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USAC Racer Kody Swanson Races for Several Teams Including DePalma Motorsports

The 63 car Kody pilots in Dirt Silver Crown racing for DePalma Motorsports. (Credit: Rich Forman)

The 63 car Kody pilots in Dirt Silver Crown racing for DePalma Motorsports. (Credit: Rich Forman)

Racer for Hire

It is more common than not that car racers usually belong to one racing team, but it isn’t always the case. Take the example of Kody Swanson. During his career as a racer, he has raced for more than 30 teams.

Currently, he is concentrating on DePalma Motorsports, Epperson Racing, and K&L Racing.

“There is no conflict between teams. Each team runs either in a different series or under a different schedule,” said Swanson. DePalma Motorsports competes in the USAC Silver Crown Series, Epperson Racing focuses on sprint car races in Indiana, and K&L concentrates on dirt sprint racing in Ohio. His racing exploits include dirt tracks and pavement.

“Racing for a number of teams is probably more common in open wheel, but not to the extent that I do it,” he said. “I run for six or seven different teams a year and run in maybe 40 races. A lot of guys in the Midwest in this type of situation will focus on dirt sprint car events. I probably run in more different series and different car types than most. I do a lot of crossing over between pavement and dirt, sprint cars, and Silver Crown. Not every team can commit to running a full schedule, so I feel fortunate to work with a number of them so that I can continue to race as much as I can.”

He prefers racing for several teams rather than for one or for his own racing team.

“There is a lot that goes into running your own team,” continued Swanson. “Considering the amount of time and finances it would take, you’d probably need to focus on one series and one type of car. Right now, running for different teams allows me to compete in a number of different types of cars and series.”

The Family Business

Born in Kingsburg, California, in 1988 and currently a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana, Swanson followed his grandfather and father into racing. His father, Mike, started racing in 1981. His father and Kody’s grandfather, Bill, started shortly after. Both found success in racing highlighted most by Mike’s wins and championships in SuperModifieds under the USAC and SMRA banners. Considering family history, it was no surprise that both Kody and his brother Tanner jumped at the opportunity to get into racing themselves.

The Swanson family started TK Motorsports (TK for Tanner and Kody), when the brothers began racing in 2000. At that time, Kody was 12 years old, and Tanner 9. They each competed in junior and micro sprint car events before Kody turned pro and moved into sprint car racing in 2005 when he was 17. He started racing for other teams in 2006.

During his career he has won events in seven different types of Open-Wheel race cars, including: Pavement Sprint Cars, Pavement Midgets, Dirt Silver Crown, Dirt Midgets, Pavement Silver Crown, Dirt Sprint Cars, and Wing Pavement Sprint Cars.

• 17 - USAC Silver Crown Series

• 4 - National Pavement Sprint Cars

• 2 – USAC National Midget Series

• 13 – USAC Western Sprint Series

• 7 – USAC Western Midget Series

• 6 – Non-Wing Dirt Sprint Cars

• 5 – Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series

• 2 – USAC Rocky Mountain Sprint Series

• 1 – USAC Western Classic Sprint Series

• 1 – USAC D1 Midget Series

• 1 – Hoosier Outlaw Sprint Series

• 1 – Bay Cities Racing Association

He has collected a total of 60 wins so far. He counts the Little 500 in 2016 and the three consecutive Hoosier 100s in 2014, 2015, and 2016 as his most important victories.

He competes in racing events all over the US from Phoenix, Arizona to New York and Florida. Although he participates in a number of different series, he is most known for racing the USAC Silver Crown Series. His 17 victories in that series are second best of all time.

Strategically Plans His Schedule

Kody pilots this sprint car when he competes for Epperson Racing. (Credit: Jordan Swanson)

The 2 car Kody races for Epperson Racing. (Credit: Jordan Swanson)

Since he races for a number of different teams in a number of different series and since he also has a day job with Alt & Witzig Engineering, Swanson carefully plans out his schedule each year.

“I’m fortunate that my employer allows me to work on a flex-hour time schedule,” said Swanson. “So as far as a race is concerned, I try to be strategic about planning a schedule. I’m fortunate that the teams I’m driving for have been willing to work with me and with one another to fit a sensible schedule.

“So, if I have a Silver Crown Race coming up and I need to be at the DePalma Motorsports shop to help with the preparation of the car, then I will try to schedule a race that is on the way to the shop. So I can go and race on a Friday and Saturday night and be only an hour or so away from the shop. The DePalma team arranges for me to stay in an apartment in the shop or with someone who has an empty room or basement at their home.

“K&L Racing frequently participates in races at the Waynesfield Raceway Park in Ohio that is only 60 miles or so from the DePalma Motorsports’ facility in Findlay, Ohio,” he continued. “So I can schedule a race there.”

The 63 car Kody races in Pavement Silver Crown events for DePalma. (Credit: Chris Pedersen)

The sprint car Kody races in Pavement Silver Crown events for DePalma. (Credit: Chris Pedersen)

DePalma Motorsports and the USAC Silver Crown series have been Kody’s primary focus, and has been the only division he has run the full series in over the past few seasons. As a result, many of the secondary races he competes in are often used to help him prepare for a Silver Crown race. For example, if he is scheduled to run a Silver Crown race on pavement, he’ll try to compete in a pavement sprint car race for one of the other teams to “get back in the mode before hand,” he said. “If a big dirt race is coming up, I’ll try and find a sprint dirt car race to run the week before to familiarize myself with that style of racing.”

Swanson noted that the race shop in Finlay, Ohio is about 220 miles from Indianapolis, Indiana where he lives. Still he makes the trip there every two weeks to work on the car with the DePalma crew. He is also responsible for tire selection as well as the shock and spring package that are used on the car he drives.

He volunteered that arranging his schedule for the year can be a difficult undertaking.

“I schedule my races on an Excel spreadsheet that has a list of every related series that the teams I race for compete in,” explained Swanson. “It serves as my file of options. Some of those races may not actually be available for me to compete in because the team may have had a problem and is not available for that race. So I check the spreadsheet for an alternative.

“It’s tough to schedule things far in advance. So my confirmed schedule is set only a few weeks ahead of time,” he added.

Uses Videos To Prepare For Races

He watches videos to prepare for events. His wife records races he competes in from the grandstand and he also searches for videos to watch when he needs to prepare to race at tracks he hasn’t run before.

“If I’m scheduled to race at a new track I will search for videos of races at that track about a week or so before I race,” he said.

He finds videos on YouTube. He also subscribes to Loud Pedal TV, which records and catalogs USAC races, and watches videos on JackFlash.com.

“They do a great job recording and cataloging open wheel events,” he said.

The 2017 Season

Swanson has competed in more than 20 races so far this season. He has collected five feature wins, scoring victories driving for each of the teams he is racing for this season.

According to Swanson, there are about 15 to 20 more events on his schedule.

Kody Swanson celebrates win in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series for DePalma Motorsports

Kody Swanson celebrates win in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series for DePalma Motorsports

K&N: A Main Sponsor

K&N has been sponsoring Swanson since 2006. He uses K&N carbon sprint air filter boxes and oil filters.

“My relationship with K&N started when I was racing for my family team,” he said. “There was a pretty big open wheel sprint car event that I won, which was held in conjunction with the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show and Convention in 2006. I met a lot of manufacturers there including K&N and my relationship with them started then. They worked with me while I raced for the family team and when I branched out into other teams. They were willing to come along and support me. As time has passed, it has been great to continue the relationship.”


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