The Swanson brothers are in the midst of the busy part of their racing season, and while both K&N sponsored drivers have had some bad luck of late, one of them made a little history, and they both have a chance to swing their season's in the right direction this weekend at Iowa Speedway.
Kody Swanson at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Pavement Silver Crown
Both Tanner and Kody enter the USAC Silver Crown event in Newton, Iowa looking to build on the success that this stretch of races brought the brothers in 2011. After Iowa, the Silver Crown series travels to Toledo, Ohio, the second-to-last pavement race for the series this year, and a race Kody won last year.
"June is definitely a swing month for us," Tanner said. "In the past, Kody and I have found a lot of success in pavement Silver Crown cars and with these two races coming up at the end of June, I hope we will be able to continue our success."
Kody agreed with Tanner, adding that the next two weeks could put the brothers in control of a pair of championship races. "Both races are Silver Crown and National Midget double-headers, and the day after Toledo we go to another National Midget race in Grundy (Illinois). For our Silver Crown season, these two races represent over 20 percent of our season, so it'll be very important to finish well at both events.
Kody Swanson at Lucas Oil Raceway - Pavement Silver Crown
"If we can just keep our momentum going and keep improving each time out, I think we'll stand a really good chance at winning in those two events. In the National Midgets, I'm only running on the pavement for the Wilke-Pak team, so it will be important to pick up some wins and maximum points for them as well."
The brothers combined to compete in over 15 events from the beginning of May through the middle of June, and while the results weren't kind (both suffered multiple mechanical issues, taking away at least three wins), both brothers found victory lane and both had a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.
For Tanner, the moment of the year came at the family's hometown track, Madera Speedway, in Northern California. Driving the Tom Joyce owned #56 Super Modified, Tanner found victory lane in the Vukovich Classic. The moment was special for the entire family.
"The Super Modified win was unbelievable," Tanner said. "Even though Kody was not there, my dad was, and it was cool to be able to do something that he had once done in his career. Kody and I have not driven many cars that our dad did, so it was cool to see the look in his eyes after I won that race. My dad won championships in four different classes at Madera, and I've now won in five different types of cars, so it's cool to see how successful my family has been over the last couple decades at that track."
Tanner Swanson at Madera Speedway - Super Modified pass for the lead
That same night, Tanner also finished second in the Midget race and was running fourth in the Sprint race when a tire malfunction ended the race early. But it was the Super Modified, with its unique combination of downforce and horsepower that got Tanner's attention. "Those cars are so awesome to drive; the left-side weight and downforce are amazing and surely unparalleled by any other short track car in the world."
While Tanner was finishing his college semester in California, Kody was busy touring the Midwest, and after some heartbreaking technical issues and losses, Swanson found victory lane two weekends ago at Grundy County in the USAC Regional Midget race. "Things went really well that weekend," Kody said. "I met the Wilke-Pak team to do some race testing before the National race in a few weeks. We set fast time, out of twenty-five cars, and after a ten-car invert, won the race. I think we made some big gains in our pavement program, and I can't wait to get back there in a few weeks."
Kody also got to live a dream of open-wheel racers everywhere, when he helped pace the field for the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 in his Silver Crown car on Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The neatest part was just making a lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in my Team 6R Racing Silver Crown car. That place just has so much history, and such strong ties to the Silver Crown series, that it was a great opportunity. It really was a great experience and something that I am very thankful to have gotten an opportunity to do."
Tanner Swanson at Madera Speedway - Super Modified Victory lane
Still, even with the win, a favorable schedule, and a pace lap around the most famous racetrack in the world, Kody said he knows the season can get better.
"Things have gone okay, but the truth is I'm not really satisfied. I think that we've (Kody and Tanner) done well with the hands that we've been dealt, but I always want to win, regardless of what the circumstances might be. I'm second in the Silver Crown points with a second and fifth. We finished second at Lucas Oil Raceway (Indianapolis, Indiana) after loosing over an inch of stagger in the feature, which took us out of contention for the win.
"At the Hoosier Hundred, we had some ignition issues that really plagued us all day, keeping us from a podium finish in the feature. Both were things that were really out of my control, but I feel like if I were truly satisfied with a second and a fifth, I'd be giving up some of that drive to win; and our goal is to win races and a championship, no matter what."
Both brothers have been with K&N for several years, and have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in a racecar with K&N on the side. Tanner said the partnership has helped get both brothers to where they are today.
"K&N has definitely been a huge support of Kody and me in our careers. Not only has their high-performance air filters lead us to many wins from day one in our careers, but we have also seen a huge difference ever since we changed to their oil filters back in 2007. We have never had a failure because of a K&N Filter and there is no doubt they have always helped us build more power and protect our investment with their state-of-the-art filters."
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