WHITELAND, Ind. — Nolen Racing, one of the premier teams of the USAC Silver Crown series, is evaluating its options after Kody Swanson opted to depart the team.
Swanson won the USAC Silver Crown Series driver championship driving for Nolen Racing in 2019 and finished second this year. The Whiteland, Ind.-based team has finished in the top five in the USAC Silver Crown series standings for the last six years.
The USAC Silver Crown series is contested on both asphalt and dirt tracks. Nolen Racing has fielded cars in the USAC Silver Crown division for nearly 40 years under the direction of team founder Gene Nolen, who passed away on April 8. Greg Nolen, his son, continues to operate the team in homage to his father.
Nolen Racing won half of the USAC Silver Crown events in 2019 and Swanson earned the series’ driver championship, his fifth such title. He is the winningest driver in series history.
Swanson drove the yellow Nolen Racing No. 20 to second place in the driver championship this season in a year that was abbreviated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rain. Swanson had one victory, recording his fifth consecutive win in the Joe James-Pat O’Connor Memorial at Salem (Ind.) Speedway in August, which is a record for that event. It was his 30th USAC Silver Crown victory, also a record.
With Swanson behind the wheel, the Nolen Racing team also earned the pole position and led every lap of the 40-lap sprint car feature in the 70th annual Night Before the 500 show at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind., in August. That track was also the site of the team and Swanson’s victory in the sprint car portion of the Indy Summer Nationals in June.
Two of Swanson’s three victories in the prestigious Pay Less Little 500 asphalt sprint car race at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway have come driving for Nolen Racing. In 2019 the team dominated that race so much it led an unprecedented 499 of the 500 laps with Swanson and Shane Hollingsworth driving in a two-car effort.
Both drove Nolen Racing mounts in that race this year too. Hollingsworth finished second, his best finish ever in that race. Swanson won the pole, posted the fastest lap of the race, and was running second to Hollingsworth when he was forced to retire with engine difficulties.
“Shane is planning to run the Little 500 with us next year too,” Nolen said. “We are planning to run two cars there next year also; we just don’t know who will be driving one of them.
“We know that Kody wants to concentrate on the asphalt Silver Crown races next year, and Doran Racing will provide a pathway for Kody to get to the next level in his racing career. The entire Nolen Racing team wishes him the best,” Nolen said. “I can’t thank him enough for winning the Little 500 and a Silver Crown championship for my dad. We’re happy for Kody; Doran Racing is a great team. Kevin [Doran] is getting an awesome driver and a great person; his whole family is great. We will always consider the Swansons as part of the Nolen Racing family.”
“My family and I have really enjoyed the time we’ve raced with Gene, and his son Greg, who led the team this year in his honor,” said Swanson. “I’m thankful for everyone who has been part of the Nolen Racing team these past few years; they are all great people and graciously welcomed us into their racing family. I’m grateful for the time we’ve all spent together, for the friendships we’ve made, and for all of their effort.”
Drivers who would like to join the team next year should contact Nolen. His email address is [email protected].