MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Kody Swanson didn’t lead the most laps in the Horn-Schindler Memorial for the USAC Silver Crown cars Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway, but he led when it counted the most.
Swanson, of Carmel, Ind., drove by race-long leader Damion Gardner with 16 laps to go in the 100-lap main event and scored his 17th career Silver Crown win, tying him for second all-time with Brian Tyler.
The win aboard the DePalma Motorsports No. 63 was worth $8,000.
“I’m so grateful to have the opportunities that I do to run for the DePalma family,” said an emotional Swanson in victory lane. “What an historic race track at Williams Grove. Last year, we weren’t even in the picture, but I felt like we did some things really well. These guys never quit and I’m never going to quit on them. I screwed up qualifying. It was my job to make it up to them.”
California’s Gardner started on the pole and quickly began to build a lead. With 10 laps completed, Gardner’s lead was 4.30 seconds over Justin Grant and Jerry Coons Jr.
Two-time Silver Crown champion and current series point leader Swanson grabbed third from Coons as Gardner’s lead was now 6 seconds.
Gardner continued to blast through the field building a 9.29 second lead by the 30-lap mark. Swanson closed the gap on Grant for second.
The first caution flag flew with 31 laps completed as CJ. Leary stopped in turn two.
Gardner controlled the restart and pulled away from Grant, Swanson and Coons.
At the 50-lap mark, it was Gardner by 3.30 seconds with no changes behind him. Grant began to slowly close on the leader as they reached 60 laps completed.
Swanson, who started seventh, used an inside pass of Grant to take over the runner-up spot on lap 62.
“Starting seventh, you’re going to have to have a few battles if you’re going to make it up through there,” said Swanson. “I’m thankful to get it done tonight.”
The caution flag erased Gardner’s lead with 35 laps to go. Grant pitted under the caution giving up the third spot. Only eight cars remained on the track.
With 25 laps go, Swanson was only a few car lengths behind Gardner. Swanson continued to pressure Gardner, but jumped the first turn cushion and lost some ground with 20 laps left.
He got a great run at the leader off turn two and was back within striking distance with 18 laps to go. The lead was only about two car lengths the next time by the frontstretch. Swanson drove next to him down the backstretch. They race side-by-side through the third and fourth turns and down the frontstretch with Swanson scored the leader with 16 laps to go. He secured the lead off turn two and began to pull away.
A caution for debris with 12 to go erased a 1.332-second lead for Swanson.
Swanson was quickly back up to speed on the restart and was pulling away again with five laps to go. Chris Windom raced by Brady Bacon and into fourth over the final laps.
Swanson scored the win by 2.155 seconds over Gardner and Coons.
“My car was great all night,” said Gardner. “Kody came on late and that’s his specialty. We need to be about 10 laps better.”
“To come here and run third, I’m pretty happy with that,” said Coons.
Windom and Bacon completed the top five. Joe Liguori, Patrick Bruns, Austin Nemire, Grant, and Shane Cockrum rounded out the top 10.
Gardner set quick time with a lap of 20.430. It was close, but not a track record which was set last year at 20.379.
Joss Moffatt flipped over the first turn fence and through a billboard during the opening lap of warm ups. He was okay, but done for the night. Johnny Petrozelle flipped during his time trial lap in the third turn.
Full race results can be viewed on the next page…