Car of the Week: Afton Swanson's 2015 Spitzer Top Dragster

Car of the Week: Afton Swanson's 2015 Spitzer Top Dragster

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, we're featuring Afton Swanson from Denver, Iowa's 2015 Spitzer Top Dragster.
 
How did you get into drag racing?
My dad took me to a race track when I was 8 years old and we rented a junior dragster for me to drive. I enjoyed it so much that I got my own juinor dragster for Christmas that year. I raced juniors until I was 16, then moved into a full-sized dragster and raced in our local Super Pro weekend bracket races. In 2013 my dad retired, so I continued on my own into the Top Dragster category. I met my husband, Joe, through drag racing. He raced drag bikes at the same drag strip where I first got my start (Humboldt County Dragway). We became a team in 2014 and began traveling throughout the Midwest for my Top Dragster races. One of the things that makes us unique is that we are the youngest team in drag racing competing at this level. I am 26 and Joe is 28; this is our 4th season in the Top Dragster category. In 2018, Joe will also be racing a car of his own that he built from the ground up, a Chevy S10 drag truck that he will be driving in the Super Street category.
 
When and where was your first race?
My first race ever was in June 2000 at Humboldt County Dragway in Humboldt, Iowa. I raced my junior dragster. 
 
What model/year do you race now?
2015 Spitzer Top Dragster
 
What's under the hood?
540 cubic inch Big Block Chevy with 14-71 supercharger
 
Which BTE products do you use in your vehicle?
I bought my first BTE torque converter this spring, and at my first race out with the converter I won the Topeka nationals! I am buying a second converter this winter to have as a spare, and will also buy a converter and transmission for Joe’s Super Street S10. (The transmission I currently have is an old Transmission Specialties, which I am going to replace with a new BTE Top Dragster transmission as soon as my budget allows.)
 
Why do you use BTE?
I was planning to step up my racing program this year to be able to run at the class maximum, 6.00. I knew I needed to make some changes in my setup to be able to put that kind of power to the ground. We did a lot of research into different brands before we made the decision to switch to BTE. We were extremely impressed with our results; right out of the box we found that my reaction times became much more consistent, and the converter slip was drastically reduced. We were able to tune the car up and run consistent 6.00s and dipped into the 5.90s on several occasions. The converter has been reliable all season and has handled all the power we have thrown at it, which is exactly what you need in a class like Top Dragster.
 
Someone you look up to in racing?
Definitely Shirley Muldowney. If she had not been bold and stood up for her right to drive a race car, there’s a good chance that myself and other women would never have had the opportunity to pursue drag racing.
 
If money were no object, what would you drive?
I can’t decide between a Top Alcohol Dragster or a Pro Mod, so if money were no object I would have both. I’m a bracket racer at heart though, so I will always keep my Top Dragster, no matter how far my racing career takes me. My long term racing goal is to have a Top Dragster and a Top Sportsman car. Then Joe and I will be able to trade cars at different events so we can each run the cars in both classes.
 
What is your pre-race ritual (if you have one)?
At the trailer, I usually clean the car and wipe down the motor and wheels. I think it is my way of keeping my mind occupied between rounds so I don’t get nervous. In the lanes, I go around and make sure fasteners and nuts are tight. If I know my car is in good, working order it keeps me calm and I feel more confident against my opponent.
Posted by Amber Ambrose at 11:13 AM