GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – Kevin Swindell has shifted into a different side of motorsports.
Swindell, who became the youngest driver to win a World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series feature when he was 17-years-old and is the only driver to record four straight Chili Bowl Nationals victories, became a team owner this year.
It began in January at the Chili Bowl, where Kevin Thomas Jr. wheeled a midget owned by Swindell and Bernie Stuebgen of Indy Race Parts to an 11th-place finish in the B Main of the marquee event that showcased a record 336 entries.
Swindell, who broke the L-1 and T-7 vertebrae in his back during a crash at the 2015 Knoxville Nationals, then spent most of the season as a crew chief helping younger drivers before an opportunity to own a winged sprint car team became available.
“I lived the right choices and the wrong choices of that process and to be able to help younger driver down the right direction has been important to me,” Swindell said. “I feel like I have been able to relay how to drive the car and what to do and I think it’s easier for me being a younger guy … you never want to listen to your dad. I can relay it as someone who’s been there and done it, but is still in that age range.”
Swindell selected rising star Spencer Bayston for a handful of starts for the Swindell Speed Lab backed team toward the end of the season and the results were outstanding. Swindell and Bayston combined to produce three top fives, including a career-best second-place finish, and five top 10s in seven races.
“It wasn’t something that was planned to happen as quick as it did,” Swindell said. “I wanted to put something together to have. Spencer came along and all that worked out. By the season finale we were zoned in on what we needed and were getting closer to having the car where we needed it to be.”
The plan for next season is for Bayston to race approximately two dozen times and Swindell said he is open to putting another driver in the car when Bayston is racing a midget elsewhere.
“We’re going to run 20-to-30 races with Spencer around the USAC schedule he’s going to do with Keith (Kunz),” Swindell said. “We’re looking for the right opportunity to race as much as possible the rest of the time when he’s busy with the midget. We’re looking for possible help to add to what we have built.”