Kevin Swindell's Strong Stafford Race Marred By Late Accident Stafford Springs, Conn. (Oct. 12, 2008) - Kevin Swindell's second NASCAR Camping World East Series race was going to be even better than his impressive debut back in August. Sunday's...
Kevin Swindell's Strong Stafford Race Marred By Late Accident
Stafford Springs, Conn. (Oct. 12, 2008) - Kevin Swindell's second NASCAR Camping World East Series race was going to be even better than his impressive debut back in August. Sunday's race at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway saw the Germantown, Tennessee driver run even better than he did in his series debut at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park, where he finished thirteenth. At Stafford, Swindell qualified third and was running fourth before an accident damaged his Gilette-Evernham Motorsports Dodge, leaving him to finish sixteenth.
Swindell's initial reaction to Stafford's low-banked half-mile track was positive. In Saturday's single practice session, he spent the majority of the time with his No. 9 Dodge near the top of the speed charts even without the Dave Davis Motorsports crew trying a mock qualifying run. When time trials were run later in the day, Swindell put the car in the field with the third-fastest time.
"Everything went really smooth today," said the nineteen year-old driver. "For most of practice we were at the top of the board until some guys made some qualifying runs at the end. We have a better car to race than we do to qualify, and we qualified third, so I think we've got a pretty good shot."
In the opening laps, Swindell ran fourth until the first caution, and found that the outside lane was not the place to be on restarts. He slipped to sixth, but came up to run fifth at the start of a 63-lap green-flag run. During that stretch he battled Trevor Bayne for position in a race that tested the young driver's ability to race hard and clean. He finally got by Bayne just after the halfway point of the race.
"He couldn't get into the corner or get through the center quite as well as I could, but he pinched me off and I couldn't get under him to get by," Swindell explained. "It took me a good fifteen laps to figure out where I could get a run and make a move on him, and I had to go through my bag of tricks until I finally found one that worked and I could get by him."
He took the lap 108 restart in fourth place, but was hit from behind going into the first turn. He spun into the low groove, then slid up across traffic and backed into the outside wall. Caution flew as he drove away with damage to his car's right rear corner.
"I thought being in the top four was going to keep us away from people being stupid, but that became an issue on the restart," he said. "I just got into one right with the guy in front of me, I didn't check up any harder or anything, but I got run over."
The car was hurt, and Swindell could only make sure he finished the race on the lead lap. He did so with a sixteenth place finish.
"The car was really good," he said. "As we were making that long run it was definitely coming around to us. It was improving as the race went on and we were actually running a couple of tenths faster than the leaders. We were running them down before we got that caution.
"We had a car that could definitely have raced for the win, and with the way the race ended, we easily could have been right there to take advantage of the situation that developed there," Swindell continued.