Silver Crown
Saturday, 10 October 2015


Kody Swanson & the DePalma Motorsports celebrate their second-straight "Salt City 78" win at Syracuse, along with back-to-back Silver Crown Series championships. Kody Swanson & the DePalma Motorsports celebrate their second-straight "Salt City 78" win at Syracuse, along with back-to-back Silver Crown Series championships. Rich Forman Photo

Syracuse, New York…….Completing what has been a magical two-year run, Kody Swanson won Saturday’s “Salt City 78” at the New York State Fairgrounds to make back-to-back wins on “The Moody Mile,” all while closing out his second-straight Silver Crown championship. The Kingsburg, California driver made it four wins on the year while turning the standings into a rout aboard the DePalma Motorsports – Radio Hospital #63 Maxim/Hampshire.

“Today, we were just here to win with points not being a factor at all. I had to run really hard to run those guys back down after we dropped to fifth and pass them back, so it was good to have nothing else weighing on my mind. I had some doubts if we could get back up there with as difficult as I thought it would be to pass, but I was able to dig a little deeper and get out of that hole and win this for my team. They’ve carried me to this level, and it’s been a dream to have these two seasons with them. You never know if it will keep going like this, but it’s wild to think of what we’ve accomplished,” said Swanson, who has accumulated nine wins and two championships with the DePalma family and crew chief Bob Hampshire.

Justin Grant used group qualifying during Saturday’s early-morning practice to secure his first series pole and the ProSource “Fast Time Award.” He led the field to the green after his initial start was called back, and he brought Shane Cockrum with him from row-two early in the race. Cockrum took the lead from Grant on lap ten just before the race’s first caution for Steve Buckwalter on lap ten.

On the restart, Swanson slid high and lost two spots to A.J. Fike and Jerry Coons, Jr., but he quickly regained one on the next lap. Fike took second from Grant on lap eighteen, and Swanson joined him a couple laps later as the Syracuse rookie Grant started to backslide.

Fike and Swanson were chipping into Cockrum’s lead before a lap-26 caution for Richie Tobias, who got up into the outside wall but restarted at the tail. Swanson wasted no time on the restart, disposing of Fike for the runner-up spot on lap 31. The major battle was behind them, with the latter half of the top-ten fighting hard.

Tenth-running Aaron Pierce brought out the third caution on lap 39 when he lost his right-front wheel in turn-one. Pierce somehow kept from incurring major damage as he came to a stop, but his race was over. Again the restart was key, as Coons took fourth from Grant as they entered turn-one.

Cockrum and Swanson checked out on the field during a 22-lap green-flag run, with traffic looming ahead and about to play a major factor in the race. On lap 54, Swanson shot to the outside off turn-four as Cockrum was bottle in traffic. The following lap, Swanson made his big move, powering to the outside of Cockrum at the flagstand and out-racing him to the bottom as they funneled down into turn-one, barely clearing Cockrum in the process.

Swanson was gone, slicing through what was left of the lapped cars while building a lead of over seven seconds in just five laps. He appeared well on his way to victory when Casey Shuman retired from the eleventh spot on lap 65, stopping in turn-one. The cars on the move were Shane Cottle and Chris Windom, who had just passed Cottle for fifth before the caution. Cottle had started the race from the rear after having to be push-started.

Windom nailed the restart with nine laps to go and grabbed fourth from Coons, then caught Fike to take third with six to go. Cottle was coming along with him, and he slipped into fourth right behind Windom. Windom’s teammate Stewart Friesen, the modified stalwart and defending big-block winner at “Super DIRT Week,” was also hooked to them and entered the top-five.

Brady Bacon necessitated the final slowing of the field on lap 73, and that set up a green-white-checkered restart. Swanson was flawless, completing another masterful drive to take a 1.184-second victory. In the process, Swanson had defending his race win on three dirt miles from the year before and joined Ralph DePalma, Rex Mays, Bob Sweikert, Rodger Ward, and J.J. Yeley as back-to-back Syracuse winners. His twelve career wins tie him with Jimmy Sills for seventh all-time.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of room when I went to the outside of him for the lead, but luckily I had the room and the run, and Shane ran me clean when I got back down in front of him. With that opportunity there, I knew I had to take it. To win the last one again this year feels great; we didn’t have as many wins this year, but I still feel we improved. The places where I let us down, I got a little better, and they have helped me along even more. The names this high on the list are some of the greatest ever, and they say they’re gonna ‘let me try again next year,’ so I’m looking forward to taking on the next challenges and seeing what is next for our team,” Swanson said.

Cockrum, who again proved to be Swanson’s toughest competition by running second in the Hardy Boys Motorsports – Financial Transportation Services #71 Maxim/Chevy.

“Anytime you can run with the 63, you can’t be too disappointed. We’d both had two dirt wins this year and I really wanted to beat him to three, but we couldn’t get it done. Traffic and restarts would really get the line dirty and make it difficult to get through there. I’d lose my rhythm a little bit in both scenarios, and I guess Kody was able to stay consistent in those stretches and get a little redemption on us from passing him to win Du Quoin. They’ve been a force these last two seasons, so it’s good to be up there running with them,” Cockrum said.

Windom’s charge to third secured second in the Silver Crown Owner’s Championship for the Fred Gormly – RPM Auto Enterprise #98 Maxim/Mopar.

“It took me a while to get the place figured out today, it was so different from last year. I was just a little sporadic early, so we got all our work done in the last half of the race. Restarts were key, trying to pick off at least one on each of those. I could get lower in one and two and stay under the hole, which was throwing some guys up out of the groove. I wanted to get around the 20 car to get Fred and the guys second in points, but once I finally settled in, we were really good,” Windom said.

Cottle finished off his run from the back by coming home fourth in the Curtis Williams – QS Components #81 Maxim/Williams Chevy, and Friesen rounded out the top-five in the Fred Gormly – RPM Auto Enterprise #99 JEI/Foxco.

USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES RACE RESULTS: October 10, 2015 – Syracuse, New York – New York State Fairgrounds – “Salt City 78”

QUALIFYING: 1. Justin Grant, 8, Carli-32.703; 2. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-32.716; 3. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy-33.144; 4. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-33.300; 5. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary/6R-33.369; 6. A.J. Fike, 3, RFMS-33.748; 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-33.759; 8. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-33.875; 9. Chris Windom, 98, RPM/Gormly-33.997; 10. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-34.128; 11. Brady Bacon, 48, Martens-34.240; 12. Richie Tobias, 117, Tobias-34.330; 13. Steve Buckwalter, 53, SET-34.409; 14. Stewart Friesen, 99, RPM/Gormly-34.556; 15. Austin Nemire, 91, Hemelgarn-34.740; 16. Chris Fetter, 88, Fetter-36.143; 17. Chappy Knaack, 36, Miller-41.048; 18. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-NT.

FEATURE: (78 laps) 1. Kody Swanson, 2. Shane Cockrum, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Shane Cottle, 5. Stewart Friesen, 6. A.J. Fike, 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 8. Justin Grant, 9. C.J. Leary, 10. Austin Nemire, 11. Brady Bacon, 12. Patrick Lawson, 13. Chappy Knaack, 14. Chris Fetter, 15. Casey Shuman, 16. Richie Tobias, 17. Aaron Pierce, 18. Steve Buckwalter. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-9 Grant, Laps 10-54 Cockrum, Laps 55-78 Swanson.

FINAL USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Swanson-617, 2-Coons-475, 3-Fike-431, 4-Windom-405, 5-Cockrum-357, 6-Pierce-354, 7-Leary-339, 8-Nemire-316, 9-Grant-304, 10-David Byrne-300.