raceway. Driving for Team 6R Racing, powered by Toyota and sponsored by Kroger and Wawona Packing, Kody picked up his 2nd career USAC Silver Crown win in just his first series start of 2011.
Kody was seriously injured in a May 21st accident at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana, and had to be airlifted from the racetrack. Thursday night’s event was his first night back behind the wheel full-time.
After qualifying 5th and 6th, Tanner then Kody, the Swanson brothers knew it’d be important to balance getting to the front and saving their cars and tires for the end of the long 100-lap event. At the drop of the green, the brothers seemed content with their position, but that didn’t last long. By lap 10, Kody had cracked the Top 5, and quickly began making his move toward the front. Kody found the low groove and used the bottom side of the racetrack to pass for each position, taking over the top spot from Tony Stewart Racing’s Levi Jones on lap 20.
For the majority of the race, Tanner battled with the frontrunners and got himself into the 4th position, hoping to make a charge toward the top spot near the end of the 100-lap event. In the final 25 laps Tanner passed defending Silver Crown Champ Levi Jones, and set his sights on the Top 2: Kody Swanson and Tracy Hines.
While Kody had continued to pull away during the middle of the race, a series of late cautions and a flattening Right Rear tire seriously affected the handling on his #19. As the race neared its end, Kody found some stiff competition from former Silver Crown Champ Tracy Hines. Hines closed to his back bumper, and pulled alongside Swanson as the duo took the white flag, but Kody held on to win at the famed Indianapolis racetrack, and closed the book on his recovery.
The win propelled Team 6R Racing to the All-Time USAC Silver Crown series Wins lead, with 26.
While he was never able to fully challenge for the lead, Tanner’s 3rd place finish, of the 30 car starting field, was enough to propel him to a tie for the series point lead!