INDIANAPOLIS — After several years of consistency, Kody Swanson is in for a year of change.
The reigning USAC Silver Crown Series king will be driving for a new team — Nolen Racing — next year as he chases his fifth series championship in six seasons. His previous team, DePalma Motorsports, recently closed after securing its fifth straight Silver Crown owners title.
“It’s been an amazing five-year run with the DePalma family and everyone with that team,” said Swanson. “That brings us to 2019 and definitely a new change of pace and new scenery for me.”
The partnership of Swanson and DePalma was magical. In addition to four driver titles for Swanson and five owner titles for the DePalma family, Swanson also won 21 times during his five-year run with DePalma Motorsports.
Swanson also snapped a pair of records in 2018. He won five straight races, breaking Jack Hewitt’s 32-year-old record of four straight Silver Crown wins set in 1986. His fifth victory in that set of five was the 24th Silver Crown victory of his career, moving him to the top of the all-time USAC Silver Crown Series win list.
Included in those incredible numbers was an incredible month of May in Indiana in 2018. In one week, he won the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the Dave Steele Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway and the Pay Less Little 500 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. That’s no small feat and it’s something Swanson knows will be hard to replicate.
“Those races are my favorite, but at the same time the pressure continues to build,” Swanson said. “In 2016 in those three races, we ran the Hoosier Hundred then we ran at Lucas Oil Raceway and then the Little 500. We won one, ran second in the other to my kid brother (Tanner Swanson) and then we won the Little 500. I never would have imaged I’d have an opportunity to repeat even at that level.
“This year to get all three, it had never been done before. I don’t think the Little 500 and the Hoosier Hundred had ever been done as a combo before,” Swanson added. “It’s been really neat, but at the same time you kind of grow to expect to do really well or to be in contention for it. You never know what win might be your last or if you’ll ever get a chance to do it again. I’m excited to know that everyone I’m working with is ready to put their best foot forward to give it our best shot to try and be competitive and hopefully match that success.”
Nolen Racing isn’t entirely new to the 30-year-old California native. Swanson has driven for Nolen Motorsports the last two years during the Pay Less Little 500 at Anderson Speedway.
“I’ve been driving for Gene Nolen in that race for the last two years,” Swanson said. “I’ve been racing against him in Silver Crown for a long time. It’s neat to be able to develop a relationship with him and his team. So going into 2019 and going over to their Silver Crown program, the main goal and the intent is to try our best to win them a Silver Crown championship.
“Gene has been at it for a long time and a lot of his key players have been with him 25 plus years and have been trying really hard. It was neat to get them a Little 500 victory and I’m looking forward to working with them in Silver Crown and giving that our best shot as well.”
Swanson believes having an existing relationship with Nolen Racing will help in the transition from DePalma Motorsports.
“Not only do you know the names and the faces, the guys know your work ethic and you know theres’,” said Swanson, who says he’ll also drive for Nolen Racing again in the Little 500 in 2019. “I feel like everybody is excited to work together and give this our best shot.”
The USAC Silver Crown Series season begins March 23 at Tennessee’s Memphis Int’l Raceway.