Monday, August 27, 2012

Two nights of 410 USAC/CRA Racing at PAS and Victorville

Midget Updates - 8/18/12 Perris Auto Speedway - 8/19/12 Route 66 Speedway in Victorville

First off, I want to apologize for not having any race updates for quite some time. These past few months have been quite busy, and definitely have had their ups and downs.

I will start with some bad news. As most of you know, I was racing both the pavement and the dirt midgets with the same F 2.3 liter Honda engine. This was our best engine. Unfortunately, we lost our strongest bullet at Madera's 100 lapper. I started 17th and was up to 5th at lap 93 of 100. It kicked a rod with 7 laps remaining. This happened due to over temp. The battery died which powers our electric water pump because of the long run. An error on our own behalf which we thought we calculated for, but were obviously mistaken.

We tried to run a couple more shows back on the dirt with our old 2.2 backup engine, but it just didn't have the power to compete like our primary engine. It was tough to go from a top 5 car, to a mid-pack car at best. I had to make the extremely difficult decision to call off the rest of the races for the year in the midget. The cost to run mid-pack just isn't feasible. We decided it best to save up a little money, and put that all towards putting together a  much more competitive race car when the new K24 engine debuts. The debut is currently scheduled for this years Turkey Night back on the dirt at Perris Auto Speedway. This way we can be sure to give the new HPD horsepower a well built race car and the recognition it deserves.
Thanks Rob Hargraves for the great shot -

Now onto the Sprint Car updates! I have been having a ton of fun racing in the USAC/CRA 410 Sprint Car ranks. Thanks to some help from my Grandpa Ed I was lucky enough to run two races in a row. Aug. 18 at Perris Auto Speedway and Aug. 19 at Route 66 Speedway in Victorville.

It had been a couple months since I was able to race this car last, it was so nice to be back in the seat at Perris. I struggled in qualifying. I Q'd 18th out of 33. In the heat race I got shuffled to the back at the start, but gave a strong charge back up to 5th missing transfer by a nose. I had to start my first B-main.

In the B I started 4th. The top 6 cars transfer to the feature. On the start I got shoved around and fell back to 7th. I fought my way back up to a 2nd place finish behind Cody Williams. For the feature I started 18th. Throughout the race I was moving forward, but as the laps wound down I noticed the temp gauge kept climbing. With about 7 laps to go the temperature was getting close to the danger zone so I pulled in. It was a little disappointing, but we knew what the problem was and had it fixed for Sunday's race.

On Sunday I was eager to get back out and try it again. I really enjoyed racing at Victorville's Route 66 Speedway. It was the first time I had raced there and really just a fun track to drive. We had another strong car count and I Q'd 16th.

The track went slick quick. In the heat I was just a little too free and unfortunately fell back to 7th. This forced me to try to make it through the B again. I started 4th with Faas on the pole, Bezio and Austin Williams starting P2 and P3. This time though my crew chief Tony Jones tightened me up quite a bit. He nailed the setup. I quickly jumped to the lead. About halfway through the engine started running rough. Later inspection would indicate a broken rocker on hole #2. Despite the engine trouble I went on to win it.

In the main I started 14th. It was a great race and I ended up finishing ninth, my career best in the 410 ranks. I can't my crew chief Tony Jones and Car Owner Larry Henry enough for all that they have done for me. Also thanks to the Alexander Racing Team, the Roa family, and my Grandpa Ed for helping us get on the track this weekend. Thanks to all of my great sponsors on the sprint car team; JDS Tank Testing, VGI Graphics, Berg-Nelson Co., Zanzabuku Sports Lounge, Goodwine Glass, and Ol' Bub for all his help.

Next up is the Glen Howard Memorial at the PAS on Saturday September 15th. Hope to see you there.

Jake Swanson

Monday, May 28, 2012

4th at Ventura

5/26/12 Ventura Raceway VRA Race

    Happy Memorial Day everybody! This Memorial Day weekend was spent at Ventura Raceway where 11 midgets showed up to compete for the trophy. The car count is still very low, but fortunately the car quality is respectable. According to the top 9 cars were running 13.5's during the main. That made for some good close racing throughout the field.
    Before I get to the racing, I'd like to say thanks to our good friend Gordy Edwards. Thanks to him we were able to race this weekend. Our rig broke down and we had no way of getting to the track. Gordy came by the morning of the race. We loaded up everything onto his open trailer and headed to the track! It was a fun day.
    The heat race wasn't a good one. I started last because of my pill pick. The track was one-laned dusty-dry and tough to pass on. I only moved up to 4th by the checkers.
    This put me starting near last in the feature. I gained a few positions on the start and before I knew it was battling up towards the front with Prickett. He and I had a fun battle going on. We had a yellow with only a few laps to go, and I was sitting in 3rd spot. Under yellow the RR bleeder let the tire go down a little too far. When we went back to green I tossed the front end once and the 15 of Prickett got back by me. I ended up 4th.
    It was a fun race, we just need to have some better luck on starting spots. It seems like we can never start near the front at that place. I'm uploading my on board video of the race to the link below. Just copy and paste it to your browser to watch it. Thanks to EgoTactics, we use two cameras for a front and back picture and picture shot. It's a fun race to watch.
    I'd like to thank Lucas Oil, Goodwine Glass, Honda Racing, PBH Indy, Crower Performance, One Day Signs, Ego Tactics, K&N Filters, and Oakley for their support. And I'm looking forward to share some new engine news in the near future thanks to HPD and Honda Racing, as well as PBH Indy and Crower Performance.
    We are working hard on the pavement car now, stay tuned for updates.

Video Link:


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pavement Press Release

    I've been hanging onto some very exciting news for awhile now, but now it's actually come together as of last night. Thanks to Cory Kruseman I will be participating in some pavement events this season using his Beast pavement car with our Honda power plant. The car is now in our garage being sized up and fitted for a Honda 2.26 liter engine. This is the engine that is currently being run in our dirt car.
    I am so thankful and excited to have an opportunity on pavement. The only pavement I've ever driven has been with a dirt car. I was actually able to test a focus pavement car once at Turkey Night thanks to Mr. Frazin, but that's the extent of my pavement car experience.
    We plan to run some USAC Madera Shows with it this season, but we don't have a debut race date yet. It all depends on how quickly we can get it ready. Keep checking back in to see progress on it. I'm really looking forward getting out there with it!


Jake Finishes 2nd to Kuhn at Santa Maria

Santa Maria Speedway 5/12/12

    I've always had a love for the banked third mile oval, but even more so after our run there last Saturday night. It was a strong showing of 20 midgets for the USAC Western States event.
    The night began with hotlaps on an already dry racetrack. From hotlaps we tightened the car up a ton but it wasn't quite enough. My Q effort put us p8. Again we went even more drastic on the Stealth chassis to find bite.
    My heat had cousin Cody on the pole, myself starting 4th, and Kruser behind me. Cody jumped to an early lead as I tried to make my way through traffic as quick as I could. By the time I got to 2nd Cody was long gone. I had to settle for second.
    My 8th place qualifying effort landed us on the pole for the feature because of the 8 car invert. I had a great start and set the pace for the early laps of the race. I had a good sized lead before the first yellow (of many) came out. On the restart national driver Brad Kuhn and the Kruser jumped to 2nd and 3rd behind me. I gave my best to hold them off, but we were no match for those two. I fell to third ran there by myself. The car was pretty fast though, I had a good buffer distance between myself and the rest of the field.
    On another restart the 2nd place car of Kruseman began to stumble and slow which gave us back the 2nd spot. I ran there for the remainder of the race.
    It was a good night for us. I love being able to put this #05 Honda on the podium for HPD, Skeet at PBH Indy, and DC at Crower Performance. With each race we continue to learn more and become even stronger.
    Thank you to everybody helping us with this program; Lucas Oil, Goodwine Glass, Honda Racing, PBH Indy, Crower Performance, One Day Signs, Ego Tactics, K&N Filters, and Oakley.

This weekend it's on to Hanford for the next round of the USAC Western Midget Series Schedule.

I've also got the onboard video of the race posted, check it out!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jake Gains Momentum in the Sprinter


    Last Saturday night at the PAS seemed like it couldn't have gone any smoother for the Tony Jones Racing team! It sure was nice. And we got to do it on some fresh rubber too...
    The tire rule for the USAC/CRA 410 sprinters has changed to a softer, wider tire this 2012 season. For my prior two races, we have been running on last years old tire due to the fact that we are a low budget team and others teams were happy to offload their now useless old tires. Lucky for me, I just had a birthday a week before! So I ended up with TWO brand spankin' new 2012 tires for the upcoming race thanks to the car owner and crew chief. It was a pretty good birthday.
    I couldn't get a very good feel for the new tire in hotlaps because it was pretty slimy. So qualifying I had about two laps to get a good feel for it. I had a little bicycle action my first lap but ended up with a 17.1. At first I was disappointed, I thought had actually slowed down from the old tire. But after looking at the results it turns out the track was slower in general, I had Q'ed 15th out of the 31 entered. That wasn't too shabby of an effort.
    The heat race was one heck of a show. This time, no front row starting spot for me. I was starting in the last transfer spot, 4th. Cardey and Bernal were my main concerns. Both past winners. I had a great start and settled into 2nd behind Bezio. Somebody tried a slide job on me and failed bringing out a yellow. On the restart I slid Bezio for the lead and got into a good rhythm. I kept seeing noses of Bernal and Cardey trying to find a way around me. The white flag came out and with just one corner to go, we got a yellow.
    I knew the restart would be tough to hold those two guys off. I got a good start and hustled it into one, beat them off of two, and for the next lap and a half I held them off to take my first career USAC 410 Sprint Car heat race win. Man it felt good!
    14th was my starting spot for the feature. It was nice starting a little closer towards the front this time. I had a good race with Kruseman for awhile, and the whole race was really a ton of fun. We had a tricky track with wet spots and dry spots all over, and a cushion in some places and not in others. It made for some good racing. I ended up bringing home the #41 car in 11th place.
    I'm very happy with our effort. The team has made such great strides in only 3 races. And I really have to thank the crew chief Tony Jones for doing such a great job with the setup. The car was so pleasant to drive throughout the day.
    Sadly, we will not be racing the next Perris race on May 26th. We are still looking for some more sponsorship help to be able to attend more races in the #41 sprinter. A big Thank You to all of my current sponsors on this car; Zanzabuku Sports Lounge, VGI Graphics, The Alexander Brothers, Bubby Jones Racing, Goodwine Glass, So-Cal Performance, JDS Tank Testing and K&N Filters. My next race will be this weekend May 5th at Ventura again in the midget. Hopefully we can bring home a win this weekend for HPD and Honda Racing. Stay tuned!

Jake Swanson


Friday, April 27, 2012

Jake Puts it on the Podium at Ventura


    I turned 19 years old on the 21st, and what better way to spend a birthday than at the track doing what I love! Since the prior 2 VRA Midget races rained out, this was the first Ventura race of the year. And it was my first time on the new surface that Ventura has put down. The new dirt proved to be challenging to get a hold of despite the damp conditions that night.
    My cousin and I had a lot of fun in hot laps, it was the raciest track we had all night. The line was up on the fence all the way around; my kind of track. Slick to the fence and slide-job passing makes for a heck of a lot of fun. We posted the 2nd fastest time of the field.
    We had a good run in the heat race, started 3rd and finished 2nd. That put me starting 5th in the feature.
    The main was rough. The track wasn't a very raceable track. It was one-lined around the bottom, and no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't get the top of the racetrack to work for us. This made passing extremely difficult. The invert placed a couple of the slower cars and the front, and all the faster guys at the back. We were running 4th for quite a while. I just felt stuck out there, everybody was protecting the bottom and the top was my only other option. The #22 was trying hard to work it in up there and got by me, so I had to try it. Unfortunately, it didn't work. I went from 5th to dead last in a lap and a half.
    After the freight train went by me, I made quick work of the back markers. I moved back through the field quickly, and when the checkers flew I had made my way back up to 3rd.
    I was happy to put it on the podium, but it wasn't a win. We are so close to picking up that first W for Swanson Motorsports. The improvements we have made on this car has been huge, and we continue to find little chassis tweaks that will give us the advantage we need on the track.
    The next race for me is in the #41 410 Sprinter at Perris on Saturday April 28th in the Henry/Jones DRC. The next USAC Midget Race will be May 12th at Santa Maria.

Stay Tuned!

Jake Swanson

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Getting Comfortable in a 410


    Last Saturday I had my 2nd race with the new 410 car and team back at the Perris Auto Speedway. After how well we kicked off our debut, I was very excited to get another chance back in the seat.
    Hotlaps was a really good learning session for me. I got behind two pretty good guys and hung with them the whole session. I was able to find and test the cars limits and this gave me a lot more confidence going into qualifying. I qualified a 17.0 which was 4 tenths quicker than my last Q effort which placed me 22nd out of the 33 entries.
    This put me on the outside pole for my heat race, again. This time though, I felt I had a much more competitive heat race. Mike Spencer, Rip Williams,  Ryan Bernal, and Bill Rose were all in it, so I definitely had my work cut out for me. I had a good start, beat the pole sitter into turn 1 and gained and early lead. I kept pushing the car harder trying to gain speed. I led for most of the race until the 2011 USAC/CRA Champion, Spencer, got by me for the lead. I finished 2nd to him with a respectable gap between us and the 3rd place car of Bernal.
    For the feature, I started last row inside. Again, my goal was to just get laps and gain experience. We did just that. I stayed out of trouble and learned a lot about how to run these cars on a slick racetrack. Towards the end of the race, the car began to smoke due to a small oil leak. I kept an eye on the gauges and all was well, but I pulled in anyways. It wasn't worth hurting that engine and not being able to run the next race.
    I'm a little bummed that we weren't able to finish, but the fact that I gained so much knowledge and experience from just this race more than makes up for it. I now have much more confidence about driving this car and I know with the Crew Chief and Car Owner that I have behind me, we will be a force in the future.
    I'd like to give a huge Thanks to everybody who is helping me and the Tony Jones Racing Team pursue this dream; Zanzabuku Sports Lounge, VGI Graphics, The Alexander Brothers, Bubby Jones Racing, Goodwine Glass, So-Cal Performance, JDS Tank Testing and K&N Filters.
    And a very special Thank you to Larry Henry and Tony Jones for giving me such an amazing opportunity to race these 410 sprinters!

Jake Swanson

Jake Place's 6th in USAC Western States Midget Opener


    Silver Dollar Speedway located in Northern California is home for a lot of winged sprint car action. Friday night the Midgets shared the show with the Outlaws. Winged cars are notorious for heavily abusing the track and making it go very dry-slick and rubbered down. However, the track started much to my advantage. 
    In qualifying, turns one and two were rutted and hooked up. And turns three and four was just the oppisite, smooth, dry, and one-lined around the bottom. I favor tracks like these with two different ends. We Q'ed 3rd out of the 19 car field. 
    The heat race also went well. I started 3rd and was able to grab the lead for just a few laps, but then lost the lead and settled for 2nd. This scored us a 6th place starting spot for the feature. I fought hard to move forward in the feature, but the track just got away from us a little bit. It was a tough track, one lined around the bottom and very slick. I was running 5th for most of the race until one driver ran into the side of us nearly taking me out, and I fell back to 8th. I managed to get back up to P6. 
    It wasn't a bad night all in all. It was a strong points day and we had a fast racecar all night long. I'm looking forward to the second USAC Western States Midget race of the season in Bakersfield on April 7th. I'd like to thank Lucas Oil, Goodwine Glass, Honda Racing, PBH Indy, Crower Performance, One Day Signs, Ego Tactics, K&N Filters, and Oakley for all their support.

Jake Swanson

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jake's Debut in a 410 Sprint Car a Success!


    Feburary 25th marked my very first race of the season, and my first race in a 410 sprint car. Perris Auto Speedway is home for the Swanson Motorsports Team, but we haven't had the opportunity to race there on a frequent basis because the USAC Midget Series doesn't travel there very often. However, we have been successful at Perris in the past. I won my first Ford Focus Midget race there in my first start in the class, and had more success when we ran the track later throughout the year.
    Perris is a big half-mile banked clay oval that's home for the USAC/CRA 410 Sprint Car Series. As a kid I can remember watching in awe as these guys tear up the PAS in some of the best dirt track racing you will ever see. I only hoped one day I would be fortunate enough to race against these guys. Finally, I got the chance.
    My dream was made possible thanks to car owner Larry Henry and crew chief Tony Jones. Larry is no stranger to car ownership and running a race team. He and good friend Bubby Jones (Ol' Bub) had a great deal of success in sprint car racing in the past. My new crew Chief, Tony Jones is the son of sprint car legend Bubby Jones. Tony also has a very impressive history in sprint car racing, winning many races races including the oval nationals, and also a championship at the PAS. I feel extremely fortunate to be teamed up with such awesome guys for my 410 debut.
    Before race day we only had a session of practice, which took place a couple weeks before, to shake down the car and try to get acclimated. I felt pretty confident after I had a few laps under my belt.

Race Day

    My mindset going into race day was simply to log laps, gain experience, and learn. If we could make the feature in our first night, I would feel accomplished. And sure enough, we did just that. Hot laps went well, I was still learning the car and the driving style it needed. Qualifying wasn't the best. I laid down 2 smooth laps, but they weren't fast enough. I Q'd 26th out of 37.
    Next up was the heat race. I was starting outside pole in a 9 car heat race, 4 transfer. At first I was a little nervous about it since I hadn't had much experience racing closely around other cars, but I gained confidence quick as soon as the green dropped. I jumped to an early lead, and fought hard to hang onto it. The #41 was feeling good, and so was I with nobody out in front of me. I continued to fight off the pack as the laps were winding down. Finally the #2 of Williams and #37 of Mitchell got by me in the closing laps, but I was able to hold onto 3rd ahead of Bernal. This put me straight through to the A-main. I was so happy we were able to accomplish that on our first night.
    In the feature I was starting 21st out of 23 cars due to my qualifying time. I continued to focus on logging laps and staying out of trouble. Keeping my nose clean was important in securing a good finish. The race went well and I got as high as 16th on the heavy track. With only a hand full of laps remaining, welds failed on the front axle. This sheared off the RF wheel as I entered turn 1. Thankfully, I got the car stopped without hitting anything and the damage was very minimal. It was just a weird part failure.
    I gained so much more knowledge and experience from this race. I absolutely can not wait to hop back in the #41 on March 31st for my 2nd USAC/CRA Sprint Car race. Unfortunately, we will not be able to attend many more races in this car due to lack of funding. We have lots of empty space on the bodywork of this race car for sponsors and partnership opportunities. Any and all help is accepted, so please help the #41 team reach it's full potential! I would like to thank all of our current sponsors on this car; Zanzabuku Sports Lounge, VGI Graphics, Goodwine Glass, K&N Filters, and Lucas Oil. I also have to thank Larry Henry and Tony Jones for giving me such a huge opportunity. I know we can run well and I'm excited to show everybody what the #41 team can do.
    Follow this blog, and check back every week for more updates on what the Swanson Motorsports Team is up to. Also, feel free to leave a comment. Thanks!

Jake Swanson

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chili Bowlin' 2012

    Swanson Motorsports competed in our first ever Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals this year, it was quite an adventure to say the least.
    Monday night practice went very smoothly, and the whole team was very excited and eager to race on Friday.
    However, Friday didn't go so well. An issue occured with a bad timing pick-up sensor which caused the engine to bounce between 2&4 cylinders inconsistently. Unfortunately, the problem made the car very difficult to drive, and Jake ended up climbing the inside berm and flipping down the back straight. Luckily, Jake walked away with only a concussion.
    Thanks to the whole crew, and some very generous help from fellow racers, Jake was able to get back out for Saturday. The team had their work  cut out for them though, Jake would have to start in the very last main, the K main.
    In order to transfer through a main, you must finish in the top 4. From there, you must start at the tail of the next main. Jake was able to transfer through 2 mains, in the 3rd main (the I main) he missed by just a nose, and that was the end of it.
    "It was a thrill to try to come from the very back, and see how far we could get in such a prestigious event. It's just too bad we had such bad luck on Friday," says Jake. The team ended up recieving the 2nd Place Hard Charger Award for passing the 2nd most cars out of everyone at the event.
    "I would like to thank all of my sponsors for their support and making this event happen for us; Lucas Oil, Goodwine Glass, Honda Racing, PBH Indy, CP Crower Performance, One Day Signs, Ego Tactics, K&N, Oakley, and JDR Graphics. A special thanks to Ty Hindman, Alex Frazin, Skeet Bushor, and Shannon McQueen Racing for their help. I sure hope we can do it again next year with all the knowlege we have now,we will be strong."