CONCORD, N.C. – When Kevin Swindell announced that he was forming a winged sprint car team late last season and that national midget hot-shoe Spencer Bayston was going to be the driver, there were many that raised an eyebrow towards what seemed to be an unusual pairing at the time.
After all, Bayston was young and hungry, but he had no major winged car experience and was still relatively fresh among the big names of the dirt open wheel scene, while Swindell had never tackled the challenge of team ownership.
But the two young racers have risen to the occasion, forming a strong bond and using their shared passion of the sport to build what is slowly becoming a contending team in both regional and national events across the country.
With Bayston at the wheel, the Swindell Speed Labs No. 39 sprint car came into its own this season, scoring two victories – one at Attica Raceway Park in April and one at Muskingum County Speedway in June – to go along with 14 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in 35 starts.
Now, the duo is looking ahead to the future, with a renewed partnership already announced for 2018 and enthusiasm that the team is continuing to make strides in the right direction.
“It’s good to know that everything is in place and we know what we’re doing going into the offseason,” Swindell told Race Chaser Online during the Textron Off-Road World Finals. “Spencer has done a great job driving for our team and we’re thrilled to have him back in the seat next year so that we can chase some more wins together. We’ve been competitive from the start and with all the same pieces in place again for 2018, I have confidence in that trend to continue.”
The trend itself took off in a big way this season, with both of Bayston’s victories coming during competition with the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions, a huge testament for both driver and team.
“It’s been a really good year and I’ve learned a ton,” Bayston said. “Winning with the All Stars in this car was an amazing feeling and something we’re really proud of … but at the same time I know that we have a long way still to go as a group until I’m performing to the standard that Kevin likes every week,” he laughed.
“It’s just about trying to get better with understanding how these (winged) cars work and seeing what they need from night to night … just because I’m not quite able to give the feedback that Kevin needs just yet. It only made sense to come back and give it another shot next year, to get better and keep working together. I’m thankful to Kevin for giving me the opportunity and excited to keep working with him for another year.”
Swindell said that while his team shined in the Midwest, their lackluster showing at The Dirt Track at Charlotte against the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series was a sign of the progress they still need to make against the premier teams in the sport.
“We’ve worked on having a balance that fits him, as well as being good. You always keep trying to work on that, and, obviously, racing with the Outlaw guys … it makes stuff a lot tougher, so you’ve got to be a lot closer on your game.”
Continued on the next page…