FREMONT, Ohio – Kody Swanson gave his grandfather a wonderful birthday present Saturday night.
The Kingsburg, Calif., driver scored the $5,000 top prize at Fremont Speedway to open the Buckeye Machine BOSS Series 2014 season.
There were 40 cars signed in to compete in the non-wing event on Smith Family Foods Night. The 33-lap feature was run in honor of the late Mike Hensel whose race cars carried that familiar number.
Swanson battled with fellow Californians Thomas Meseraull and Robert Ballou from lap 10 on until taking the lead for good on lap 24. He had to not only battle Meseraull and Ballou, but heavy lapped traffic to score the Mike Hensel Memorial 33-lap win on Smith Family Foods Night.
“What a phenomenal handling race car. Everyone who works on this did an outstanding job. What an opportunity for me to drive. I feel so lucky and happy to be here. I have to thank the DePalma family. One of their boys is getting married today and that’s why they aren’t here. Also thanks to Radio Hospital and I have to give a shout out to my grandfather at home. It’s his birthday today,” said Swanton.
“Thanks to the Hensel family for putting this on. It was pretty hairy out there. There was times when Robert and Thomas and I were three wide for the lead with a lapped car and everyone was touching wheels. It was a great view for a minute but I sure as heck wanted to get out of there,” added Swanson.
In another barn-burner, Jordan Ryan and Nate Dussel ran side-by side nearly the entire feature in the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints with John Ivy coming on strong to challenge late in the race. With seven laps to go a cloud burst brought a halt to the racing with Ryan – complete with a flat left front tire – taking his second win of the season.
“I hit an infield tire and nothing has ever happened when I’ve done that before but this time a tire went flat. The rain helped me out a little bit,” said Ryan.
“There was a hole in turn two and I saw Roepke (Alvin) hit it and go up the race track and I saw him go up in front of Dussel and that helped,” added Ryan of his third career Fremont win.
Ryan has not finished out of the top five all season.
For the fourth straight week, a driver has set fast time, won his heat and went on to win the feature in the AAA Ohio Auto Club Dirt Trucks. And, for the third time this season that driver was Risingsun, Ohio’s Shawn Valenti. Valenti took the lead on lap seven after a tremendous battle with Brad Keckler and Matt Foos and went on to score his fifth overall win (he has two at Attica Raceway Park including this past Friday) of the season and the 12th of his career at Fremont.
“Last night we (Foos) had a heck of a battle and tonight it was the same thing. It was an awesome track and I have to thank the fans for coming out,” said Valenti.