Swindell moving forward after crash that ended his racing career

Kevin Swindell will start a new chapter on Thursday.

Swindell moving forward after crash that ended his racing career
Kevin Swindell
Kevin Swindell, Swan Racing Toyota
Kevin Swindell celebrates winning the 26th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl
Kevin Swindell
Kevin Swindell celebrates winning the 26th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl
Kevin Swindell, Kyle Larson, Sammy Sindell and Cory Kruseman
Kevin Swindell celebrates winning the 26th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl
Kevin Swindell
Kevin Swindell wins the A main
Rico Abreu, ThorSport Racing Toyota
Rico Abreu
Listen to this article

The only driver to win four consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals will make his broadcasting debut with the Racin’ Boys Network from Tulsa Expo Raceway.

The second-generation racer is taking the same determination that fueled his success on the track and infusing it into life after the accident that ended his driving career.

“Scott Traylor (RBN president) called last week and asked if it was something I wanted to do,” Swindell told motorsport.com. “I wanted to be here for Dad’s (Sammy) qualifying night and stuff but this should be fun.

Injury and career

Swindell, 27, was one of the top competitors on the open-wheel circuit prior to breaking his L-1 and T-7 vertebrae after flipping in his heat race in the 2015 Knoxville Nationals. The son of three-time World of Outlaw champion Sammy Swindell won the World Karting title in 2002 before becoming the youngest winner on the WoO tour at 17. 

In 15 ARCA starts, Swindell earned two wins. His first victory came at Chicagoland Speedway where he won from the pole and led every lap. Swindell’s second win came on dirt at Springfield (Ill.) two years later. He won the full NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2010 and finished seventh in the standings. Swindell also made 30 starts on the XFINITY tour with three top-10 results in the No. 98 Ford. 

Swindell’s sole Cup start came at Loudon with Brandon Davis’ now defunct Swan Racing. He completed 244 laps before finished 38th. 

From driver to owner

Last January, five months after his vicious wreck at Knoxville, Swindell transitioned to the ownership side of the sport. Kevin Swindell Racing debuted at the 2016 Chili Bowl with Kevin Thomas Jr. Swindell has an entry at this year’s Chili Bowl but is currently focusing on fielding a sprint car team. In 2016, he provided sprint cars for Spencer Bayston.

“It’s been fun,” Swindell said of team ownership. “It’s definitely different from just worrying about whether you can see through your shield when you got to the race track and if you had tear-offs.  You have to worry about a whole lot of other things and personnel. The paperwork-side has been something to get used to but beyond that, it’s been fun.”

Focused on Sammy at the Chili Bowl

For this weekend, Swindell will focus on his father’s effort. Sammy Swindell, 61, leads all Chili Bowl contestants with five Golden Driller trophies. He finished fourth in the B Feature in Wednesday’s qualifier to transfer to the A Feature and finished seventh.

“That’s a new frame and body on his car,” Swindell said of the No. 1 Swindell Motorsports midget. “It’s pretty good. The technology hasn’t changed a whole lot on these things other than the bolt on pieces a little bit. It’s as good as ever. 

“But you have to have some luck here — and he hasn’t had it the last couple of years. Hopefully, the rest of the week goes well.”

Matching his record

As to whether any driver will ever match his record of four-straight CBN victories, Swindell acknowledged that feat would pose quite the challenge. Rico Abreu, who currently is the defending champion, is the only other driver to post consecutive wins.

“It would be hard,” Swindell said. “It’s hard to control your own fate here to an extent. I think we could have easily gone five or six if we had some luck there and I ran second two years in a row, but things didn’t fall our way. The car quality is growing as far as the upper end guys and the younger guys are getting better. It’s making it tougher, so it’s going to be tough. 

“The Chili Bowl has obviously grown a lot. To get (380) teams stuffed in here is pretty remarkable. We kind of all thought that at some point of these guys would have their fun and go away but the turnover rate of new people ever year is impressive. It just keeps growing and may even get bigger.”

shares
comments
Tommy Baldwin to enter Daytona 500 with Sadler driving No. 7 entry
Previous article

Tommy Baldwin to enter Daytona 500 with Sadler driving No. 7 entry

Next article

Chip Ganassi Racing hires new competition director

Chip Ganassi Racing hires new competition director
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021