It’s been 16 years since the defending driving champion sported the number 1 on his car for the following season’s USAC Silver Crown trail.
Sixteen years after Dave Steele last ran the numero uno, Kody Swanson will become the next to drive a Silver Crown car proudly adorned with the number 1, fitting for the humble record-setting driver as he looks to add on to his unprecedented accolades with the series that includes six previous championships and 34 feature wins.
The Kingsburg, Calif. native will drive the entire 2022 schedule for the same two teams he won for in 2021 – Doran Racing and Dyson Racing. However, this year will have a slightly different look on paper as the newly-christened Doran-Dyson Racing team have combined forces to chase after an entrant title while Swanson vies for a seventh driving crown.
While each outfit will remain separate entities with separate shops to house Doran’s pavement car and Dyson’s dirt car, the shared team name and the shared number have presented an opportunity for all to compete for the same shared goal, to win a season championship.
“The chance to drive the number one came about as a way to merge Doran and Dyson to compete for an entrant championship,” Swanson explained. “We needed to figure out how to merge the team names and the number and what that might look like. We were weighing our options, and, out of the Doran shop, it was said, ‘why don’t we run the number one?’ That solved it without either team giving up their individual identities to one another. The idea gained momentum and got Kevin Doran and Chris Dyson in touch on it, and they thought that was the best idea yet.”
What’s uniquely interesting about the Doran and Dyson pairing is their shared backgrounds in road racing. In fact, a photo from the 1980s currently hangs in the Doran team shop and features Al Holbert at speed in IMSA Camel GT competition, driving the famed Lowenbrau Porsche 962 that Kevin Doran was the crew chief of. In the background of that photo, as fate would have it, was a Dyson Racing machine.
All these years later, the two are teamed up to turn left, something which they’ve done with a high rate of success as multi-time winners on the USAC Silver Crown circuit last year between Doran and Dyson, twice an American Le Mans Series champion driver himself.
“It’s cool that that was already there,” Swanson stated of the photo. “Kevin and Chris are pretty excited to get the chance to race together. They’ve had a good competitive rivalry and were always on good terms and got along. It’s really cool that these two teams made the trip from road racing to Silver Crown, and both have great programs.”
In yet another twist of fate, Doran’s association with Al Holbert involved both working with Alex Morales Motorsports in Indy Car racing, for whom Johnny Capels was the chief mechanic and team manager at the time. Capels’ Silver Crown champ car, driven by Pancho Carter, captured the 1978 USAC Silver Crown title, and the team promptly utilized the number 1 the following season. Doran restored that very same car just a few years ago, putting it back in its 1979 livery with the number 1 displayed on the nose and tail tank.
In 2022, Swanson and Doran-Dyson Racing will attempt to become the first to win a Silver Crown race utilizing number 1 since Dave Steele in 2006 at Iowa Speedway. Furthermore, they’ll shoot their shot at taking down another long-standing absence of the 1 in the championship column. Number 1 has never once won the USAC Silver Crown entrant title in the series’ 52-year history.
With a driver and multiple teams that are highly-familiar with making history themselves, that is one piece of history they’d like to alter in the favor for the new year. That quest begins this Sunday, May 1, at the Terre Haute Action Track in western Indiana where Swanson captured a victory back in 2014.
Pits open at 1pm Eastern on Sunday at Terre Haute with the front gates opening at 2pm, the drivers meeting at 4pm and practice beginning at 5pm, followed by Fatheadz Qualifying, the last chance qualifying race and the 100-lap Sumar Classic feature event.
Tickets are $30 for the grandstands, $20 for the infield and $35 for the pits. Kids age 10 and under are free!
The 19th running of the Sumar Classic can be watched live and on-demand on FloRacing here.