By MIKE MALLETT
The Western Pennsylvania Modified contingent is well represented at the Textron Off-Road World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. It’s an opportunity for them to compete against the best of the best on one of the biggest stages of the season. So far, one driver from the area has locked into both main-events, Brian Swartzlander.
Swartzlander, of Leechburg, Pa., time trialed well in the first session before a runner-up finish in the first heat earned him the sixth starting spot in Friday night’s main-event. For the Saturday portion, he’s got to come from deep as he earned the last spot in before the consolations to start 20th.
“That was a relief last night, especially the second one,” said Swartzlander about his qualifying efforts. “We had a good qualifying lap in the first session so that got us in. The driver screwed up in the second one trying to go a little faster and I jumped the cushion. That’s got us starting a bit farther back in the second session. I at least got into the show. It’s not good, but we are in and I don’t have to worry about a B-Main or anything like that. It was easier resting last night.”
Swartzlander has only run a handful of races during the 2017 season. By his estimation he’s run in the neighborhood of 15 events. Now he’s got the challenge of competing against the best of the best at the World Finals. It’s an event that he’s had his fair share of ups and downs. Much like his year.
“It’s been up and down, but racing has always been a roller coaster deal,” mentioned Swartzlander. “This year, when you think everything is going good something happens. I really want to end the season with a good run down here. I’m just hoping tonight we can get a good finish. We are trying some things. We are here against the best in the world. You really got to be on your game.”
No matter what happens, Swartzlander is going into the event with a positive attitude as he hopes for a strong finish.
“I think we’ll be alright, but we’ll find out here in a little bit,” stated Swartzlander. “We are looking forward to it. I’m just hoping we have a good run and that’s all.”