No doubt, Kody Swanson is having a mid-life motorsports crisis.
The 32-year-old second-generation racer loves USAC competition--and no wonder. He has already amassed five USAC Silver Crown titles. Swanson also leads the series with 29 all-time wins.
But the Kingsburg, California, native, who currently calls Carmel, Indiana, home, wants more.
After weighing options in both stock cars and IndyCar, Swanson accepted the chance to run with Chad Bryant Racing in the ARCA Menard’s Series. He’ll make his debut in the No. 22 Ford at Iowa Speedway on Saturday.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity for me,” Swanson said. “I’m excited to take this next leap in my racing career and compete in the ARCA Menards Series at Iowa Speedway with a winning-race team.”
Before this weekend, Swanson’s only racing experience that involved a stock car was in the 2011 Toyota Pro/Celebrity race at Long Beach. He finished ninth. Swanson participated in a pre-season test in an ARCA car three years later at Daytona International Speedway but an opportunity never developed.
Swanson does, however, have experience at Iowa Speedway. He holds the Silver Crown qualifying record at the .875-mile track in Newton and has posted three podium finishes. With just an hour of practice—and no qualifying—the ARCA rookie will have to prove his ability to be a quick learner.
“I’m sure that our only hour of practice will go by really fast,” Swanson added. “I’m thankful to have some experience with this racetrack and hoping that background will help me feel comfortable in my new surroundings and transition to the different characteristics of these ARCA Menards cars more quickly.”
Swanson will also have the benefit of veteran Paul Andrews to oversee his experience. Andrews’ resume as a championship crew chief will be invaluable as Swanson navigates his way through the three-segment, 150-lap race.
“With no qualifying, it definitely changes your perspective,” Swanson said. “Looking at the positives, with a short practice schedule already, we can continue to work through that entire session on getting me comfortable in the car, and what I should expect in the race. I hope that I can become familiar enough with the car to provide Paul with good information, and we can continue to improve every chance we get.
“I’d like to get this team a win on Saturday – that’s what every racer sets out to do, but I realize that I will have an awful lot to learn in a short amount of time. I am thankful to have this opportunity with the Chad Bryant Racing team, and I know they are familiar with Victory Lane in the ARCA Menards series and Iowa Speedway. I hope I can adapt quickly, continue to improve with each lap, and can be in a good position to contend for a win for this team.”
Bryant oversaw the development of another open-wheel ace—Chase Briscoe—when he raced the No. 22 Ford for the Briggs Cunningham team, which Bryant purchased in 2018. After two ARCA starts in 2015, Briscoe went on to win the 2016 title.
Bryant has long-admired Swanson’s accomplishments on the open-wheel side.
“To bring Kody onboard to our Chad Bryant Racing team to Iowa is huge,” Bryant said. “He comes from an open-wheel discipline, but I think he will capitalize on it tremendously this weekend in Iowa.
“He’s a deeply knowledgeable driver and wants to perform not only for the team but his partners too. Paul and the guys have been working hard on his race car and I cannot wait to get to the race track and see what kind of performance he can put together. I think we can contend for a win.”
Swanson will sport Fatheadz Eyewear as the livery for the No. 22 Fusion. Fatheadz founder Rico Elmore was delighted to expand his relationship with Swanson’s for the affable driver’s debut.
“We are excited to extend and grow our relationship with Kody this year as he embarks on this next opportunity in the ARCA Menards Series,” said Elmore, Founder and CEO of Fatheadz Inc.
“Kody has been a great ambassador of our brands for the past few years and we’re excited to be associated again with him as he transitions into stock car racing with Chad Bryant Racing.”