Car of the Week: Valentine's Edition Featuring Afton and Joe Swanson

Car of the Week: Valentine's Edition Featuring Afton and Joe Swanson

Welcome to the BTE Racing Car of the Week series, where we feature our customers and fans, and the cars (and trucks) they love to race. Today, in honor of Valentine’s, we're featuring a couple who loves to race together. Meet Afton and Joe Swanson, a husband and wife drag racing team from Denver, Iowa.
 
Racers names:
Afton and Joe Swanson
 
Location:
Denver, Iowa
 
Where did you first meet?
We both started racing at Humboldt County Dragway in Humboldt, Iowa but had never raced there at the same time. We had a mutual racing friend who introduced us. We met in person for the first time in November 2010.
 
Who raced first?
Afton started racing Junior Dragsters in 2000, and Joe started racing his street motorcycle in 2009.
 
Which car(s) do you drive?
Afton’s car is a 2015 Spitzer Top Dragster.  Joe is building a 1997 Chevy S10 drag truck, which we hope to have on track this season.
 
What's under the hood?
Afton’s dragster has a 540 cubic inch Big Block Chevy with 14-71 supercharger while Joe’s truck has a 434 cubic inch Small Block Chevy.
 
Which BTE products do you use in your vehicle?
We use BTE torque converter and BTE internal transmission parts. We are also a dealer of BTE products through our new business venture, Swanson Performance.
 
Do you race your own individual cars, or share?
Afton races the Top Dragster. When Joe’s truck is done he will race in Super Street and we will both race the truck in Super Pro and Pro at the local bracket races.
 
How do you race together?
We follow the same process every time we make a pass, whether it’s a qualifying run or a final round. By doing everything the same, we develop a routine and can maintain the same level of performance throughout the event.
 
How do you complement each other while racing?
Joe has developed a talent for tuning. He likes to try new methods and over the past few years he has fine-tuned Afton’s Top Dragster to be one of the fastest in the country. We work well as a team (in racing and business) because we have complementary talents.
 
What does one partner do that enhances or works together with the other?
After every run, Joe pulls the Race Pak and determines if any changes to our tune up are needed. Afton records the weather, packs the parachutes, charges the car, and refuels. Most of the time, no major changes need to be done, but if there are we have our tools organized and ready. Afton pulls the spark plugs and valve covers while Joe investigates and diagnoses any issues in the motor.
 
Do you ever race against each other?
Since we have both raced very different vehicles, we have never made an elimination pass together, but we have made three test and tune passes and dialed in like a bracket race. Afton drove her dragster and Joe drove his motorcycle. Afton won twice and Joe won once.
 
Do you share the pot when one of you wins?
We put all the winnings back into racing; it pays for our fuel to keep us going to the races throughout the season. Last year when we won the Topeka Nationals, we put the winnings into a new shop for our business, Swanson Performance.
 
What's your strategy for staying a team? How do you support each other, win or lose?
We can’t do this without each other, so everything we do is a team effort. When we win, we look at what went well and add that to our routine every week. If we lose, we look at what we didn’t do right and take that out of our routine.
Posted by Amber Ambrose at 11:34 AM