Tanner Swanson, the winningest driver ever on the oval at Lucas Oil Raceway going into Saturday’s inaugural Hoosier Classic, was one of five drivers eligible for a $100,000 bonus from Fatheadz Eyewear if they could win all three features for the USAC Silver Crown, asphalt sprint car, and asphalt midget divisions.
Although the Kingsburg, Calif.-based driver didn’t earn any bonus money, he had a solid run in the sprint car feature for Nolen Racing when he started fifth and finished fourth in that 50-lapper. It was a non-points, special event in the USAC AMSOIL national sprint car series.
Swanson had top-five finishes in all three features. In addition for his efforts with the Whiteland, Ind.-based Nolen Racing, he finished fourth for Bowman Racing in the 100-lap USAC Silver Crown race and fifth for Petry Motorsports in the 50-lap main event for the midgets.
With so much money on the line, the sprint car race attracted 26 top cars, including the beautiful yellow Nolen Racing No. 4 Beast Tranter Chevy V8 sponsored in part by KECO Coatings, Goodridge and K & N Filters.
Swanson qualified sixth with a two-lap average of 21.128 seconds, but he was able to move up one position on the grid due to the luck of the invert.
The start was hectic, and he ran the first three laps in sixth place. With only one yellow the rest of the race was hectic too, as the drivers tried to find a way by on the fast, 0.686-mile asphalt oval.
Swanson set his fastest lap of the race of 21.363 seconds on lap 4, which is when he passed Kyle O’Gara for fifth. (It was the fifth-fastest lap run by anyone in the race.)
O’Gara got him back on lap 10 to push him back to sixth, but three laps later he was back in fifth after he passed Billy Wease. He was still fifth when the yellow flew on lap 20 for Taylor Ferns, who stopped in Turn 4.
Yellow-flag laps didn’t count. Bobby Santos III passed Swanson on lap 21 shortly after the restart to put him back in sixth place. On lap 27 Swanson passed early leader Aaron Pierce to retake fifth, and with five laps to go he moved into fourth when Wease fell back.
“We had a good day with the Nolen Racing guys,” Swanson said. “They worked their tails off all day, and we had put ourselves in good positions, but just didn’t quite have enough to battle for a win, unfortunately.”
When asked if he had any issues with the sprint car or close calls, he said “no” to both. “It was a pretty clean day, and we actually didn’t really have any close calls. With the 10 invert there was plenty of action and racing, but nothing that put us in a bad position.”
The race was livestreamed on Flo Racing.
Tanner Swanson’s brother, Kody Swanson, won the race over O’Gara, Santos, Tanner Swanson and Pierce.