Two is better than one. At least that's the case for Tanner and Kody Swanson. The brothers and USAC open wheel stars are having the best seasons of their respective careers, and both drivers are peaking in the final months of 2010.
Tanner and Kody Swanson on the track.
USAC Racers Tanner and Kody Swanson
Kody, 22, and Tanner, 19, have both captured the biggest wins of their careers, and both drivers have opportunities to capture USAC National Championships this season.
Tanner took home the checkered flag at an event he was not even supposed to race in. The prestigious 65th NOS Energy Drink Night Before the 500 race was set to run without the younger Swanson.
But Tanner found a ride with DMS/F&F Mechanical Racing in a fourth car that was originally set to be a backup car. He proceeded to win the second biggest midget race of the year from the pole at Indianapolis's O'Reilly Raceway Park.
Tanner Swanson in Victory Lane
"It was a dream come true. Without ever testing there or ever running a lap on that track, it was remarkable as a rookie to come in and be able to knock off a win that big," the Kingsburg, Ca. native said.
Tanner Swanson with first place finish
Tanner's full time rides come behind the wheel of a Team 6R Racing USAC Silver Crown car, and a family owned TK (Tanner Kody) Motorsports entry in the USAC National Sprint Car division. Tanner picked up his first Silver Crown win at the tricky Berlin Speedway earlier this season, putting the teenager on an elite list of drivers to win in all three of USAC's national divisions, a list that also includes the likes of Tony Stewart and J.J. Yeley.
Tanner's biggest win before his triumph at Indy came two years ago, when he won the Glen Niebel Classic in his first National Sprint Car start. "That was so unreal, to win in my first time on the national stage like that at just 17. It was awesome," Swanson said.
Kody's season has been equally impressive. The elder Swanson has raced as a teammate to Tanner in both the Silver Crown and Sprint Car division's this year. Kody is the defending Rookie-of-the-Year in USAC's Silver Crown division. He currently sits second in points with three races remaining.
Last week he scored the biggest win of his career, when he took the checker's for the first time in a Silver Crown car, winning the Ted Horn 100 at DuQuoin. It was Kody's fourth top five in six events.
"Winning the Ted Horn 100 was really special for me. Team 6R Racing gave me a chance to prove myself in the USAC Silver Crown series, and to get my first career win, and to do it for them, it was just nice to give them something back after all they've done for me," Kody said.
"I feel like the Ted Horn 100 will be a huge win for my career, but only time will tell. It's really hard to know what kind of impact this race will have had on my career being that it was so recent," The elder Swanson continued.
The two drivers do share interesting perspectives when talking about their on-track rivalry.
"It can be challenging and rewarding to race with my brother," Kody said. "On one hand, I feel like when we race together, we can be the best teammates around, because we can provide each other and our team information that only makes everyone better. On the other hand, (Tanner) can be my biggest competition. We shared a room for over 15 years, there's no one who knows me like he does. But I like racing with him. He does a great job, and he makes me a better competitor."
Tanner thinks racing his brother is harder than most would think. "It is actually tougher than it probably seems. It's hard because you always have to give him a little extra space, but for the most part we race each other as if we are just another competitor," Tanner noted.
"We just have to make sure we don't hinder each other's chances at getting a win, because whether it's a win for me or Kody, ultimately that's the best possible result for our family and team," continued Tanner.
Both drivers credit K&N Filters products in helping the two open wheel stars maintain their competitive edge.
"K&N provides high quality filters that can get us through 100 miles on any dirt track, and all the way to victory lane last week!" Kody exclaimed.
"K&N products keep us going week in and week out. We have never had a problem with a K&N product, which is remarkable for the amount of races that we run each season," Tanner said. "From air filters to oil filters, K&N has a product that is tough to compete with for any company on the market."
Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.