Competing as part of the prestigious 35th annual Four Crown Nationals on the high-banked, half-mile clay oval, Swanson finished fifth when he needed at least a third place to secure his crown.
Illinois driver Chris Windom won the 50-lap race and the season championship.
Swanson was running second when he got caught up with a lapped car on lap 15, leaving him with a broken front bumper and mangled steering. Yet his Ohio-based DePalma Motorsports team made repairs sufficient enough to get Swanson back on the track. He immediately spun, but recovered and rallied from the back of the 22-car field.
The Silver Crown series for wingless sprint cars with a wheelbase that’s longer than traditional sprint cars traces its roots to the beginnings of IndyCar racing. Past champions include Jeff Gordon (1991) and Ryan Newman (1999), both in the Clovis-based Fred Ede car; and current California sprint car star Bud Kaeding, who won in 2006, ’07 and ’09.
Madera Speedway – Ryan Philpott of Tracy handed Matt Erickson his first on-track defeat since June, holding off the La Grange driver to win the 100-lap stock car race Saturday night.
Philpott and Erickson started 11th and 12th in the open late model race on the third-mile paved oval. Polesitter Jason Aguirre of Atwater, Garland Tyler of Modesto, Bryan Herzog of Clovis and Glenn Cook of Fremont each had a turn at the front before Philpott took the lead on lap 46.
Erickson got up to second place on lap 59 but was never able to get past Philpott.
Cook, Aguirre and Tyler rounded out the top five. Rookie Dillon Tucker of Madera Ranchos was sixth followed by rookie Logan Zampa of Napa, Ryan Hart of Dos Palos, Del McIntosh of Madera and Rick Thompson of Fresno in a 23-car field.
Erickson was disqualified from the July 2 race and served a one-race suspension.
Other feature winners were Ben Silliker (Jr. Late Models), Kevin Thompson (MSTs), Joseph Riechmuth (Super Hobby Stocks), Lucy Carmona (Toyota Sedans), Richard Herzog (Enduro) and Antonio Mentzer (Barrel Race).
King of the West – Bud Kaeding of Campbell in the Oakhurst-based Williams Motorsports sprint car won the 30-lap feature Saturday night at Placerville Speedway.
Series points leader Kyle Hirst of Paradise in the Easton-based Tarlton Racing car had a tough night, flipping in his heat race and getting involved in an early collision in the feature race, but rallied to finish eighth. Hirst has a 30-point lead over Kaeding with four races left.
DJ Netto of Hanford was fourth, Mitchell Faccinto of Hanford seventh and Cory Eliason of Kingsburg (in a Fresno-based Roth Motorsports car) 10th in a 20-car field.
Et cetera – Carson Macedo rebounded from a flip during midget qualifying to finish seventh Saturday night in his first trip to Eldora.
The flip was severe enough to warrant a trip to the track’s infield care center. Macedo was released and charged from 23rd in the 25-lap USAC feature, part of the Four Crown Nationals. Rico Abreu of St. Helena won the race after competing in the NASCAR Truck race earlier in the day in New Hampshire.
Macedo also raced in the All Star Sprints winged feature, rallying from 24th starting to finish 14th in an Ohio-based car.
▪ Also at the Four Crown Nationals, Hanford native Chad Boespflug was 21st and Swanson 22nd in the USAC wingless sprints feature.
▪ Richard Vander Weerd of Visalia finished second behind Austin Williams in the USAC/California Racing Association sprint car feature Saturday night at Perris Auto Speedway. Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton was 12th and Jace Vander Weerd 13th in the 22-car field.