Prairie Post (East Edition)
Unique championship finish for Swift Current stock car racing team
A Swift Current stock car racing team achieved a unique feat during the 2022 racing season at the local speedway.
It was a family affair for Crowe Racing, with brothers Brody, Carson and Tyson Crowe finishing 1-2-3 in the IMCA Modified class in the Swift Current Stock Car Association championship.
“It was really cool and kind of unexpected,” Brody said about winning the Modified championship. “I came into the final weekend in third place, but managed to outrun first and second and come around and beat them for the lead. So that was really exciting.”
Younger brother Carson was second in the overall points standings going into the final race weekend on Sept. 16 and 17. Coty Smith was leading in the point standings, but he was involved in a crash during the Friday night race and his vehicle could not be repaired before the next race.
Brody and Carson were tied in the point standings after the Friday night race and Tyson was a few points behind them, which meant the final Saturday race determined the championship outcome.
“Going into the final weekend this year, tensions were pretty high for most of us,” Brody recalled. “Carson was racing for his first championship. This was my second championship. So he was in full go mode. He was ready to do whatever it takes to beat me. I just kind of got lucky and stayed ahead of him.”
Brody won his first Modified championship in 2019. The Swift Current Stock Car Association continued to host races during the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the racing was not for points.
The 2022 result therefore gives him a back-toback championship win in the Modified class. His second championship felt really good, because he had a challenging season.
“I had a few breakdowns in the earlier part of the season, which put me back in points,” he recalled. “I was in third for most of the season, maybe even fourth a little bit, and I didn’t win a single feature race all year, but I just ran consistent enough near the front of the pack to pull it off. It was really nice to get two in a row. It doesn’t happen too often for anyone.”
This unique achievement of three racing drivers from the same family and team claiming the top three positions in a championship is the result of a strong sense of competition between them.
“We really enjoy racing against each other,” he said. “I want to beat them every single time we’re on the track. That’s just how I am. That’s how they are. They want to beat me and we all just want to do our best. At the same time, we want to see each other finish and have a good race.”
The three brothers have been involved in a few crashes with each other over the years, but they try to avoid that.
“Once we’re back in the pits, we’re family again and everyone gets along pretty well,” he said. “We definitely leave our aggression on the track and then we’re good friends afterwards.”
All three of them began racing as teenagers and progressed through the different racing classes to the Modified class, which is the fastest class to compete in on dirt racing tracks in the province.
Their cars are almost identical and it therefore comes down to how they are set up for the track and the racing skills of the drivers. All three use a 2009 Larry Shaw Racing custom-built chassis that weighs only about 2,500 pounds and is powered by a 383 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 producing over 500 horsepower.
Brody’s goal for next year is to win another championship title at the Swift Current track. He also races at other tracks in the province and his other goal is to win a Modified class feature race at the Estevan Motor Speedway.
“It’s the premier dirt track in Saskatchewan and they have the fastest cars,” he said. “So that’s my next goal. To try to compete better down there and to try to pull off a win. … I would like to get three championships in a row in Swift Current, but there’s a lot of competition. My brothers will try to outrace me for that one and they definitely want to get their first one too.”
Richard Crowe is the crew chief of Crowe Racing and the father of the three brothers. He said the team was very competitive during the 2022 season.
“It was my goal at the start of the year that we’re going to push and try to get 1-2-3, but never did I think that we could actually get it done,” he said. “That’s a pretty proud moment when you see your hard work and the boys’ dedication to it, and it actually turns out the way you were hoping it to.”
It takes a lot of dedication and hours before each race to prepare the vehicles. This was Crowe Racing’s sixth season with three vehicles in the Modified class.
“We don’t have a very big crew,” he said. “We have myself and two extra guys on race day and then just the family for the rest of it. It’s a pretty small group.”
Brody and Tyson will do most of the work on their own cars and Richard will take care of Carson’s car, because he now lives in Swan River, Manitoba.
“It can be pretty hectic some race days and even the days leading up to it,” Richard said. “We work out of the one shop and one trailer. … They compete pretty hard against each other. So when you’re trying to keep all three cars running competitively and yet they’re running against each other, it can get pretty entertaining sometimes.”
The team’s 1-2-3 championship result is certainly the highlight of the year, but another favourite moment took place during the season.
“We had a big car count in the middle of the season and we still came out very well on top,” he recalled. “We had some cars come from Alberta and quite a few distances away, and they all compete hard. We were still able to compete with them quite well. I think we stepped up our game and that showed it, that we were able to compete with the best.”
Murray Koethler, the incoming president of the Swift Current Stock Car Association, felt the club had a good racing season in 2022.
“It was a little bit slower than what I expected, but coming out of COVID we did alright,” he said. “It was pretty decent. We had quite a few fans again this year.”
Racing took place in three different classes. The number of competitors in the Street Stock and Modified classes were similar than before, while the entry-level Mini Stock class continues to grow.
“We’re up to 11 regular drivers in that class and it sounds like there’ll be more next year,” he said. “So that class is really growing.”
This is good news for the club, because it allows new drivers to develop their racing skills and get familiar with dirt track racing.
“That’s basically our starting point,” he said. “So there’ll be people from that class that will move up into other classes, which is great to see that the club is on a rebound.”
The club is hoping to bring back the Hobby Stock class to Swift Current, which is a racing class between the entry-level Mini Stock and the faster Street Stock race cars. He noted the Hobby Stock class is doing well at other race tracks in the province, for example at Kindersley and Outlook.
“We’ve had a few stop in this year, travelling through, and they race good,” he said. “So it would be nice to see more of those cars out.”
Koethler felt the Swift Current track is a good one to race on, because it is fast and the surface is usually smooth.
“The facility is great,” he said. “We’re just club-run. So it’s always a matter of volunteers, but we try really hard to put on a great show and it is right on par with what everybody else puts on. … The biggest challenge we’ve got as a club right now is fundraising and sponsors. We are in need of sponsors, but we’re working on that this winter.”
The club’s annual wind-up and awards night took place on Oct. 15. Below are all the category winners.
Championship awards: Modified – 1st Brody Crowe, 2nd Carson Crowe, 3rd Tyson Crowe; Street Stock – 1st Stefan Klym, 2nd Wayne Sadowski, 3rd Murray Koethler; Mini Stock – 1st Tina Johner and Terry Fehr, 2nd Kara Johner, 3rd Brianna Cook.
Rookie of the Year – Dilon Smith (Modified), Jamieson Day (Street Stock), Gordy Johner (Mini Stock); Heart of the Club – Murray Koethler; Pit Crew – Koethler and Fehr pits.
Best looking car voted by fans – Coty Smith (Modified), Kevin Schafer (Street Stock), Tina Johner (Mini Stock); Favourite driver voted by fans – Destiny Klym (Modified), Murray Koethler (Street Stock), Terry Fehr (Mini Stock).
Best looking car voted by drivers – Dilon Smith (Modified), Kevin Schafer (Street Stock), Gordy Johner (Mini Stock); Favourite driver voted by drivers – Tyson Crowe (Modified), Stefan Klym (Street Stock), Kara Johner (Mini Stock).
Sportsmanlike voted by drivers – Carson Crowe (Modified) Wayne Sadowski and Daryl Kehler (Street Stock), Tina Johner (Mini Stock).