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Steadfast Support Helped Swanson Secure Stock Eliminator Championship

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA Staff

 
When Dave Swanson was in high school, he had a 1970 Mustang Boss 302 in the gorgeous Grabber Blue color.
 
While he loved everything about the car, he also dreamed of having a Mustang Cobra Jet someday, and years later, he has not one, but two of them, including a 2014 model and 2018 model.
 
He commanded a lot of attention in the 2018 model, which is white with Grabber Blue striping in homage to his previous car, in NMCA FSC Stock Eliminator in 2022.
 
With goals of attending all six races on the series’ annual tour and winning, Swanson headed to the NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. 
He qualified in the lead spot with a 7.95 on a 9.70 in the Mustang Cobra Jet flying with a 5.2L engine by Kim Mapes of Watson Racing, Whipple Gen 5 3.0L supercharger and Turbo 400 by Joel’s on Joy. He took a solo pass in the first round of eliminations, and he got past the second and third rounds of eliminations with a 7.95 on a 7.92 and a 7.94 on a 7.92 before exiting in the fourth round of eliminations when he was forced to get out of the throttle.
 
From there, he led qualifying with a 7.87 on a 9.70 at the second race of the season, the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport in April at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. He coasted down track on a solo pass in the first round of eliminations, and cruised to a 7.90 on a 7.88 to win the second round of eliminations. He had a solo pass in the third and semifinal rounds of eliminations and went to the NMCA Winner’s Circle with an 8.03 on a 7.77 against Bryce Rohrs in the final round of eliminations.


 
“One of the biggest things to happen (at that point) was my first-ever first-place finish, and to make it even sweeter, (teammate) Chuck Watson II took first-place in Factory Super Cars, so we got to celebrate in the winner’s circle,” said Swanson.
 
Swanson then qualified in the second spot with an 8.01 on a 9.70 at the well-attended NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by Fuelab in May at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois, and won the first round of eliminations when he broke out by less than his opponent with a 7.97 on a 7.98, and the second round of eliminations when his opponent turned on the red light. He exited eliminations in the semifinal with an 8.00 on a 7.97.
 
Reaching the half-way point in the race season, Swanson qualified in the second spot with an 8.00 on a 9.70 at the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by TorqStorm Superchargers in July at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan, and his weekend ended earlier than he would have liked as he lit the red light in the first round of eliminations.
 
“Over the last couple of years, I have made improvements in my dial-in predictions and driving the car consistently,” said Swanson. “Where I really struggled this season was with consistency on the tree. After some inconsistent lights in Martin, Michigan, I decided to go out and buy a practice tree. The practice tree really helped me with my focus at the starting line.”


 
Swanson qualified in the second spot with a 7.92 on a 9.70 at the NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Sick the Magazine in August at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio, and won the first round of eliminations with an 8.05 on a 7.97, and got by the second round of eliminations when his fellow racer illuminated the red light. He posted an 8.06 on a solo pass in the third round of eliminations and ran into trouble that required him to take his foot off of the gas pedal and lost in the fourth round of eliminations.
  
“It was really enjoyable to have my son, Steve, at the race in Norwalk, Ohio,” said Swanson.
 
Holding onto the points lead, Swanson set out for the last race of the season, the NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance in September at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indiana. He qualified in the second spot with a 7.90 on a 9.70 and won the first round of eliminations with a 7.98 on a 7.94, and the second round of eliminations with a perfect .000 reaction time and a 7.99 on 7.95. He had the track surface to himself in the third round of eliminations before turning on the red light, with a -.003 reaction time, in the fourth round of eliminations.
 
The season-long performance, however, had already propelled him to the 2022 NMCA FSC Stock Eliminator championship.
 
“I’m pretty proud of the accomplishment for myself, but I’m more proud of the recognition that this championship, combined with Chuck Watson II's (Holley EFI Factory Supers Cars) championship, brings to the Watson Racing team,” said Swanson. “Without them, we wouldn't be here. I have a lot of people to be thankful for, including my wife, Mary, who is always there to support me and keep things entertaining. I’m also thankful for Chuck Watson II, everyone at Watson Racing and the Watson Racing extended family. The support and friendships are truly special. Thanks to the many friends I have at Ford and Ford Performance, and last but not least, a special thanks to Kim Mapes from Watson Racing. Kim's skill as an engine-builder is unmatched, and his mentorship to me as a driver is priceless. Those two things together are a big part of why I’m a champion this year.”

The NMCA is gearing up to honor Swanson and other champions at the Red Line Oil NMCA Muscle Car Nationals Awards Ceremony, Dec. 9, 2022 at the Indiana Convention Center, and in the upcoming Champions Issue of Fastest Street Car.


 

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