Champ Cars Bound For Pavement & Vogler Classic

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Kody Swanson (20) battles Kyle Hamilton at Lucas Oil Raceway. (Al Steinberg photo)
Kody Swanson (20) battles Kyle Hamilton at Lucas Oil Raceway in USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series competition. (Al Steinberg photo)

CLERMONT, Ind. – The 26th edition of the Rich Vogler Classic arrives at Lucas Oil Raceway this Saturday for the sixth and final appearance of the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series on pavement this season.

The pavement has been mostly dominated by one driver this season, point leader Kody Swanson, who’s won the pole and the race at four of the five so far: Memphis, Toledo, Madison and Salem.  However, the one missing from Swanson’s resume this year is the .686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway, where he once again won the pole and led the first 53 laps until dropping to the sideline with an engine issue while leading.

Kyle Hamilton took control from that point forward, leading all but one of the remaining laps to score his first series victory.  It’s been a career year in the series for the Danville, Ind., native with four top-five finishes in five starts.

Kody Swanson’s younger brother Tanner Swanson was a hard-charger after electing to start from the tail, then pitting and restarting from the tail, and still managed to drive to second.  He’s a two-time Rich Vogler Classic winner himself in 2013 and 2015 and a five-time Silver Crown winner at Lucas Oil Raceway. With one more win at Lucas Oil Raceway, he would become the winningest Silver Crown driver at the track, breaking a tie with Mike Bliss.

Between Tanner and four-time winners Kody Swanson and Bobby Santos, they have won 12 of the 14 Silver Crown races at Lucas Oil Raceway since 2011.  Santos won the first Rich Vogler Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway with Silver Crown cars after the event moved from Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 2012. He won the most recent as well back in 2017 after last year’s event was washed away by Mother Nature.

Since 2011, the only ones to break up the Tanner, Kody, and Santos stranglehold at Lucas Oil Raceway have been Hamilton and David Byrne, who used a last-lap, last corner pass of Tanner Swanson to win the 2014 Vogler Classic in dramatic fashion, his first and only series victory thus far.

Finishing behind Hamilton at the line in May’s race was Tanner Swanson, Santos, Justin Grant and Eric Gordon.  Gordon is a three-time USAC National Sprint Car feature winner at Lucas Oil Raceway, taking victories in three-straight seasons in 1990-92.  Gordon’s Vogler Classic debut came in the inaugural 1991 edition, finishing 16th in both the sprint and midget features that afternoon at Winchester.

Brian Gerster finished seventh in May’s race. His first two USAC National Midget wins came at Lucas Oil Raceway in 1994-95.  Gerster was fast qualifier in a sprint car at the Vogler Classic in 1999.  He finished a best of 4th twice in the Vogler Classic, in a midget in 1996 and in a sprint car in 1997.

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