Kody Swanson is by himself in U.S. Auto Club racing.
The Kingsburg native, transplanted to Indiana to pursue his racing career, cinched an unprecedented fourth USAC Silver Crown season championship Saturday night.
His points lead coming into the 4-Crown Nationals at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway was such that all Swanson had to do was show up. He finished fifth.
After two second-place finishes to start the season, Swanson reeled off five straight wins to put a stranglehold on the points lead. The last of those wins was the 24th of Swanson’s career, also a series record.
The Silver Crown series traces its roots to the early days of Indy Car racing. Its modern history started in 1971 and its past champions include A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Al Unser. The three-time champs are also Californians: Jimmy Sills and Bud Kaeding (who more recently has raced sprint cars for Oakhurst’s Williams Motorsports). Another past series champ: Jeff Gordon, racing for Clovis’ Fred Ede in 1991.
Most of the events are on big tracks including the dirt miles at the Illinois state fairgrounds, plus pavement tracks including the Phoenix mile, and Swanson has distinguished himself on all.
Swanson, 32, is a Fresno State graduate (magna cum laude in economics) who still hopes for a shot at a NASCAR or Indy Car ride. His 2018 resume also boasts three straight wins at historic Anderson (Ind.) Speedway including his second Little 500 victory (a unique 33-sprint car, 500-lap race on the paved quarter-mile track the night before the Indianapolis 500).
Mark Hagopian Memorial — 15-year-old Jake Andreotti of Castro Valley took the $5,000 winner’s purse in the feature main event for mini sprints Saturday night at Plaza Park in Visalia.
USAC Western States Midgets points leader Michael Faccinto of Hanford led late before dropping out with a sour engine. Fresno’s Raio Salmon was second.
Sprint cars — Fresno 16-year-old Gio Scelzi continued his remarkable 2018 barnstorming season with a third-place finish in the All-Star Circuit of Champions sprint car feature at the 4-Crown Nationals.
Lemoore’s Carson Macedo crashed out of the race early, effectively skewering his run at the season championship. With one race left, he trails Texas’ Aaron Reutzel by 64 points. Cory Eliason of Kingsburg also crashed early in the race.