October 16, 2019
On A Roll: Matt Swanson Ready To Carry Big Momentum To 2020 Whelen Modified Tour Season
A www.racedayct.com article
THOMPSON – When it comes to any division in short track racing, there’s always that short list that teams, fans and followers keep of that guy who will be the next first-time winner.
On Sept. 29 at Stafford Motor Speedway Craig Lutz took his name off that list by winning the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour NAPA Fall Final 150.
Now, when it comes to the Whelen Modified Tour, it’s fair to say that Matt Swanson has ascended to taking over the leading role on that list of likely next first-time winner.
Swanson completed his first full-year with the Boehler Racing Enterprises “Ol Blue” No. 3 car in fifth in the series standings with four top-five finishes and nine top-10’s in 16 events.
“It’s a really good feeling to know the amount of people that walk up to me and say ‘You’re so close man, you’re so close.’” Swanson said. “It just makes me that much more ambitious to put a whole day together in one of these races. I can’t tell you how bad I want to win one of these races. It shows with how hard we’re working at the shop making sure these cars are prepared every week when we come to the race track. We’re so close.”
The 19-year old Swanson, from Acton, Mass., came into Sunday’s season ending Sunoco World Series 150 in the midst of a four-driver battle for fifth place in the standings. Swanson came into the event in fifth, with Eric Goodale behind him by one point in sixth, Timmy Solomito two points behind him in seventh, Patrick Emerling five points behind him in eighth and Chris Pasteryak 10 points behind him in ninth.
Swanson won the battle within the race by scoring a third place finish Sunday at Thompson and cementing his place as the fifth place finisher in the final standings.
Swanson ran part-time in 2015 and full-time in 2016 and 2017 for his family owned team. After five events with his family owned team in 2018, he replaced Rowan Pennink with the Boehler Racing Enterprises team mid-season, running six of the last seven events for the organization. Since taking over the ride he’s learned to appreciate just what it means to drive one of the most iconic Modified rides there is left in the sport.
“I just can’t thank the whole Boehler Racing Team that I drive for enough and all the people that support this race car,” Swanson said. “It’s been on the race track for 60 plus years. … Just to be able to be able to drive for such a nostalgic team. … It just makes it all special.”
Swanson had top-six finishes in five of the final eight races of the season, closing out the season with a string that some him run sixth in the Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, fifth at the NAPA Fall Final and then third in the season finale at Thompson. Swanson doesn’t want to put that momentum to rest for the offseason.
“It’s definitely hard,” Swanson said. “But I think what it does for myself and my team is it just makes us more confident going into next year. It makes us want it to be the 2020 race season that much faster. And we know what we have for race cars now. We’ve had a full season together now. Myself and my crew chief Greg Fournier, and car chief Scott Richards and just everyone that works on the car, we’ve gelled now. We picked up on something at the first Loudon race in July and every time we’ve gone to a half-mile or more since then we’ve been in contention. It stinks that I have to go another year without winning a [Whelen Modified Tour] race, I thought 2019 was going to be the year. But 2020 looks to be like that much more.”