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The Swanson Brothers Sweep One-Two in the 2011 Turkey Night Sprints Race

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In a mere five years the Swanson brothers have already combined for four USAC Western Sprint Car Championships.
In a mere five years the Swanson brothers have already combined for four USAC Western Sprint Car Championships.
Spoiler alert! While this particular Swanson Brothers race story ends with Tanner winning and Kody right behind in 2nd, it has an unlikely beginning with both drivers spinning out coming off turn-4 after the start of the race.

"I wish I could tell you what exactly happened on that start, but I don't really know," Kody told K&N. "A number of people told me that one of the cars left a trail of oil when it pulled off the track prior to going green. It's really tough to say exactly what caused it, but I do know that Tanner and I rarely make a major mistake like that on pavement and I can't imagine both of us spinning on the start at the same time without some kind of explanation. But, that's what happened. Tanner and I both spun off of turn-4 coming to the green. In the confusion, cars back in the pack ran into each other and really made a mess on the front stretch. Because I had stopped in turn-4, I had to go to the tail as part of the accident while Tanner got to keep his position (in the front row) because he didn't touch anyone or stop on the track."
Finishing first and second isn't new for Kody and Tanner, in 2009 alone they pulled off the one-two sweep seven times.
Finishing first and second isn't new for Kody and Tanner, in 2009 alone they pulled off the one-two sweep seven times.


Over the course of the last five years Kody and Tanner have combined for a total of four USAC Western Sprint Car Championships, a plethora of wins, and in 2009 alone they finished 1st and 2nd an astonishing seven times! Yet, until this year, they had never been able to pull off the elusive one-two finish at the Turkey Night Sprints. At the checkers and after leading all 40-laps, it was Tanner picking up his first Turkey Night and USAC Sprint Car win at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, while Kody put on a show coming from 21st to finish 2nd behind Tanner.

"After such a wild start, I had no idea how far I could make it through the field after restarting," admitted Kody. "With Tanner restarting on the front row and me at the tail, there was a Swanson on each end of the field but we never really saw each other."

"It couldn't have been more than 2 laps before I was into the top-15, and then things got exciting. I didn't really have a particular line; I was just going where the cars in front of me weren't. I ran high, low and through the middle, and was well into the top-10 before lap 8. I had some space to make up between cars, but I think I passed from 7th to 4th in two laps, all while we had entered lapped traffic. It was really crazy. I was just doing what I could to get the job done. When I got to 4th, 3rd was nearly a full straight-away ahead of me, and I couldn't even see 2nd. So, to run those guys down and still cap off a Swanson brothers one-two after starting last was really something."
Although the 2011 season wasn't always kind to the Swanson brother, their Turkey Night finale leaves  them on a positive note looking towards 2012.
Although the 2011 season wasn't always kind to the Swanson brother, their Turkey Night finale leaves them on a positive note looking towards 2012.


"Winning that big of a race is always so gratifying, but this year especially," commented Tanner. "We have been fast there the past couple of seasons but I've just never been able to seal the deal at Irwindale. So that makes it nice to pick up my first win there, especially during such a prestigious event like Turkey Night. After grabbing the lead early and gently stretching my margin, I had no clue that Kody was putting on the show behind me. My spotter just kept telling me how big of a lead I had over 2nd, so my biggest concern was just keeping a comfortable lead and not using up my equipment. But after the checkered, when my crew told me it was Kody that ended up 2nd, I couldn't think of a better way to cap off the year for not only Kody and me, but for the entire TK Motorsports team."

For the lucky crowd in attendance the exhilarating action was an early Holiday gift. "We stopped on the front stretch after the race and we could hear the crowd over the roar of the cars. Then when the announcer introduced us later, the cheering started all over again," added Kody. "You never know if they're actually watching or not, but after seeing and hearing that reaction, it was clear that most of them were well aware that I had just driven from 21st to 2nd in a 40-lap race without the help of a caution. It was definitely one of my favorite moments from after a race."

After a tumultuous year that saw Tanner surrender his USAC Silver Crown points lead midway through the season after a rash of bad luck, and Kody missing nearly half the season after a particularly violent crash early on, their Turkey Night finale was a most fitting way to cap the season. "I still think it was a positive building year," said Kody, "and we're definitely looking forward to 2012."

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