She feels the need for speed: Former Goldfield resident brings her dragster to Eagle Grove

Afton Swanson brought her NHRA Top Dragster to Arnold Motor Supply last Saturday as a special guest at their car show. She has raced in the division since 2014. She is pictured here with her husband Joe (left) and John Lloyd manager of the Eagle Grove Arnold’s store. Photo by Les Houser

For Afton (Harvey) Swanson, drag racing is not just a weekend hobby. It’s also her passion. She lives and breathes racing, and feels the rush of adrenalin every time she is at the line waiting for that tree of lights to turn green. From there it’s down the strip to the finish line in just over six seconds.

Swanson now lives in Denver, Iowa with her husband Joe, and the two brought her NHRA Top Dragster to Eagle Grove on Saturday, September 14, for display at a car show at Arnold Motor Supply. They are also her major sponsor. A large crowd of people came to get an up-close look at the mean machine, which can run-up to approximately 2500 horsepower. Prior to some rule changes that went into effect this year, Swanson said she has timed as fast as 5.97 seconds at a speed of 234 miles per hour. That’s moving. She even fired the car up a few times to the crowd’s delight. The sound was incredible, and when she revved it, you could hardly carry on a conversation with the person standing right next to you.

“I like the traveling, and the people you meet on the circuit,” said Swanson about the season tour of races. “I’ve met drivers and fans from all over, and 95 percent of them are very nice. Oh yes, I also love the speed.”

Swanson races in the nonpro Top Dragster class, one of several divisions in the NHRA Sportsman Series. That is on the third level down in drag racing, the one just below the Top Alcohol dragsters and the Mello Yellow Top Fuel dragsters.

Those divisions include professional drivers like multi time champion John Force, who has even had his three daughters follow him into racing as well. “You need to spend a lot of money to run with them,” said Swanson when asked if she has desires to move up to that next level. “The most money wins, and that’s not the case with us (more on that later). We like where we’re at now. If we did, we wouldn’t be able to afford to run as much. I also like that it takes more driver strategy to win in our class.”

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