ROSSBURG, Ohio – 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, such as this weekend’s World of Outlaws doubleheader at Eldora Speedway.
However, the top wing no longer has “Swindell” stickered across the front of it. Instead it’s been names like Bayston and Bell that have adorned that space.
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, including apparel — signifying his transition to the role of 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 xar races the year after and rides fell through, Swindell said they linked up.
With that, 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 ranks, 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 against the Outlaws.
“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, Swindell won several other sprint car and midget races — including four Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals triumphs in-a-row — and had a short stint in NASCAR before his 2015 accident.
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