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Sprint Car Driver Cody Swanson Races Into 2013 Season and Gets His First USAC Western States Victory

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Swanson put it all together for his first USAC Western States win in Bakersfield.
Swanson put it all together for his first USAC Western States win in Bakersfield.
Along the upper edge of all motorsports competition everyone has plenty of skill, so what separates top ten-finishes from a consistent run of podiums, has more to do with brains than brawn. Making high-quality decisions at the speed of thought, with adrenaline working to blur that process, is in part inborn instinct, part experience and a huge dose of heart. After a couple of exploratory years that produced mixed results, Cody Swanson has clearly begun to align his driving muscle with his racing I.Q. starting the 2013 season.

“The success we have had at the start of this season honestly began midway through last season,” Swanson clarified. “We started making a lot of changes to the car with set up and have kept making improvements. We feel like there is always something on the car that can be better and our goal is to fix that then move onto the next thing. It has really been paying off. I also feel that I have matured a lot in my driving and the decisions I make behind the wheel over that time as well.”
Cody Swanson kicked off 2013 by winning two of his first three races.
Cody Swanson kicked off 2013 by winning two of his first three races.


Cody Swanson Motorsports started of the racing season at Ventura Raceway in Ventura, California with the VRA Midget Series. Swanson started the Main event in the second position next to veteran Sprint and Midget driver Rick Hendrix. For the next 23 laps Swanson worked on the back bumper of the No. 12 Hendrix car looking for a hole.

Finally, on lap 23, Hendrix bobbled just enough so that Swanson had his opening. He took the lead and never looked back to see that his cousin, Jake Swanson, had finished right behind him in second place. This is the first one/two finish for the cousins.
When his sway bar link broke off in Ventura Swanson adjusted his driving style to take the checkered flag.
When his sway bar link broke off in Ventura Swanson adjusted his driving style to take the checkered flag.


“I had to be really patient while I was behind Rick. I knew that if I were to try and make moves on him every lap that I would risk wearing out my RR (right rear) tire because the track was really slick,” Swanson said. “So my plan was to keep all the pressure on him that I could, making sure he knew I was there the whole time. Every so often I would duck down to the bottom and slide up in front of him, but nothing stuck until lap 23 when I finally completed the pass.”

“It was very cool getting the 1-2 finish with Jake. Especially because we have both been working really hard on improving our programs and that finish showed just how much we’ve put into it. Hopefully that is the first of many.”

The following weekend Swanson and this team headed to Bakersfield Speedway for the USAC Western States Midget Series event. Swanson won his heat and started the Main event from the outside pole position; beside him stood Midget and Sprint Car ace, Ryan Bernal, on pole. The outside proved to be the better lane though as Swanson owned the lead before the cars reached turn one.
Swanson believes he and his team are on the right track for success this year.
Swanson believes he and his team are on the right track for success this year.


"At about half way, I noticed my car tightening up,” Swanson recalls. “I thought maybe my right rear bleeder stuck open and the tire was going down.” What he didn't know was that his rear sway bar link had broken off. It didn't matter though, as Swanson simply adjusted his driving style and focused on the track to hold off the field for his first USAC Western States Midget series win.

"This is really special! Flag-to-flag, I can't believe it,” Swanson exclaimed in the winner's circle. “My car was a real handful when the sway bar broke and I have to thank Ronnie (Gardner) for racing me hard but clean. This was a stellar field of cars and tonight was our night. I am so happy!"

Swanson says he and the team learned a great deal about themselves and the car last year. “There were things that we consistently noticed that we needed to improve on, and we have really focused on making those improvements, and we are still making those improvements. The way I look at it, every race has something that we can learn from and make an improvement on, whether it is an improvement on the car, my driving, or the team in general.”

“There are about 25 races left to be run that we can attend, and right now I am very happy with how the car is responding and acting out on the track,” Swanson adds. “I am also pleased with my driving and becoming more confident, and more comfortable every time we go out. But there is still work to be done, it's a long season and we always need to keep moving forward and that's what we plan to do. The competition is going to keep getting better, so we need to as well.”

(Special Swanson request) “My 13-year-old cousin, Julia Jones, has been in LA Children's Hospital the past few weeks in sudden need of a heart transplant; we appreciate prayers for her for strength and healing during this time."

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Related K&N News Articles about Cody Swanson and VRA Midget Racing: K&N Sponsored Cody Swanson Becomes 2012 Ventura Racing Association Midget Champion; Cody Swanson Grabs 3rd at the VRA Midget Show in Ventura, California; K&N's Cody Swanson Gathers Momentum in VRA Midget Racing Series at Ventura Speedway; Cody Swanson's Third USAC Western States Midget Series Race Gets Team Back on Track

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