SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Kevin Swindell wasn’t sure what he was doing this weekend, but he didn’t plan on racing.
That changed when Venturini Motorsports’ Billy Venturini called and offered him a chance to drive the No. 15 Zaxby’s Toyota on the one-mile dirt track at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. Swindell accepted the offer early Wednesday morning and took the team to victory lane Sunday afternoon.
“This is awesome,” Swindell said. “They gave me a great car and did a lot of work on it. I’m so thankful for the chance to take this car to victory lane.”
It wasn’t easy – and Swindell’s beat-up race car after the race was proof. He hit a wall during practice, and had a few hits on the track during the race. But, the Venturini team fixed it at every chance.
“They kept beating and banging on the car during the pit stops and the car was good,” Swindell said. “Luckily, the hits weren’t too hard and didn’t do a lot of damage. It didn’t really affect the car.”
Swindell led 21 laps, taking the lead for good on lap 89 of the 100-mile, 100-lap Central Illinois SuperChevyStores.com 100. He held off ARCA Racing Series point leader Mason Mitchell, who got stronger at the end of the race, zipping from seventh to second over the final dozen laps. In doing so, he maintained his series point lead over Grant Enfinger, who led the most laps and finished third.
“I knew we were going to be there at the end,” Mitchell said. “I was digging real hard, trying to get everything I could get. We had a little something there at the end, but not enough for the 15.”
Enfinger was running his first dirt track race since 2011 and was pleased with his finish. He led 33 laps, compared to 31 for Mitchell.
“I knew Pickle (crew chief Ryan London) would give me a good car,” Enfinger said. “In practice I didn’t offer him much feedback, I just was content to let him set up the car. I’ll take third place for sure. This GMS Racing Team just keeps working hard every race. I’m excited now, going to DuQuoin in a couple weeks.”