Swindell added a second iRacing victory on April 14 at the virtual Lernerville Speedway, leading all but three of the 35 laps in the feature. It was a dominant performance that brought back memories of the days before his career was cut short.
But now, thanks to the advances in sim racing and the present-day technology available to him, Swindell has been able to duke it out with the Christopher Bells, Brad Sweets and Logan Schucharts of the world and offer a glimpse into where he might be had life not dealt him the hand that it did.
“It’s been awhile, obviously, since I’ve been able to have moments like this and race against a lot of these guys,” said Swindell, a four-time Chili Bowl winner. “But I think it goes back to the days of the Chili Bowl … and really, (Christopher) Bell and Larson, there are some of those guys that I think weren’t truly in their prime, 100 percent, when I was still around. So now I’m trying to get back on somewhat of equal footing with them.
“To be able to beat those guys is definitely a good feeling,” he added. “I want to remind them of maybe how good I actually was, and that they’re lucky that I’m not still around to take some of their trophies away.”
In addition to his real-world sprint car team, Swindell has been busy building Swindell SpeedLab, his content and merchandise business.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined the early season plans for Swindell’s sprint car team, it did little to stall merchandise sales, a good thing for Swindell as he looks to continue moving forward.
“I’d say the pandemic has actually allowed an easier outlet for content for us, for sure,” Swindell said of SpeedLab’s media division. “Obviously, we would have supplemented that somewhat, with the real-life cars, but esports has given us a bit of a different reach. We’ve invested a lot in that side over the last couple of years, with our teams that run full time with iRacing and have had some success, and that has started to bring some real-life partners and sponsors in on that side. It’s been good to help try to grow that, hopefully, long term, as well as improving the real-life sport.
“A lot of our product sales and business is online, which is good in a situation like this, too,” Swindell added. “Really, this has been kind of a blessing in disguise for us during this strange time in the world.”
When the racing season does get back into full swing, fans can expect to see his father — three-time World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell – at the controls of the Swindell SpeedLab No. 39 for select events.
Included in the team’s partial schedule will be another run at the famed Knoxville Nationals, something Swindell is looking forward to tackling with his father alongside.
“Most of the sponsorship we had going for my dad’s program has stayed intact,” Swindell noted. “We did lose a couple deals over this whole thing, or at least had them put on hold for the moment, so that’s been a little, little tough on us. But hopefully, as things start to subside and everybody gets back down to business, we can still do some of the neat stuff we had planned for my dad for his 50th year (in racing).
“We’re excited about it, though, and excited to keep moving forward with our team; it’s something I’ve become really passionate about and I enjoy being able to be involved in the sport as a part of it.”
It may not be the way Swindell expected his legacy in racing to play out, but whether it’s in business or through team ownership, one thing stands out about the driver-turned-owner and entrepreneur.
There’s no quit in the man everyone calls “The Bulldog.”