MILLINGTON, Tenn. – After finishing the most successful run between a driver and team in the history of the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series with DePalma Motorsports, Kody Swanson is preparing for this season nearly from scratch.
Swanson will have a new team, new cars, new engines and a new home with Nolen Racing, beginning with Saturday’s Memphis 100 at Memphis Int’l Raceway.
The Kingsburg, Calif. native joined the Greenwood, Ind.-based organization following the closure of DePalma’s team at the conclusion of last season, which saw Swanson record a series-leading fourth title after going on a five-race win streak during a summer stretch that also saw him eclipse Jack Hewitt’s all-time Silver Crown win record.
Now, the ballgame is slightly different.
Although both Swanson and Gene Nolen’s team are consistent stalwarts of the front of the pack in Silver Crown competition, this new beginning marks a whole new chapter, one that they hope can result in Swanson’s fifth title and Nolen’s long-awaited first.
First, the consistent offseason work has to be put into place, and there’s been quite a bit to accomplish since the announcement of the two joining forces a few months ago.
“I feel like it’s been my busiest offseason in a while,” Swanson said. “I didn’t go to the Chili Bowl and I didn’t run sprint cars in Florida. I felt like I stayed home and tried to get my homework done. I’ve been down to Gene’s shop a whole lot this winter. Everybody with the team has put in a lot of effort to try to put our best foot forward for the season.
“I wanted to match that and make sure we give it our best effort to contend for the title this year, as well as be ready for the opener in Memphis.”
Swanson is as meticulous as they come when preparing himself and his car for battle. He prefers to take the thorough approach.
Though tried and true, it’s often extensive and exhaustive.
“It can be as extensive or as simple as you make it,” Swanson admitted. “On one hand, if you just want to take a seat and bolt it in and do your best driving for them, you can do it that way. You might find success or win a race or so.
“For me, it’s been more extensive than that because I’ve been heavily involved with the cars I’ve been driving, especially on the pavement.”
Nolen’s team won twice last year on the Silver Crown trail with driver Chris Windom, who’s moved over to Goodnight/Byrd Racing for this season. With Swanson now on board, it brings to mind that new combinations can either click right away, take some time or never click at all.