Nolen Racing Salvages an 11th at Selinsgrove Silver Crown Opener
SELINSGROVE, Pa., Aug. 11 — Considering that the Nolen Racing No. 20 qualified tenth and went to the work area three times during the 74-lap USAC Silver Crown season opener, the team and its driver, Kody Swanson, were glad to salvage an 11th-place finish in the inaugural Bill Holland Classic at Selinsgrove Speedway Sunday night.
“It was a tough day for sure,” Swanson said. “I’m really proud of the effort put in by everyone on this race team. They continued to dig all day to try to help us be the best we could be. We came in during a couple cautions late in the race to try to make the car better. The only thing we could confirm is it was some part issue that was failing in the suspension and causing our grief. We gave it our best effort to salvage what we could both in the work area and on the track to get as many positions as we could. I’m thankful for the effort by everyone. We look forward to running Salem on Saturday and trying to improve.”
The team’s next race in a very busy month is the 61st annual Joe James-Pat O’Connor Memorial this coming Saturday, Aug. 15, at Salem Speedway in Salem, Ind. The team led every lap of that race from the pole last year. In fact, Swanson has won the Silver Crown race at Salem every year for the last four years.
Sunday at Selinsgrove Swanson was third fastest in the final practice session with a 22.324. He qualified tenth in the 24-car field with a time of 22.274 seconds. That was just 0.598 off C.J. Leary’s new track record of 21.676. Swanson’s best lap during the race was lap 43, which he turned in 23.478 with about a half load of fuel.
The race had two red flags; once at the start when David Byrne and Casey Buckman tangled in Turns 3 and 4, and once with 30 laps down when Dave Berkheimer flipped on the frontstretch and his car caught on fire. Luckily no one was hurt in any of the accidents.
Swanson got off to a good start initially and was able to run in the top 10 for the first 10 laps before the problems surfaced with the team’s bright yellow Maxim, which has a Tranter-prepared Chevy engine. Its sponsors include KECO Coatings, Goodridge and K&N Filters.
Swanson went to the work area under the red for Berkheimer’s accident, again under a yellow with 52 laps down, and a third time when he got a flat tire with just a handful of laps remaining.
The pitstop with 52 laps down came under a yellow after an accident involving the drivers who were fourth and fifth at the time, Chris Windom and Kevin Thomas Jr., in Turn 3.
Each time Swanson had to restart at the rear of the field, but he still finished on the lead lap and took the checkered just one spot out of the top 10.
Other top runners had problems too. In addition to Windom and Thomas, Justin Grant stopped in Turn 2 with four laps to go while running second. (Swanson pitted under that yellow to have his flat tire changed.) Brady Bacon and Logan Seavey had flat tires on the last lap while running third and fourth, respectively. Leary led the whole race until a restart with two laps to go, when Shane Cottle passed him with a fresher tire.
The top-10 in the final rundown were Cottle, Leary, Kyle Robbins, Bryan Gossel, Carmen Perigo, Kyle Cummins, Bacon, Shane Cockrum, Matt Goodnight and Seavey, with Swanson 11th. Mike Haggenbottom, Ronnie Wuerdeman, Travis Welpott, Windom, Grant, Jake Swanson, Chad Kemenah, Thomas, Matt Westfall, Berkheimer, Jake Simmons, Byrne and Buckman rounded out the field.
The race was 74 laps long because 74 years ago Selinsgrove Speedway held its first race ever, which was a dirt champ car race won by Bill Holland. He went on to win the 1949 Indianapolis 500 and was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum.
For more information see NolenRacing.com.