ROSSBURG, OH – Kevin Swindell has unfinished business in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
A spinal injury from a crash at the 2015 Knoxville Nationals ended his driving career — leaving him with one World of Outlaws victory as a driver — but it hasn’t stopped him from chasing wins.
For the past three years Swindell has been entering his No. 39 Sprint Car in various races — next on the schedule will be this weekend’s World of Outlaws doubleheader at Eldora Speedway. But the top wing no longer has “Swindell” stickered across the front of it. Instead it’s been names like Bayston and Bell.
Accented by a teal strip and letters, Swindell’s name has found a new home on the side of the car as Swindell SpeedLab — the name of his team and other avenues, such as apparel — signifying his transition to car owner.
“I think any of the guys out there (in the Sprint Car community) would say they’ve thought about it (owning a team),” Swindell said. “Done right I think owner-driver is the most profitable way to do it. But someone else driving for me never was a thought.”
It never was after his accident, either. Owning a team grew out of trying to help a young driver enter the top Sprint Car ranks.
In 2015, Swindell found himself acting as a driver coach and crew chief for Spencer Bayston, who at the time was running Parker Price-Miller’s spare car in select races. The two clicked. When Bayston was looking to do more Sprint Car races the year after and rides fell through, Swindell said they linked up. The inaugural Swindell SpeedLab team was born.
“We really built it for him (Bayston) with no real future plan in mind for it then,” Swindell said.
The pair won multiple races together in the All Star Circuit of Champions Series, and Bayston’s success propelled him to a current full-time ride in that Series.
As for Swindell and his team, the vision into the future is a little blurry. Swindell said he’s not sure what the ultimate goal for the team is.
“We’ve been lucky so far just kinda letting it evolve on its own,” he said. “So, we’ll just keep seeing where it takes us.”
At the moment, he hopes to be able to continue helping young drivers. He plans to have Missouri-native Hunter Schuerenberg drive the car in a couple of races this year. Going full-time with the World of Outlaws isn’t on the radar at the moment, but he’s still eyeing several victories in the Series.
“It’s the premier dirt Series in the world, in my opinion,” said Swindell, son of three-time World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell. “And it’s been such a big part of my family for so long that winning those races is huge to me. I think in a way there were things I left unfinished in the seat that now I’m chasing from this side with it.”
Swindell won his lone World of Outlaws race at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2006. He was 17 years old when he won, which at the time made him the youngest ever winner in the Series, a record that was broken by 16-year-old Giovanni Scelzi last year. After that he won several other Sprint Car and Midget races — including four Chili Bowl Midget Nationals wins in-a-row — and had a short stint in NASCAR before his 2015 accident.
With Bayston in a new ride, Swindell has hired another young up-and-coming driver to help him chase more wins — NASCAR star Christopher Bell. And those wins almost came during the two World of Outlaws season opening races at Volusia Speedway Park.
Bell finished third on the first night of racing after winning the Drydene Heat Race. He then followed that up the second night by winning the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, leading 25 of the 30 laps in the Feature and battling with 2013 Series champion Daryn Pittman late in the race, eventually having to settle for second. He ended up leaving Florida second in points to Pittman.
“I was pumped,” Swindell said about Bell’s performance. “I really felt like had traffic played in our favor a little bit more we would have picked up two or three of those nights (at DIRTcar Nationals) but that’s part of racing with these guys. They don’t let you slack anywhere. It makes you so much better.”
Swindell started working with Bell last year after Bayston and the team were going through a low point.
“We crashed and just needed to get a second opinion for both of our sake on the cars,” Swindell said.
At the time, Bell was ride hopping, he said, so he sent him a text to gauge his interest. Bell had shown interest before, but Swindell said he wasn’t sure if the 2017 NASCAR Truck Series champion was just joking or not.
“His team is new, but he has proven it (is a strong team) with multiple drivers,” Bell said. “They had a lot of speed with Spencer in the car, so I knew it was capable of running up front.”
Bell added that driving for a team owner who recently stepped out of the car has its advantages, as well.
Bell’s schedule with the Swindell SpeedLab team is up in the air. At the beginning of the year Bell said he hoped to do about 20 to 25 Sprint Car races this season. Many depend on the approval of his NASCAR team, Joe Gibbs Racing, giving him the approval to run the races.
Swindell said he would like to extend his schedule with Bell, who he treats like any other Sprint Car driver — paying him for his time in the car. At the moment, however, he’s excited to get to their next race already scheduled — Eldora Speedway, on Friday May 10 and Saturday May 11 for the #LetsRaceTwo.
Bell cites the Rossburg, Ohio speedway as one of his best tracks. And for good reason. Of his four World of Outlaws victories two have come at Eldora, with the most recent being the Series last visit to speedway in October.
“Obviously his track record speaks for itself, so now I gotta do my job with it,” Swindell said. “I just truly don’t want to screw it up. We know he does his part there. So, I’m excited but nervous at the same time.”
While it’s Swindell’s car going around tracks he would like to win at, there’s no weird feeling watching someone other than him drive it. He said part of that is it wasn’t his car to drive to begin with. The accident may have ended his driving career, but it far from ended his Sprint Car career.
He’s still chasing wins. Still has unfinished business.
“After feeling like we were so close to winning one at Lake Ozark (Speedway) last year with Spencer, then such good runs at World Finals, I’m dying to close one out,” Swindell said.
THIS WEEK AT A GLANCE
WHEN & WHERE
Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
-Grandstand gates are scheduled to open at 2 p.m. with Hot Laps at 6 p.m. and Racing at 7:30 p.m.
ABOUT THE TRACK
Eldora Speedway is a half-mile, high-banked track. The track record is 12.707 sec. set by Craig Dollansky on April 13, 2002.
Online – EldoraSpeedway.com
Phone – (937) 338-3815
Tickets can be purchased by going to WorldofOutlaws.com/tix or by calling 844-DIRT-TIX.
There have been six races on a 1/2-mile track this season. Daryn Pittman won at Volusia Speedway on Feb. 8-9. Tim Shaffer won at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on Feb. 27 and Donny Schatz won in Las Vegas on Feb. 28. Aaron Reutzel won at Perris Auto Speedway on March 30. And Logan Schuchart won at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 12.
ELDORA SPEEDWAY PREVIOUS WINNERS
2018 – Donny Schatz on May 11, Donny Schatz on May 12, Shane Stewart on July 12, Donny Schatz on July 13, Donny Schatz on July 14, Brent Marks on Sept. 21, Christopher Bell on October 14
2017 – Logan Schuchart on May 12, Donny Schatz on May 13, Kerry Madsen on July 13, Christopher Bell on July 14, Donny Schatz on May 15, Tim Shaffer on Sept. 22
2016 – Kerry Madsen on May 6, Kerry Madsen on May 7, David Gravel on July 14, Daryn Pittman on July 15, Donny Schatz on July 16, Shane Stewart on Sept. 23
2015 – Donny Schatz on May 8, Donny Schatz on May 9, Shane Stewart on July 17, Shane Stewart on July 18, Greg Wilson on Sept. 25
2014 – Shane Stewart on May 2, David Gravel on May 3, Sammy Swindell on July 11, Kerry Madsen on July 12, Joey Saldana on Sept. 19
2013 – Kerry Madsen on May 3, Daryn Pittman on May 4, Kerry Madsen on July 12, Brad Sweet on July 13
2012 – Chad Kemenah on May 4, Sammy Swindell on May 5, Joey Saldana on July 13, Sammy Swindell on July 14
2011 – Joey Saldana on May 8, Tim Shaffer on July 15, Tyler Walker on July 16, Joey Saldana on Sept. 23
2010 – Joey Saldana on May 8, Paul McMahan on May 9, Joey Saldana on July 16, Steve Kinser on July 17, Jac Haudenschild on Sept. 24
2009 – Donny Schatz on May 9, Terry McCarl on July 17, Donny Schatz on July 18, Jason Sides on Sept. 25
2008 – Craig Dollansky on April 11, Donny Schatz on May 31, Joey Saldana on July 11, Daryn Pittman on July 13, Joey Saldana on Sept. 19
2007 – Jason Meyers on April 13, Paul McMahan on June 2, Steve Kinser on July 13, Donny Schatz on July 14, Joey Saldana on Sept. 21
2006 – Sammy Swindell on April 8, Craig Dollansky on June 3, Craig Dollansky on July 14, Joey Saldana on July 15, Joey Saldana on Aug. 4
2005 – Steve Kinser on April 9, Sammy Swindell on June 4, Steve Kinser on July 15, Steve Kinser on July 16, Jac Haudenschild on Aug. 5
2004 – Steve Kinser on April 10, Danny Lasoski on June 5, Dale Blaney on July 16, Jason Sides on July 17, Sammy Swindell on Aug. 6
2003 – Sammy Swindell on April 19, Steve Kinser on May 31, Steve Kinser on July 18, Steve Kinser on July 19, Jason Meyers on Aug. 8
2002 – Craig Dollansky on April 13, Steve Kinser on June 1, Daryn Pittman on July 19, Joey Saldana on July 20, Steve Kinser on Aug. 2
2001 – Mark Kinser on April 14, Andy Hillenburg on June 2, Andy Hillenburg on July 20, Mark Kinser on July 21, Steve Kinser on Aug. 3
2000 – Steve Kinser on April 22, Mark Kinser on June 3, Sammy Swindell in July 14, Dale Blaney on July 15, Tim Shaffer on Aug. 4
1999 – Tim Shaffer on June 5, Mark Kinser on July 15, Greg Hodnett on July 16, Sammy Swindell on July 17, Stevie Smith on Aug. 6
1998 – Sammy Swindell on April 11, Sammy Swindell on June 13, Jac Haudenschild on July 17, Jac Haudenschild on July 18, Jac Haudenschild on Aug. 7
1997 – Sammy Swindell on April 4, Dave Blaney on June 14, Dave Blaney on July 18, Steve Kinser on July 19, Sammy Swindell on Aug. 8
1996 – Sammy Swindell on April 5, Steve Kinser on June 15, Mark Kinser on July 19, Johnny Herrera on July 20, Mark Kinser on Aug. 9
1995 – Jac Haudenschild on April 15, Steve Kinser on June 10, Dave Blaney on Aug. 11
1994 – Kenny Jacobs on April 17, Kenny Jacobs on June 11, Dave Blaney on Aug. 12
1993 – Dave Blaney on April 18, Steve Kinser on June 12, Dave Blaney on Aug. 13
1992 – Sammy Swindell on April 12
1991 – Steve Kinser on June 7, Sammy Swindell on June 8
1990 – Steve Kinser on April 22, Steve Kinser on June 9
1989 – Jeff Swindell on April 23, Doug Wolfgang on June 10, Doug Wolfgang on Aug. 5
1988 – Doug Wolfgang on April 10, Steve Kinser on Aug. 27
1987 – Steve Kinser on April 12, Steve Kinser on Aug. 8
1986 – Bobby Allen on Aug. 9
1985 – Doug Wolfgang on April 14, Doug Wolfgang on Aug. 10
1984 – Ron Shuman on April 8
1983 – Brad Doty on May 22
1982 – Danny Smith on May 8, Sammy Swindell on May 9, Doug Wolfgang on June 12, Sammy Swindell on Aug. 7, Steve Kinser on Oct. 17
1981 – Sammy Swindell on May 16, Doug Wolfgang on Aug. 8, Steve Kinser on Oct. 18
1980 – Sammy Swindell on April 13, Steve Kinser on May 3, Steve Kinser on May 4, Steve Kinser on May 25, Steve Kinser on July 5, Steve Kinser on Aug. 9, Doug Wolfgang on Aug. 30, Doug Wolfgang on Aug. 31, Steve Kinser on Oct. 19
1979 – Ron Shuman on April 15, Dub May on May 27, Steve Kinser on July 3, Sammy Swindell on July 14, Steve Kinser on Aug. 4, Doug Wolfgang on Sept. 1, Shane Carson on Oct. 21
1978 – Bobby Allen on April 16, Rick Ferkel on April 30, Steve Kinser on May 21, Rick Ferkel on July 3, Randy Ford on Aug. 3, Rick Ferkel on Aug. 4, Rick Ferkel on Aug. 5, Steve Kinser on Sept. 3, Shane Carson on Oct. 29
ON THE INTERNET
World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series – Woosprint.com
Twitter – Twitter.com/WorldofOutlaws – @WorldofOutlaws
Instagram – Instagram.com/WoOSprint – @woosprint
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorldofOutlaws
YouTube – YouTube.com/WorldofOutlaws
DIRTVision – Dirtvision.com – Get your Fast Pass to watch all races LIVE for only $39/month
Twitter – Twitter.com/DIRTVision – @DIRTVision
Facebook – Facebook.com/WatchDIRTVision
Follow World of Outlaws full-time drivers on Twitter:
Brad Sweet – @BradSweet49
Brent Marks – @bmracing19
Carson Macedo – @carson_macedo
Daryn Pittman – @darynpittman
David Gravel – @DavidGravel
Donny Schatz – @donnyschatz
Ian Madsen – @IanMadsen
Jacob Allen – @JacobAllen1A
Jason Sides – @SidesMotorsport
Kraig Kinser – @KraigKinser11k
Logan Schuchart – @Lschuchart1s
Shane Stewart – @shanestewart_5
Sheldon Haudenschild – @Haudenschild_17
AROUND THE TURN: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will next race on Wednesday, May 15, at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Pa., Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18, at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. and Sunday, May 19, at Weedsport Speedway in Weedsport,