Swanson lived on Harlan, Iowa, and became one of the premiere racing engine builders in the 1940s and 1950s. Though he started his racing career driving in the coupe circuit in the late 1940s in Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri, he was better known for his car building expertise. He was often referred to as a "mechanical genius". Swanson owned the cars driven by Harlan native and racing champion Johnny Beauchamp from 1956–57. In the mid-1950s, Swanson was sponsored by Chevrolet's Racing Division to compete in IMCA racing events. Swanson and driver Johnny Beauchamp had stood the IMCA stock car series on its head in 1956 by winning 43 features and running away with the series Championship. Swanson was one of the most knowledgeable mechanics in racing when it came to the Chevrolet.
Swanson's racing work continued up until the late 1970s at racetracks in Iowa and Nebraska.
Swanson was the son of Theodore and Neva Swanson.
He died January 28, 1996 in Harlan, Iowa.
- Iowa, Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1999, FHL Film Number: 1443704
- U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Number: 480-18-5943; Issue State: Iowa; Issue Date: Before 1951
- Dale Swanson owner statistics at Racing-Reference